Monday, November 15, 2010

Your Eye, Your Eyeshadow

Caveat Emptor
This is the longest, turquoise-est blog post in the free world
Read at your own risk

You know those magazine articles that advice you on hairstyles/brow shapes/etc based on your face shape?  And they give you a really exaggerated line drawing rendition of 5 standard face shapes and a celebrity that's supposed to have more or less the same face shape as you?

Bull.  Shit.

Celebrities all have a certain commonality amongst them - most notably, a really angled jawline (as in, when was the last time you saw a celebrity with a SQUARE jawline such that their jaw is parallel to the ground?); wide-spaced eyes, and a tiny angled nose.  There are exceptions here and there, but these are general things that make us think "beautiful".

Getting to my point: these guides never work for everyone - they work for people with really regular, proportioned features.  Little articles that tell you to put bright shadow into the corners of your eyes, or line your waterline or place shadow in your crease?  Sure, that works for some people, but not for everyone.  We're human.  By defintion our faces are made up of error.

So here's how you figure out where to put colour/liner on your eye.  I've got two beautiful friends with me today, Lynn and Blossom, who have kindly subjected themselves to my brush.  We all have different eyeshapes, so I'm going to show you how eyeshadow and liner look different on us.


I was going to format this post à la scientific method, but I didn't have enough steps.  Next time!

The theory:  Draw a line drawing of an eye.  Given that you're not an amazing visual artist, you'll draw an ideal eye.  That is, it'll be the right shape, have a proper crease, have long lashes, etc.  Compare this to a photo of your own eye.  Be completely honest with yourself (I know how hard that is, trust me), and point out which parts of your eye may be droopier/deeper/turned up/turned down/etc.  Then you can use contouring and pencil to reshape your eye into what you think is ideal.

So the first thing to do is to grab any old eyeliner and run it haphazardly over your top and bottom lashline.  When I say haphazardly, I mean - haphazardly.  None of this pretty, careful lining that you do when you go out, make like a toddler and colour outside the lines!

Take a minute to carefully examine your scribble - this shows you the real shape of your eye.

Blossom: The upper eyelid is wider than her lower lid; all the eyeliner on her bottom lash is visible, whereas almost all the liner on the upper lash disappears.  For Blossom, if she wants to see the liner on her upper lid, she'd have to draw a very wide line - wider than the amount of skin that folds underneath her eye.  People with this eye shape though, be careful, as lining your upper lid can really close your eye more than it already does.  A little liner on the lower lashline opens up Blossom's eyes a lot more and creates more space around her eye to work with.  My inner grammar nazi just cringed.

Lynn:  A very round, wide eye with a very tight lid; all of the eyeliner is visible, meaning that at no point does her upper lid fold over and hide any make up.  I'd suggest that Lynn go with as little liner as possible - just mascara will be enough.  If you can't let go of your liner, try only tightlining. Regular liner will look like a line drawn across your lid.  She can get away with liner on her lower lash, but with such thick, gorgeous, dark lashes - why would she?

Me:  My crease folds in quite deeply, so I'm left with very little visible lid space when my eyes are open.  Any liner I put on my lashline looks like I've put liner up to my crease.  Unless I just tightline, it'll look I have a TON of lash.  I do it occasionally when I'm feeling dramatic, otherwise I just tightline my upper lash line.  Same with my lower lid - I can go with or without; as a general rule, more liner = nighttime!

Next, load up a fluffy brush with a bright eyeshadow and run it all over your eye.  Don't worry about how it looks, you're not going out like this.  If you can, try and put eyeshadow on one eye all the way up to your brow bone, and on the other just to your crease.  It'll give a different perspective.  Also, don't be afraid to extend past the corners of your eyes if you're looking to try a cat-eye look!  Don't fix anything before you've really taken a look - I know it's hard to leave yourself looking like this, but it will pay off!

Blossom: So we can tell from this photo that Blossom doesn't really have a visible crease - totally fine.  For people who really can't identify a crease, you have two options:  You can create one with shadow, but let's face it, it's hard to do (but I'll still show you, no worries!), and it can look a little stage-y.  The other option, ,if you still want to play with colour, is to put it on your lower lash line.

Lynn: As with the liner above, all the colour I put on Lynn shows up - She has giant, deep-set eyes and her crease is clearly visible, so one way to put colour on is directly onto her lid.  But since her lid is so wide, I thought might be prettier and less in-your-face to shade the colour just into the crease and the inner corner. Since Lynn's eyes push forward so much, I wouldn't put any shadow on her lower lid, because it would only look like fallen shadow/dark circles.  If the plane of your face recedes below your eye, refrain from applying shadow there.  Only if the plane rises (like Blossom's) should you apply colour underneath the eye.

Me: The colour just shows up since the width of my lid below the crease is so narrow - a lot of the colour shows up in my crease and whatever happens to grab onto my lid above the crease.  To get the colour to show, I have to put the shadow all over my lid.  As for putting shadow on my lower lid, I can get away with a little colour, but not too much, since my eyes also kind of push out from my face.


At the end of the day, there's only one way to figure out what looks good and that is to try.  Slop on make up like you've never seen it before, and gradually pull back until you find something you like!

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