Crush with Eyeliner

As a make-up junkie, I should love make-up items of all kinds, but this is not really true: I cannot help but nurturing a disturbing passion for blushes and black liquid eyeliner. When I started wearing make-up, the first product I bought was a black eye pencil, soon followed by an eyeliner pen and by a liquid eyeliner with brush. I did lots of practice [1] to make a perfect line and, if you’ve ever tried to apply liquid eye liner, you know what I mean: if you don’t have a firm hand and if you don’t master the use of the insanely thin brush, you’ll come out with a complete mess. I put so much effort in this because I’ve always loved the cat eye line, reminiscent of the fascinating atmospheres from the Sixties.


The French actress Anouk Aimee, among the protagonists of Federico Fellini’s masterpieces – Otto e Mezzo (1963) and La Dolce Vita (1960) – and the protagonist of the iconic Claude Lelouch’s Un Homme et Une Femme (1966), has been a symbol of French refinement and elegance. Her style has always been simple – she wore black most of the time – but inspired lots of artists and designers, just think of the cat eye sunglasses Tom Ford named after her. Her make-up is all centred on cat eye lines, basic and lovely.


Brigitte Bardot and Sofia Loren, two of the most beautiful actresses of the past, sported cat eye lines during their careers. What I love about their make-ups is the extreme (and apparent, I know) simplicity. It looks like they were not wearing other than eye liner on their eyes.


Anita Ekberg, the beautiful symbol of Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, and the Italian actress Monica Vitti sported cat eye lines, too.


This look, really big in the Fifties and Sixties, was taken back in the Nineties by none other than Steven Meisel. He shot an infamous campaign for Dolce & Gabbana (starring Monica Bellucci and Isabella Rossellini), inspired to the most notable events of the Roman Dolce Vita, the striptease of Aichè Nanà at Il Rugantino restaurant included. The make-up of the models – heavy cat eye lines and nude lips – was created by my make-up hero, François Nars [2].  He used the same style for a famous photoshoot with Linda Evangelista, published on Vogue Italia’s June 1990 issue.


Cat eye lines are not a thing of the past, and for this reason my passion is always revamped. Whenever I spot a celebrity wearing cat eye make-up, my curiosity is tickled and I try to recreate the possible new options they’re showing. I’ve never tried the extreme cat eye made famous by Amy Winehouse, but I’d like to know which eye liner she uses. Dita Von Teese, the ultimate burlesque and old Hollywood queen, is always impeccably made up: she usually pairs simple eyes with ruby lips. Isn’t her make-up gorgeous in the pic above?


Angelina Jolie and Nicole Richie often wear cat eye lines. Angelina’s cat eye is one of the most perfect I’ve ever seen, brilliantly balanced by nude lips. I usually like Nicole Richie’s make-up, but something must have gone wrong in the pic above: I think the lipstick she chose washes her out. Nicole has recently said she’s not very good at making herself up, but she totally masters the technique for a perfect cat eye line. She has said she uses MAC liquid eyeliner in Boot Black; well, I’ve tried it out and I haven’t been impressed by it at all.


One of my favourite singers, Beth Ditto, always sports amazing make-ups. I love when she keeps it simple, wearing eye liner on nude eyes (that’s how I like it), nude lipsticks and a touch of blush. Am I the only one who thinks she was soooo beautiful with orange hair and that lovely pixie haircut?


I absolutely adore her when she wears dramatic make-up, usually centred on heavy cat eye lines and red shiny lips. The make-up she sports in the pic on the left is so nice, but I guess it’s not easy to recreate. The make-up on the right, on the other hand, is amazing because her eyes are heavily underlined with a kohl pencil, the result is exotic!


Last but not least, here is the ultimate source of inspiration for extreme cat eye line lovers: the one and only Elvira, the Mistress of the Dark. The eye make-up she sports truly reminds the shape of cat eyes, with heavy eye liner lines on the upper and lower lids.


I guess Christina Aguilera wanted to pay homage to Elvira, when she stepped on the red carpet of the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards. Ok, she’s my absolute favourite singer and I’m not objective when it comes to her, but I think she was flawless here.


Kim Kardashian is the latest celebrity who has jumped on the proper cat eye look bandwagon. Her make-up is always impeccable, but in this case I think the final result is a bit flat and heavy; in my opinion, the lipstick shade is not perfect.


