You may not have tried this eyeshadow technique before, but it’s a look you will certainly want to know about because – once you know how – it’s not tricky to do, it suits most eye shapes and it makes them look amazing. Essentially, it’s an exaggerated take on the classic 1970s-inspired feline eye, but using beautiful neutral eyeshadows in place of heavier pencil and liquid liner. Best of all, it makes the eyes look more defined. Here’s how to do it…
Update on a classic
If you’ve ever used shadow to create a smoky-eye look, then consider yourself halfway there. But instead of blending powder eyeshadows around the eyes in a circular motion to get the smudged-out effect, the idea here is to enhance the natural shape of the eyes using your shadow – not the usual eyeliner. “The concept is to emphasize the eye and make the eyes appear larger and more alluring,” explains makeup artist Lynsey Alexander.
Mastering the basics
To create the basic shape, start by applying your chosen eyeshadow in a line, beginning right in the inner corners and extending it out in a sideways, long ‘V’ shape – so that it stops in line with the tip of your brow. For this, you’ll need a small pencil-shaped domed brush to get the powder in at the lash line. The compact bristles allow you to be more precise with your placement so that you can sketch the line on without worrying about fallout. Next, using the same brush, bring the color underneath the lower lash line, smudging it a little as you go. If you’re happy with the effect as it is, stop there. If you want to add a little more definition, continue with the same shade, or one slightly lighter, and fill in from the lash line up, taking the shadow slightly over the crease and stopping where you feel your orbital bone. Once the color is on, take a slightly larger, fluffier blending brush to soften and buff out any edges and create a seamless effect.
Embellish your eyes
To really open your eyes up, place a dot of highlighter into the inner corners. If you’re going for deeper tones of eyeshadow, like bronze and copper, then a simple champagne or golden highlight works well, while paler tones suit a more opalescent finish. Depending on your preference, opt for a liquid formula, which can be dotted on with your little finger, or a powder, which can be applied with a finely tipped lip or eye brush for precision. To minimize the appearance of down-turned eyes and to help accentuate the lift effect, apply a few dots of creamy concealer in a line, starting at the outer corners of your eye and moving out towards your temple. Blend carefully with your fingers or a small tipped concealer brush to help sharpen the edges of the shadow and create an illusion of light and lift.
Experiment with shades
While color choice is always a personal preference, this is a look that lends itself to rich, metallic shades. But, if you’re unsure where to start, going for an eyeshadow that is a shade or two darker than your natural skin tone will be easy to blend and will still guarantee an eye-flattering finish. Alternatively, anything metallic, like pewter, bronze and richly shimmering plum tones, looks beautiful and more impactful. A word of warning: avoid dark, flat shades like black and purple, advises Alexander. “These can look vampy, and lose that soft, glamorous feel,” she says. For hooded eyes, stay on the lighter, more neutral side of the shade spectrum. “By choosing a softer tone, you can subtly manipulate the shape you wish to achieve,” says Alexander.
What to wear it with
It’s essential to finish this look with a few layers of mascara. To further exaggerate the elongated look you’ve created, use your mascara wand to mimic the same shape, pulling the wand from the roots of your lashes up and outwards at a 45-degree angle, rather than straight upwards. Once you’ve applied two coats from root to tip, go over the tips of your lashes only, as many times as you need to, to really pull those fine hairs out and get a little extra length. A wand with tall, straight bristles will enable you to achieve dramatic length, while a dual-ended mascara means you can do both with ease.