The right tools for that killer cat-flick

The classic black ‘cat-flick’ eye-liner look is a really great, simple way to give a bit of lift around your eyes. Dab a light highlighting shadow on your lids and under the arch of your brow and the whole look will take a few years off! I love this look and used to just wear it for going out, but gradually it’s creeping more and more into my day-to-day make up.

But there are loads of different black eye liners, markers, gels, sticks and all sorts out there, even within the same brand range, so how do you find the right one for the job? Well, I’ve tested a few of them and found what I think works best, so you might start by reading this post…

As we age, our eyes become slightly hooded and the skin on our eyelids starts to become crepey and loses firmness (I’ve noticed this a fair bit now – boo.) This look does give a nice ‘lift effect’ but it is all about getting a nice, sharp, even line along the lash line on the top eyelid. Because us 40-somethings have that hooded lid and crepiness to contend with, we need to use products that apply easily, don’t drag the skin and are transfer resistant, by which I mean, won’t rub off onto the upper part of the eyelid when your eye is open.

I’ve broken the main eyeliner groups down into crayons, brushes and felt markers, and hope you find it helpful.


These are pretty much like ordinary eye liner pencils except they now come in chunkier widths and the consistency is a bit softer, so they’re easier to use along the whole length of the top lash line and don’t drag the skin so much. I’ve tried both Bourjois’ Colorband (£5.99) chunky crayon/eyeshadow 2 in 1, and the incredibly similar – if not identical – Rimmel Scandaleyes chunky pencil.

Bourjois say: ‘The long-lasting waterproof formula won’t crease, smudge or fade.’ Unfortunately, I disagree. Although the liner went on fairly smoothly, I found it did transfer onto the higher part of my eyelid over the few hours of wear, every time I used it, which resulted in a faint black smudged line appearing under my brow which I had to keep popping to the toilet to wipe off. Not a good look! The Rimmel chunky pencil did pretty much the same thing. Hmmm. Easy application but no staying power so 3 out of 10 for both.

liners pic 2


Moving away from pencil liners and onto brushes, I gave another few Rimmel products a go, Glam’ Eyes Professional Liquid Liner (£5.29), Scandaleyes Gel Eyeliner (£6.99) and Exaggerate Eye Liner (£5.29).

Let’s get the Scandaleyes Gel Eyeliner out of the way first because it was a complete failure.


It comes in a cute small glass pot with a separate brush and that’s as positive as it gets. You dip the small brush into the gel and then smoothly apply along your upper lash line. Simple? Perhaps I didn’t have the gel warm enough (although it was room temperature) and the brush dragged the skin on my upper eyelid, creating anything other than a smooth line. It was difficult to evenly spread the gel with the brush which is a tiny flat square shape (the thin edge being too thin for application and the flat part too wide). So I didn’t get to test staying power because it never really went on in the first place. The brush dried solid too so you would need to wash it after each use. This one gets a Big. Fat. Zero.

The two liquid liners Glam’ Eyes Professional Liquid Liner (£5.29) and Exaggerate Eye Liner (£5.29) are very similar, with the main difference being the size and type of applicator they come with. The Glam Eyes Liquid Liner has a relatively long and very thin brush, which is so thin, light and spidery it’s very difficult to use. The Exaggerate Eye Liner is almost the opposite, with a stubbier, firm felt-like applicator. This is totally rigid, with no give in it at all, making it difficult to manipulate to apply the liner. So, although for different reasons, I found both of these unusable.


Felt tip markers

I’ve saved the best ‘til last here as there is no doubt these quick-dry, easy to apply ‘felt tip’ style pens trump the brush-on liners and classic pencils.

Both the L’Oreal Superliner Superstar Eye Liner and the Collecton 24-Hour Felt Tip Liner went on smoothly with plenty of wet ‘ink’ coming out from the firm but malleable, fibrous nibs. This meant I could both draw with the tip for a clean line or definition and lay the length of the marker along the eyelid to ‘dab’ on a section of colour, building this up as I worked along the upper lashline, gently holding the lid taut (this certainly wasn’t as easy with the crayon liners, which dragged the skin). The pointed tips then enabled a good clean ‘flick’ at the outer corner of the eye, and it was easy to fill in and add width to the flick – literally like using a felt tip pen on your face! The ink dried quickly, with no transfer onto the upper eyelid or browbone area (and removed easily with waterproof eye make-up remover).

nibsOut of the two, I preferred the shape of the nib of the Extreme 24 Hour Felt Tip Liner by Collection (£2.99 from Boots and Superdrug) as it was thick and tapered straight to a point. The Superstar Eye Liner by L’Oreal (6.99) had a bulbous-shaped nib (you can see this in the close up photo) which made it more difficult to lay it along the upper lash line and make even contact with the skin for a clean line. However, it had a very finely pointed nib which made precision detailing and getting into the inner corner of the eye easier. I got the perfect look from using them both together.

Not done the flick before? It’s not a difficult look to create but does need a steady hand and is all about taking your time and building up the line until it’s the thickness you want, and finding the right angle for the flick at the outer corner of the eye. By varying the thickness and length of the flick you can go from a daytime semi-conservative look to a nice dramatic statement eye for going out.

I found a this great graphic on and these images break down the steps…


cat flick 1

And I think this video tutorial by missmai27 is one of the better ones I’ve seen and although she does use gel and a brush, the principle of where to apply is the same. Why not give it a go, or send me a link to your tutorial if you have a better one. Practising when you’re not in a hurry to go out will help you to master it – it really does get easier!

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