Eyeshadow Application for Any Eye Shape

Please go here for the 5 minute eyeshadow application tutorial for any shaped eyes.

In this lesson being a mature woman, the basic application is for shaping and lifting the eye of any shape including Asian ones. This is not to say that this is a makeup law and this is the only way eyeshadow should be applied. Eyeshadow can be applied any way you want. I am just showing another way of application for people who feel they are in a makeup rut or just want to see a variation of an application technique.

In the following pictures I used my own eye (for Asians) and Sixxmum's (for non-Asians). Now, Sixxmum's eye is a typical hooded eye of non-Asians. Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Eva Green all have hooded eyes. You might be wondering what is the difference between the Asian and non-Asian hooded eyes. Non-Asians still have the shape of the fleshy area of the eye and crease when the eyes are closed. There is differentiation between the brow bone area and muscular eyeball area whereas Asians do not have that distinction. (I am not saying all Asians but a good majority do.) Asians with monolids, you basically have the same structure as me, only the fold is smaller but the application is still the same.

Usually when applying eyeshadow, you just apply the eyeshadow looking in the mirror not really paying attention that each part of the eye has separate parts to define. You might apply a color start at the inner corner and just swish it across the crease of the eye until it hits the other corner (hinge) then just blend it out a bit and then pick another color and continue until the entire eye area is colored. After awhile you get used to it and you buy more colors, hoping it will change the way you look at your eye. Then you have enough colors and realize that you are in a makeup rut! OR suddenly, one day you look in the mirror with your eye makeup on and wonder, when did I get this old? Why doesn't it look right? I use the best eye creams and sunscreen but my eyes just don't have the same youthful expression. It is all a matter of application, as you get older, defining the different areas of your eye becomes important because with wisdom comes the fact that your body parts seem to run into each other! By the way, youthful eyes may follow this application technique as well.


1-Before we start, check where your lid's softness ends or right before it hits the slope onto the brow bone. Lift the skin if you have to. 2-Find the corner of the eye. 3-Find the hinge of the eye. 4-This is how far the eyeshadow should be applied. Any further and it will bring down the eye. The guideline is tail end of the eyebrow. For some, the brow may have to be drawn on a bit. The brushes I used for application are filbert brushes.

Defining the Eyeball Area

I call this the eyeball area because it is where your eyeball sits and it is the fleshy (muscular) part of the eye. What is important here is to define this area, separate it from the rest of the eye area to provide dimension. The eye area is not just seen from the front, it is seen from the sides also, it is three dimensional like you. Also, you want that area to look lifted and that matters to me.

1 & 2-Here I show the corner of the eye from different angles (front and side). 3, 4 ,&5-(For sixxmum's pix I used green for easier viewing.) In that corner I place a shadow right below the bone. Non-Asians the crease will be your guide because that distinctly provides the separation between the eyeball area and bone area. Don't be afraid to lift the skin to apply shadow into that area. Go from the crease down to the lash line. The curve of the bone will automatically set the angle for your brush. 6-Now that I have applied shadow on the corner area, I extend it more to define the area. There are variations which I have posted. Which one is best? It all depends on how you feel. If you just want to differentiate just the corner, just define the corner. You want just a bit more then do what I do and just go about 2/3 of the way. If you have deep set eyes, maybe the edges only. Or for others who like to go all out, go all around and some may like to line just the crease. Asian monolids, you have the same option too. 7-I begin to blend to soften the edge. 8, 9, & 10- Show the finished result at different angles. 11-Since I want just a touch of drama, I extend the end just a bit to elongate my eye. It is still the corner but it hits part of the bone area that slopes into the eyeball. (With Sixxmum I show it in a darker green.) 12 & 13-Show it at different angles. 14 & 15-Shows after it has been blended. What you are basically doing is deepening or creating depth in the area where the eyeball doesn't bulge on the lid. Also note, it never hits the hinge area.

The colors I use for this area are matte brown colors. I used dark brown. You can use anywhere from taupe to various dark browns. However, this isn't written in stone but I do prefer matte since this is more for defining. If you want a nude eye look, I recommend the taupe since it will just lightly shape and define. You can also always layer shimmer on top when the eye is done. In fact, for you mature women who were afraid of shimmer, the matte shadow provides a barrier on the lid when the shimmer shadow is applied, preventing it from sinking into the fine lines. Shimmer shadows are wearable for any age!

Orbital Ridge and Brow Bone

The orbital ridge is the area between the brow bone and fleshy area.  For some it may be wide and for others narrow. In Sixxmum's pix, I marked it. I also marked how far the eyeshadow should go, usually not beyond the end of the eyebrow. If you draw in your brows, then the end of that tip. On the inner corner, you are applying it right between the side of the nose and the inner eye corner. What this does is separate the side of the nose from the front plane of the eye. 1 (sixxmum)-I show the area to be colored. In my picture, I show you can place a kleenex (in this case it was a Sanek strip) as a guide during application. 2-I start from the outside since that is where I placed my guide. If you like to start from the inner corner, go ahead. The brush starts on the bone area of the brow and leaves space for the brow bone highlight. 3-As the brush travels, the tip of it generally guides the shadow on where it will be applied. It follows the natural curve of the eye. 4-Stops in area between the side of the nose and inner eye corner. 5-Area of application before blending. 6-Different angle. 7-I begin to blend that area. 8-Blending the inner corner. 9-I wipe away any color that appears to have run past the imaginary guide. 10-All blended and ready for brow bone highlight. 11-Applying the brow bone color. This color doesn't have to be a very light color. I use a medium peach which looks lighter since the skeletal structure becomes highlighted naturally by the lights. I use this color for another reason, the area between my "crease" and eyebrow is wide, I don't want to make it stand out any further by highlighting it with a very light color. On Sixxmum I show it with the usual highlight color. 12-The end result.

