Graphic liquid Liner…can basic black be replaced by grey for everyday?

An inky black marker type liquid liner, verses a brush on liquid grey liner...
An inky black marker type liquid liner, versus a brush on liquid grey liner…

There is no make-up look I’ve seen more worn by women than that of the ubiquitous “cat eye” makeup.  It is usually done in a combination of ways, but always involves liquid liner to produce that hard edge top eyelid line that defines a graphic “cat eye” make-up.  And with a flick up in the corner, any girl can instantly get daily glam without feeling too made up.  When buying liquid liner, by default I always go to black, for some reason and I get it in pen style for ease of use.  Liquid liners with a brush and a bottle go on too black and thick for me and for some reason and I end up looking too hard, but pens can still be really harsh if they are very dark…like the one I use now. My eyes are like daggers lined by black ink.  I accept that black is the fashion… But  I recently discovered that charcoal grey is a great alternative, if you like the polished elegance of the cat-eye, want to still be in vogue, but don’t want to look as stern with super black lined graphic eyes.

So the left photo is black liner and the right photo is grey liner.  All other make-ups are the same.  Can you spot the difference?
So the left photo is black liner and the right photo is grey liner. All other make-ups are the same. Can you spot the difference?

So as you can see with my photos, there is a only subtle difference between black and grey.  But you can see how grey liner is a lot softer, and gentler, it opens up my eyes a bit more and still is a cat eye make-up.  In the black liner photo, I used all the same make-ups as the grey liner photo, but with black, you can see how my eyes are more emphasized and I look harder and edgier.

So which do you prefer?  Hard edgy black, or sweetly composed grey?  These days I’ve been going for charcoal grey liner since I find that sometimes, less darkness on the face can actually be appealing, and maybe even more youthful.  Try it out and let me know what you think.  Make-up and being a girl is all about the details and small things!


Make-up for sad, puffy eyes!

My spring/summer of minor health problems continues, only this time end of June hit me with eye allergies.  After trying out a new skin oil on my face, I developed an allergic reaction.  My eyes went from normal to bright red over night, and had me running to the doctor hoping it was not an infection.  Finding out it was just an allergic reaction, I treated it with eye drops and allergy medication.  Soon the red started to disappear…but to my frustration, the symptom of puffiness lagged on.  I would wake up with swollen eyes daily. I was using everything from ice, chilled tea bags, to cucumber slices to reduce the swelling….but nothing seemed to fully get rid of the puffiness on the top lid and puff bags underneath.

Not that puffy, swollen eyes are the most horrendous looking thing for a girl to have, it was still better than the acne I suffered from earlier this spring.  But I did have comments from people saying I looked “sad” or “stressed”; questions about if I was going to cry!?  I am an emotional gal, and am sensitive about it, so it was definitely not pleasant to have my facial mood judged and commented on.  All those perceptions from others were made based on my face appearance when in reality, I was just recovering from eye allergies! So this was a problem. I was also meeting people around this time, and knew for a better first impression, I needed a stronger fix than cold tea bags and ice on my eyes.

In comes the smokey eye make-up!  I have never been a fan of the smokey eye. Too dramatic for everyday, and bordering on a goth art student aesthetics…it was just not practical, semi-dated.  I usually opt for a more minimal approach to my make-up; sticking with youthful light coloured shimmer shadows. But there is nothing that covers puffiness better than matte black, greys, and neutral shadows.  Something about black matte shadows suggest a receding in effect, perfect to combat my eye’s puffing out effect.  So I set out to rediscover the “smokey eye”.  I figured out a way to do a subtle smokey eye that could be worn daily by me to hide puffiness as my eyes continued to heal…or for days where they puffed up again. yikes.

