I’m delighted to present another in my ongoing series of guests posts contributed by black women and other women of color. I always want more! I welcome post drafts or ideas for posts for consideration; email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I pay $150 for accepted posts. The posts can be anonymous or not, as you prefer. I welcome content on #MakeupMonday (the initial impetus was a Twitter follower asking for #MakeupMonday posts oriented toward women of color) as well as anything related to the academic and post-academic career.
Today’s post is by Wendy Laybourn; this is a followup (requested by me) to her earlier #MakeupMonday post, Finding My Asian-American Mirrors.
I’m definitely no makeup artist, however I do have some tips and tricks for everyday makeup application that I’ve learned along the way. First let me acknowledge that what I may think of as “everyday eye makeup” may not be what you want for your daily routine. However, I will share some eye shadow application prep and application tips that will hopefully help you as you put together your eye makeup look.
For me, on a work day, I pretty much always do some sort of eye makeup – brows and mascara are bare minimum, that plus eye shadow is more typical. My entire makeup routine takes about 12 minutes, with eye makeup taking up a good portion of that time. I won’t go into my CC cream, blush, and highlighter routine here, but instead I’ll focus on the eyes, something that’s sadly taken me my entire life to learn.
The first thing about eyes, especially for monolids, is primer. Primer helps create a smooth, even foundation for the rest of your eye makeup, and it also ensures that your eye shadow will “pop” and last through the entire day. My favorite eye shadow primer is Urban Decay Primer Potion. You’ll want to apply a thin layer over your entire eyelid. It’s also a good idea to set your primer so there’s no creasing when you apply your eye shadow. This can be done by lightly sweeping a loose and/or translucent powder over your eyelid. I actually do not do this (even though I’m telling you to! Lol) and have never experience creasing or folding of my eye shadow but apparently it can happen.
Next I usually do my brows but since brows can be super personal in regards to shape, desired thickness, etc. I am going to leave the brows to you. Instead, I will jump right to eye shadow application. For this How To, I am going to discuss the gradient eye shadow technique. I find it’s super easy to do though it does require some dedicated time to do all of the blending.
The key thing to know about this eye shadow technique is your eye shadow brush movement. Instead of a window washer movement (side to side, left to right), you will use an upward and small circular motion moving towards the outer corner of your eyelid. This will draw your eye shadow up, from your lash line to underneath your brow bone (or where a crease would be if you had one).
The benefit of having a monolid is that you can keep your eye open as you apply your eye shadow. If you tilt your head back slightly, you will get that nice flat surface and be able to gauge where you are placing your eye shadow and where you want it to stop.
For the gradient eye shadow (you can also think of this as an ombré eye shadow), you’ll want two eye shadow colors – one lighter, maybe a shade darker than your skin tone for a natural look, and one darker, a dark brown works here, and this is the one that will help make your eye “pop” and create a smoky eye look. For my everyday work eyes, I’ve recently been using ColourPop’s “Give It To Me Straight” palette with “Downright” serving as my lighter color and “Actually” as my darker color. Another everyday eye combo is from my Tarteist Pro To Go mini palette. This palette is great because the six shades can be combined to achieve a variety of day or night looks. I use “Drive” for my lighter color and “Stylin” for my darker color.
Here I am with my eye primer already on and set (I did dust with a light coat of Laura Mercier loose translucent setting powder).
Dip your Sigma Blending brush (E25) or any firm, rounded eye shadow brush into your lighter eye shadow. Tap your brush to remove any excess. Press the color into your lash line, then begin your upward circular brush motion to draw the color up your eyelid. You will probably need to pick up more color, pressing it higher up your eyelid and then continuing to blend it upward until you’ve reached the area where your crease would be (or underneath your brow bone). The lighter color should cover your entire eyelid.
I have one eyelid with a light base color so you can see where I placed the eye shadow. I used “Drive” form my Tarteist Pro To Go palette.
