7 Eyeliner Looks That Are More Exciting Than a Cat-Eye

We’ve all seen it: the classic black cat-eye. While it’s relatively easy to apply, some days just call for a bolder eyeliner style. It may seem intimidating at first, but adding extra curves and bright colors isn’t really that hard to do. We sat down with a few makeup artists to give us all the details we need on how to apply eye makeup.

“People should not be afraid to incorporate graphic styles liner into their eye makeup look,” says New York City-based makeup artist Lorin Cole. “My best advice is to be creative and explore your own vision.” Some more advice from an expert on makeup tutorials: “Plan out your design and practice it on paper before applying it to your face.” This will help you get the kinks out.

Deborah Altizio, a New York-based makeup artist, believes that older trends and ideas have a way of resurfacing in modern times. In her perspective, the graphic and pop-up liquid eyeliners we see on TikTok and runways today have roots in the ’60s. 

“For example, the Chanel show in New York City a few years ago used black-and-white lines around the eyes,” Altizio says. “It was also a signature look for Twiggy circa the 1960s. Fashion has a way of duplicating itself and can become the trend of the moment.”

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OK, great — but how do the uninitiated try out a glam cat-eye? Once she’s practiced on paper and is ready to move to her face, Lorin says that she starts by using a pencil like MAC Eye Kohl as a guideline. Once she has a blueprint down, Lorin refines the line’s wing using a cake liner (which is a water-activated product) like Kryolan Aquablack and a finely-pointed art brush (we like Make Up For Ever‘s option).

MAC Eye Kohl

Make Up For Ever 250 Extra Fine Eyeliner Brush

Altizio adds that the key to nailing the best eyeliner looks is a smudge-proof product; she likes Urban Decay 24/7 Liner. If you prefer a liquid finish, she recommends choosing Maybelline New York Hyper Easy Liner.

Urban Decay 24/7 Liner

Maybelline Hyper Easy Brush Tip Liquid Liner

In need of further inspiration? We found a few looks that are anything but boring, and work no matter your eye shape.

Rhinestone Liner

TikTok user @glowbysoph

Adding rhinestones to any eyeliner look is an easy way to amp it up — just ask content creator Sophia Levaughn, the talent behind this soft bronze and blue pairing. This one has an upper wing that’s minimalist, and a baby blue liner on the waterline to balance it all out. We love using rhinestones with a self-adhesive like the Half Magic Face Gems or the ELF Face and Body Gems

Half Magic Face Gems

ELF Face and Body Gems

Butterfly Shadow

TikTok user @trulue

You might be wondering how drawing a whole butterfly on your lid is easy to do. Real talk: it’s not. But content creator Trulee shared her secret hack. Instead of trying and failing to draw this detailed design, she used temporary tattoos over a smokey eye her lid. This also means that you can wear the look all day without needing touchups. These Inked by Dani Temporary Tattoos are safe to use on your face. And if you have hooded eyes, a tip from Allure contributor Tynan Sinks: don’t be afraid to add eye shadow higher onto the crease of your eyes — even up to your orbital bone.

Inked by Dani Temporary Tattoo

Siren Eyes

TikTok user @Royjar

Content creator Royjar makes it look easy, with this Bella Hadid reference: downturned white cat-eye and black siren-eyed edges. For those of us who prefer sticking to black liner, this could be a way to slightly break up the routine. Makeup artist Lily Keys previously told Allure to mix eye shadow and eyeliner to create these so-called siren eyes. (We love using a mix of Catrice 20H Ultra Precision Gel Eye Pencil and Tarte Tartelette In Bloom Clay Eyeshadow Palette.)