Saturday, April 9, 2011

Working WITH your eye shape, not against it!

I want to preface this by saying that this is in response to many makeup lovers asking me how to figure out how to work their eye shape best (not how to adjust your personal style)!

I've had a lot of people comment on how well I work with my eye shape when it comes to eye makeup. They ask me what they can do to get the same effect. While it's flattering to hear, at the same time I can't help but think, "Don't let this go to your head. It's my eye, knowing how to work with it should be second nature to me, right?"


I see so many makeup lovers wearing their eye makeup in unflattering ways. I'm not talking so much about color choice, I'm talking about the way they highlight their eyes, the way they shape their shadow, the areas they choose to shade, etc. When I worked at a Victoria's Secret's beauty store (not lingerie) in my teens I had to go through hour after hour of crazy training on makeup choices, applying makeup, etc. The one thing that stuck out in my mind and has never left me was the statement, "Anyone can wear just about any color--it's all about how you wear your makeup."

That is such a true statement in my opinion. I love colorful eyeshadows, which I'm sure you've guessed from viewing the shadows I've produced so far for B.Koi Cosmetics! When I plan out my look on a daily basis or for the B.Koi LookBook, I focus on figuring out which colors compliment each other best, the most flattering color placement to compliment my eye shape, etc.

What does that really mean?

This is a perfect example of how I like
to highlight my inner eye and keep
lighter colors on my upper lid,
using darker colors to shade the
crease and outer corner.
If you haven't noticed already, I have almond shaped eyes that aren't huge. I make sure to highlight and open up my eye whenever possible by applying a lighter color in the inner corner as well as along much of my upper lid to the crease. If I use a super dark color on much of my upper lid, it often makes my eyes look more narrow and they begin to get lost on my face. Now, sometimes I don't mind this if I'm going for a more "cat-eye" look. But in general, I like a more wide-eyed look. At the same time, if you have super large eyes you may want to tone them down a bit so that they don't overpower your face. That doesn't mean caking dark colors on, but having larger eyes gives you a bigger canvas to work with and more leeway when it comes to highlighting and shading.

Here you can see that I have
lined my whole eye with wet, black
shadow, tapering the lines from the
outer corners to the inner corners
Also, because I have smaller eyes I'm sure to delicately but darkly define my eyes using eyeliner. Typically I do this by painting (I tend to use wet shadows and gel liners over pencils) a thin black line along my upper lashline and then making sure I line the outer corner of my lower waterline with black as well. Though I do line my entire lower waterline fairly often, I always make sure it's darkest and thickest on the outer corner--tapering as it moves towards my inner eye (I do this when I line my upper lashline as well). Why? Because doing so widens your eye! I also tend to apply black shadow to my upper waterline below my lashes as well. Keep in mind that black liner is not necessarily the right choice for everyone. I have olive skin, black hair, and hazel eyes. Black liner doesn't look out of place on me. However, 2 of my 3 sisters have to use brown liner because black looks extremely severe on their super fair skin (yes, we're biological sisters haha) and against their medium brown hair. When it comes to colored liners choose what compliments your looks best and still enhances your eye. You want to draw attention to your eye, not overpower it!

In this look I applied a good deal of
shadow above my crease, but blended it
well to prevent it from weighing
down my eye.
 Another thing I'm careful not to over due is apply too much shadow above my crease. Because I have smaller eyes and there isn't an insane amount of space between my crease and brow, I find I often look too ridiculous with lots of shadow above my crease. Don't be mistaken, I definitely do apply shadow above my crease, but if I do a look that includes more than a moderate halo above my crease I am sure to BLEND! The blending softens the look and doesn't create such a crazy contrast between the shadow, my skin, and my dark brow. If you have a nice large eye area, do what looks best to fill it in without overfilling it so you don't have a huge gap between your brown and crease. Play around with your look. Trial and error is best when it comes to becoming acquainted with what works best for YOUR eye. One of my sisters has extremely deep eye sockets. When doing her makeup I've found it best to keep from over-shading her already-shadowy crease. This doesn't mean you can't shade your crease, it just means you have to be a bit more careful about making your eyes look sunken in. The more you play around, the easier it will become!

Eyelashes are something that I feel have a bit more leeway when it comes to what compliments your eye. I think one of the biggest thing with lashes is that if you use mascara, use one that does what you need it to do well. I have thin, short lashes and need volume and length. If you have long lashes, but they're thing or sparse, find a great volumizer. If you have a lot of lashes, but they're short, lengthen those babies out! If you want a natural eyelash look choose a mascara color that matches your brows. If you're looking to glam up your look with colored lashes choose a colored mascara that compliments your look. If you have dark lashes I suggest using an eyelash primer when you wear lighter colored mascaras so you can get the true color. And if all else fails, false eyelashes are a fun way to really enhance your eyes! I love them! But be careful to choose falsies that compliment your eye shape. Using individual, short flair falsies or lashes that are densely flared on the outer corners only will give you more of a cat-eye or narrowed eye. If you want to open up your eyes try using graceful, long falsies that aren't super, super dense.

Some of the eye makeup faux pas I've noticed lately include:
  • Forgetting to blend out the edges
  • Creating such a severe cat-eye look that it makes wide eyes look beady
  • Poorly angled, winged liner (love wings, but do you really want them to stand at a 90 degree angle?)
  • Eyeliner that is too thick for small eyes
  • Not choosing shades that compliment each other (just because green and purple are complimentary colors doesn't mean every shade of green suits every tone of purple)
  • Not choosing eyeshadow shades that compliment the rest of your facial makeup
Now I just want to take a minute to say that I think everyone should wear their makeup as they see fit. The faux pas above are based on my opinion only. Be comfortable with your own taste! Sometimes people like the way their eye makeup looks when they do one of the things above. I'm not talking about personal style so much as simply choosing what looks best on your face. If you like minimizing your eyes that's fine with me, they're yours! If you like making your super round eyes look even more wide, that's fine, too. This post is for the makeup lovers that keep asking me for advice on how to achieve the best eye makeup looks for their eyes.

What are some tips and tricks you use to enhance the natural beauty of your eyes?

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