The cat-eye has long been a staple, go-to look in a makeup artist’s playbook. Epitomised by Brigitte Bardot in the 1960s, it has been adopted by countless celebrities on and off the red carpet.
Ariana Grande has worn the makeup look so many times that it has become synonymous with her image, whilst beauty aficionado Kim Kardashian has sported numerous variations of the eye over the years.
One version of the winged eyeliner style which aims to give the face a more lifted and sculpted appearance, dubbed the “fox-eye”, gained trending status for a short while in 2020 before it was criticised for cultural appropriation of Asian beauty features.
Since then, a new (less problematic) take on the cat-eye has emerged, and TikTok can’t get enough of it. Enter the reverse cat eye, which has all the fierceness of a regular winged liner, but, as the name suggests, draws attention to the lower lash-line instead of the eyelids.
Here’s everything you need to know about the popular eye look and how to achieve it.
Who started the trend?
Although pictures of celebrities, including Kim Kardashian and Kristen Stewart, emerged in 2016-17 wearing the look (the KUWTK mogul walked the red carpet at Cannes with the reverse cat eye) it has had a resurgence of popularity in recent months.
The reverse cat-eye trend appears to have been restarted by professional makeup artist Painted by Spencer, who revealed the look in a playful TikTok in June. In the video, Spencer adds a touch of black eyeliner to his lower lash line before the video transitions to a full-face makeup look, complete with a sultry, “reverse cat eye”.
The video, which has since been viewed more than two million times, has been remade in its hundreds. Some have stuck to the traditional black eyeliner used by Spencer, while others added a playful touch with glitter and colour.
The trend has also been compared to makeup looks historically worn by people in Arabic and South Asian cultures, who use kohl to line the lower lashes and the waterline – the name given to the line of skin between the lower eyelashes and the eye.
What products do you need to achieve it?
The reverse cat eye is a pretty universal trend in that it works for all eye shapes, and can be recreated with minimal products.
All you need is a pencil or gel black eyeliner, some black eye shadow, and a small detailing brush. An angled is preferable, as this will help guide the eyeliner.
How to create a reverse cat eye
The process is relatively simple and foolproof, and easy to adapt if you want to add colour or glitter.
In a step-by-step tutorial posted to his TikTok, Spencer said he begins by taking a light grey-toned eyeshadow through the crease of the upper eyelid to add some dimension.
He then takes his eyeliner of choice – he uses a gel liner by US brand One Size – and runs it along his waterline.
“I’m taking a gel black liner and I’m gonna run this pencil through my waterline. The important part here is to really bring it into the inner corner,” Spencer said.
He encourages bringing the eyeliner all the way into the eye’s inner corner, next to the nose, as well as extending it out into a wing on the outer corner of the lower lash line.
“Extend that inner corner, then wing it out on the outer corner. Don’t worry about bringing it down too far, just keep it in the waterline. Once we smoke it out with a brush, all of that work will be done for us,” he continued.
Then, taking a small brush, it’s time to diffuse the liner to achieve a sultry, cat eye effect. To do this, Spencer recommends dipping your brush in just a touch of black eyeshadow, which will help soften the appearance of the liner.
“Now take a detailed eye brush with some black eyeshadow and diffuse out the edges,” he said.
You can complete the look by adding mascara to the top and bottom lashes. “It’s really, really, really easy. It’s simple, short, sweet, to the point and nearly foolproof,” he added.
Some users also finished off the eye by adding false lashes to their upper eyelid, which helps balance out the dark lower lash line.