Oh, what a can of worms you opened up, my dear girl!
For i love to do detailed tutorials with LOADS of pics and many many words :). I realize it would most likely be much easier to follow if this were a video, but alas, my video camera is God-only-knows-where; and besides, i enjoy writing. So, hopefully, this will be clear and practical enough to follow, even for the most severely Makeup Challenged of you out there.
I asked Husband to read it through - thinking that if he felt HE could do this look afterwards, then i will have succeeded.
*waits patiently for Husband to email over perfectly made-up photos from North Carolina*
First, let's gather our tools.
The following are some basic tools you should probably have in your eyeshadow-brush arsenal in order to achieve the best result for most looks. Of course you can do your eyeshadow with your fingers (i worked with a Makeup Artist in Honolulu who did just that - it was amazing), or even those crappy little sponge applicators they always insist on giving you when you buy eyeshadow. But these are what i'd consider to be the most basic, useful brushes to have around. You can make do with what you've got available in the meantime.
I use and adore Hakuhodo brushes, and also have a few MAC and Sephora brushes as well. In my opinion, the Sephora brushes are the lowest on the totem and the cream of the crop are Hakuhodo. MAC has generally decent, servicable brushes that are a good investment if you want brushes that will last you a bit, provided you care for them. However, many of the Hakuhodu brushes are comparable in price to MAC - but they are ever so much softer, denser and of such all-around better quality that it's worth it to me to have to order them online instead of popping into a MAC counter for ultimately sub-standard brushes.
I'll do a post on my all-time favourite brushes in a following tutorial, but for now, let's just get the basics down:
In order of appearance -
The Large Laydown Brush: this should be a flat, rounded brush that will cover your lid-space quickly and efficiently. It's used for laying down your base colour. This one is a Hakuhodo J220G.
The Crease/Blending Brush: This brush is domed, rounded and tapered at the end. It's perfect for laying down colour in the crease because it fits into the crease-space perfectly unless you have hooded lids - in which case it can help you create the illusion of a crease; it also works well as blending out your eyeshadows to blur any harsh lines of demarcation (so you don't look like you just did a colour-by-numbers on your eyelid). This brush is a Hakuhodo G5517BkSL.
The Medium Angled Laydown Brush: This brush is smaller than the Large Laydown Brush, made to fit in that space from the lash-line up to the crease or orbital bone. On my eye, it fits perfectly into this space, and the angle makes it super-easy to put down colour on the mobile-lid (the blinky part), right up to the crease. You can sort of just swipe in on in a windshield-wiper motion for a quick application of colour. This one is a MAC #275.
Smudge/Shadow Liners: Both of these brushes can be considered smudgers/liners. The one on top has a pointed, tapered tip to help with getting a more precise line, as well as working in the "V" area of the lid. It just sorta gets right in there, making applying shadow in the V a snap. This one is a Hakuhodo B5338kSL.
The second, flatter looking brush is really good for laying down and smudging colour right along the lash-line. Perfect for smoking out shadow, too. This one is from Sephora, and conveniently had no number written on the brush. But you can just ask about smudge brushes an use this photo as a guide when you're looking.
Is it necessary to have both? Not REALLY - if i were to pick one, i'd pick the Hakuhodo one on the top, simply because it can, in a pinch, perform both functions reasonably well. The flat smudger isn't as good for getting into the V area (if you don't know what i mean by the "V", hold yer horses - i'll get into that in a bit).
You can also use it to smudge out your pencil liner - just by lightly buffing it over the line to get a more...well...smudgy, less defined or harsh line.
Now that you've got the tools you need, let's move onto actually putting on makeup, shall we?
The very first step one must always, always take when doing one's eye-makeup after gathering one's tools is to prime the eyelids. Prime, prime, prime.You must prime.
The reason for this step is that without it, your oh-so-carefully applied eyeshadow and eyeliner will slide off your lids within mere hours, disappearing into a smeared, faded mess almost as if it never existed, rather like that guy you dated in college who ended up having a double life involving multiple wives on a ranch in Utah.
