Every now and then I do a makeup night with friends/colleagues where I teach a few tricks. This one always has people playing close attention, after all, who doesn’t want bigger, brighter eyes? The day I took these photos my eyes were in the perfect state, a bit bloodshot, tired from 6 hours sleep (up with a sick boy), and the bags under my eyes more pronounced than usual (damn genetics!). But hey, I’m approaching forty, and I refuse to remove my wrinkles on Photoshop, this is not Vogue! This trick brightens tired eyes and makes your eyelashes look super long with the help of Xlash. Good news too: These eyeshadow colours (or similar) as well as the techniques used will work on most skin tones and eye shapes. Give it a go, you’ll be impressed! Sleep? Who needs sleep?

What you’ll need

Check out the photo below. You’ll need three eyeshadows: 1) A matt nude/skin like colour with a bit of sparkle in it. 2) A matt medium toned brown eyeshadow and 3) A black eyeshadow (I forgot to include the matt black eyeshadow that I used in the photo, sorry!). If you want to know more about the products I used, or where to buy, check out the bottom of this post for all the info. In terms of brushes – you need three: 1) A stiff brush to pack the base eyeshadow colour on the lid. 2) A fluffy brush to blend out the crease colour. 3) A very stiff brush (I like an angled one) is to push black (or very dark brown) eyeshadow in between your eyelashes to fill in any gaps.

what you need




What to do

first photosecond photo

Step 1: Put your eyeshadow base on. Using the stiff flat brush OR your finger, pick up some of the lightest eyeshadow and pushing this firmly onto your eyelid, stopping at your eye’s natural crease. Go all over the eyelid, but be careful not to go too far into your eye’s inner corner, or too far outside the outer corner!

Step 2: Time for the crease colour and lots of blending. Using the fluffy eyeshadow brush (no fingers here please!), pick up some of the matt mid brown eyeshadow. Swipe that on your eye’s crease/eye socket, backwards and forward, swiping in a window wiper-like motion! Blend the colour lightly up towards your brow bone, stopping halfway between your crease and browbone. Repeat this stage if necessary (e.g. if the eyeshadow is too light, you can’t see it etc). The secret here is to BLEND, BLEND, BLEND with a fluffy eyeshadow brush.

Tip: If you have hooded (aka droopy!) eyelids, like I do, make sure this crease colour is visible when your eye is open. If you can’t see the colour when your eye is open, pick up some more eyeshadow and apply a little more higher up towards your browbone. This will create a shadow on your eye’s ‘hooded area’, minimising the puffiness of the hood.

Step 3: Highlight your brow bone. Using the same eyeshadow and brush as in step 1, pick up some of the lightest eyeshadow again and swipe this under your eyebrow, e.g. on your browbone. This will give a nice soft highlighted glow (assuming the base eyeshadow you are using has a bit of a sparkle in it). For me, highlighting the brow bone finishes the eye off beautifully and ties all the colours in.

Step 4: Line your top lash line. Using an eyeliner of your choice (navy, black or dark brown will all be great for this look), carefully line your upper lash line, staying close to your eyelashes. You want a fine line along your upper lashline all the way from the inner corner to the outer corner, don’t make it too thick. If you are a novice, apply your eyeliner in short careful strokes, don’t think you need to apply it in one continuous line from one side to the other 🙂

Step 5: Line your lower lash line. There’s two tricks to this: 1) Stay as close to your eyelashes as you can and 2) Only go in 1/3 of the way on your lower lashline, e.g. From the outer corner of your eye. That’s because if you apply your eyeliner all the way to the inner corner that will have the effect of closing your eye and making it look smaller. We want big eyes here girls, not small!

Step 6: Smudge the eyeliner. We want to soften the look of the eyeliner. I used the smudging end of my eyeliner to do this, I just gently smudged the line and it created a slightly smokey look. You can use your finger or a cotton bud to do this step too.

third photo

fourth photo

Step 7: Highlight the inner corner of your eye. You can use anything that is a light colour that has some sparkle/frost to it. A matt white sparkle eyeshadow is great for this look, as is a pale gold. (Don’t be afraid to try out different pale colours in this step, you can always remove it with a cotton bud!) Simply push some colour into the inner corner of your eye (heck, use your finger!), and blend it out. This is an instant eye brightener for tired eyes and helps create the illusion of bigger eyes.

