I am what you would call a makeup dummy: If it weren’t for YouTube tutorials, I’d never know what to do with my face. But no matter how many internet videos I watch, I’ve never been able to execute a perfect cat-eye look. I had tried at least a dozen times, but it was always crooked and uneven. Then I bought the Vamp Stamp after it popped up in a targeted Instagram ad (those things always get me). The eyeliner was designed by Veronica Lorenz, a makeup artist who lost feeling in her hands after being diagnosed with a benign spinal-cord tumor, making it impossible to do her signature winged eyeliner she’d been rocking since the 1980s.
Her creation, the Vamp Stamp, is a small, food-grade silicone stamp that provides the perfect winged eyeliner blueprint, making the execution of a flawless cat-eye about a million times easier. Each end of the wand is a stamp: one for your left eye and one for your right. You gently dip the stamp into the little pot of eyeliner ink, then press firmly onto the ends of your eyes. It’s exactly like using a rubber stamp and ink pad, only you’re stamping a perfect winged cat-eye directly onto your face.
Once you’ve got your wings inked on, all that’s left to do is to fill in any lighter spaces that the ink didn’t completely cover and extend your eyeliner along the rest of your eyelid with the included angled brush. It takes a bit of practice, but after three dry runs, I can now stamp on and fill in my own cat-eye wings in under a minute.
Depending on the level of drama you’re going for, you can choose from one of Vamp Stamp’s three sizes: Kitten is the smallest (and the one I use), and there are the not-as-excitingly-named medium and large. For something even thinner and more modern, there’s the Vixen, too. And if you want to go really wild, Vamp Stamp just debuted a pot of rose-gold eyeliner ink that’s already burning a hole in my cart.
More Strat-approved eye makeup
Legend has it that the French mascara Bourjois is made in the same factory as Chanel, only it costs $13. Writer Susannah Edelbaum discovered it as a 14-year-old visiting Paris: “I had a teenage revelation: Even though I still had woefully mismanaged curls and a retainer, I had eyes for the first time. It was a possibility that I hadn’t known existed.”
For a subtler hint of eye makeup, our resident beauty expert Rio Viera-Newton likes the Nyx Faux White pencil: “I randomly bought this eyeliner at CVS and it’s been blowing my mind ever since. These come in very pastel colors, meaning they initially almost all appear white. But upon closer inspection, they’re all actually softer hues. This is the perfect first step for those of you who want to try a light, nonabrasive pop of color on your eyes.”
Writer Jinnie Lee could never get her eyelashes to look anything but stubby until she tried the Lash Princess: “The Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara from Essence, true to its name, dramatically plumps and intensifies my lashes in every single way — it lengthens, volumizes, lifts, and curls each tiny hair (without the use of a tool) — to the point where my eyes look more open, brighter, and more alert. Recently, at a family engagement party, my own father asked if I had gone in for eyelash extensions.”
Viera-Newton thought she couldn’t wear mascara until she found the Glossier Lash Slick: “I don’t know what they put in it, but this mascara is unlike any I’ve ever used before. With it, your lashes just look better: longer, but not in a dramatic way, and darker, but not in an obvious way. After a day at work and long night out, there wasn’t a single speck of black dust or a makeup particle under my eyes. I even put it on and then rubbed my eyes and there was no damage done. I’ve actively tried to find a fault in this mascara’s design, but I can’t.”
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