The primer i use currently is the ubiquitous Urban Decay Primer Potion, which looks like so:
Applying it is easy enough - just squeeze a bit onto your finger and gently pat and blend it over your entire lid, from lash-line to brows. I like to blend mine in with a round-domed concealer brush, but fingers work too. How much you use depends on the size of your lid-area - but you want just enough to apply a thin layer.
Then you're ready to go!
Since we're doing a very simple, basic tutorial - i'm going to use a very neutral palette of eyeshadows. I think when you're just starting out and/or don't have a lot of confidence or experience with eye-makeup, it's best to start off with pretty, neutral colours. They're hard to screw up, and they look good on everyone.
I recommend that everyone get themselves a nice, basic neutral palette of eyeshadows to play around with, because all the colours you need are right there, and they all go together so there's no guesswork involved.
An obvious choice would be the Urban Decay Naked and Naked II palette - neither of which i own, however (shhhhh).
So instead, we will be using one of my all-time favourite neutral quads - Prelude by Chanel.
Today, we're keeping things SUPER simple and using only the first three shades for a daytime-appropriate look.
The first thing we do after applying our primer is to lay down a base. This is generally a lighter shade which goes all over the entire lid, from the lash-line up to the brow. The way i like to do it with this quad is to use the very lightest shade. It gives a nice even wash of colour, and once the entire look is complete, it will serve as your highlight shade (the light shade that goes under the brows).
We start by taking the Large Laydown Brush and pressing the lightest colour all over the mobile lid. I like to press the shadow in as opposed to swiping it on, because you get a better laydown of pigment that way. Once it's applied all over the mobile lid, you can sweep it upwards to the brows using the same brush, like so:
When you're done with this step, you will have something like this going on:
Right! Next, we take our Medium Angled Laydown Brush (or you can reuse whatever brush you have on hand after cleaning it up a bit on a piece of tissue), and with the medium taupe shade from the second row in the Prelude quad, apply across the entire mobile lid, from lash to crease. Press the colour in, then use a swiping motion to blend out.
You can see how the taupe shade adds depth, without being too scary-dark or contrasting against the lighter shade. It's OK if it blends a bit up above the crease, just don't take it ALL the way up to the brow! Diffuse lines are good.
Still with me?
*listens to lonely sound of crickets singing*
Next, we're going to take the second-to-darkest shade in the quad (remember, we're ignoring the very darkest shade for this tutorial anyway, so don't worry about that one) and apply it to the V, and then a bit onto the upper and lower lash-line as well using the Pointed Smudge Brush.
Where is the V, you ask?
Why - it's right here:
See where the brush traced and where the dark shadow is? That's the V. Generally, you'll use a darker shade to that area to add depth and shape. You just follow the upper lash-line, trace along to the outer-corner of the eye, and then, using your brush as a guide, feel where your orbital bone is...feel it there? That's where you'll smudge the shadow in.
Using short strokes, you can apply and blend inward towards the center of the eye. You don't need to take it all the way to the center of the mobile-lid - i just sort of smudged it in about a 1/3 of the way. To blur it out a bit more and blend it in, i use my fluffy Crease/Blending brush and just sort of buff it lightly over the darker shadow, tracing the line of the orbital bone as well to blend very lightly up into the crease:
If unsure, then blend a little bit more! It won't hurt, and will make your eyeshadows look more tied together and polished.
Then, take that same darker colour and your Pointed Liner/Smudger brush and blend it right along the lower lash-line - starting at the outer corner and using feathery strokes, carry it towards the inner-corner. This will insure the darkest, most pigmented area will be the outer -corner, while the centre and inner-corner is more diffuse.
And now, we're ready for eyeliner!
Don't be scared. I promise you won't poke your eye out.
You have a couple options here - for this look i will start you out with a simple pencil. Afterwards, i traced over the pencil liquid felt-tip eyeliner as well...but let's not get ahead of ourselves just yet.
