Okay, so I have mastered the art of the cat eye through iteration and all formulations. Liquid liner. Pens. Gel pot and brush. Not trying to brag here, but I do the outer corner flick as expertly as Alexa Chung (all you millennials know her) or Brigitte Bardot (you should know her, too, but if you don't, Google the French siren, but after you read this tutorial.) Despite my current expertise, it took a lot of time to master and truth be told, Rimmel's drugstore cheapie Exaggerate, which is six bucks at CVS and comes in an inkwell package, is the best I have ever used. Better than MAC. Better than Eyeko. Better than Make Up For Ever. I know, I am blaspheming, right? Then, along comes Benefit, with their graphic novel, so-cute-I-don't-want-to-throw-it-away packaging, appealing to the nerd in me, and They're Real Push-Up Liner, which is a velvety gel liner click pen that plays up a cheeky, boobies metaphor.
Wait, what? A click pen with gel formula inside? How is that going to work? Gel formula is creamy and thicker, and innately requires the help of a brush to apply and spread the product. I've never seen it work outside of a pot — pen tips are best suited for a wetter formula. I was befuddled.
I was also skeptical, even with the brand's propaganda about the tiny groove in the slanted tip pushing lashes out of the way to get closer to the lashline, yaddda, yadda, yadda. I was almost turned off by the fact that it comes with its own makeup remover. While it convinced me the liner would stay put, I was concerned it was going to be high maintenance and hard to scrub off. But it actually came off with a regular ol' moist towelette when I effed up upon first usage and had to start over and re-apply.
I am happy to report that I wore it outside all day last Sunday. It didn't sweat off in 85-degree heat. It didn't smudge, didn't tug and didn't feel dry or look faded and come with weak color payoff, like those thick, Sharpie-like liquid liners that promise Adele-esque cat eye but give you Amy Winehouse instead. We lurved A. Winehouse and her unique, cray cray makeup and hair, but her uber-thick, top lash liner was a signature that worked best on her and not the rest of us.
So here's how I got Alexa Chung-like cat eyes using Benefit's new beauty must-have.
1. SLOW APPLICATION
See that slant? That's key in getting the much-desired flick at the outer, upper corner. Don't overdo it and twist up too much product or you will look like you got fingerprinted and rubbed your eyes before washing your hands. Apply slooooowly, pushing the pen from the inner to outer corners.Treat it like algebra, too. Whatever your do to one side, do to the other, to keep the look symmetrical. Look at me being a mathlete!
2. USE A PRIMER
Avoid smudges, migration upward or downward or raccoon eyes with a primer. It's like lid concealer and gives the gel something to cling to. Cate McNabb is a new brand I love and the primer melts into my skin.
3. LET IT DRY
Even a richer and not-as-wet gel formula needs about a minute to dry and set. So close your eyes and let it be for about 45 seconds. If you open the eye too soon, you end up with liner anywhere but where you want it. Then you have to get the cotton swab, carefully dab off the excess, make a mess and start over. Who has that kinda time? So be patient and chill.
4. FLICK IT LAST NOT FIRST
Guys, seriously. Save the flick for last. Do NOT flick first. I know some people suggest doing the flick first, but go from inner to outer and give it that extra oomph and flourish by signing off with the flick, three coats of They're Real Mascara and line the lower inner lashline with a sooty kohl liner like MAC's Smolder. In case you were wondering, yes, I put my makeup on while my hair is drying and towel wrapped.
5. KEEP EVERYTHING ELSE SIMPLE
Yeah, so this happened, thanks to Benefit. I am totally rocking a '60s-meets-'90s look right now: Cat eyes, volume-at-the-crown-hair-with-headbands-and-bangs, Doc Martens with dresses. This cat eye look lets me keep everything else minimal, makeup-wise. Since the cat eye is sorta bold, you can just add gloss and go. Plus, it requires few products, which is dope for these hot summer months and you're not sacrificing glam. Huzzah!
Images: Amy Sciarretto