I’m Terrible With Eyeliner, but This Best-Selling One Helps Me Draw the Perfect Cat-Eye
Only 27 years in the making.
I’m a dog person who wants to look like a cat. Definitely not like a cat from the recently released but endlessly nightmare-inducing film Cats. More like the cat Anna Karina was trying to emulate with her classic winged liner look in every Godard movie ever. Or the one Cleopatra must have had in mind when she created her dramatic signature kohl makeup. Brigitte Bardot’s cat is also a rightful muse, especially if it influenced Bardot’s liquid liner with the smudged lower-lash line look. What I’m trying to say is that cats are fine but a cat-eye is perfect.
This strong opinion was informed by growing up around dogs and watching lots of French New Wave. When I saw A Woman is a Woman, I wanted to be Anna Karina. It’s impossible not to stare at the French actress whenever she’s on screen. Her aesthetic is one of the most iconic in all of cinema history and it’s no doubt in large part to her very thick cat-eye. Karina always looked like an angel, but the sharp, pitch-black cat-eye gave her an edge, like she was constantly on the verge of both making you fall in love with her and resisting to expose your deepest secret.
A killer cat-eye doesn’t just make you look mysterious. It is mysterious. It’s elusive. When I see it projected in front of me on the big screen, it’s hard to imagine the eyeliner look would take more than 2 seconds to emulate but it does. A really good cat-eye doesn’t take just minutes to perfect, but years. This feels unfair because it’s just a line after all. But I have gone nearly 27 years without mastering the art of cat-eye liquid liner drawing. My second-grade teacher would probably be disappointed.
It was only after I discovered the perfect eyeliner that I realized I was probably being too harsh on myself. Drawing the perfect cat-eye isn’t so much about your technique as it is about the liner you choose to use. Some are too light. Some are too dark. Most smudge too easily. More often than not the brush leaves a lot to be desired. Stila’s Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner, though, doesn’t have any of those problems. Instead, like Karina’s cat-eye, it’s sexy and perfect.
Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner is just $22, although it’s currently on-sale for $16, which is partially why I wrote it off years ago. My eyes are my favorite feature to highlight so I always splurge on anything eye related like cult-favorite makeup palettes and lengthening mascara primers. Since I’ve always admired a good cat-eye from afar but have been notoriously bad at executing it on myself, I wrongfully assumed the most expensive of eyeliners would solve all my problems. But no. Not even the very fancy, very beloved Tom Ford Eye Defining Liquid Liner Pen could make me look like the French cinema starlet of my dreams. Thankfully, Stila does just that for $40 less.
The eyeliner feels like a pen which I really appreciate because pens are unintimidating. Everyone knows how to use a pen. The point is sharp and the shade is deep. To achieve the perfect cat-eye I keep both my eyes open (something I didn’t realize was essential until recently), push back the skin near my temple (think what Kylie Jenner is doing in this Instagram photo), and draw a thin line from the outer corner of my eyes by following my natural crease. Then I’ll go into my inner corner with the liner and connect the two lines. I’ll touch up with a Q-tip if I must, but the Stila liner makes it hard to mess up. I also typically need to go over my liner a couple times, but with Stila, two coats are more than enough. And as someone who can be overly dramatic, I can attest to its waterproof capabilities. No amount of tears or rainfall or tears in a rainfall (my preferred public crying method, FYI) will get this cat-eye to budge.
I’ve become so good at cat-eye I’m pretty sure my dog is pissed at me. She constantly tries to lick it off (I keep telling her to save her energy, it’s waterproof) but that’s okay because I’m personally really pleased with myself. Anna Karina probably would be too.
Shop the Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner on sale at Walmart below.
Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner
Shop now: $16 (Originally $22); walmart.com