You’ll repeat the same motions with your darker color, pressing the color into your lash line, then blending up, but not covering the entire lighter color (so not covering your entire eyelid). The idea is that you will create a gentle progression of color, which is why it’s so important to blend. You don’t want harsh lines separating the two colors. To achieve the soft gradation, you will want to use your Sigma Tapered Blending brush (E40) or any soft, fluffy tapered blending brush to blend out any potential harsh lines. When you use this brush, you can use the left to right, windshield wiper motion.
For my darker color, I used “Actually” from my ColourPop “Give It To Me Straight” palette.
Here it is with both eyes done.
I finished out both eyes and then did my brows, using Anastasia Dipbrow.
To brighten up your eye, you may want to highlight the inner corner of your eyes with a iridescent color, like “Up Front” from the “Give It To Me Straight” ColourPop palette.
You can use this technique, experimenting with your color combinations, to create as bold, dramatic, and colorful look as you’d like.
Next, you may want to apply eyeliner. While I do think liquid liner is generally more preferable due to the brush applicator, which allows you to make the perfect cat eye, and because of its more long-lasting and waterproof properties, I also really like Son & Park’s eyeliner pencil. Some of my favorite liquid liners are Clio’s Kill Black waterproof pen liner and Sigma’s Liquid Pen eyeliner.
Then, it’s time for mascara but first you gotta curl those lashes! The secret to getting that sky high curl, especially for our short and often unruly eyelashes, is to get an eyelash curler that follows the curve of your eyelid. You may think that all eyelash curlers are created equal but that’s not the case. Some eyelash curlers are super rounded, mimicking a more rounded eyelid. For monolids, our eyelid shape tends to be less round. So, you’ll want to get a less round eyelash curler, which will enable you to get very close to your eyelid and curl your eyelash closer to the lash line. Then, of course, give your lashes a couple more curls, one about midway down your eyelashes and then a brief curl at the tips of your eyelashes. Shiseido and Shu Uemura are both brands to check out.
Now for mascara. Honestly, I don’t have any super strong endorsements for mascara because I’m still trying to find one that I really love. I do suggest that you get a waterproof mascara. Actually, I insist. Again, because of our eye shape and eyelashes, you need a waterproof mascara to guard against smudging and running.
Voila! With your eye makeup complete, you are ready to take on the world!
My finished look. I did add Sephora Luxe False Eyelashes in “Quill” (because I’m trying out this false eyelash thing) and Touch in Sol Metallist gloss in “Lottie”.
**I must acknowledge Annie Haubenhofer (YouTube/IG: thecityinthesky) for teaching me the gradient eye shadow technique.
Urban Decay Primer Potion https://www.urbandecay.com/shop/eyes/eyeshadow-primer
ColourPop “Give It To Me Straight” palette https://colourpop.com/products/give-it-to-me-straight
Tarteist Pro To Go palette https://tartecosmetics.com/en_US/collections/tarte-to-go-travel/tarteist-pro-to-go-palette/953.html
Sigma Blending brush (E25) https://www.sigmabeauty.com/e25-blending-chrome.html
Sigma Tapered Blending brush (E40) https://www.sigmabeauty.com/e40-tapered-blending.html
Clio’s Kill Black waterproof pen liner https://sokoglam.com/products/clio-waterproof-pen-liner
Sigma’s Liquid Pen eyeliner https://www.sigmabeauty.com/liquid-pen-eyeliner-wicked.html
Shiseido eyelash curler https://www.shiseido.com/eyelash-curler-0729238500969.html
Shu Uemura eyelash curler https://www.shuuemura-usa.com/4935421350853.html#q=eye+lash+curler&start=1
Sephora Luxe False Eyelashes in Quill https://www.sephora.com/product/luxe-false-lash-P397401?skuId=1698331
Laura Mercier Loose Translucent Setting Powder https://www.lauramercier.com/set-with-powder/translucent-loose-setting-powder-prod12321001.html?shades=AllShades&color=Translucent