Some of us are naturally gifted with the ability to draw flawless winged eyeliner with machine-like precision. Some of us…aren’t. Me, specifically. So after one too many mornings of struggling through the “No, now that side’s too big” dilemma, I decided to finally give in to the siren song of Pinterest and see if there was anything that could save me from utter cat-eye failure.
Attempt 1: The Stencil
No surprise: This was the most labor-intensive trick I tried. It involves creating a template for your eyeliner aspirations out of paper, then simply holding it up along your eyelid like a tiny eyeliner shield and scribbling liner over it, then lifting away the paper. “Simply” being a misnomer. While the drawing and cutting out of the winged liner shape involves a certain amount of arts-and-crafts ability, I actually found the most challenging part to be measuring the paper against my eye to make sure it was the right size, then keeping my eye closed and still while I applied liner over the template. My results, as you can see above, left something to be desired.
With a little bit of cleaning and touch-up, I managed to create a totally wearable cat eye, but considering the amount of time I spent on the whole ordeal, I’m not sure it wouldn’t have been easier just to go through my usual makeup-remover-and-cotton-swab routine.
Attempt 2: The Tape
You know what sounds like a terrible idea? Putting tape on your eye. I was completely prepared for this trick to crash and burn, but it turned out to be my top choice as far as ease of execution. All it takes is a small piece of tape (I got a little overzealous) angled out from the outer corner of your eye to act as a guide for your liner wing. The tape catches any spots where you might have colored outside of the line, and since you can adjust the tape before you actually do the lining, you can preemptively make sure that both eyes match up. The only real downsides are that you have to put tape on your eye, which could irritate the skin, especially for those with sensitive eyes, and the tape lifted away my concealer in an awkward little rectangle, which required going back in to carefully reapply it around my new sharp-edged eyeliner. Still, if you fall into the can’t-draw-a-straight-line-to-save-my-life camp, this is the choice for you.
Attempt 3: The Triangle
Easily the most common of the Pinterest cat-eye hacks, this technique shows up all over the place—usually a good sign that it works. This one requires freehanding a small triangle at the outer corner of each eye to serve as the wing, then filling it in. The triangle method does make it easier to measure the flick on each eye before you commit to the full liner routine, which in turn means less to wipe away if your wings get totally out of control. It’s also the one that requires the most real eyeliner skill. I found it marginally easier than my typical cat-eye routine, but I’m not sure that it netted me any significant gains in time or wing accuracy.
Overall I’d say each of the hacks was useful in its own way, but none of them are going to turn me into a Pinterest makeup star anytime soon. At the end of all of my experiments, I think the biggest cat-eye hack of all is still the classic: practice, practice, practice.
How to Do a Cat Eye: