Sunday, October 18, 2009

Eye Makeup Tips and Techniques

The fall and holiday makeup seasons are always my favorite because they are heavy on the eye shadow. In the 80s, when I began experimenting with cosmetics, I had a penchant for purple - and now it's back! What I didn't know at the tender age of 11 or 12 was that I didn't need eye shadow then. Not because a smoky lid and black eyeliner looks sluttatious on a tweener (which it does, of course), but because I had nothing to conceal - yet!
As we age, tiny lines and creases crop up where once smooth lids naturally glistened before becoming puffy hoods and bags. My heavy eyeliner is no longer a homage to the inner Goth; rather, I use the products in trompe l'oeil fashion to hide uneven skin pigments and areas that are beginning to look like crepe paper!
My friend Melissa and I used to apply our makeup on the bus, using multi-hued palettes and our fingers to match our eye makeup to our outfits. Not bad in a pinch, but the more mature eye needs precision instruments, and now I know swiping a finger across pressed makeup is just gross - even if it's your own finger in your own eyeshadow! If indeed you are guilty of this cosmetic sin, and you find your supplies caked with bumpy oil marks, you can scrape the top yucky part off the product with a razor blade and start over without necessarily having to trash the whole thing. Get a good set of brushes, and sin no more!
Yes, blue eyed beauties can wear azure colored shadows, and brown eyes can be accented with earth tones, but it is more important to match your make up colors to your own skin tone than your sweater. When I worked in fashion journalism, I had a Chanel artist tell me anyone can wear any hue, it's just a matter of intensity.
In cosmetic artistry, as in painting, light colors accentuate features, and dark hues make things recede. Therefore, if you have small lids you will only make your eyes look smaller and puffier by using frosty, pearlescent and pastel colors from lash to brow. Conversely, if you'd like to minimize the look of enlarging eyelids, you'll want to contour below the browbone with something darker than what you wear on your lids. Then blend, blend, blend!
Light colored eyeshadow can be swept into the inner corner of the lid to give you a fresh, wide-eyed look. Save the sparkly light shades for just under the eyebrow. And for the love of Kevin Aucoin, don't you dare put glitter on your lids if it's not Halloween and you are even one minute over 30!
When I am applying heavy shadow (which I do once or twice a week), I stick a piece of blotting paper under my lower lashes to catch the excess powder. I then apply my undereye concealer with a brush, only where I need it. Using your finger to blend concealer just sort of smudges it around, and applying it all the way around the lower orbit of the eye looks really chalky and gross. I also find that a concealer brush minimizes the pulling and tugging on this very delicate area. I personally use an actual paintbrush for this task, but I am posting a linked picture of some very nice vegan brushes for you kittens who are 100% cruelty free!


  1. I'd argue no glitter for anyone over 25 (though I'm totally packing my black glitter NARS eyeliner for my trip to Miami over Halloween...but I figure Halloween + South Beach = free pass?!).

    Lovely advice as always, Kitty!

  2. Thanks, Averill! I grant you a free pass on your glittered NARS. It will enhance your Halloween in Miami, where anything goes indeed! I hope you have a marvelous trip, with plenty of time for the Bal Harbour shops! xo kitty

  3. Great post Kitty! I recently picked up "Fran Wilson's Eye Tees", This was a new product to me...they look like a cotton swab but better! They apply eye shadow in an amazingly easy way and are disposable. Are you familiar with these Kitty??

  4. Theresa, I've never seen the Eye Tees, but I'm googling them now - thanks for coming by! xo kitty