Get out your pencil eyeliner - here you can see my short, almost gone NARS pencil eyeliner in Black Moon.
I'm using black, but you can use any colour you wish - brown is certainly acceptable, or navy blue...just use something relatively dark for this look.
NARS pencils are quite good - and i also use a lot of Urban Decay 24/7, Rouge Bunny Rouge, Makeup Forever Aqua Eyes, Pixi and Chanel liners (to name a few...*coughs*). The main thing you want in a pencil is creaminess, so you're not dragging across the delicate skin of the eyelid. The older you get, the worse that sort of thing is and the harder it is to line the eyes.
I find all the pencils i mentioned to be very creamy and pigmented, with great colours and minimal drag on the lid.
Starting at the centre of the lid, press your sharpened pencil right into and along the top of the lash-line; starting with short, feathery strokes, you are going to move towards the outer-corner, making as thin a line as you can. Just like you're doing a pencil-drawing that requires detail - you don't start with strong strokes. Once you have a thin line from centre to outer-corner, you can move your pencil over to the very inner corner, and repeat the process until you meet the centre line. Remember, just make a very thin line (which is why you need a sharpened pencil) at first.
Get that pencil as close to the lashes as you possibly can, right into and OVER them. We aren't doing a tight-line today, so leave the under-the-lashes - or the waterline - alone for now. You're just drawing with short, thin strokes right above and even between the lashes. If you are using short strokes, you can wiggle that pencil between the lashes and above them. Take your time.
Then, you're going to go back to the outer half of the eye and thicken up the line just a bit as you go over your original line, this time laying the pencil a big more horizontally against the lashes and drawing a bit of a bolder line - going over the line again will also darken the line and make it more opaque:
Thinnest at the inner-corner, thickest at the outer-corner
As you can see i drew in a little tail extending beyond the outer-corner, using my liquid liner to go over the line. If you don't know how to do this, then just stick to your pencil for now - and stop at the outer-corner! No biggie.
DO NOT WORRY if this is messy and uneven the first few times you do this. It's like learning how to write or draw - the only way to get better at it is to screw it up, erase it and start over again. Starting off with a pencil will definitely make things easier and more mistake-proof.
It helps to have some Q-Tips and makeup remover at hand when doing this. I STILL keep mine close by, because i still mess it up on occasion.
Now, you have a bit of continuity with the lower lash-line because you already applied the dark shadow-liner there earlier. If you want to use some liner on the lower lash-line as well, i recommend feathering it on at the outer-corner, then using the smudge/liner brush to blend towards the centre of the lower lash-line. Or, you can just let well enough alone and just keep it the way it is with the darker shadow serving as your lower-lash eyeliner.
If you are still with me, then you deserve some kind of medal of Valour or something. Congratulations, because we're almost done!
All there is to do now is apply your mascara - i didn't take photos of that, and i probably should have. But you basically want to work the wand horizontally into the base of the upper-lashes, wiggle a little bit back and forth to really work it into the base of the lashes; then sweep the brush outward to the tips of the lashes. Rinse, repeat. For the lower-lashes, just take the tip of the brush, holding it vertically to the lashes, and lightly sweep back and forth. You're less likely to have a blobby mishap this way.
Then you're ready to clean up any excess shadow-fallout or mascara mishaps with your eye makeup remover and Q-Tip if necessary. If it's not too bad, just take a fluffy brush and sweep under your eyes to get rid of light fallout - and then you're ready to put on your foundation, blush, et al!
When you're all done, you will have a relatively simple (simpler than i made it look, in any case), elegant, pretty neutral eye:
Please let me know how you liked this tutorial by leaving a comment below; and if you have any questions or need clarification on this Beast of a tutorial, please don't hesitate to ask!
*Check in tomorrow for my review of the new Givenchy Teint Couture Long-Wearing Compact Powder Foundation & Illuminator!