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Cat Face Paint: How to Do It Like a Pro

cat face paint makeup
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Face painting is a popular way to add some flair to a birthday party or get yourself ready for a pet-themed party. And if you want to get festive in a feline way, cat face paint is the way to go.

You can get playful with this easy cat makeup to celebrate your cat’s birthday. Or maybe you just want to paint your family’s faces and have a fun little photo shoot around the house. And if you’re looking for a last minute costume idea, a cat is one of the easiest costumes to throw together at the last minute. All it requires is a little makeup, some cat ears, and a tail.

Regardless of the reason, cat face makeup can be fun. And the good news is it’s pretty easy to apply. Here’s a quick guide to applying cat face paint:

Cat Face Paint: What You’ll Need

Black liquid eyeliner

Halloween and costume stores sell cat face paint kits that contain everything you need to transform your face into an adorable cat. But if you’re going to use over-the-counter products, Alyssia Chang, founder of Prevail Beauty, says to be picky. “I suggest avoiding using cheaper face paint as they usually have lead, formaldehyde, mercury and parabens,” she says. 

The cost of high quality cat fact paint can add up. But the good news, says Chang, is that you can also use things you probably already have at home and in your own makeup bag. 

A simple cat makeup look can be achieved with merely the following:

  • Black pencil liner
  • Black liquid liner
  • Mascara 
  • Pink lipstick 
  • Blush 

Easy Cat Face Paint: Step-by-Step Instructions

Sure, professional makeup artists can whip up realistic looking cat makeup and make it look easy. But you don’t have to be a pro to transform your face into a cat. 

The first step to pulling off simple cat face paint is to create a cat-eye. This can be worn with full cat makeup or as a fun way to accentuate your eyes and dress up your look for the evening. 

“Everyone loves a great cat eye look and taking the look to full cat face is just a few steps away,” says beauty, lifestyle and aesthetic expert Manna Kadar. She shares the following steps to achieve this classic look:

Cat eye makeup
Credit: Lynn Simpson

Step 1: To create a dramatic cat eye, use a black pencil to draw along the lash line. Start from the outer edge of the eyelid and bring it back to the inner corner of the eyelid. 

Step 2: Trace over the black pencil line with a liquid liner. Slightly flick out the line past the outer corner of the eyelid to create a cat eye.

Step 3: Apply mascara to lashes to complete the eye look.

Bonus: If you want to really accentuate your eyes, makeup artist Amanda Masek-Black says to add in some false eyelashes.

If you’re going with just a cat eye, you can stop here. But if you’re looking for a full makeup look, continue on with this extended cat face paint tutorial:

Step 4: To start the cat whiskers, use black pencil and make 3-4 dots on your cheek. “These dots will be the guide for your whiskers,” says Kadar.

Step 5: Draw whisker lines that extend from the dots, using a black pencil. 

cat face paint whiskers
Credit: Lynn Simpson

Step 6: Trace over whisker lines with a black liquid liner for a bolder whisker look.

Step 7: Use black pencil to draw a black nose. Kadar challenges people to have fun finding the nose that works best for your desired look. “You can draw a heart shaped nose, a round nose, or a triangle nose,” she explains.

Step 8: Fill in the nose with black pencil. Trace over the pencil with black liquid liner for extra staying power.

finished easy cat face paint
Credit: Lynn Simpson

Step 9: Apply pink lipstick for a cute kitty lip. You can also put some blush on your cheeks to make them rosy. 

Step 8: Put on your favorite cat ears and show off your puuuuurrrfect cat face paint!

Cat Face Paint Variations to Consider

While a classic cat makeup look is cute, there are many different ways you can dress up your simple cat face paint to make the look your own.

Try a Tabby Cat Makeup Look

Tabby cat face paint
Credit: Amanda Masek-Black

“Wanna get a little more advanced? Lets add some tabby stripes,” says Masek-Black.

