Your Stylist: A beauty how-to on the kitten eye


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Forget heavy, Cleopatra cat-eye makeup. It may be a sultry and exotic look but right now, it’s all about the kitten eye.

But even though the tamer version of the beauty style requires less product and skill than the cat eye, working with liquid eyeliner in any capacity can be daunting.


I tapped celebrity makeup artist Kayleen McAdams, whose star clients include Rachel McAdams, Sofia Vergara, Felicity Jones and Mandy Moore, for some tips on how to achieve the ‘60s inspired flick called the kitten eye.

“A cat eye is a thicker line across the lid where a kitten eye is more about the little flick at the end, though it still works to define the eye,” says McAdams.

She starts by drawing a thin line across the top and flicking it out at the outer corner of the eye with an eyeliner pencil. MAC Cosmetics Eye Kohl pencils ($15 at and Chanel Stylo Yeux waterproof pencil ($29 at are two of her favorites. The pencil provides a base for the gel or liquid liner to come, as well as creating a template to follow without the potential mess of liquid.

“By using pencil liner first, the liquid you put on top lasts longer and looks shinier. Plus there’s more leeway with a pencil and less to clean up if you make a mistake.”

The line should be thin and precise across the top and endwith a tiny upturned flick at the outer area of the eye. A good way to judge the angle of that flick is to envision an imaginary line from the end of your eyebrow (after filling them in, so you have an accurate end point) to the point of the flick. The two points should be more or less lined up. “There should be an imaginary line from the end of brow to the corner of the eye. It’s all about symmetry,’ she says.

Once the pencil liner is in place, the gel or liquid comes next. McAdams likes Bobbi Brown gel liner ($21 at Nordstrom), which she warns is for the more skilled makeup user since it requires controlling a small brush, or the Script from Hourglass Cosmetics ($32 at, which has a very fine tip that’s easy to control and build up product should you want to make the line thicker or darker.


Simply trace back over the pencil liner with the gel or liquid for a more precise and shiny finish. The result should be subtle with a quirky ’60s appeal.

“I did this look recently on Felicity Jones and used just a little shimmery peach eye shadow on the lid just to create a little definition,” she says.

McAdams also recommends placing a few individual lashes at the outer corner of the eye to emphasize the kitten eye or even using a festive color like sparkly purple or emerald green liquid eyeliner for a fun holiday look.

-- Melissa Magsaysay


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Photos, from top: Beauty look from Dolce and Gabbana SS/2012/ Luca Cannonieri / Michele Morosi for

Chanel waterproof eyeliner/Chanel; Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner/Bobbi Brown; Hourglass Cosmetics the Script liquid eyeliner pen/Hourglass cosmetics