Easy Ways to Get Standout Eyes

When I make a woman’s eyes up, I take into consideration her natural coloring and her personal style. For some women, a neutral eye shadow and a coat of mascara is more than enough. And then there are other women who feel their best with full eye makeup on: base color, lid color, contour, highlighter, liner and mascara. You have a few choices when it comes to eye shadow:

Eye shadow

I love powder shadow because it is versatile and easy to work with. Choose from soft matte (an all-around flattering option) or shimmery (find a formula that’s more sheer than frosted). Leave the glittery shadows to the teens. Many powder shadows are formulated to be used dry or damp, which allows you to adjust the intensity of the color.

If you have especially dry eyelids, cream shadow is a good choice. Plus, it’s incredibly portable and you don’t need a separate brush to apply it. The downside is that this formula tends to crease, so pass on it if you have less-than-smooth eyelids.

The longest-lasting shadow formula is cream-to-powder shadow. It’s ideal if you have a lot of naturally occurring oil in your eyelids and looks best on smooth skin. To avoid a crepey effect, smooth cream-to-powder shadow on bare lids and don’t layer it with other shadow formulas.

To make eyes really stand out, try lining them. Here are your options for lining eyes:

Eye liner

Powder shadow is my go-to for lining eyes because it’s easy to work with and very versatile (depending on how you apply it, you can create a clean, sharp line or a soft, diffused line). Use an eye liner brush that’s thin and flat with straight or slightly angled bristles. To prevent dark specks of shadow from falling under the eyes when you line, lightly blow or tap on the brush to get rid of excess shadow. My other trick is to dampen the brush before I dip it into the shadow — in addition to ensuring that the shadow stays on the brush, this also makes the shadow last longer.

Eye pencils are a popular option because they’re relatively mistake-proof. They’re a good choice if you don’t want to fuss around with a separate makeup brush. The downside is that their wax-based formula makes them prone to smearing. If you can’t part with your pencil, consider layering powder shadow over it to make it longer-lasting.

For the most dramatic effect, go for liquid or gel liner. The waterproof, long-lasting formula makes this a good choice if you’re prone to tearing or want your liner to last from day to night.

As I mentioned earlier, I don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach for applying eye makeup. However, here is my basic step-by-step for creating a classic eye. You can use it as a starting point and adjust it depending on the occasion or how much time you have. Choose a light, medium, and dark eye shadow shade. Sweep the light shade all over the lid with a wide eye shader brush. Dust the medium shade on the lower lid using an eye shadow brush. Apply the dark shade along the lashline with an eye liner brush. After lining the upper lashline, look straight ahead to see if there are any gaps that need to be filled in. If you also line the lower lashline, make sure top and bottom liner meet at the outer corner of the eye.