Step 8: Fill in your upper lashline. Using a stiff brush (I used a stiff angle brush) pick up a tiny amount of black eyeshadow. TAP THE EXCESS EYESHADOW OFF THE BRUSH. That is really important as you don’t want black eyeshadow falling down and wrecking all your good work so far! All you do is push the black eyeshadow into the roots of your eyelashes to fill in any gaps/sparse areas between lashes. This steps makes your eyelashes look much thicker.

Step 9: Brighten your waterline. This step is optional really, but it make a big difference. Using a white or nude colour eyeliner line your waterline. This will make the whites of your eyes look brighter. For this step, if you can, use a waterproof eyeliner. This is because the waterline is a damp part of your eye, and therefore a normal (non waterproof) eyeliner won’t last long. .

Step 10: Thicken your eyelashes with powder before you apply mascara. Before applying mascara, pick up some loose or pressed face powder with a stiff eyeshadow brush. Gently push this onto your eyelashes. What this does is it thickens the lashes and creates a base for the mascara to cling to. So that when you put mascara on, they will look thicker. If you also find that your mascara smudges during the day, this will help prevent that!

Step 11: Curl your eyelashes. It’s not as tricky as it looks, promise. Open the curler and move the ‘mouth’ of the curler towards your eye until it’ is against your upper lash line, ensuring it’s really close the base of your eyelashes. Keep your eye open and now slowly close the curler. If at anytime you feel any skin pinching, slowly release and move the curler back a bit. Hold the curler closed for at least 10 seconds. Have a look. Curled? If not, repeat for another ten seconds to get more volume! By the way: How pretty is my pink eyelash curler?!

Step 12: Apply two coats of mascara to top and bottom lashes. Top tip: If you want the curl to hold in your eyelashes, you really need to use a waterproof mascara, or at best, a water resistant mascara. Otherwise the curl will just drop out (you can re-curl them once your mascara is completely dry, but that’s just extra mucking around!)

Done! How did you go? How many compliments did you get today? If you want to take this look to a whole new level, ramp it up with a bold lipstick. Good to go! Lou x

PS: I had done my base and brows when I took these pics. I had Garnier BB cream on as a base, Mac Mineralise concelear in my under eye area, Art Deco Blush, Bobbi Brown Bronzer, Clarins’ Natural Light Lip Perfector in 01 on my lips and I used Mac’s Brun eyeshadow on my brows (as always).


Products – Where to buy:

  • Makeup Geek eyeshadows: The lightest eyeshadow is called ‘Vanilla Bean’. The matt brown one is called ‘Latte’ and the black is called ‘Corrupt’. You can buy these online from Makeup Geek. I use these inexpensive eyeshadows all the time, they are as good as any high-end eyeshadows (e.g. Mac). I love them. Click here for my (rave) review on these eyeshadows. Click here for the Makeup Geek store.
  • NYX Jumbo Eyeshadow Pencil. This is in the colour ‘Lavendar’ but it’s a frosty white colour with a hint of lilac, it is an amazing inner high highlighter, an instant eye brightener. Makeup Geek sells these too. Click here. Or you can get them within NZ from Gracie Lou. Click here.
  • Eyeshadow brushes: Stiff brush for packing colour onto the lid – QVS or Manicare do a reasonably priced stiff brush which you can get at any NZ pharmacy or Farmers (Makeup Geek do a good one too). Fluffy brush which is for blending – Mine is from… Makeup Geek. Click here. It’s awesome and it’s CHEAP at US$7.99.
  • Eyelash curler – QVS or Manicare do good ones, available from any NZ pharmacy or Farmers. I got my pretty pink one from Sephora in Singapore (sorry!).
  • Pressed Powder – I use Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder. I raved about that in this blog post
  • Mascara, eyeliners – My Mascara is Maybelline’s the Falsies (my favourite mascara). The black eyeliner (which is well-loved) is from Elizabeth Arden. I like these as they wear well and there is a smudger at one end. The nude eyeliner is from Nars’ Larger than Life eyeliner rage and it was pricey ($58 or so)! I hunted around for months for a nude (not white, nude) waterproof eyeliner and couldn’t find one anywhere here in NZ. Finally I admitted defeat and visited the Nars stand at Kirks. I’m glad I did, it’s awesome. Apparently Rimmel does a great waterproof nude eyeliner, but guess what? You can’t get it in NZ. Sigh. I should have gone internet shopping…