How to Make The Perfect Come-Hither Eye
By Kyran Pittman
At thirty-eight years of age, I like to think I am a woman of a few accomplishments. I can sing all the words to Bugs Bunny’s “Rabbit of Seville.” I can whip up a delicious salad dressing without a recipe and I know the trick to a bone dry martini.
One thing I am especially good at is making come-hither eyes. Extremely useful in resolving marital tension. So is the evil eye, but I don’t think I can teach that. You’re born with it or you’re not. But the come-hither eye, or cat-eye, as it is also known, is a simple matter of technique and practice.
1. It starts with a brush made for eyeliner.
Get the finest tip you can. Bobbi Brown makes a beautiful one. Mine is a just-okay Sonia Kashuk, but it does the trick.
2. Choose a cake or gel eyeliner.
My everyday choice is Laura Mercier’s cake eyeliner in Mahogany, but for nighttime drama, I use Bobbi Brown’s gel pot in Espresso Ink. Shade is a matter of complexion and personal preference, but you want to stay close to your mascara color, since a cat-eye effect simulates fake eyelashes. In other words, faking a fake. It’s very post-modern. Trust me.
3. Dampen your brush with a little or a lot of water.
A little for gels, just damp enough to smooth the brush point. A lot for cake, which works like a watercolor paint box. Swish the wet brush over the cake until you have a nice even consistency.
4. Apply the liner.
In a fluid line that starts very thin, near the inner corner and widens subtly (like an italic line in calligraphy) toward the outer. The trick to a perfect cat-eye is all in the swoop. Begin the swoop before you reach the outer corner of the lid. If you divide the length of your lash line in fourths, you should start swooping around the last fourth. If you swoop at the outer corner, you wind up looking like an ancient Egyptian. Not a good look for you.
5. Mess up.
A lot. Wipe off. Swear like a sailor. Start again. Repeat for fifteen years or so. When you can finally do it in your sleep, mix yourself a bone-dry martini and raise a toast to everything you do better now that you are older. Including what happens after you give your husband a glance with that come-hither eye.
Published January 21, 2009. Last updated June 29, 2018.