Modern Eye Makeup Ideas

Eye Makeup Ideas
Get ideas from eye makeup models.

Discovering new eye makeup ideas is one of the greatest joys of makeup aficionados; the eyes are the place where any woman can really get creative and express herself. Alternately, she can take a simple eye makeup style and turn her eyes into something stunning with a small amount of effort. There are ideas for every personality and every level of makeup knowledge.

Eight Modern Eye Makeup Ideas

Although the world of eye makeup is tremendous, starting out with a few ideas can be helpful inspiration. Here are eight fresh ways to update your eye makeup look for any season.

Youthful Shimmer

soft shimmer eye makeup

You'll often see models and celebrities sporting a lightly shimmering bronze or gold soft smoky eye, and for good reason. This look makes the eyes appear youthful and the lashes extra-long. To get this look, you'll need three eye shadow colors in the gold or bronze family: a light, medium and darker version of this shade. Choose a palette with a slight shimmer.

  1. Apply the darkest color first in the crease.
  2. Then use the medium shade as a liner along the top of the eye.
  3. Use the medium shade again to line under the lower eye, going about three-quarters of the way in under the lower lash line (this tip works for most eyeliner to make the eyes look larger).
  4. Use the highlight shade along the lower lash line below the medium shade, in the inner corner of the eye, and at the brow bone.

For extra definition, apply a thin line of brown or bronze liquid liner along he top lash line. Curl lashes and use lengthening mascara.

Triangular Effect

Smoky Eye with Metallic Highlight

This unique eye look was first spotted on the runways in spring 2011. While the graphic look sported by some models is too much for most women, you can easily translate this into a softer but still unique look that makes the eyes appear larger. Here's how you get the effect:

  • Use a pale neutral or pastel shade to create a slight triangle from the inner corner of the eye up to the front of the brow and blend slightly outward.
  • Then choose a soft neutral (such as taupe) and apply it in the crease of the eye and pull the color straight across (as if it is the bottom of the triangle).
  • Use a natural-looking mascara to complete the look.

For a more original take on the look, you can also try it with a coordinating shade of matte shadow.

Smoky Eye with Metallic Highlights

Wearing a smoky eye is always popular, and there are limitless ways to reinvent the look. For a unique style, use a light metallic eye shadow color to highlight a dark or jewel-toned smoky eye (use a silver highlight for cool colors like black, grey, blue or purple and use a gold highlight for a warmer smoky eye in brown, copper, or green).

Use the highlight shade both above the eye and below the liner under the eye for the most dramatic effect.

Pastel Eye Shadow

selma blair in pastel eye shadow
Selma Blair in Pastel Eye Shadow

Using pastel eye shadow can look fresh, modern, and pretty. Tips for using pastels include the following:

  • Choose a color the complements your skin tone, and apply on the top lid and under the lower lash line.
  • Women with larger eyes can get away with completing the look with black mascara, but women with smaller eyes or whose eyes tend to look washed out should apply eyeliner in a neutral color (simple black, brown, or grey - the goal is to just define the eye, not for the eyeliner to stand out) along the top lash line only.
  • Make sure to finish with mascara, or the eyes will look lost in the makeup.
  • Keep the rest of the makeup palette on the light side to balance the look.

Bright Pearl Eyeliner

bright purple eyeliner

Bright, bold, or colored eyeliner is a fresh look that really draws attention to the eyes, but if you like to play it safe with your eye makeup, you can pull off this look too. The trick to using a bold liner if you want a more natural look is to pair it with a very neutral eye shadow (one to two shades lighter or darker than your skin tone) and apply the liner only to the top or bottom lash line.

For an original take on the bright eyeliner trend, use a pearl or shimmer eyeliner.

Classic Eyeliner in a Rich Shade

If you've never used liquid eyeliner, now is the perfect time to try it. The classic winged cat-eye look has never been more popular. Although it originated in the 50s, this eyeliner look offers a fresh, crisp appearance that is flattering to nearly any eye shape or size, making it a modern winner. You can also vary the liner to be as simple (a thinner line with a slight outward flick at the corner of the eye) or dramatic (a thicker, darker line that gets more obvious at the outer corner and has a pronounced wing) as you like to fit your style. The trick to application is to practice; apply liner in a smooth motion with a steady hand.

Black never goes out of style, but for a modern interpretation, try a rich shade like cocoa, plum, or teal.

The Nearly-Nude Eye

christina ricci nearly nude eye
Christina Ricci with Nearly-Nude Eye Makeup

This look covers those who love makeup and those who prefer it on the light side. It might look bare, but a little careful prep work ensures this look is flawless.

  • Prep the eye with concealer and use a cream base eye shadow in a nude color.
  • Apply a light neutral like taupe or very light brown eye shadow in the crease and just barely under the lash line.
  • Blend well with a dusting of translucent powder and dot kohl liner in a color close to your natural lashes along the top lash line and blend.
  • Curl lashes and use clear mascara or one a shade or two darker than your natural lashes; be careful not to overload the product.

Brighten the nearly-nude eye up even more with a slight dusting of shimmer eye shadow (in a shade just lighter than your skin tone) in the inner and outer corners of the eyes. Then line the inner rim of the eye with white, cream, or peach eyeliner to make the eyes appear larger.

Bold Color Trios

bright eye trio
Bright Eye Trio

Using three different and bold color shades on the eyelid is a unique, contemporary, and fun eye makeup look. It's a style that modern pigments are perfect for. This look calls for rich color, and pigments deliver it. Apply three distinct shades that have a relationship or harmony. For example, a sunset-inspired trio might include red, orange, and gold; a berry trio might include plum, purple-blue, and light violet. Use your imagination to come up with interesting combinations. Use a neutral eyeliner and mascara to define the eye.

Try New Eye Makeup Styles

Eye makeup ideas are limitless. The continually growing range of eye makeup colors and products means there will always be something new to explore. Try looks and colors that call out to your personal sense of style, but don't be afraid to try those outside your comfort zone too. Sometimes the most unexpected color combination or application technique turns out to be the one you love.

Modern Eye Makeup Ideas