Thursday, November 15, 2012

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Analyzing the Perfect Eyeshadow Application

My obsession with creating the shape and depth to the eyes stems from the fact that my eyes aren't shaped in the typical way that beauty magazines portray eyeshadow application: brow bone, crease, lid.  The areas are all apparent but not well defined.  Learning how to adapt many of the methods can be a frustrating experience at times but once learned, the moment becomes one of those makeup memory moments.

This is how I see the perfect eyeshadow application.  First and foremost, I am not saying I am an expert or am I completely right.  I am just saying creating the illusion of depth and shape looks good in real life and in photos/film.  As I say many times in the many tutorials on Into the Palette, eyes are 3D and eyeshadow should enhance that shape.

Breaking It Down


  • 1-Browbone-the area that is supported by the bone underneath the muscle.  Light will hit that area first since it sits forward on the face thus it will be highlighted naturally.  On Asians the differentiation is there but not as apparent. 
  • 2-Orbital ridge/crease-the area that differentiates the brow bone from the eyeball.  Again, on Asians this area may not be truly visible on some. 
  • 3-Lid-the fleshy area closest to the eye ball and the eyeshadow applied will enhance or detract the eye color. 
  • 4-Lashline-Top and bottom.  This is the area that will define the eye even sharper.  Defining this area sometimes too much can have the tendency to make the eyes look smaller thus defeating the purpose of creating larger looking eyes. 
  • 5-Outer corner of the eye-This is where I find I make or break my look.  Why? Because of the bone structure.  If I follow this bone structure as my guide, I lose the shape and depth to my eyes.  This is true for all eye shapes too.  I am not saying it is wrong to color this area.  There are times when this is needed for artistic or editorial value.  What I am trying to show is in normal everyday life, to get the best shape out of your eyes, this is the area that needs the most attention.

Aligning the Eyeshadows


Eyeshadow should all come together even when each section is applied separately.  The brow bone will look highlighted while separate from the orbital ridge/crease.  The orbital ridge/crease will create depth to the eye from the front view.  The lid area will enhance the eye color and the eyeliner will define.  And all this should be aligned like the stars for that perfect moment or in this case the perfect look where the eyeshadow meet in harmony.  See how the black line shows the angle from the bottom to the top align at the outer end.  This gives the illusion of the eye depth.  It doesn't widen the look and flatten it out.


Same in the 3/4th view with eye open and eye looking downward.


Look again at the front view with the eye looking down.


Yet if you look closely the top and the bottom are separate.  Nothing is wrong with connecting them when applying shadow.  I just keep them separate because due to age, the top part outer half lowers (sags) over the bottom half.  I just want the illusion of them connected together.  Check out the eyeliner, the yellow arrows show how the top and bottom are separately drawn and not connected.


Okay, so that is the basics of it but let me show you the area that adds that extra bit of difference, the outer corner of top and bottom.

The Outer Corner


See where the eye area is circled in red?  That is about 1/3rd of the outer edge of the eye or the area that begins to curve into the side of the face.  You want to enhance that curvature by creating depth and in most cases (especially if you are a mature woman) to lift the eye.  This can be done with eyeliner only but sometimes that tends to close up or make the eye look smaller than they are and not to mention flatten out the look.  The best way is eyeshadows.


Again, circled in red you can see how the top has a darkened corner.  I call this enclosing the lid.  Gives separation to the fleshy lid area from the rest of the eye.  I used a smoky taupe (satin or matte only) or if you have a more lighter natural look for eyeshadows the usual taupe.  Before I forget, taupe is an important color because it has just enough grey in it to create the illusion of a shadow without looking dark and ashy.  Getting back to the eyeshadow, I apply it right where the eye curves (red) and extend up and a bit out.


I also apply the smoky taupe to the the bottom outer third only.  See how it just creates a shadow?



Sounds complicated, doesn't it?  And to tell you the truth it is because it goes against the usual application method.  However, the eyes do have guides and knowing where they are makes it much easier and is part of the fun of eyeshadows and learning.  At least for me it is.  I am never one to be satisfied with just applying makeup, I want to know the magic in them!

By the way, I am working on another tutorial for Into the Palette, so stay tuned! :-)


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