Asian eyes are one of my favourite shapes to apply eye shadows on. Often times, my Asian customers would apologize for having "difficult" eyes to work with. No need to apologize - Asian eyes are a beautiful shape and with the right techniques you can enhance your eyes any way you want to. Lets begin shall we!
1. Tools: You'll need the proper brushes to enhance your beautiful eye shape. I recommend a slanted liner brush like MAC's #266, shading brush to apply colour like MAC's #217, a smudging brush like MAC's #219 and a brush for blending (very important!) like MAC's #224.
2. Prepping: Before applying any type of make-up you must prep your skin with a base. Use an eye cream that de-puffs and minimizes the appearance of dark circles and fine lines. Next prep your eye lid with translucent powder and an eye primer like MAC's Prep + Prime Eye. Priming your lids with a primer will help your shadow blend easily and will prevent fading and creasing.
3. Colours: Some Asian women are golden with yellow undertones and other Asian women are fair-skinned with pink undertones. Either can get away with wearing most colours under the rainbow especially since most have dark hair. For day time choose colours that are neutral like champagnes, taupes, and chocolate browns. If you have a pinker undertone stay away from anything with a pink or reddy base. Opt for more yellow based browns and beige tones. If your skin tone is more golden or yellow, stay away from colours that are too yellow based. For example, yellow golds or greens can make your skin look washed out and sallow. If you do wear these be sure to off-set it with something more cool based like a darker version of the colour or a dark liner.
If you like a little more colour for the day try soft sheer pinks and plum shades - nothing too candy coloured because it can look too garish under office lighting. If you can't part with your green eye shadow this spring/summer (green is a hot colour for this season!), try a khaki-green shade that has a sheer satin or matte finish, nothing too metallic or shimmery. Instead of applying it all over the eye, apply it as a liner instead by dampening your angled brush with a bit of water and mixing with the powder. If you're one of those girls that loves to smoke out her eyes 24/7, opt for a charcoal or slate grey rather than black as it can be too overdone for the office or daytime.
Don't be afraid to bump it up for night time. Have fun mixing different textures together like matte colours with glittery eyeliner or metallic shadows with a liquid liner. I love bright emerald greens, royal purples, turquoise, seafoam, and copper on Asian skin tones. If you're daring, candy hot pinks and tangerine oranges are also beautiful when applied properly.
Daytime: Start off by dusting the lid (from lash line to brow bone) with a champagne or beige tone. To give the eye more dimension, choose a neutral tone 2 or 3 shades darker than your base ( I like MAC's Charcoal Brown, Satin Taupe, or Wedge) for your crease. Using your shading brush you're going to apply the colour starting from the inner crease and working your way to the outer crease similar to the pictures on the left. Because you're creating the illusion of a crease you want to make sure you use your blending brush to blend out any harsh edges. Just run your brush back and forth across your crease until the colour looks soft and almost appears airbrushed. I've seen some Asian women who purposely draw a straight line as a crease which ends up looking unnatural.
Next line your eyes with a deep chocolate brown or soft black in a waterproof pencil or gel liner (MAC's Fluidline in Blacktrack and Dip Down are awesome). Some Asian women's lids extend all the way down to their lashline and the liner on top is usually not visible. If this is the case with you, skip liner on the top and apply liner on the bottom lash line with your angled brush. Soften the liner with your smudging brush. I sometimes find that not lining the bottom lash line can make the eyes disappear and lining them actually gives more definition. If your lid doesn't extend into your lash line, line just the top lash line from inner to outer corner for a polished finish. Match with a neutral brush like MAC's Cubic or Prism and sheer lipstick or gloss in a dusty rose or a pinky beige like Nars' Stolen Kisses lip gloss (caramel pink) or Dolce Vita lipstick (sheer dusty rose).
Smoldering: Go for a sultry eye using chocolate bronzes, charcoal blacks, metallic emeralds, eggplant purples and deep navy. To give the eye an extra smoky effect, I like to line the lash with a khol pencil like MAC's Eye Khol in Teddy, Smolder, Prunella, Tarnish, or Blooz and smudge it up into the crease area. I then apply a shadow in the same colour over top of the liner and blend it into the crease. It may look messy at first but do not fear because your blending brush is here! Work your blending brush back and forth until the edges are blurred or softened. Line the bottom lash line with the khol pencil and smudge. Apply the same colour shadow over top. Accentuate the brow bone with a light shimmery shade. Curl lashes and add lots of mascara - if you're a pro add some falsies to the outer edge of your lash. Brush on some bronzer or soft peach blush onto the hollows of the cheeks (if you have round cheeks like me avoid applying blush right on the apples - it just accentuates the roundness even more). Swipe on a peachy nude or pale pink gloss.
Classic but Modern: I LOVE this look. It's a softer and flirtier version of the classic look: soft eyes, black liner, defined brows, subtle rouge on the cheeks and a red pout. On the eyes, go for shimmery shades in pale golds or silver like MAC's Eye Paint in Base Gold or Nars' Single Eyeshadow in Bombshell. Apply on the top and bottom. For depth, add a soft brown or taupe in the outer crease. Line the eyes with a liquid liner like MAC's LiquidLast Liner in Point Black. If you prefer something softer smudge a black shadow into your lash line. Most Asian women have next to nothing lashes. If you're going to do this look I would go all the way and apply fake lashes. Fill in your brows and make sure they are well defined. To learn how to apply falsies read my older post: Make-up 101: Creating the Perfect Smoky Eye. Apply a soft pink blush on the cheeks like MAC's Pink Swoon for fairer skin or Dame for darker skin. What makes this look more updated is the undefined glossy red lips. Fill in your lips with a red shade like Nars' Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella for fair skin and Forbidden Red for golden undertones. Soften with your fingers and apply a shiny gloss like MAC's Lip Gelee in Dewy Jube over top.
Colourful and Fun: If you like to have fun with your make-up try colours in bright turquoise shades mixed with violets, or emerald greens with bright golds, or red coppers with citrusy oranges (I like MAC's Parfait Amour, Tilt, Steamy, Humid, Juxt, Amber Lights, Bronze, Mulch, Paradisco, Coppering, and Goldmine). If you're going to use a lot of bright shades on the eye, keep the lips muted. Don't be afraid to try glitter either (just don't over do it - you don't want to look like a walking disco ball). If you're new to wearing colour don't think you have to apply every bright colour under the sun all at once (like the picture on the left). The formulations these days are more sheer than the 70's and 80's (thank god). Swipe on a shimmery green shadow, some liner, mascara, and gloss and you're set for the night. If you really aren't comfortable with colour on your lids, line the eyes with a metallic or glitter pencil in turquoise instead. It'll be edgy but still you.
That completes our lesson! This is only a guide line so figure out what really works for you. Whatever you do, remember to have FUN! Don't be discouraged if you don't get it perfect the first time around - practice makes perfect. Work with your eye shape. It can be frustrating and confusing trying to figure out what your skin's undertones are, but don't hesitate to ask a make-up artist for help. If there is a particular look you like in a magazine, practice copying it until you perfect it. Be proud of your unique eye shape and let those eyes shine!
If this was helpful, please let me know. If you still have questions or are confused, feel free to leave a comment and I will answer them right away. Thanks!
*Pictures from Style.com