For years, a flick was my personal make-up blind spot. My eyes – though almond shaped and therefore supposedly perfect for the look – have always been slightly hooded, which has made them a touch tricky to trace a line on. For years I shied away from trying it on myself and homed in on smoky as my go-to instead.
I’ll never forget the man who consolidated these fears. He was a top make-up artist who’d been drafted in to do a look on me for a work video. I was delighted at the idea of him instructing me on how to get around the droopy eyelid thing, but after studying my face, he turned around to his assistant and said ‘let’s not do a feline eye on her – too much work in the outer corners.’
Oh reader, rage brewed within me. I despise being left out of any of the fun of make-up and to me a little feline flick is the epitome of chic married with frivolity – a nod at Audrey’s Breakfast At Tiffany’s look, a bit Bardot, a pinch Priscilla Presley – iconic, joyous, flirty. I felt cheated of the opportunity to realise the flick on my face.
Said make-up man may have done a different look on me, but I decided I would prove him wrong, practising a little kitten eye diligently on days when I was working from home so that the only people who were subjected to my extremely odd incarnations of the look were hubs and the postwoman – both of whom seemed to find much amusement in my variations on the theme.
While the smoky eye is still my thing, I now feel much more comfortable with a flick if I have a bit of time to make it look even and neat. Here are my tips if you too struggle with the old flick (and if you generally want a bit of eyeliner guidance) //
Choose Your Angle – and Length of Flick – Wisely / Both will require experimentation to get them how you’d like, though the main thing here is to get a straight line. Two aids that help a whole lot – a credit card or a little sellotape (if you don’t wear foundation smear a little moisturiser on it first to stop it from sticking to your skin too much). Both do the job of a ruler, offering a perfect line to follow.
Get A Good Tool / If you like to ‘paint’ on make-up and enjoy using a brush: Jane Iredale Detail Brush with Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner or a more thrifty Zoeva Cream Eyeliner. If you like a pre-loaded wand, Lancome’s new Grandiose Liner is a good option and rather handily can be manipulated to paint from a 35 degree angle – sounds whacky, but in practise it’s really helpful. Another good ‘un I use a lot is DHC’s Liquid Eyeliner, which distributes the deep black pigment evenly through the brush.
Draw A Shadow On Top / If the problem you have is that the line always seems a bit wonky or looks a bit stark, just grab an eyeliner pencil or load up an angle brush with shadow and draw on the top border between eyeliner and eyelid to make the line a little bit hazy. I usually push the liquid liner between my lashes and then just blend the liquid line into shadow when I’m strapped for time.
… And Should You Need To Clean Up Mistakes… / A cotton bud is just the thing – just dab it in some foundation/moisturiser and twirl it at the edges of lines in need of a tidy. For a pre-loaded option, get DHC Olive Oil Soaked Cotton Buds. If precision is really important to you, My Kit Co’s cotton buds have a really pointy tip (full review here).
To Get Around Hooding / Do the flick bit with your eyes open, looking directly ahead into a mirror. After you’ve got the right shape, hold up your lid and fill in any rough edges (or use a cotton bud to tidy up the flick).
Final Tips / If you still struggle, balance your elbow on something – doing so can really steady your hand. Also, try applying your flick to a fully made up face; I find having mascara on first can sometimes act as a guide to my eye shape, making adding the flick far easier.