Since I’ve tried countless eye liners, in all the possible formulas (liquid, pen, pencil, gel), I’ve realized the best formula for me is the liquid one. It’s not the easiest to apply, but it gives the best results. I cannot say how many liquid eye liners I’ve tried so far, but the best of all is MAC Liquidlast liner in Point Black, because its staying power is unbelievable. The downside is that it is a bit gloopy, but this is not enough to change my mind. I’ve wanted to give gel/cream eye-liners a chance and Clinique brush-on cream liner in True Black is the best I’ve tried so far. It goes on smoothly and its staying power is good (nothing if compared to MAC Liquidlast liner). I haven’t tried Bobbi Brown long-wear gel eyeliner and MAC Fluidline everybody is ranting about, and I’m honestly looking forward to it. I’ve found my holy grail eyeliners but my quest for the Perfect One goes on!

[1] If you’re still learning how to make a perfect cat eye line, I’m sure these tutorials will be useful.

[2] Make-up artist Troy Jensen has taken inspiration from La Dolce Vita, as he explains in his blog. He points out that François Nars created the nude lipstick shades of his collection – Belle de Jour, Honolulu Honey, Blonde Venus and Catfight – with some iconic beauties in mind, Sofia Loren, Raquel Welch, Brigitte Bardot and Audrey Hepburn respectively. Being on an endless hunt for the *perfect* nude lipstick, I’ve tried both Belle de Jour and Blonde Venus and they completely wash me out.  Maybe I should give Honolulu Honey a try.

Source, source, source and source.




  1. beth uber alles.
    I saw her this week in concert., no make up no shoes, just her stunning voice and her extreme kindness towards fans.

  2. First of all, welcome back T! Hope you had a nice relaxing period…
    Props to you if you can use the MAC liquidlast liner, I’m totally dumb when it comes to liner, I’ve just learned a couple of years ago how to use eye pencils 😉
    One product that should fit my incapability could be the Penultimate Eye liner, always by MAC, as it’s similar to a permanent marker…I’ll buy it and I’ll let you know!
    Have a great week-end.

    1. I’ve used pen liners in the past but I don’t like them very much, because the pen point tends to dry with time. In any case, I think it’s great to learn creating good lines.

  3. Ciao bentornata!,
    ahhh che dire,terribilmente influenzata dal makeup della recente sfilata Chanel couture mi continuo ad allenare,armata di pennellino professionale,ma i risultati sono sempre deludenti…con l’eyeliner sono imbranata,senza speranza.
    Son tentata di provare anche io il superdecantato gel di Bobby Brown (Samantha Chapman su youtube usa sempre quello ma credo che lei riuscirebbe anche con una penna bic…)ma già mi vedo il risultato imbarazzante!.

    Aspetto commenti riguardo i primi scatti dal set di GG!.
    OMG Blair (elegantissima) in VBeckham!.


    1. Ciao A!
      Non darti per vinta, perchè è davvero solo questione di allenamento. In questo caso, è proprio vero che sbagliando si impara, garantito! Io ho anni ed anni di tentativi alle spalle e devo dire che con la pratica i risultati non fanno che migliorare. Fossi in te, farei un tentativo con la formulazione in gel perchè è decisamente più facile da gestire rispetto a quella liquida. Io prenderò quello MAC, se mai riuscirò a fare un giretto a Venezia in tempi brevi 😉
      Ahhhh, quell’outfit di B è semplicemente splendido: abito da urlo, e poi gli accessori (tutte perle e tutti in bianco) perfetti. Da una parte, devo ammetterlo, è eccitante vedere gli scatti dal set, ma dall’altra questo mi toglie un po’ la sorpresa riguardo a quanto vedremo nella prossima serie. Ah, ho poi apprezzato molto anche questo outfit, dove B indossa un bell’abito a righe di Bendel. Notevoli i gioielli di argento!

      1. The one on tantalia, pic by pic, I found it extremely well done… your posts are always so inspiring!

  4. LOVED this! I’m a huge fan of sixties fashion and make up. I do a singing vlog on You Tube and am collecting vintage 60’s style dresses to wear in my videos. This definitely inspired me as to how to do my make-up. Very cool.

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