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How To Perfect Your Cat-Eye, According To Celeb Makeup Artist Jo Baker

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From a beauty perspective, there are many silver linings when it comes to spending more time at home. For example, luxuriating in a 10-step skincare routine and allowing your exhausted hair some time away from heating tools. It's also an ideal time to hone skills, like drawing the perfect cat-eye, that you'll happily employ long after quarantine passes. While there are countless riffs on the traditional cat-eye (more on that later), knowing how to draw a line that flatters your eye shape is a skill that takes considerable practice.

Which is why, with an abundance of free time on your hands, this is your chance to really nail it — all with the help of celebrity makeup artist Jo Baker. (And even better, there's no one around to judge your failure, because at this point, they've witnessed you wearing the same sweatpants for four days in a row and making considerably questionable snack choices.)

Baker, who is responsible for crafting some of the most provocative and intriguing red carpet beauty looks worn by the likes of Lucy Boynton, Olivia Wilde and Sharon Stone, proffers this advice to TZR. "Starting on a Monday, if you allow yourself five minutes a day to practice improving your technique without judgement, you'll be on your way to mastering it by the weekend." Sounds pretty doable, unless you've ever attempted a cat-eye and found yourself looking like you lost a fight with a fountain pen. As someone with a profound lack of expertise in this area, I asked her to share her top tips.

How To Do A Cat-Eye: Use The Right Tools

While it's tempting to stock up on felted pens and liquid liners, most of which are advertised for their ease of application, Baker suggests going back to basics if you need to practice. "I like the control you get with a brush-applied gel or cake liner," she says, explaining that pens can be too liquid for anyone still exploring their comfort level. Essentially, think of a brush and gel combo as your training wheels. "I also love that you can easily sterilize your liner brush by dipping it in boiling water or 99% alcohol solution." Spoken like a true makeup artist.

How To Do A Cat-Eye: Determine Your Eye Shape

What flatters one eye shape doesn't necessarily work for others, which is why quick-fix tricks like using a credit card or drawing a line to your brow don't work for everyone. Before you even pick up the brush, take the time to look at your eyes first. "Take the time to really learn your shape," says Baker. "And move your eyes around while looking in a compact mirror to see how your eyes and lids move." You'll then combine what you're working with, with what you're looking to achieve. "Do you have rounded eyes that you'd like to elongate? Or do you have small eyes that you would like to open up and make appear more doll-like?" In turn, you'll then need to start experimenting with different approaches to see what look you prefer. If you have hooded eyelids, for example, "you'll want to either want to make the line super skinny, or trick the eyelid out with a more bold, dramatic liner shape."

How To Do A Cat-Eye: Stay Calm

While there aren't any foolproof hacks that are universal, practicing over a few successive days will enable you to build on what you know is working, and perfect it so it becomes automatic. It's also smart to snap a few pictures along the way, to document when you feel you've been most successful so that you can refer back. Above all, don't get frustrated. "Make sure you're in a calm and tranquil headspace," says Baker, which maybe explains why every time I've tried to attempt a cat-eye when running late for work it has backfired. "Create a little window of quiet time for yourself every day to practice, whether you're an exhausted mum or a spread-too-thin exec, and you'll quickly master it."

How To Do A Cat-Eye: Have Fun With It

"Ive been loving the hovering liner shapes for a couple of years now," explains Baker, who created a stunning version on Lucy Boynton for the 2019 SAG Awards. "Today, you may want a flattering and uber-feminine liner look, but tomorrow with the exact same product, you may want something more edgy and modern, so try out anything that your mind conjures up!" She is also a fan of the Japanese brand UZ's liners for these more masterful, artistic looks, and shares one last piece of valuable advice and encouragement. "The worst thing that can happen is that it doesn’t look good, so you just wipe it off and try again." After all, what else are you doing?

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