Choosing the right eye makeup styles depends on several factors, including your eye shape, your eye color and skin tone, your personality, and the occasion. Although there is no limit to how creative you can get with eye makeup, understanding the basic styles can help you decide on a specific look.
Types of Eye Makeup Styles
The following styles and eye makeup tips are discussed in general terms, and these can be very different looks depending on the individual. For example, a natural eye for a woman with fair skin and light hair might mean a beige eye shadow and a coat of brown mascara, while a darker-hued woman might achieve a natural look with a stroke of black eyeliner on the upper lid and black mascara.
Natural Eye Makeup
Natural eye makeup is typically characterized by neutral colors that mimic the natural beauty of the eye and is perfect for everyday wear. The goal is to enhance the eyes without looking 'made up' or making it obvious you are wearing eye makeup. The following will help you get a natural look:
- Use eye shadow that is in the same color family as your skin tone.
- Use eyeliner the same shade or only a shade or two darker than your eyelashes. (Pencil is softer and looks more natural than a liquid liner.)
- Use mascara that is close in color to your natural lashes, or opt for a clear mascara.
Professional Eye Makeup
While you can wear a natural style of eye makeup for work, many women like to define the eye a bit more. You can achieve a polished, professional eye makeup style by using neutral eye shadow and liner shades and a regular mascara formula (skip the heavy or dramatic formulas for work). Matte shadow and liner is best for a professional look; shimmer or metallic formulas can look too playful. Perform these steps for a basic professional eye:
- Apply a base eye shadow in a shade close to your skin tone.
- Add a medium neutral color to your crease and create a slight "v" at the outer corner of the eye to define it.
- Sweep a highlight shade just under the browbone and at the inner corner of the eyes.
- Use a blending brush to blend the eye shadow well.
- Apply a neutral liquid eyeliner on the top lid only, making a clean line that is slightly thicker at the outer corner but does not extend too far past the eye.
- Curl lashes and apply two coats of mascara.
Soft and Romantic
Avoid harsh eyeliner and shadow lines for a soft, romantic look (great for date night or weekend wear). Instead, focus on using soft color and defining your gorgeous lashes.
A simple way to get a soft look is to use a single eye shadow color in a pretty pastel or neutral shade. A color with a slight shimmer can look pretty and romantic. Make sure eyeliner is blended well and just used to lightly define the eyes. Try a kohl pencil in a neutral shade or a shade slightly darker than your eye shadow.
The focus of a romantic look is often the lashes. Here's how you can get lush, romantic lashes:
- Make sure to curl lashes, 'walking' the curler up and curling from root to tip.
- Use an eyelash primer to get longer, fuller lashes and help mascara adhere better.
- Use a lengthening mascara on top and bottom lashes.
- Avoid over-applying mascara; too much will look overdone rather than romantic.
Dramatic Eye Makeup
Dramatic eye makeup designs are the perfect evening look, for special occasions, or simply when you really want to draw attention to your eyes. Looks in dramatic eye cosmetics range from dark, smoky eye makeup to glitter fantasy styles. Try the following when creating a dramatic eye makeup style:
- Go bolder with liner than you normally would, and don't be afraid to extend the line a bit beyond the eyes.
- If you normally only wear liner on the top lid, try lining under the lower lash line or smudging eye shadow under the lower lashes for a softer look.
- Curl lashes and apply several coats of mascara (combing in between each application to avoid clumps) or try false eyelashes.
- Experiment with bright colors or those different from your everyday makeup routine.
- Experiment with various eye makeup finishes, such as metallic liner or shimmer shadow.
- If you go extremely bold with your eyes, use more subdued and nude tones on cheeks and lips for the best effect.
Alternative Eye Makeup
The eyes are typically the focus of scene, punk or emo makeup looks. The style might be very dark, use outrageous design, or use heavy liner or shadow. Styles include combinations of the following:
- Gray or black shadow applied to the entire eyelid
- Black shadow blended up towards the browbone
- Black liner applied to the inner eye
- Deep colored or lack liner applied along the corner of the eye and along the lower lash line
- Black liner applied to the top lid
- Dark, heavy mascara
- Bold or bright eye shadow color, especially for punk looks
- Metallic or colored eyeliner or mascara
Vintage and Retro Eye Makeup Looks
Many gorgeous eye makeup looks from the past have come into vogue once again. Popular styles include the following:
- 1920s: Line both top and bottom of eye lids with thick, black liner. Cover the entire eyelid with a shadow in dark gray, green or turquoise.
- 1930s: The deep-set eye look was in, so use dark shadow along the crease of the upper eyelid for this effect. Top with blue, green, or violet shadow, medium black liner, and mascara or false eyelashes.
- 1950s and 60s: Use liquid liner in a thick, bold line across the top lid and two coats of mascara for a simple 50s eye style. Another popular style was the cat eye makeup look with winged liner and a blue, grey, or turquoise shadow.
- 1970s: Darker eyes were out and lighter eye makeup or bare natural eyes were in. Try light pastel shadows, pale blue, or silvery liner and light mascara for this style.
- 1980s: Lots of blue eye shadow and colored mascara were staples of the 80s. Goth and punk styles with heavy, exaggerated makeup on the eyes also became popular during this era.
- 1990s and beyond: The looks of the nineties reflected a focus on the individual that extended to makeup. The overdone looks of the 80s gave way to more subdued looks.
Wear It with Confidence
Whatever eye makeup styles you choose, wear a look you love and wear it with confidence. Don't be afraid to try a new or different look - you may just find the perfect signature style to show off your eyes.