Asian Eye Makeup Tips

Crystal Schwanke
pretty asian eyes
Choose the right makeup for your eye shape.

Asian eye makeup tips should be included in any type of makeup forum, book, or magazine. The tricks that work for other lids just may not cut it on Asian eyes. Asian girls can still look seductive and beautiful in natural, smoky, or colorful looks, though; they just need to know how to achieve it with the right products and application styles.

Asian Eye Makeup Tips

About half of Asian eyelids are the "single lid," which means they don't have a crease on their upper lid. That makes it a challenge to apply makeup using traditional methods. Other Asian eyelids do have a crease, but they're still a bit different in length and position on the eye.

Some girls prefer to "draw on" a crease with dark shadow, while others experiment with placements of shadows and liner shapes.

Eyeliner Tips

If you're typically just a black or brown eyeliner girl, you can still add a little interest to your look without using eye shadow:

  • Metallic color: Try dark liners that offer a hint of metallic color to light up your eyes without swiping on a shimmery shadow. MAC's Buried Treasure Powerpoint Eye Pencil is a dark brown-black with gold. If you smudge it, the gold becomes more obvious. Play with bold colors, not just amped up neutrals. If your lash line is covered by your lid as many Asian women's are, you can apply the color to your lower lashes instead. Lining either the top or bottom lid will open your eyes; lining both, however, can make your eyes appear smaller.
  • Cat eyes: Thick cat eye liner looks beautiful on Asian eyes and can play up their shape. Using a black or brown gel or liquid liner, line the whole top lid. Make the line thicker as it extends to the outer corner. From the outer corner of the eye, make a diagonal line up as far as you'd like the cat eye to extend, then connect it to the middle of the line you made on the top lash line. Fill in the gaps and smooth the shape out so that it transitions seamlessly from the inner corner to the outer. Use a dark color to line just the outer 1/8 to 1/4 of the lower lash line and join it to the top line.
  • Highlighting: Using white or a yellow-or-pink-tinged white (depending on your skin's undertones), line the bottom lash line just above the lashes. Extend it from the outer corner all the way to the inner corner for a doll-eyed effect. You can blend it up in the inner V area for a subtle highlighting effect.
  • Smoky look: To get an effortless smoky eye, look for kohls or liners that have sponge tips on the end for blending. Apply a thick line of color and then smudge the edges out and up with the sponge at the other end of the pencil. This will give you the appearance of shadow application without the worry of which color should go where, and how to blend them seamlessly.
eye makeup

Eye Shadow Tips

Traditional makeup instructions will tell you to put the next-to-lightest shade on your lid, the medium shade in your crease, the lightest shade on your brow bone to highlight, and then add the darkest color to your outer v. That's not the case with Asian eye makeup tips unless you're attempting to create a crease.

There are two popular shadow placements for defining Asian eyes that make the most of their natural shape.

  1. Gradient color: Start out with the darkest color near your lash line and work your way up in a gradient that ends with the highlight color just under your brows. You'll add much more sophistication to your look than attempting to add dark color to a crease that isn't there, and the look will be smoother and sexier. You can then finish with your dark liner and mascara for a sultry look.
  2. Blended shadow: Imagine that the eyelid is divided into three sections: inner, middle, and outer. Place a light highlight color on your inner lid, closest to your nose, then blend it over into a slightly darker (medium) shade, then blend the other edge of the medium shade to an even darker shade on your outer lid. In this case, there would be no need for a darker crease shade. You would, however, still want to apply a highlight color to your brow bone. Blend the edges of the shadow on your lids up and away from the lashes, into the highlight color so that there are no harsh lines between the colors.

For a Smoky Eye

  • Choose a deep shade with dimension. You don't necessarily want glitter or shimmer, but completely matte shades tend to be harder to blend than those with satin finishes, for example. However, if you do find a soft, blendable matte shade you love, don't be afraid to try it out.
  • First, heavily line the eye with a kohl in the shade you've chosen and blend out along the edges. On the top lash line, try to blend it out until it almost touches the brow bone. The color will be very light at this point, though. Be sure to bring the color above your actual lid so that it won't all be hidden when your eyes are open.
  • On the bottom lash line, smudge the line downward as far as you feel comfortable. The smudged effect will add depth to the look and make your eyes look larger, but you don't want to drag the color so far down that it makes your eyes look heavy and as if you have dark undereye circles.
  • Once you have the base in place, you can go over it with a shadow in a similar shade using the same method. Pack the color on close to the lids with a small, flat brush, then blend it out and up with a fluffier, dome-shaped brush like the MAC 217. For additional dimension, take a complementary, lighter color and work it from the inner corner out, blending it into the inner edge and just above the darker shade, keeping it below the brow bone.
  • Go over the bottom liner with the dark shadow using a small, dense brush, moving the tip back and forth across the bottom lid and tapering the line in as you approach the inner corner. Brighten the area back up with a shimmery shade that's lighter than your skin tone. Apply it to your brow bone and the inner corners of your eyes.

Creating a Crease

Some girls still prefer to create a crease for a different eye look. Where the crease would be, they apply a gray or brown shadow a few shades darker than their skin. Following traditional makeup tips, they then apply the lighter lid color and a highlight under the brow. For extra definition, an even darker gray or brown could be added to the outer v and swept down to extend below the lower lashes.

Be sure to apply an eye shadow primer before your powder shadows, especially when working in the crease area. The primer will keep your shadow from migrating, creasing, or just fading away completely as the day goes on. If you don't have a shadow base, you can apply concealer in its place.

Mascara and Lashes

The first step to working with Asian lashes is to curl them since they're typically straight. Two of the most popular eyelash curlers are Shu Uemura's and Shiseido's. For a low-end alternative, consider Maybelline's eyelash curler.

If you're going out or just want to fix up for no good reason, you can add drama to your eyes with just a few individual lashes on the outer corners. They won't overwhelm your eyes and will add a flirty feel to your gaze.

Colors and Finishes

As far as colors go, Asian skin tones usually look best in muted colors. That's why Asian girls pull off the smoky look so effortlessly. Asian skin tones in combination with dark eyes and hair allow you to carry off even the darkest colors, even black eye shadow. Neutrals like gold, bronze, and brown are good choices for daytime wear.

If you're dying to wear color, you can! You may want to avoid very light, icy pastels because your hair and eye color will overwhelm them; the lightest colors may wash you out. Instead, go for colors in the medium-to-dark range on your lids (you'll still want to use a light highlight color with a bit of shimmer). You can also pull off bold shades very well.

Generally, Asian eyes look best with matte or satin finishes. These blend the lid into the rest of the face, rather than bringing them forward with frosts or glitters. You can bring your brow bone forward with a light, shimmery gold, however.

Experimenting with Eye Makeup on Asian Eyes

Don't be afraid to play up your eye shape with the flick of an eyeliner brush or unusual bold colors. If you hope to create a crease with shadows, give yourself plenty of time to practice so that you can perfect the art of blending the color out to look like a shadow. Also remember that you aren't limited to a small amount of lid space. If your lids disappear when your eyes are open and cover up your beautiful work, blend the shadow up a little further to give your eyes depth. By experimenting with light and dark shades, blending, and angles, you can define your eyes, creating just the look you want to achieve, from doe-eyed and flirty, to sophisticate, to vixen.

Asian Eye Makeup Tips