Makeup Tutorial: How To Create The 80s Inspired Strong Cat Eye

With the 80s bigger than ever this fall, the iconic cat eye has been spotted everywhere! First, there was François Nars’ work at the Marc Jacobs A/W 2009 fashion show and my very own interpretation of it.

Then comes Leighton Meester in the “Somebody To Love” music video and Beyonce in her latest “Video Phone” music video with Lady Gaga.

What You Will Need

* Eyeliner pencil/Cream-based eyeshadow
* Powder eyeshadow
* Mascara

Step 1. Color in your entire eyelid up to the crease with a black eyeliner pencil or cream eyeshadow. I used MAC Greasepaint Stick in Black here.

Step 2. Pulling the eyelid taunt, draw a line from the outer corner and flick it upwards. Beginners can place a piece of paper by the outer corner of the eye as a guide.

Step 3. Join the line with your eyelid, forming a triangle. Fill in the triangle completely.

Step 3. Pat a black powder eyeshadow for maximum pigmentation and staying power. I used Yaby Cosmetics Pearl Paint Eyeshadow in Hematite here.

Step 4. Line the lower eyelid with the black pencil. Make sure it joins with the line on top.

Step 5. Top with black powder eyeshadow.

Step 6. Clean up the undereye area with a brush dipped in concealer and finish with several coats of mascara on both top and bottom.

Tips On Wearing This Look

* Since the eyes are the focus, remember to keep the eyebrows clean and arched. Pluck all stray hairs and fill in sparse areas with a pencil/brow powder.

* Unless you are going with a full-on 80s look, keep the rest of your face bare with just a bit of nude blush and lipstick.

Phyllis Li is the Founder and Editor-in-chief of Makeup For Life, one of the top 50 beauty blogs that focuses on celebrity makeup breakdowns, product reviews, makeup tutorials and all things beauty. Having lived and traveled in North America, Europe and Asia, she was exposed to different techniques and products at an early age and hopes to put a global perspective towards beauty. Phyllis won the Best Content Award by Total Beauty in 2008 and has been featured in various publications and websites including ELLE,, Yahoo Shine!, AOL Stylelist, Nylon Korea, VOGUE China, Ming Pao Daily (Canada) and Shanghai Weekly. In 2010, she was appointed one of the nine Real Women Ambassadors in the United States to take part in the Latisse® Wishes Challenge, working with Hollywood celebrity Kathy Ireland and raised over $400,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant wishes for approximately 54 children. In 2012, she teamed up with luxury skincare brand TATCHA and released a limited-edition 3-Piece Set of her favorite beauty products. Phyllis currently lives in Chicago, US. She is a regular contributor to Shanghai Daily's StyleHai Magazine and a member of the Glam Beauty Network.


  1. This is a little off topic, but how do you take pictures of your eye so clearly without blinding yourself with the flash?
    I ♥ the step by step photos, so helpful

  2. Thank you very much Phyllis for this tutorial !
    I LOVE cat eyes and Beyoncé looks so georgeous in her Video Phone video.

    Layla –> on my oily eyelids the GPS doesn’t smudge… I don’t need to use a primer like UD Primer Potion 😉

  3. Hey Phyllis! I love the lip color you used here and the highlight color on your lids as well. Mind my asking what they are?

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