TikTok users have gone viral for using different forms of tape to create crisp cat eyeliner. Here’s what happened when one writer tried the surprisingly simple TikTok tape hack for the perfect cat eye.
TikTok has given us many things. From how to layer our in-shower skincare to tricks that make smoky eyeshadow a doddle, there’s a genuine educational element to the endless scroll-holes we all get stuck in. The beauty space on TikTok – #beautytok, if you’re in the know – is a vibrant world of make-up tutorials, product reviews (TikTok has a reputation for catapulting certain products to viral stardom), expert breakdowns and hacks that make light work of tricky beauty techniques.
So, when I spied TikTok users sharing how they use tape to finesse the perfect cat eye, I knew I had to get in on it. Applied in two stages, the tape in question varied between people with some using sellotape and others using medical tapes such as microporous and fabric plaster tape.
The effect of the method truly does have to be seen to be believed. What goes from a muddle of tape and eyeshadow transforms into a sleek, perfectly defined cat eye. But, does it work in real life?
How the TikTok tape technique for cat eyes works
It’s surprisingly simple. Three lengths of tape are applied to the face – one much longer than the other two.
The first (long) length of tape is stuck from the corner of the left eye, travelling under the nose and attaching to the corner of the right end. It should look like a giant ‘U’ or ‘V’ on the face. This piece of tape will give the bottom of your cat eye definition so it’s important to make sure each end of the tape is evenly angled.
Then, the other two lengths of tape should be cut to the same length. These are applied to your upper eyelid and connect to the giant ‘U’ or ‘V’ you’ve created. You should be left with an exposed area of skin that looks like an elongated triangle – this is where you’ll apply eyeshadow to create the cat eye effect.
Then, taking a small fluffy eyeshadow brush (or your fingers), apply the shadow of your choosing to the exposed skin. Don’t worry about being too neat at this stage or getting eyeshadow on the tape.
Once you’ve filled the space in with enough product, gently peel the top (shorter) two lengths of tape off, travelling from the inside to the outside of your eye. Repeat the process with the long layer and you should be left with clean, crisp eyeliner.
Trying the TikTok cat eye tape hack with different types of tape
Excuse me while I balk at the idea of applying sellotape to my face. Something I usually reserve solely for wrapping gifts, I felt it would be too strong for the delicate skin around my eyes. I was half-right. While the sellotape was strong, it didn’t pull and the effect was a sharp, thin line. Professional and delicate, I felt it looked like the detailed work of a make-up artist’s steady hand.
I wouldn’t repeat it because I don’t love the idea of using sellotape on my eye area but it did work excellently.
2. Fabric plaster tape
An uncut roll of fabric plaster seems like a viable option – it’s what we’ve applied to our skin since childhood. However, it wasn’t ideal when it came to seamless eyeliner application.
Fabric plaster is thicker than regular tape and, as a result, is slightly heavier with a tendency to contact. As I tried to apply my eyeshadow, the fabric repeatedly peeled off of my face, leaving a messy, non-even result. Wouldn’t repeat.
3. Microporous tape
Now, I know the experts don’t suggest we tape things to our faces regularly. However, this method was simple, fuss-free and converted me to wearing dramatic eye-makeup more regularly. The tape stuck to my skin easily, didn’t hurt to remove and created super clean and defined lines. Cue Vanessa Williams singing Save The Best To Last.
So, we know the technique really does work. But is it safe to be applying adhesive products to the sensitive skin around our eyes or on our face? I asked Dr Ross Perry, medical director of Cosmedics skin clinics to enlighten me.
Is it safe to stick tape so close to your eyes?
Short answer, no. Long answer, no and here’s why:
“You should absolutely not be using Sellotape as this could cause all manner of problems such as tearing and sensitivity,” says Dr Perry.
“Microporous tape would be slightly easier on the skin, but again the adhesive is likely to pull. Frequent use of this will have long-term effects and much the same as fabric first aid tape. There is specially designed cosmetic tape not available on the market for this very use; however, I’d still advise not to be doing this regularly.”
Why is it so important to be gentle with the skin around our eyes?
“The skin around the eye area is extremely thin and delicate and it can easily be damaged by using the wrong products, pulling the skin in certain ways and placing adhesives over the eye area,” says Dr Perry.
“Some of the problems which may occur can include sensitivity, irritation, redness, swelling and possible tearing. Long-term use could even result in sagging skin around the eye area.”
Which type of tape is the most gentle for the eye area?
“As the skin around the eyes, including the skin underneath your eyes, is thinner than the skin on the rest of your face it’s not a good idea to be using tape on a daily basis. Not only will you be taking out hairs that are meant to be there, but you will also have red sore patches and possible tearing to the skin, which could become infected. Putting make-up over the area which has had tape on it may also cause irritation and sensitivity.”
OK, so perhaps I won’t attempt the TikTok cat eye tape hack regularly if only for the sake of the skin around my eye. But, for a once-in-a-while faultless eyeliner? Yes, I could see that happening.
Images: author’s own