The Natural No-Makeup Look for Asian eyes or Otherwise Known as Reverse Contouring the Eye

I know the Asian eye shape is different from others and sometimes thinking inside the makeup box just doesn't work.  Take for example the natural looking eye.  Here, I am not talking about a fashion nude eye look or just that one wash of beige over the eye area.  I am talking about that natural no-make up look that you see on those historical based dramas like The Tudors.  (I know I keep bringing this show up but it was excitingly good television!)  You know they are wearing a thick layer of makeup or you would see the actors dark circles, freckles, discoloration, or just plain tired skin.  And, the eyes have to have some eyeshadow on for just that touch of natural looking depth.

In this tutorial, the natural look for Asian eyes requires some rethinking in color application.  The colors chosen here are the usual essential colors which on camera just show up as skintones, therefore as "no makeup" colors.  This is as subtle the eye can get.  I use the basic ivory, taupe, and peach and a dark grey brown eyeliner.  Again for this tutorial, I chose Jessica who has monolid Asian eyes.  This method can be done on all types of Asian eyes.

Remember the post on reverse contouring?  Well, if you don't, you can check it out here.  Reverse contouring is really the method used for this eyeshadow application.  What is usually contoured with dark colors is done with the light colors and what is highlighted is darkened.  Let's get on with the show shall we?


What you think should be is not the same as what has to be done.  Taupe is the color that will "highlight" or give depth to the eye in this case. 

1-Starting with the taupe.  2-The prepped and primed eye.  3-Apply the taupe in line with the tear duct and go all the way around on the browbone.  This way you are actually contouring the side of the nose also as you blend.  4-Blended. 

You can see how the taupe creates that depth by providing a boundary between lid and crease and at the same time contrasts the nose area from the eye. 


On the lid the peach creates that skintone depth color to the lid without looking dark or even too bright.

5-Peach shadow.  6-Side view with guideline.  You don't want the color to go too low because you are giving shape to the lid.  7-Application of eyeshadow.  8-Blended.

Orbital ridge

Unlike previous methods of applying a dark color on the orbital ridge/crease, here the highlight color of ivory is used instead.

9-Ivory eyeshadow.  10-Head slightly tilted.  At this angle you can see a clear definition of the fleshy part of the eye and where the brow ridge begins.  The ivory goes between there.  11-I like to apply the ivory from the tear duct to about a third on the lid.  This brightens the eye a bit. That is my preference and applying just from the tear duct and onto the orbital ridge/crease is fine too.  12-Continue onto crease/orbital ridge.  13-Blended.  14-Front view.


This is pretty basic.  The color I chose was a dark gray mixed with a dark brown for a more natural looking liner.  A black brown is fine too.  Now, I know some of you are saying that no one can't see the eyeliner.  Remember, you blink and when you blink your lashline is exposed.  And, it has to be defined so it can be a clear differentiation between the lashline and lid.  15-Eyeliner.  16-Application.  (Like a +winged liner the end is just slightly angled upward.)  17-Lightly smudged.  18-Different angle.  19-Bottom liner, very thin and close to lashliner.  20-Lightly smudged.  21-Finished.  22 & 23-Before and after.

The finished picture shows eyes that are softly defined.  The taupe actually works well for creating the illusion of shape to the eye without any harsh definition.  It also prevents the browbone area from looking too wide or puffed out which can occur on certain Asians.  The ivory and peach create the soft contrast of the lid and crease without making the eye look heavy lidded.  This method can also be used with shimmer textures for a more fashionable eye look.  Remember, make up creates illusion and sometimes that illusion goes beyond reasonable thinking!

Special thanks to Jessica!

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