Here, I offer three of my favorite basic techniques for applying eye makeup—followed by tips for your specific eye shape.
Apply a thin layer of foundation or primer on the eyelids to correct imperfections and create the perfect canvas for the application of color. In fact,eye makeup can stop here and you'll still look pulled together.
Set lids with powder if you'll be using powder eye shadow (skip the powder if you'll be using creme or pencils, which will glide more easily over foundation alone).
Choose Your Eye Color
To identify colors that work for you, use your hair as a guide (not your eyes). Blondes look good in creams and taupes, while mochas and chocolate browns flatter brunettes. If you are auburn or redhead, go with coppers, peaches, and reddish browns or cool tones like pink and lavenders. Gray hair is gorgeous with grays, soft purples, and blues.
Choose Technique- Basic or Advanced
- One shadow all over: For complete simplicity, dust the entire eyelid with a wash of one color. Cream eye shadows are great for this look—light to medium tones work best. Add mascara and brown pencil as needed.
- Emphasizing the crease line for depth: Begin with the lightest color first. Dust a light tone over the entire eyelid with a medium eye shadow brush using the following technique: Hold your brush very lightly and go from the lashline to slightly beyond the crease (where the eyelid meets the browbone). Glide up to the browbone and the brush will naturally lift off your face—just where you want to color to end.
Then dust a medium shade in the creaseline (something with a bit more depth than what went on the eyelid), using a small to medium shadow brush. Extend slightly beyond the crease, up toward the browbone. This adds depth to the eyes. And by going slightly beyond the crease, you can create a contour that's visible even when your eyes are wide open.
You can stop here. But if you want more drama, place a medium to deep tone on the upper lashline, using an angled eye shadow or eyeliner brush. And keep this line soft and smudged. Still more drama? Brush more of this color under the lower lashline—apply with the smudge brush in mini downward strokes (don't brush across—that creates too strong a line).
- Emphasizing the lashline for shape: For definition of eye shape, dust a light to medium tone over the entire eyelid (see first step in Basic Technique #1). At the lashline, apply a darker tone with an eyeliner brush to create a smudged, dramatic line.
When eye color is complete (you shouldn't be able to see where any of the colors begin or end) use a large eye shadow brush and dust the entire eye area with loose powder to help set and blend. Add mascara and brow pencil, as needed.
Tips for Different Eye Shapes
Now that you've got the basic techniques down, it's time to get more advanced. Eyes come in a million shapes and sizes—how would you describe yours? To design the best eye makeup for your own pretty peepers, try these optical illusions:
- Deep Set: Dust entire eyelid with a light, pale, tone to bring the eyes forward. You can intensify coloralong the upper lashline with a medium tone, but it's best not to darken the crease.
- Narrow Set: Keep the application on the outer edges of the eyes, extending slightly beyond the outer corners.
- Wide Set: Begin the application at the inner corners of the eyes. Try to avoid going past the outer corners.
- Protruding: Choose tones with warmth and depth to make the eyes recede. Dust a medium tone over the entire eyelid. You can also add a deeper tone in the crease or at the lashlines.'
- Small: Use shimmery tones to bring light to the eyes. Avoid black at all costs—it confines the eyes and looks too severe.
- Large: Lucky girl—you can experiment with deep, warm tones. Keep mascara soft.