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Puppy liner v. cat eye—I tried the viral TikTok trend and here’s my verdict

A fresh makeup technique is sweeping across the internet, giving our eyes a whole new look with minimal effort.

From throwing on a smudge of pencil to spending too long perfecting the dramatic flick, I love a good eyeliner moment. But an increasingly popular TikTok filter has introduced me to a new way to get my eyeliner kicks—puppy liner.

This creates a twist on the classic cat-eye liner look to create a softer, innocent and more doe-eyed look. Across TikTok and Instagram, thousands of videos are sharing the technique, how to apply it and why it works. But what is it? And can it replace the classic cat eye?

“It’s actually an eyeliner technique that originated from Korean K-Beauty,” make-up artist Justine Warwick told Newsweek.

“Rather than the usual cat eye that is created by applying eyeliner in an upwards direction from the outer corner of the eye, the puppy eye follows the natural lash line, resulting in larger-looking, rounded eyes,” Warwick added.

The eyeliner trick has been an unkept secret for some time among make-up fans, but the new TikTok filter that creates the look with no real-life eyeliner required has got people discussing it again.

Trying on the filter on TikTok, I am amazed how the subtle angle seems to give my face an entirely different shape. Keen to give it a try, I figure the best way to see how it compares is literally to compare two eyes.

How to Apply Puppy Liner

If you’re keen to try the liner yourself, Warwick’s step-by-step MUA guide will help you get the look:

1. With eyes open, apply eyeliner all the way along the upper lash line, but as you reach the outer corner, make sure you follow the natural shape of the eye, following the lash line completely—without lifting at the end. This will create a slight downturn rather than an upwards flick.

2. Blend or smudge the liner at the outer corner to soften.

3. Apply eyeliner along the lower lashes from the outer edge to about halfway. Remember to blend to avoid any harsh lines.

4. Ensure that the upper and lower lashes are connected at the outside edge by the liner in a point. You can elongate the eye by drawing the eyeliner out.

5. Add eyeliner to the waterline or add some dark eye shadow on top of the eyeliner for extra definition.

With one eye semi-successfully given the puppy line treatment, I gave the left eye my tried-and-tested cat eyeliner look so I could easily compare the two.

This is when the liner really comes into its own. By adding only around 30 degrees in angle, the difference is stark. And while I enjoy trying out something new, I think I still prefer my cat eye.

But that could be something to do with my face, too, as, across the internet, those with hooded or deeper set eyes say it has transformed their routine.

So who is puppy liner best for?

“Puppy liner could be a great alternative for those with hooded or deep-set eyes who may find eyeliner difficult to apply,” said Warwick.

For people with deeper set or hooded eyes, creating the classic feline cat-eye wing is often tough. The trademark flick quickly becomes distorted when opening the eyes or disappears completely into the eye crease.

“This isn’t a problem with the puppy eye as it subtly sweeps horizontally from the eye,” Warwick added.

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