The Reverse Cat Eye Is the Coolest Makeup Look You'll See This Summer

It looks impressive, but it's incredibly easy to do.

The Coolest Way to Wear Eyeliner This Summer
Photo: Instagram @patrickta, @ash_kholm, @priscillaono

Missy Elliot was not talking about makeup when she rapped "I put my thing down, flip it and reverse it," but the lyrics still apply to reverse eyeliner, one of this summer's biggest makeup trends.

Like the name implies, the look consists of drawing a cat eye on the lower lash line or lining both the upper and lower lash lines.

"Dipping downwards towards the inner corners of the eyes with liner can be just as powerful in shaping the eye as adding a winged liner on the top lid," Danessa Myricks, founder of Danessa Myricks Beauty says. "I call this liner concept 'The See Saw.' When one end of the eye dips down, the other end by default lifts up. Combining both the dipped liner in the inner corner of the bottom lash along with a liner lift upwards on the other end is a powerful combo for a very impactful eye lift."

While black liner is a classic look that will never go out of style, what makes this trend optimal for summer is that there's plenty of room to play with bold colors.

"Contrasting or complementary shades to our eye color will always create immediate impact," Myricks says of choosing which colors to try. "White and black on either end of the spectrum create obviously very extreme results but let's not forget about all the colors of the rainbow and the magic they bring."

Reverse eyeliner can also easily be customized to suit your personal style. "Everyone can play with this trend and make it work for their look and lifestyle," the makeup artist shares. "For example, if you're looking for a simple pop of color, grab your favorite colored liner and simply smudge in the direction you want to pull and shape the eye."

Myricks also recommends mix and matching colors. "Be playful and have fun layering or choosing multiple shades to express with your reverse liner," she says. "Try cascading the shades from light to dark starting from the inner corner of the eye or for a little more drama, place the lighter shades in the center and the deeper tones on either end of the liner for a more dynamic and dramatic shape."

And this look can be tailored to suit your eye shape. "One of the most frequently asked questions I get as a makeup artist is how to address eye makeup for hooded eyes," she shares. "Lining the bottom of the eye is so much easier [for hooded eyes] and when done strategically, can still have as much impact as the top lid."

VIDEO: How to Make Eyeliner Application Easy — No Matter How Fancy You Want Your Makeup to Look

With these pro makeup tips in mind, scroll through some of our favorite reverse eyeliner looks to inspire your own takes on the trend this summer.

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Stiletto Reverse Wing

Zendaya at the Valentino Womenswear Fall/Winter 2022/2023 Show during Paris Fashion Week
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

This combination of a slightly smudgy waterline and a sharp, elongated wing creates a punk eye makeup vibe.

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Butterfly Reverse Liner

This two-toned butterfly-inspired winged liner is a fun, Y2K spin on the reverse eyeliner trend. For Coachella, Hailey Bieber swept nude shadow across her lids, then added a black cat flick up top and a blue wing along her lower lash line, extending it to meet the top liner.

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Soft Reverse Cat Eye

Bring some drama to a neutral smoky eye by adding a soft, reverse cat eye. Here, celebrity makeup artist Ash K Holm demonstrates how the liner defines the eyes.

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Just the Bottom

Camila Mendes is another celebrity who brought the reverse eyeliner trend to Coachella. While red eye makeup is a gorgeous, bold look, it can be intimidating to apply. Instead of applying it all over the eyes, simply line the lower lash line with the color like Mendes did for a striking look.

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Mixed Media

Doja Cat at the 2022 Billboard Music Awards

Doja Cat's reverse cat eye deserves to be hung in the Louvre. Makeup artist Ernesto Casillas played with different sized lines and added metallic gold shadow at the inner corners for texture and dimension. The result is one artistic take on one of this summer's biggest eye makeup trends.

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A Pop of Blue

Leave it to Bad Gal RiRi to convince you that this summer is the one you'll break out of your comfort zone and wear bold, colorful eye makeup. Her makeup artist Priscilla Ono lined her upper and lower lash lines with royal blue liner, extending it at the inner corners. And while you're at it, why not wear a bold red lip, too?

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Retro Wings

Despite what Gen Z may think, the early aughts aren't the only decade to pull makeup inspiration from. This '70s-inspired look by Ash K Holm combines a traditional cat flick with a subtle line along the waterline for extra definition. The cut crease really drives the retro theme home.

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A Pop of Violet

Veri Peri is Pantone's color of the year, so naturally shades of purple are having a moment in fashion and makeup. What better way to partake in the trend than trying a violet reverse cat eye? The elongated wings at the inner and outer corners really open up the eyes. Plus, the color is a nice contrast with neutral summer outfits.

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White Out

Dior Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2022 Fashion Show
Victor Vrigile/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

While applying white eyeliner to the inner corners of your eyes is a makeup artist hack for making you appear more away, lining your entire lower lash line can illuminate the whole face. For Dior's Haute Couture Spring 2022 show, the brand's creative and image director, Peter Philips, used a kohl pencil on the waterline as a foundation, then used liquid liner on the lower lash line.

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A touch of blue can really make black tightline liner pop. Take Becky G's look by makeup artist Patrick Ta for example. Match your liner to your nails for extra credit.

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