Thursday, October 27, 2011

Intimidated by makeup? Part 2

You can find Part 1 here.

In part 1, I covered some basic knowledge that can help you to get comfortable and acquainted with face makeup. This post will now focus on the next step after your face makeup has been completed: eyes.

There are several things to take note of before you set off to purchase cosmetics for your peepers. Understanding your eyes can do wonders in saving you time, money and frustration in choosing the right products.

1. Know your eyes. Are they round, almond-shaped, big, small? It's confusing sometimes to find what shape your eyes are but there's no need to worry as all you should take note of in the beginning is this: do you have  double- or mono-lids? People with double eyelids tend to have bigger-looking eyes but mono eyelids are just as beautiful. Knowing how to enhance your eye's natural beauty is key here. Next, look at the length and shape of your lashes. Are they short or long? Sparse or full? Do they point downwards and are straight? Or do they have a natural curl? Understanding how you want to enhance the beauty of your eyes is important in determining what products to use when you decide to.

2. Healthy eyes are beautiful eyes. Look into the mirror. Are the whites of your eyes clear of redness? Do your pupils shine? Or are your eyes dull? Is the skin under your eyes puffy or darkened? You can use as much makeup as you want to achieve your desired look but starting off as near-perfect and healthy as possible should be your goal. So, moisten your eyes when they are dry. Eye drops can be found in drugstores/ pharmacies and are inexpensive. The skin around your eyes is very delicate so try not to rub the eye area too much and be gentle when applying skincare around the area. Treat the skin as you would soft, silky "tofu".  Eye creams, when applied at night help to moisturize the eye area but these creams can be costly. So look around first, and take note of the price ranges that you find appropriate for your budget. Once you find a specific eye cream you're interested in, always look it up online before buying. Read reviews and satisfy your curiosity before committing to a product you've never tried before. Ask for samples if you're browsing high-end cosmetics counters.

3. Determine what products you want to use on your eyes (what you need and will use). Just because a makeup "guru" uses a long list of eye makeup doesn't mean you have too as well. Everyone's eyes are different and beautiful in their own unique way. If you're blessed with long, curly lashes, and you're wanting to skip mascara, go right ahead darling! No eye makeup item is ever compulsory to use. It's up to you to decide what you want to enhance about your natural beauty or the desired look you want to achieve at that given time.

4. Brows! Oh no. This area had me rolling around in confusion the most. I knew groomed brows that fit your face were always better than unkempt, bushy eyebrows- yet, I just didn't know where to start! Well, you would first want to look up the topic online and read about how brows are shaped, groomed and maintained. No pair of eyebrows are the same so never, ever try to have someone else's eyebrows as theirs may not suit you. If you've never shaped or groomed your brows before, I recommend seeking a professional on your first try. I went for eyebrow threading at a small, indian beauty salon in the Bangsar suburb of KL and it was very cheap at RM5 (USD 1.60). They had my eyebrows shaped perfectly to suit my face. If threading is not your fancy then seek help from a certified makeup artist or a beauty salon specializing in eyebrow care. If you are seeking the help of a makeup artist, I would suggest making an appointment with the beauty counter the makeup artist is affiliated with (particularly high-end cosmetics).

Basic eye makeup items:

a) Eye shadow- Adds colour to your eye lids to achieve different makeup looks. Comes in different textures: powdered, creamy, liquid. Eye shadows are available as individual colours in a pot or a palette of a few colours (3-4) or many more colours (a sizable palette would have colours of  different shades and tones). If you're just starting out with makeup, invest in a good eye shadow palette of around 4 different colours. Each colour in a palette usually has its own function in creating a look for your eyes. Try starting out with neutral colours like browns. Search YouTube for "neutral eyeshadow tutorials" and keep searching and learning through observation. That's what I did and it works! :)

b) Eye primer- Acts as a base for your eye makeup. Holds your eye shadow onto your lids and makes the colours last longer. Prevents eye shadow from smudging. Those with oily lids may want to sample an eye primer because oil makes makeup run. I personally haven't tried any eye primers and don't find them necessary for me at the moment.

