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How To: Gradient Smoky Eye Makeup


As an Asian woman, I find it impossible to follow the instructions in conventional smoky eye tutorials. My attempts to fill in my crease always end in a string of expletives. And it’s not because I don’t have a crease; my eyelids actually have multiple creases. This is pretty common among people of Chinese heritage—they’re traditionally known as “double eyelids,” though the term is now used interchangeably for surgically altered eyes. I’ve always embraced my natural eye shape, but for years I stuck to liner because eyeshadow was just too confusing. 

After watching editor Candice’s Asian eye makeup video, I was inspired to experiment more with eyeshadows. Read on for a five-step gradient smoky-eyed tutorial for Asian multi-crease eyes. I devised this look through tons of trial and error—it’s subtle enough to wear to work and requires a minimal amount of time. 


1. Start with a clean face. I’m wearing a bit of Juice Beauty CC cream on my eyelids because it acts as a primer. 


2. Grab a neutral shadow palette like theBalm’s Nude ‘Tude, my current favorite. Fill in the bottom third of your eyelids with a light brown shadow like theBalm’s Seductive. I reiterate: only do the bottom third and not the entire lid. This keeps the look clean and natural-looking. It should look like this:


3. Find a complementary darker brown shade (one with a dose of shimmer works well). I’m wearing a shade called Silly. Using a small angled shadow brush, apply it to the outer corners of your eyes, blending it into the lighter base.


4. Highlight your brow bones with a light golden shadow (like Snobby, pictured above) that matches closely to your natural skin tone. Apply a bit to the inner corners of your eyes, forming two sideways V-shapes. Dot a teeny tiny amount of white shadow into the inner corners of your eyes. This helps open up your eyes and make them pop. I used theBalm’s Sassy.


5. Now for the finishing touches! Using a tapered liner brush, pick up a bit of black matte shadow such as theBalm’s Serious and apply it as close as possible to your lashline, extending it out and upwards to create discrete cat-eyes. Fill in your brows with the same black shadow. Last but not least, apply a coat of volumizing mascara to your lashes. Mine are sparse, so the difference is definitely noticeable.


Asian ladies, tell me: how do you do your eye makeup? Any tips and tricks you’d like to share? I’m dying to know!


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  1. swimzy reblogged this from birchbox and added:
    For Asian ladies out there who have little to no, crease to work with.
  2. yizhouduernst reblogged this from birchbox
  3. occasionallyjane reblogged this from birchbox
  4. birchbox posted this