A scenario I am all too familiar with: I'm 99% ready to go out (outfit, heels, hair—check) but decide to throw in the towel and stay in (and text friends "Ugh there's a really good Lifetime movie on. Kbye," before tossing my phone at the wall), because my eyes are so red, irritated and bleary from several (failed) attempts at a feline flick. But I'm happy to report that a flubbed cat eye hasn't ruined a Saturday night for me in quite a while. That's because practice—and talking about it/thinking about it/writing about it—has made a huge difference. Below, the lesson that helped me—and InStyle's other beauty editors—wing it with ease:
"I apply mascara first. Once the formula sets, it stiffens my lashes. That way, when I go to apply a liquid liner, I can lean the brush into the lashes as I drag the tip along the roots. The lashes prop up the tip and help me make straight, crisp lines."
—Angelique Serrano, InStyle beauty director
“Makeup legend Pat McGrath saved me from myself when she told me to sketch the line with pencil first using dashes (like in elementary school) before putting any liquid—stubborn, streaky liquid—in place. Then, blueprint in place, I re-draw my wings with a gel liner (the ones that come in cute little pots), which I think gives you more control than a classic liquid formula but has more staying power than a pencil."
—Maura Lynch, InStyle senior beauty editor
"I interviewed makeup artist Sir John about how he does cat eyes on Beyoncé, and he told me he starts from the outer corners and works his way in, using about 3 quick strokes to sketch the entire shape instead of using one long stroke. He says this method allows for a more even and consistent shape—I tried it and it's so true!"
—Sheryl George, InStyle beauty editor
"I usually work with a felt-tipped liner pen because it gives me the control of a pencil with the liquid finish. I like to start by drawing an upward strike starting from the corner of my bottom lash line toward my brow. Then, I draw a diagonal line, connecting my upper and lower lash lines, creating a triangle-like shape. To finish, I fill in any gaps (having a cut-out space between the base of my lashes and the actual liner is a HUGE pet peeve of mine), and sketch a thin line along the base of my lashes from the outer to the inner corners."
—Marianne Mychaskiw, InStyle.com assistant beauty editor
"A makeup artist once told me to start with the wing itself first: Draw a line moving from your lower lid up, and then draw a line along your lashes, connecting and blending the two to finish. I get a perfect flick every time with this formula."
—Dianna Mazzone, InStyle beauty assistant
Watch: How To Get Beyoncé's Cat Eye, Straight From Her Makeup Artist