c) Eyeliner- Essential! Knowing how to line your eyes perfectly makes them bigger and puts you in full control of how you want your eyes to look! Eyeliners come in a variety of colours but the most common ones are in black and brown. Black eyeliner is universally suitable for every skin tone/ hair colour. Brown eyeliners are used for a more natural look. Eyeliners also come in different textures and formulations:

- Cream liner in a pot. Applied using an angled eyeliner brush (usually provided with the product but these brushes are sometimes hard to use as the ones that are included with the product are not angled).
- Felt-tip eyeliner pens. They provide a lot of control in drawing precise lines but require practice to get used to the rigid tip.
- Liquid eyeliner. Can be in pen-form or resemble packaging like nail polish. Application requires practice but it is relatively easy due to the tip on the applicator being flexible, thin and brush-like.

If your eyes are small, and you want to keep your look natural, I would suggest using eyeliner only on the top lid and not lining your bottom lid. Look at "eyeliner tutorials" for application tips. Michelle Phan has a good video on YouTube.

d) Mascara- consists of a wand in a tube. Comes in different colours with the most common ones being black and brown. When applied to eyelashes, mascara adds volume and length to lashes. Available in different formulations with some focusing on lengthening lashes vs. others focusing on maximising curl on lashes. Mascaras may be waterproof or not, depending on what you require. Waterproof mascaras prevent smudging but are usually more difficult to remove compared to non-waterproof ones.

e) Eyelash curler- Curls lashes before mascara application to allow for easier application of mascara and to maximise the curl on lashes. Especially handy for those with short and straight lashes.

f) Eyebrow pencil- If you have sparse eyebrows, filling in your brows with an eyebrow pencil helps tremendously. Common shades are browns, greys and blacks. Your eyebrow pencil colour should match that of your hair colour. Black hair- dark grey/ charcoal/ black. Brown hair- light browns to dark browns, depending on the shade of your hair colour. Seek the help of a makeup artist/ assistant at a beauty counter for help if you happen to be there. Chanel makeup assistants seem fairly helpful, provided you show some interest in their products of course. :P

g) Tweezers- Invest in a good pair of slant tip tweezers. They may be used to groom your brows after you've had them professionally shaped i.e. plucking stray hairs that grow beyond your eyebrow shape.

Eye makeup can be quite subjective as no individual product is ever compulsory to use. My basic routine is: Eyeshadow (I have a few different palettes but the browns and pinks flatter my fair skin tone and are easy to use + natural for a daily makeup look) > Black felt-tip eyeliner > Filling in brows with a brow pencil in Charcoal as I have very black hair > Mascara if I'm feeling like it. Some days I like to go bare and be as natural as I possibly can, while still looking presentable so I skip eye shadow and just go with eyeliner and doing my brows.

There are numerous ways and techniques to apply eye makeup (shadows in particular) and some looks may require reasonable foresight into how you want it to turn out. My best advice is to get acquainted with your eye (the feel on your lid especially where your brow bone is, the creases, your lashes), the types of eye makeup items available and watch tutorials on YouTube. And as they say, practice makes perfect. 

I will be talking about makeup brushes in the next post and how I braved myself to actually use some despite being a complete makeup "noob" at that time. Some of the brushes really help in giving a more "professional" finish to your makeup but some are also quite unnecessary. Until next time, I hope this post helped in giving you a brief overview on getting started with eye makeup. Be brave and have fun exploring!

(All images courtesy of Getty Images)


  1. Hi, once again thanks for the great and useful advice, its true eye cream is definitely expensive, my eyes are so sensitive, the last time i got a cream that had some damaging effect to the lower area just below my right eye. Pls do drop by for my story.

  2. Hey, thanks. I've checked out your stories and they're interesting. Keep it up :)