Use your liner and draw uneven edged stripes along the side of your face. “I like to make a mixture of long and short ones,” Masek-Black says. Add as many as you like.

You can do this across your forehead or have them around the sides of your face.

Credit: Amanda Masek-Black

“I take grey shadow and buff over the stripes lightly,” says Masek-Black. 

And when creating her tabby look, Chang uses different eyeliner pencils, alternating between black, white and brown, to create the appearance of different colored fur on either side of her face. 

Playful Kitty Face Paint

Sometimes you want to turn an already adorable cat face into something even sweeter. “If you are looking for a little variety in your cat look, add glitter face paint for the ultimate cat queen look,” Manna suggests. 

You can use glitter eyeliner to achieve the cat eye look or can sprinkle some face glitter around your face to make your face extra sparkly.

Spooky Halloween Feline Makeup

“If being a scaredy cat is more your thing, use fake blood or red lipstick to create droplets around your mouth,” Manna says. You can also play around and draw some fangs or accentuate your look by adding some fake fang teeth, which any Halloween costume store will sell.

Leopard Cat Face Paint

With just a few extra steps, you can transform any simple cat face paint look into a leopard or cheetah. “Create this cat by following the classic cat instructions then adding leopard patterns to the forehead and upper cheekbones,” says Chang.

To do this, use brown pencil eyeliner and black liquid eyeliner.

Leopard cat face paint
Credit: Alyssia Chang

Step 1: Create different sized circle dots with your brown pencil eyeliner.

Step 2: Draw a moon like shape with the liquid liner on different sides of the brown dots.

Step 3: Fill in any gaps with small liquid liner dots.

Leopard face paint final look
Credit: Alyssia Chang

Alice in Wonderland’s Cheshire Cat Makeup Tutorial

The Cheshire Cat is known for his playful smile. Chang has a tutorial to help you accomplish that look. This cat face makeup style takes a little bit more work but is well worth the effort:


Cheshire Cat eye makeup
Credit: Alyssia Chang

Step 1: Use white pencil eyeliner on your whole eyelid and stop before the crease.

Step 2: Apply white eyeshadow on the same area with a blending eye shadow brush.

Step 3: Apply pink eye shadow in the crease and purple eye shadow on the bottom lower lashes.

Step 4: Use black eyeliner to line the top and bottom. Wings are optional.

Step 5: Apply mascara and/or false lashes.

Step 6: Use the purple eyeshadow in your eyebrows with an angled eyebrow brush.

Face Details and Lips

Cheshire Cat mouth makeup
Credit: Alyssia Chang

Step 7: Use grey eyeshadow to contour the face, sides of the nose, and connect it up to the eyebrows.

Step 8: Create the cat nose with black liquid eyeliner on the lower point of the nose.

Step 9: Use white eyeliner pencil to map out the borders of the teeth. Then draw a line using black liquid eyeliner from the middle of the nose down towards the teeth border. Fill in the outline with white eyeliner.

Step 10: Use white eyeshadow with a face brush and apply a couple layers to the eyeliner to set. 

Step 11: Outline that area with black liquid eyeliner.

Step 12: To draw the teeth, connect the black liquid liner line from the nose all the way straight down. Make jail bars with 1 cm spaces in between the lines.

Cheshire Cat makeup look final
Credit: Alyssia Chang

Step 13: Make one horizontal black line in the middle of the mouth

Step 14: Make three whiskers on each side of the face with dots between.

Optional: Apply pink eye shadow with an eye shadow brush on the nose and cheeks. Make three purple and pink “V” lines on the face to create the hair pattern.

Cat Face Paint: Keep it Fun 

When it comes to creating your cat face paint look, the sky’s the limit. You may want simple cat makeup one day and then the next time, decide to advance to a full on leopard face. 

You can play around with face contouring, blush, bronzer, different shades of eyeshadow and lipstick and can add in some facial crystals, temporary tattoos, or sequins. Just remember to have fun and that there are no rules. We can’t wait to see what cat makeup looks you come up with!