Friday, January 21, 2011

Beauty: Basic Eyes

*Heads Up* So, this is more like a 5-step process.  There's a lot of text and images because I want to be as detailed as possible, but really, this look should only take about 5 minutes to achieve once you get it all down.

Eyes are such an important of human interaction.  We use them to see, to communicate, to connect with others.  They're the first thing that people look at when they're looking at your face.  Thus, naturally, eyes are my favorite part of doing makeup.  When enhanced properly, your eyes can become a very powerful tool. :)

Now that we have foundation and brows down, let's begin with bare eyelids.

This next step is very important.  It's the trick to making eyeshadow bold and long-lasting.  You MUST apply eyeshadow primer to your eyelids before shading them.  This is absolutely necessary, otherwise shadow colors will degrade over the course of the day due to the excretion of your natural skin oils.  Here I'm using Urban Decay's Eyeshadow Primer Potion.  It's lightweight, works well, and really enhances the pigments in your shadows.  However, at about $18 a pop, the price is a little steep.  Never fear!  Any cheap ol' concealer will also do the trick.  During leaner times, I have absolutely no qualms about using whatever concealer I may have on hand as a primer.

Apply primer to your eyelids and then use your fingers to distribute the product evenly.

Next, we're going to apply a base eyeshadow.  Since this is a very basic eye, I'm going to stick to a neutral shade for the sake of simplicity.  I'm going to use a large, flat eyeshadow brush to apply my color and will be using the 100 color eyeshadow palette from Eyes Lips Face.  

Now I'm going to go off on a little tangent here and talk about how amazing this shadow palette is.  While the quality doesn't quite compare to brands such as MAC or Urban Decay,you get some pretty decently pigmented shadows in a wide array of very wearable colors.  Here's the best part, this 100 color palette only set me back $10.  That's like 10 cents per color.  You really can't beat a deal like that.  For a bargain hunter like me, I was ecstatic!  Best cosmetic purchase I've ever made.  You can buy yours online here: 100 Shadow Palette

I'm going to apply a medium, semi-shimmery taupe shade to the bottom half of my upper eyelid.  It isn't imperative to use these exact colors.  You might not even like taupe.   I know most of you probably won't have this palette on hand, so just use a neutral shade of your choice from your current shadow collection.

Again, this is the base color.  Next, we're going to apply the highlight color.  I've chosen a lighter, 
silver-taupe shade with a hint of shimmer to complement my base shade.  Using the same brush, you want to sweep it onto the upper half of your upper eyelid all the way to the brow.

The ensuing result should look something like this:

The effect is subtle, but you'll notice that, bottom to top, the colors fade from dark to light.

For the next step, you'll need a black eyeliner pencil.  I'm going to use the HIP by L'Oreal Color Chrome  Eyeliner in Chrome Black.  This is my favorite pencil eyeliner at the moment.  It glides on as fluidly as liquid and lasts really long.  Love it!  You can get it for around $8-$9 at Target.

Using the black eyeliner pencil, you're going to trace a line from the outer corner of your lid line to the center of your lid, tapering the line thinly as you reach the center.  Do this for the top and bottom lid.

After finishing this step, your eyes should look something like this:

The eyeliner forms a V-shape

Great!  Now we're ready for some black eyeshadow.  Oh my!  Black eyeshadow?  That sounds pretty intimidating, right?  Black is about as bold as you can go and it's a permanent staple in my makeup bag.  It's such a beautiful color that can easily be as subtle as it can be intense.  Don't worry.  If you're not comfortable with blacks, you can opt for brown.  In that case, just use brown eyeliner for the previous step.  Is black or brown too boring for you?  That's ok!  You can customize your look by using blue, green, purple, orange...whatever color suits your fancy.  This is a very basic shadow technique that you can really play with.  I'm just keeping it neutral for the sake of simplicity.

So, using either a small domed shadow brush or a small smudge brush, pick up a little black shadow (or any dark shade of your choice) on the tip of the bristles.  If you have the ELF shadow palette, you may use either the matte black or glitter black.

Next, you'll want to layer the black shadow over the black liner that you previously applied.  The black liner acts as a secondary eyeshadow base and really locks in the bold color.  Smudge the shadow as you layer it over the liner, tapering and fading as you move from the outer corner to the center of the lid.  Do this for both top and bottom lid.

Once you've completed this step, your eyes should look something like this:

If you want to keep things really simple, you're pretty much done at this point.  Primer, base shadow, liner, black shadow...that's just 4 steps.  Not bad, right?  

The last thing I'm going to demonstrate is simply a supplement to this look.  It's completely optional.  We're just going to curl our lashes and add a little mascara to give our eyes a little more oomph.

Shu Uemura makes my favorite eyelash curler of all time, but I got into a fight with them so I defected to Shiseido instead which is almost as good.  For mascara, I've been favoring Sephora's store brand lately.  It's just a personal preference, but I like my mascara formula thin and smooth.  I've given up on fat lashes, so the next best thing for me is to have tidy, uniform-looking lashes.  Another favorite of mine is Maybelline's Full & Soft Waterproof.

The finished result should look something like this:

Here is a before and after eye shot:

Here is a before and after shot of the overall look, including cheeks, lips, and hair:

I developed this look after being inspired by Angelina Jolie's minimalistic yet beautiful makeup as portrayed in this set of images:

For Angelina's looks, this basic technique has been enhanced with false eyelashes and winged liner, something we'll be sure to cover at another time.
Now I don't think I'll ever quite resemble the lovely Ms. Jolie, but after years of spending a lot of time applying makeup heavily, I've come to appreciate how simplicity sometimes brings out the best.

Generally, I feel that makeup should complement one's natural features, not compete with them.  Of course, there will always be exceptions.  What fun is makeup if you can't experiment creatively with color?

I hope this post has been helpful.  Again, feel free to let me know if you have any questions or requests for future posts.  I'll be concluding basic makeup with cheeks and lips in the ensuing posts.



  1. This look is awesome! Minimal amount of makeup applied, but still looks heavenly.

    I have many requests.. XD Don't want to scare you off with them.. lol! But a bold and bright or an evening look would be nice to see. :)

  2. Thank you! Don't worry about scaring me with requests, I consider them to be fun projects. =) What kind of colors did you have in mind...blues, greens, purples...? Let me know!

  3. This only takes 5 minutes! I think in my unskilled hands it would take 45 minutes.. definitely need to get one of those handy eyeshadow palettes to try this out on myself. Is the LOreal eyeliner you're using here better than MAC eyeliner? I don't know if it's just my oily skin, but MAC eyeliner wears off so quickly for me.

  4. nice! i really like how natural it looks! you should do some crazy colors for fun! like..BLUES!! or purple :)

  5. @Linda: I've got pretty oily skin too. I really love the L'Oreal liner, though I've never tried the MAC. I think my liner lasts pretty decently because of the primer. Also, the black shadow layered on top sets it, making it fairly budge-proof.

    lol, it really is a quick process. I'll try and upload a video to demonstrate. I was actually in a time crunch today and did this look without the base shadow. I just put my face powder over the primer. Looked great! So if you want to save even more time, you should try skipping the shadow step.

  6. purples too! when you have the time! oooooh a tropical look would be cool too! :D