Tutorial: Emma Watson’s cat eye in Elle

14 Aug

When I was a kid, Back to School (which BTdubs, happened like 3 weeks later than it does now–what’s up with that?) was my New Year’s. A time to reinvent myself, make resolutions, and try new things. Even though I haven’t had a summer off in eons, I still get a bit of that urge to revolutionize when the buses reappear. So recently when I was flipping through an old mag in that purgatory of civic responsibility, the jury selection waiting room, this definitely caught my eye (HA-get it?):

original image: Elle magazine, 2014

I’ve always been kind of wary of a heavy eye on us pale-skinned, freckled ladies. So often it veers into goth territory. But if this peaches n’ cream chick can pull it off (which she absolutely does), then maybe I can too. So in the spirit of reinvention, I tried it on moi-self. I even had an opportune event for such a look: I was going to a cast party for a play called — get this– Secret of the Cat. Ha! Aha! Ah…

The description, which you probably can’t read here, says the makeup artist used a black liquid liner layered with a gray kohl pencil. Reinvention or not, I didn’t really have the time or funds to go shopping for new stuff, so I used the products I had on hand.

I bought this NYX black liquid liner for my theatre makeup kit (hitherto the only occasion, other than Halloween, that I use pure black liner).

And this subtly shimmery twist up pencil. Not exactly matte Kohl, but the closest I had to gray.

I also kept a stack of cotton swabs and eye makeup remover handy. Because I’ve found that applying complicated makeup is like skiing…you’ll never get better if you’re afraid to fall down.

This look takes about 10 minutes and is great for a liquid eyeliner novice.

Step 1:

I used primer and BB cream all over my face, including my eyelids. Then I went over some spots including all around the eye area with concealer (Bare Essentials in Bisque, if you care). I have always thought doing concealer first helps eye makeup adhere. Plus you can always add more after.

Step 2:

Forget that nonsense about making a dotted line and then connecting it. I simply tugged my lid a bit to the side with one hand and used the other to make the thinnest of lines right next to the lashes. Just get allllll up on those lashes. The line doesn’t even need to be perfectly straight; because you’re going over it with a pencil later, it will even out.

I may look like a goofball, but opening your mouth really does help!

Goofball looks aside, opening your mouth really does help!

Step 3:

Go over the line again, thickening it this time. All you have to do is press a little harder–that flattens the brush and makes a thicker line. Brace the heel of your hand against your face. Do that as many times as you need to, but remember you’re going back over it with the gray pencil which is easier to use, so no need to be perfect with the liquid liner if you (like me) are less than pro at it. You will notice that both the top and bottom lines thicken in the vicinity of Emma’s pupil, so in subsequent passes over the line you might start there. (see step 5 for a picture of the thickened line).

Here are my two thin lines.

Step 4:

For the cat eye part, flick the bottom line up a little and the top line out toward your temple.  Note: if your eyes look droopy at any point in the process, 9 times out of 10 you need to adjust or fill in the top line. It looks best going straight out, maybe a tad upward. It shouldn’t go down at all.

Here is my flick. It looks like it's going upward, but that's just because I'm looking down. It really was mostly straight.

Here is la flick. It looks like it’s going upward, but that’s just because I’m looking down. It really was mostly straight.

Step 5:

Do the thinnest of thin lines under the eye, again right up against the lash line. I didn’t do but one swipe across the bottom–no need to thicken this part. It doesn’t need to be on the waterline, thank goodness, because I really do think that invites infection.

full line crop

Step 6:

The top and bottom line should touch to form a little wedge. It doesn’t need to be a huge wedge or go far out toward your temple if it’s just for a regular night-time look. Fill in the wedge with the liquid, then the pencil.

wedge crop

And if you are like me and have one eye that looks purrrr-fect and another that looks like shite, just take a deep breath, erase a bit, and try again. I had to do that a lot. Especially since this was happening.

Tenny interuption

Step 7:

Go back over it with the kohl pencil. This is the time to thicken the top. Make a hill-like slope (meaning, not steep) from the inner to outer eye. You can always go overboard with it and then shape it back with a remover-dipped q-tip, which is what I did. Make sure the line does go all the way to the inner corner (as you can see, it looks really good in the mag photo), but be careful–tears can make it run. It needs to be really thin at that inner corner too, just barely there.

Color in with pencil

Color in with pencil

hill close up

While it looks really thick…

...it isn't really.

…it isn’t really.

Finish off the look:

Fill in above the crease with a neutral eyeshadow. Something a tiny bit lighter than skin tone looks really nice.  For the rest of the face, do a neutral pinky lipstick (not too pale) and a dusting of light bronzer. I used Mark Total Kiss Hook Up Plumping Gloss in Sexy.

side by side compare

Exactly the same, right? *snort*




So as you can see, my look came out somewhat less dramatic than the original, but a it’s surprisingly easy to both accomplish and pull off. Enjoy!


One Response to “Tutorial: Emma Watson’s cat eye in Elle”


  1. The Beautiful and the Dead: Ghost Makeup Tutorial | Cushion Cut - October 27, 2014

    […] old friend, black liquid liner (remember it from this post?), and line the top of the lid and the outer half of the bottom, right under the lash line. […]

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