Eye makeup can define how natural or dramatic your look is. Whether you want to learn a process you can use every day or look stunning for a special occasion, here’s how to get it right.
Start with a clean slate. Wash your whole face with a gentle cleanser before you begin, paying particular attention to any leftover mascara or eyeliner. If you’re having trouble removing residual eye makeup, try using cold water or regular lotion on a cotton swab. If you have dry skin around your eyes or suffer from eczema, rub a little moisturizer underneath your eyes, as well as between the outer corners of your eyes and your temples. Don’t put moisturizer on your eyelids – this will make them greasy, and the makeup you apply will run off.
- Apply primer to your eyelids(optional). Primer or base smooths out your skin and gives the makeup something to stick to. If you do choose to use primer, apply it all over your eyelid and up to the brow bone.
Even out the skin tone around your eyes. Apply concealer to dark under-eye circles and to the area where your inner eye meets your nose. (Shop for concealer somewhere that allows you to test samples and swipe them across your inner wrists – buy the one that covers up the veins best.) Use your fingers or a concealer brush to blend the makeup outward to your cheekbones and nose. Set the concealer by brushing a loose, flesh-toned powder over it; apply some powder to your eyelids, as well.
Apply eyeshadow. You can use one color, or several. Here’s a basic three-color plan.
- Apply a medium color on your eyelid. Your eyelid is the area running from your eyelashes to your crease (the slight dip between your eyelid and your brow bone). Pick a medium pink, light brown or any other middle-of-the-road hue for this area.
- Apply a light color on your brow bone. Most people have an area of their brow bone that sits beneath the eyebrows proper. Highlight this area and make more light bounce off of it by brushing on a pearly off-white, light gold or other delicate color that matches your eyelid color in tone.
- Apply a dark color on your crease. Use light, little strokes to deposit little bits of darker powder on the crease of your eye. Go from the outer corner of your crease and follow the arch about 2/3 of the way in toward the inner corner of the eye. Try a violet, brown or other dark color that matches up with the first two colors you used.
Blend the colors. If you applied more than one color of eyeshadow, use your fingers or a fluffy, tapered blending brush to mix the colors a bit. This will create a more natural, cohesive look.
Apply eyeliner. You can use liquid eyeliner, a liner pencil, or even wet eyeshadow on an angled brush to line your eyes. Whatever you pick, move across your upper lash line in tiny, controlled strokes as if you’re drawing a dotted line. Go back and fill in the blanks with more small strokes. For more drama, line your lower lashes as well.
Curl your lashes. Use an eyelash curler to grip your upper lashes. Hold the clamp for about five seconds. Accessing your lashes is easiest if you half-close your eyes. Remember, always curl before you apply mascara, never after.
Apply mascara. You can apply a little or a lot, and there are many different brands and formulas for volume, length and definition. Find a product you’re happy with. Start at the base of your upper lashes and slowly sweep upward. For a more dramatic effect, apply mascara to the lower lashes as well. If you want to apply multiple coats, do it while the first coats of mascara are still wet – applying a new coat to dry mascara will result in clumps.