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Tips for the perfect cat eye

Achieve Adele's signature cat eye in a few easy steps.
Achieve Adele's signature cat eye in a few easy steps.
Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Cat eye makeup is tricky. You need patience and a steady hand to get it just right.

The internet is full of multi-step tutorials from videos to tumblr and Pinterest posts. Some of them are more helpful than others, but all of them are a bit confusing. Few seem to address the anxiety and frustration that come along with an eyelid smeared in misshapen black goo. But after sifting through a slew of winged eyeliner demonstrations, you can see that despite the variations, there are certain reappearing themes that form the basis of any successful cat eye.

So here are a few steps you can take to make the process a little easier:

First, you need a good liquid eyeliner. Every brand has some version of this product, but the most innovative is NYX's felt tip liquid eyeliner, The Curve. Its curved handle makes it easy to grip, which is especially helpful for those of us with unsteady hands.

The most important thing to keep in mind when attempting the cat eye look is to start from the outside corner of your eye. You can put a dot on the side of each eye to indicate where you want the wing to end. (This helps with symmetry—one of the most difficult aspects of creating the perfect cat eye.) Try ending the wing tip closer to the outside corner of the eye for a more subtle look or branch out as far as an inch away from the eyelashes for a dramatic flair.

Then once you have your endpoint established, sweep down toward the edge of your eyelashes. From there you simply follow through to the inner corner of your eye, keeping as close as possible to your lash line.

The liner should be thinnest in the inner corner of your eye (closest to your nose). To achieve this effect, you'll likely have to fill in another layer starting from the middle of your eye and going out to the tip of the wing. Some tutorials depict this as filling in a triangle, but you can also simply thicken the line.

For extra help, the best thing to do is look at pictures or illustrations of cat eye makeup done right. Lana Del Rey and Adele in particular have been known to sport striking eyeliner. Check out their stunningly winged eyes for inspiration.