Five Kitten Steps to Purr-Fect Black Cat Eyeliner

Published in: Eyes, Makeup Tips/How To

Easy cat eyeliner

Here kitty, kitty…

I love the look of crisp black cat eyeliner…

And that’s not just because I’m a card-carrying CCL (although I admit that’s a contributing factor).


I just think it’s timeless, elegant and pretty much goes with everything.

Still, sometimes, like when Tabs is threatening to shred my ankles if I don’t immediately drop everything I’m doing to prepare his morning gravy, I’m not in the mood to concentrate and fuss over getting those jagged edges crisp and clean.

So, what’s a liner-loving cat lady to do when she wants a cool cat eyeliner look but doesn’t have the wherewithal to fret over getting sharp, crisp lines?

Answer: incorporate a black powder eyeshadow into her cat eyeliner routine by following these five easy steps.

1. Now we’re gel-ing!

When I do this trick, which is a path to a softer, easier cat eyeliner look, I start by lining my eyes with gel liner using an angled liner brush, and the way it turns out, you can probably see that the edges could use some extra refining.

2. Clean that brush

Gotta make sure my tools are in tip-top shape for this next part, so before smoothing out the edges I created in step one, I clean the same angled liner brush I just used by swiping it across a paper towel to remove any excess product.

3. Loading zone

Next, I load the brush with a black powder eyeshadow, and tap the head against something (like the side of the sink, or I’ll just tap it with my finger) to remove some of the excess and any little wayward bits.

Products I used for these pics…

4. Bristling with powder

If I can see any wayward bits or heavy areas of powder on the brush, I work the shadow into the bristles better by making little circles on the back of my hand with the brush, which prevents that extra eyeshadow from dropping down on my cheeks, and also makes for an overall smoother application.

5. Run! Run!

Finally, I run the now-loaded brush along the edge of the black liner to smooth it out, and if I feel like it, also use the shadow to extend the flick at the end.

If need be, I’ll add another layer or two, but most of the time one is enough.


The end result? A kinder, gentler (read: easier) cat liner look that’s definitely not as crisp as if I’d spent the time dutifully perfecting the edges with gel liner…but it still gets the point across.

Incidentally, this trick works with liquid liner, too. 🙂

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 17 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Phyrra says:

    I love doing this at the end of a cat eye, to sort of smoke it out. Great tutorial!
    Phyrra recently posted … Top Ten Summer Sunscreens

  2. Robin says:

    Oooo! I’ll have to try this. My cat-eye skillz are fledgling at best. This trick looks like it will totally help me out. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  3. Chris25 says:

    Your wings look perfect! I mean, winged liner, of course. 😛
    Chris25 recently posted … NOTD: Blue/Green/Polka Dot Funhouse

  4. Vanessa says:

    It always smears when I use powder eye liner. 🙁
    I wonder if you have any special tips for that…?

  5. Love this eye look you’ve done! Thank you for the tip for drawing little circles with the brush on your hand to remove excess product. I sometimes have issues with black shadow fallout on my face so I’ve avoided using black shadow for the most part!
    Carolyn @ The Makeup Writeup recently posted … Marc Jacobs Kiss Pop Lip Color Stick in Heartbreaker & Pow Review, Photos, & Swatches

  6. Amanda Val says:

    I actually did try to set my liner with Make Up For Ever’s eyeshadow in #04 (so much love for that deep deep black!) but I made the huge mistake of not powdering my crease as well. As a result, the eyeshadow ended up smudging into my crease and my lower lashline, so I kinda looked like a panda at the end of the night. My boyfriend had been snuggling with me for the majority of the evening, but he never mentioned anything to me. Maybe he just didn’t notice it? 😛
    Amanda Val recently posted … Why I Love Lipstick || The Gateway Drug That Started It All

  7. Divya says:

    You are a vision here Karen! such a pretty look!
    Divya recently posted … Hõla from Spain! | A Vacation Face

  8. Sylirael says:

    Ahh, this is such a great tutorial, and so useful! I’ve just started trying to soften the edges of my liner with shadow, and so I’m really grateful for these detailed tips! 😀
    Sylirael recently posted … A Party Rogue’s Legacy: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipsticks in Icy Violet, Carnival Spirit and Pink Sizzle

  9. Alison M says:

    Yes yes yes! Sycorax is soft eyeliner perfection. I’m going to try it in connection with liquid or gel liner as I’ve only used it on its own so far.
    Alison M recently posted … Free Living Proof Frizz-Free Friday Blowouts at Ulta

  10. Agata says:

    I love this tip, I will have to try it because I am still not very good at creating a perfect cat eyeliner.
    Agata recently posted … A day to night look with The Nudes palette

  11. Kim says:

    This is a great, softer cat-eye look. I’m so bad at making the flick, even with liquid liner, that I can only imagine what a hot mess I’d be using powder. It looks really pretty, though!

  12. Allison C says:

    Thank you, Karen, for another helpful tip! I love the soft look you created. I’m going to see if this will help me with the never-ending cat eye challenge 😉
    Allison C recently posted … Giveaway Winner & Vince Camuto “Effel” Summer Sandals

  13. Alison says:

    What else are you wearing here? You look gorgeous!

  14. fancie says:

    I rock a cat eye all the time and never thought to go over it with eyeshadow. Great idea!
    fancie recently posted … Milani Coral Crush Brilliant Shine Lip Gloss Review

  15. Melissa R says:

    This is what I do too! Makes it look so great and sets it so it lasts longer. For a while (and even now when I’m in a rush) I was just lining my eyes with eyeshadow but now I’ve been doing the flick with liquid liner, darkening the lash line with a very black gel pencil liner and then setting/smoothing it down with the eyeshadow = all day perfect cat eyes 🙂

  16. Trude says:

    It’s never occurred to me to do this, THANK YOU! And here I thought it was me sucking at gel liner. 🙂 Also, I tried your trick for making waterline pencil liner last by doing gel over it, and it totally worked! <3

  17. Megan says:

    This is great! Always looking for simpler ways to get that cat eye look!

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