For many people who want to try a new eye makeup look or trend, it’s as easy as finding a beauty tutorial on YouTube, buying a few products, and trying it out on yourself. But, if you have monolids, as soon as you hear the phrase “blend into your crease,” you close out of your browser window in despair. As a Korean-American, I can’t count how many times I’ve been disappointed when a liner look just disappeared as soon as I opened my eyes, or a makeup artist struggled with applying mascara on my short lashes.
Those with monolids are well-aware that eye makeup tips aren’t one-size-fits-all. If you’re unfamiliar with monolids, they’re a typical eye feature for people of East Asian backgrounds — it’s an eye shape that doesn’t have a crease. You might also hear it referred to as an epicanthic fold. If you have this type of eyelid, makeup instructions about blending shadows into a crease or defining said crease don’t translate. After all, how can you blend into something you don’t have?
Every eye shape is beautiful, and in the spirit of inclusivity, it’s important for beauty brands and pros while giving the advice to take into consideration that eye shapes are unique. “As a professional, it’s hard to just give general advice to people without considering each individual, because it doesn’t work out the same for everyone. I consider everything about [the client], like their skin tone, their eye shape, and their eye or hair color,” says makeup artist Mai Quynh. Below, she shares a few tips and tricks that help you show off monolids in their best light.
Prep your skin
“Prep monolids the same way as a double crease eye shape,” she says. Monolids have a major advantage when it comes to eye makeup: “This eye shape is actually easier to work with than a double creased eye because they don’t have product build up in the crease of the eye. I usually use a concealer or cream eye shadow as a base for the eyes. Depending on the consistency of the eye primer, sometimes you have to smooth out the concealer or cream shadow before adding powder eye shadow.” Urban Decay Eye Shadow Primer Potion makes sure you have a smooth base that keeps your eye shadow colors vibrant.
Use a variety of eye makeup brushes
“I love using two or three shadows to create a dimensional, ombré eye. It’s the easiest and most natural way to wear eyeshadow for a monolid eye shape. First use a stiff, flat brush to distribute light to a medium shade of powder eye shadow on your eyelid, usually lash line to the middle of the eyelid.” A denser eye shadow brush — as opposed to only using a fluffy one — gives you more control over where you place the product. As a result, you get a more vibrant pigment and you’re able to blend shadows easier when you’re working with a smaller eye.
“Then, I would smudge a darker eye shadow shade along the upper lash line. Lastly, I use a fluffy eyeshadow brush to diffuse any harsh lines.” Tarte Flat Shade Eye Shadow Brush is a small, dense brush that picks up powder products nicely and Rare Beauty Stay Vulnerable All Over Eyeshadow Brush is a soft, fluffy brush that’s great for blending. It’s slightly angled to mimic your fingertip and give you more control of your product placement.
Try a thicker eyeliner look
“As far as liner goes, go big or go home!” says Quynh. “I always love doing a graphic eye or a thicker or fatter line because monolids can pull off that kind of look without it disappearing in the crease when they open their eyes. If you’re feeling more adventurous, I recommend bright and bold colors, as well as a cat-eye winged liner.”
Oily lids are a common monolid issue, so while a primer will certainly help with smudging, the liner formula is just as important. A liquid liner pen works best for monolids (pencils tend to have too much drag on sensitive monolid skin and gel liners get too creasy). Benefit Cosmetics Mini Roller Liner Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner won’t drag or tug at your eyes and the bendy tips make it easy to get super-close to your lash line.
Be strategic about eye shadow shades
“The beauty of having a monolid eye shape is that you have flat space to work with,” she says. The method Quynh likes to use is called a cut-crease: “Generally it’s a lighter or brighter shadow in the inner eyelid. And then a line (‘cut’) drawn on the middle crease of the eye. The cut can be any color usually darker than the inner lid color, for contrast. It gives your eye the illusion of a more defined eye shape. You can also smudge shadow along your bottom lash line and then finish the look with mascara or lashes.”
In terms of formula, Quynh says when shadows are applied in the right placement, any shade or texture will work. Also, consider layering and blending colors vertically instead of sweeping them horizontally across your lids, as you’d find in many typical makeup tutorials. This will help complement smaller eye shapes and give the illusion of opening them up.
Focus on your lashes
If your eyelashes grow straight down, first open them up using the Shiseido Eyelash Curler to reach even the tiniest baby hairs. When using mascara, instead of sweeping the wand up, which will likely create smudging on monolids, focus on wiggling your mascara across your lashes left to right — and do small sections at a time. A big, fluffy mascara wand makes it harder to have control over which hairs you’re coating. Try Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara, which is meant for your lower lash line, but it’s great for accessing shorter hairs on the top lash line, too. Faux lashes are always an option too if you want to really create drama: “I definitely think a monolid eye can handle falsies, but it depends on the type. There are so many different lengths and sizes and sometimes they’re not always comfortable,” said Quynh. When utilizing false lashes, play around with different lengths to see what looks most natural for you (it may involve trimming them with brow scissors). Doe Lashes have a wispiness to them that makes them look natural and they’re lightweight so they won’t feel like they’re weighing your eyes down.
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