How I took out excessive “glam” in the smokey eye make-up:

(Apply foundation/bb and setting powder first and prep face)

  1. Start with a nude eye shadow as base over the whole lid from lashline to brow.  This helps with blending a smooth gradation between different shades of shadow that will be applied on top of eyelid.
  2. Use a really dark, matte black shadow as a liner, and line a thick line above your lashline accentuating your eyes shape.  Thicker in the outer corners, and flicking up slightly as if doing a cat eye shape.  Thinly line the bottom lid corners with black shadow too.
  3. Fill in and soften the black shadow line with a grey matte shadow.  This gradation should be subtle, and also following the angled shape of the black shadow.  Stop about mid eye lid so that it is not overly dramatic.
  4. Use a tiny bit of liquid liner to clean up the outer edge of the cat eye made by the black eye shadow.  Do this by out lining the shape lightly, and filling in more intensely in the outer eyes corners, and thinning away at mid point of the eye.
  5. Very important: Use a clean, fluffy shadow blending brush all over the top and bottom lid to smudge and make extra “smokey”.  Without this step, you will not get a nice blurred gradation, and that is what makes a dark smokey eye not harsh.
This is a really cool shadow palette I got from NYX. The reason I like them is that their shadows are really pigmented...this helps to cover up puff...
This is a really cool shadow palette I got from NYX. The reason I like them is that their shadows are really pigmented…this helps to cover up puff…


not sad, or puff, just shadowy cover when you need it.
not sad, or puff, just shadowy cover when you need it.

I find this look is not overly dramatic, and can be worn daily, even on simple errands.  And as a make-up for a first meeting or date, it knocks it out of the ball park, because I says you’re “fashion”, but not “high-maintenance”.  And it helped me hide those “sad” puffy eyes of mine, and kept random, public judgements at bay.  😛

How I wear bold bright eye shadow colours without looking too 80’s

I don’t know too much about the 80’s.  Obviously because I wasn’t really around for them, but from photos, movies and shows, I know this much is true.  They liked their electric coloured eye shadows, and acid wash denim.  Also, they liked big permed hair do’s, no, am I right?  Anyways, not that that was a bad look during that era, but trying to pull that off these days is hard because you look like you’re in a time warp.  I noticed today’s make-ups are more neutral in colour.  Lot’s of tans, bronzes and browns. And if there are colours, they are also rather neutral. More like mauves of purple, pink and peach.  Light pastel blues.  But nothing too out there.  Or if they are more visible, it is the smoky grey look.

I recently got tired of this pretty, quiet eye make-up trend and wanted to make some noise, make my eyes pop and wake up a bit so I found this eye shadow set online and immediately wanted it.  It had all the bright fushias, tarty-purples, and electric blues that most eye shadow palettes shy from.  Ironically it was called the “60’s” era collection of colours, but they looked more 80’s to me.  The only bad thing with wearing bolder colours was that if I was not careful, my eyes would look too loud and not classy.  In a retro-prom-queen gone wrong kind of way.  I had to wipe off some of it the eye colours the first few times I wore it to tone it down.  Garish looking is not too desirable in an eye make-up even if I did want to shake things up a bit.  So a better way is this:  Break up the colour on the lid by using a few colours.  I put the neon colour just in the corner, and wear a more neutral shade on the middle and inner lid.  After laying two colours on your lids, erase the lines with a blending brush, smudging all over to to create a gradient.

Three colours is all it takes to do an interesting rainbow effect on your eyes!!
Three bright colours is all it takes to do an interesting rainbow effect on your eyes!!
Use a really soft blending brush! This is a must. When wearing bright colours, nothing looks good if you don't create a gradient by blending colours during a transition.
Use a soft blending brush! When wearing bright colours side by side, harsh transition lines break the illusion. Smudge the lines all over with a brush.
I am trying to show you guys the finished result in this photo. Can you see the three electric colours I used, and it doesn't look garish...yay!
I am trying to show you guys the finished result in this photo.  I used a bubblegum pink in the inner center lid, a bold fushia in the outer lid and lined the bottom lid with an electric ultramarine blue.  Not too garish, but still fun.

Finish the look with liquid liner and line eyes subtly.  If wearing bright eyeshadow colours, it is loud enough without big graphic eyeliner on top of it. The bottom lid gets attention too, with a dash of electric blue, just in the corners…and voila, I can wear bright colours and look expressive, not dated.  Add mascara and false lashes for extra drama! (optional)