If eyes are the window to your soul… then you better make sure they are a pretty pair! Eye make-up is tricky, fact. It takes years of teenage trial and error to master it and even then some women still struggle. So many women have told me they are ‘useless’ when it comes to doing their eyes.
Luckily for me, I got to practice and make all my mistakes on other people whilst I worked for Benefit Cosmetics. I was willing to listen eagerly to all the advice I was given and I met various make-up artists who showed me how it’s done and even shared their top tips.
Although at a later date I will try and demonstrate some more intricate aspects of eye make-up such as smoky eyes, contouring and liquid eyeliner, this time round I thought it would be best to write about an easy and my personal favourite eye make-up, along with basic tips on how to apply eye liner and mascara. It works for every eye colour so those brown-eyed Bambis become doe-eyed and Cheryl Cole stunning, green-eyed glamazons have all the feline intensity of a black cat whilst blue-eyed belles sparkle and stand out from the crowd. Since I couldn’t persuade any girlfriends to trample over in the snow and model for me (despite offering Selfridges’ pannetone and copious cups of Earl Grey), against my best wishes, I have had to model this blog post myself!
Follow these steps for one eye first and then do the other, before finally applying mascara.
I have always stuck by the view that no matter how good your skin is, eye make-up looks best with foundation (whether it be a light or full coverage) unless you are on holiday when everything goes well with bronzed, tanned skin! Unless this is your current reality (I’m booking my next holiday as I type), complete ‘The Perfect Base Part 2’ rather than the setting powder. When it comes to concealing dark circles and the eye area follow this step:
Apply 4-5 dots of Benefit’s Stay Don’t Stray (£19.50) around the eye area and directly onto the lids and then pat in.
This clever little product makes sure your eye make-up stays put, and I mean cry-your-eyes-out, run-around-on-a-boiling-hot-day put. It also creates an even basis to create an intense block of colour on the lids. You may have lost all sense of female decorum by the end of the night but your make-up will at least still be there, stubborn as ever, and therefore an excellent reason to purchase an eye concealer and primer in one!
Take a good plump eye shadow brush (try Mac) and load it with a loose, dark gold eye shadow such as Barry M’s Dazzle Dust in Old Gold (£4.59). Tap half of the eyeshadow off your brush as these tend to create a bit of mess and then press, rather than stroke, the colour onto the eyelid, not going above the socket line. Cover the lid with this technique and then while tapping all excess off the brush blend over the lid so you have an even, intense colour.
For more of a speckling of colour and lighter eye make-up, simply use less product, which can be a good option for a day-time date (I should be so lucky!).
Using your powder brush, brush away any excess that has fallen onto your cheeks.
Define your eyes with a pencil liner starting with the top of the lid. I use a Mac liner, shade Phone Number (£14), which is a nice strong graphite colour. It has all the intensity of black but is slightly softer and easier to blend. It especially suits blonds.
Pull the eyelid taught with one hand and taking a sharpened eyeliner draw a straight line as close to the lash line as possible half way across the lid, then continue even closer to the lash line to the very corner of your eye. Making sure you stay almost on the lashes and using a sharpened eyeliner will ensure a neat line.
If you aren’t squeamish, try tracing the eyeliner under the top eyelashes, as this will add depth and intensity to your lashes when you apply mascara.
Again keep close to your lower lash line and using small feathery strokes this time draw a line under the bottom lashes. To add depth, trace the liner above the lower lashes as well.
If you can justify it, opt for a good expensive mascara. Whilst the cheaper brands do the job, the final look with an expensive one is neater, more defined and simply better.
Try YSL Effet Faux Cils Luxurious Lashes (£23), it truly has the wow factor. It lengthens, volumises and defines so that even women with the shortest, little lashes will be transformed into Hollywood starlets. It also has a delightful citrus smell which I can’t get enough of. When I’m ignoring my bank balance, treating myself or doing the I-can’t-convert-euros-to-pounds trick I add this gem to my make-up bag.
A slightly more justifiable alternative is Clinique’s High Impact Mascara (£16).
Equally satisfying is Benefit’s They’re Real mascara (£18.50) which perfectly fakes the look of false lashes, elongating them so they flutter like a camel’s in the desert.
For cheaper options try Rimmel Volume Flash Scandal’eyes (£4.99) and Max Factor 2000 Calorie Mascara (£7.99). They might not have the wow factor but you can try a few of these application tips and tricks to get the most out of them.
Firstly pull the wand out of the mascara, never pump the wand it will push air back into the mascara as this will cause it to oxidise and dry up quicker.
Once you have completed both eyes, making sure you have no clumps on the end of the wand, start at the very root of the lashes and slowly push the brush up to the end of the lashes. Second time round, push up but in a zig-zag formation. Repeat once again, if you don’t feel the lashes are coated enough.
At an angle make sure you have coated the lashes on the inner corners. On the outer corners pull the lashes out to the side so they flay outwards for the ultimate Marilyn Monroe Hollywood glamour.
Once again this all seems quite fiddly but as they say practice really does make perfect. Try and convince your mum, sister or friend to try it out on them too so you can see how easy it is to do on someone else. Bold gold to pull out all the interesting flecks in your eyes (I am still claiming to have some blue) as well as neat graphitey definition means heads will turn next time you walk into the room!