For this area I again recommend a matte color since it is the area that seems to catch the light. However, it doesn't have to stay matte, a shimmer color can be layered on top. Like I said before, the matte color gives the shimmer something to stick on so it won't sink into the lines of the eyes. Taupe is a good color to use. If you used taupe to define the eye, it is okay to use it again for this area for the nude eye look. A color that is lighter than the eyeball defining color is good, any medium browns. I used a midtone terracotta brown.


Now, the easiest part is the lid. You can really put on any color there and any finish. You can apply shimmer if you want. I still apply a matte shade to allow something for the shimmer to adhere to. If you are going for a smoky eye look, apply a dark color. If you want color, go for color.

1 & 2-I am using an ivory tone. This is the area where I use my highlighting color instead of applying it on my brow bone. I want to open this area up. On Sixxmum I apply a blue color. I apply the color from the inner eye to the dark defining color. See, you have a guide on where to apply! 3, 4, & 5-The finished look from different angles. You can see the shadows never hit the hinge area. The eye stays looking lifted and defined. 5-On Sixxmum, I also applied a light color on the lid.

The shape of your eye has been defined. A couple of inches from the mirror and it might look strangely to you. Stand at arms length and check. People are not going to be looking as close as you apply your eye makeup. May look and feel strange at first but let it sink in, take a picture if you aren't sure. I am sure it looks good!

Winged Eyeliner and Smoky Eyeliner

Winged eyeliner is retro and fun. So why does it look right on some people and not others. Why does it look good on the women of Mad Men (you might be saying) and not on yourself. It could be how the wing is clipped that matters. Usually when you try the winged liner look, you look straight into the mirror and just follow the curve you see in the mirror. This will just curve your liner around the front plane of your eye and not around it.

(In Sixxmum's pix I have the hinge area colored in yellow.) You can see the liner never enters this area. 1-This is the starting point of the wing. It never starts at the hinge. It starts where the eyeball shadow was applied and blended. And that means that it is above the lash line. In fact, there is a gap between the lashes and winged liner. 2-I close my eye halfway and pull the edge taut so I can get a cleaner line. You can see that the line just glides to the bulge of the front of the eye. 3-I usually stop in the center. 4-You can see that when I look down, the liner wings up. 5-I finish the line from the inner corner, the area that curves into the tear duct and eye. For some it folds inside. 6-I finish it up and extend the wing just a bit more to my liking. 7-Shows the liner when I look straight ahead. 8-Shows the liner when I look down. 9-Is an extreme angle from below. The arrow shows the gap between the liner and the lashes. Usually this is filled in with false lashes or not.

Let's say you aren't a winged liner fan but want something normal for everyday or smoky. The idea here is to have an open end with the illusion that is closed.

For this post, I used my eye. I think with the winged liner post you pretty much have the eye shape and direction down. I also applied the line very thick. (I would have used Julie Hewett's eyelining brush for this but the line would be almost undetectable, but that is the brush that I would use for a natural looking eyeliner.) 1-Here I start in the inner corner, close to the tear duct. 2-View from the front. 3, 4, & 5-I bring the line around my lash line and stop at the last lash. 6-You can see when I start the bottom line, I never connect it with the top. I start deep in the corner of the bottom lash line. 7-Finished result. I never connected the top and bottom but, it naturally looks connected anyway. 8-I decided to add a little wing, the same way as in the winged liner way. 9-Different angle of the liner. 10-I begin to smudge it to make it look smoky. 11-When all done with smudging, you can see that the top and bottom never connect. 12-From the front it looks connected but isn't. 13-You can see it is open ended.

This technique is great for mature women. In fact, if you watch many films or tv shows, many of the mature women look great with smoky eyes because it is an open ended technique. Nothing makes them looked aged or droopy.


I think I covered what I wanted to cover on eyeshadow application. Like I said in the beginning, this isn't written in stone. It is just another way of application. This is the basic application stuff. There are ways to apply eyeshadow in the "hinge" area but I avoided that part. I don't want your head to spin any more than mine is. I will cover it in a future post. This does take some practice. Took me many practice sessions to understand it and my eye structure. What took the longest was to become comfortable with it. Like I said before, look at the finished result close up then stand at arms length from the mirror. Your eye will have shape and dimension. I know there are more things I wanted to say but my brain is about to shut off and I have to recharge it. So, go play and have fun!

*A very special thanks to sixxmum (check out her blog here) for contributing her eyes!

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