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The smokey cat-eye. Whenever we attempt this we, more often than not, end up with smudgy raccoon eyes. So Allure asked Estée Lauder’s creative makeup director Tom Pecheux what the trick is to getting precise lines and a clean shape.

Turns out you can go about it one of two ways:

FILL IN THE BLANK: This technique works if you have a liner that is almost identical to the shadow you’re using.

1) With the pencil, start by lightly making the outline of the shape you want around your eye, closely lining your bottom lashes and circling up to your brow bone, making sure the line is really straight and seamless.

2) Take a fluffy brush and smudge the color slightly.

3) Then, take your shadow (it can be cream or powder, just make sure to use a brush) and fill in the outline, patting the color on at the edges to ensure you don’t slip outside the lines.

CLEAN UP CREW: This version also can be used with creams or powder formulas.

1) Start by applying the shadow all over your lids, bringing it up to the brow bone and winging it out to the ends of your eyebrows.

2) Trace your bottom lashes with the same color using a small shadow brush.

3) Take a cotton swab dipped in a tiny bit of makeup remover and simply erase any extra shadow, forming the exact shape you want. The same technique works if any pigment has fallen under your eyes and on the tops of your cheeks.

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