My eye makeup routine really needed to get shook up.
For starters, I had never to date properly solved the shadow-creasing problem. It’s annoying for anyone to find shadows sliding around on the lid and settling in a crease, but it’s an especially pronounced problem for those of us with hooded or deep set sockets. So at the top of my list was to find a gangbuster primer. Next, my shadow collection was feeling tired – everything was looking like everything else. Does that happen to you? Where you find you keep buying the same shades from different brands? I need to have a self-imposed ban on gold iridescent shadow. The other major problem I needed to tackle was my under-eye game. There’s a whole genre of skin-prepping products that go UNDER your favorite concealer to help with brightening and creasing. I went out and got an education and can say – wow – do these things really optimize your existing concealers. Lastly, what would be an eye story without a new and exciting mascara to rave about? My first mascara crush in a long time.
Let’s get started…
1. matte eyes
Urban Decay Naked 2 Basics ($29). The subtle appeal of matte shadows was lost on me in my early, naive makeup days. In college and beyond I always reached for shimmer-based shadows, and I think that had something to do with the lack of mattes in the marketplace, AND having grown up in the Britney-Christina era. Something I’ve learned since starting the blog is that a matte palette is really an eye product everyone should own (a hallmark of the modern girl) and this palette of 6 shades by Urban Decay is my top pick. Matte eye shadows sculpt and define eyes but do so in a very natural way making them an excellent choice for daytime. But also, they creates the perfect backdrop for long vivid lashes (bump up your mascara with an eyelash curler first) for an evening look. The Naked 2 color range of neutrals has a distinctively cool undertone, inhabiting that sexy, taupy territory browns and grays. They’re buildable, layerable and always sleek.
2. powerful primer
The truth is, you can’t really appreciate matte shadows until you feel confident that they will stay put on your lid. The first time I spackled my naked lid with Urban Decay’s Eye Shadow Primer Potion ($20) and then followed with an elaborate ombre lid using shades Skimp, Frisk and Cover from the aforementioned palette, I couldn’t believe my eyes 6 hours later when I looked in the mirror and everything was exactly in place, crease-free, continuing to defy gravity. THIS PRIMER SERIOUSLY WORKS. It’s something I wish I had found sooner. But better late than never and I thank the gorgeous Lisa Eldridge for the tip. (I use shade “sin” which has some shine to it, but I expect “original” is equally long-wearing.)
3. mascara updates
3. Mascara is a funny thing. In general, any old mascara has an instant effect and WILL DO. And at the same time, mascaras really do range enormously from one to another when you start paying attention to the details. Why does Lancome’s Grandiose Mascara ($32) stand out to me? The small bristles on the brush easily get at short lashes, coating them generously from root to tip. This means you can really create a fan of lashes by reaching the inner eye ones, and exxagerating bottom lashes. Guerlain Maxi Lash ($30) still takes the award for length and volume, for full blown GLAMOUR. But I’d have to say Grandiose wins at separation and volume, creating a wide-awake, pretty look. Another plus – It’s tough to find a non-waterproof mascara that doesn’t smudge all over under-eyes by the end of the day. This one checks both those boxes.
4. luxury liner
4. Lancôme’s Liqui-Pencil Longwear Eyeliner ($23) comes in a sophisticated color range that makes me think of Bottega Veneta leather bags or Max Mara outerwear. Several of the colors have a distinctively lighter opacity than other gel liners on the market (the gel liner today is like the lip gloss of the 90’s – everyone’s trying to stake this territory). This lighter opacity matters because it gives those of us who are fearful of using liner on the bottom the perfect tool to enhance without winding up with that heavy, obviously-lined look. Embrase is a pearlized gray that sinks beautifully into the lash line. Lamé is a white gold that I love as a highlighter on the inner corners or to brighen under the lower lashes. Liqui-Pencil dries fast so don’t plan to tinker with it too much.
5. under-eye problem solving
We’ve all been there: you heap on the concealer and still see blue or dark patches lurking. The more you heap, the more it cakes. Becca’s Under Eye Brightening Corrector is a rich, luminescent cream that preps skin for concealer – like a flashlight brightening from underneath. Or, a better analogy yet, it’s like when a bra gives you all the oomph you need so the surface clothing fits flawlessly. This cream corrects color, and smoothes skin texture. Tired women everywhere have a friend in this product.
Another product for this problem is Estée Lauder’s Idealist Cooling Eye Illuminator, a silky serum that reflects light to brighten shadows anywhere around the eye (lid, under eye, inner corner, under brows). What’s unique about this one is that it’s applied through an innovative ceramic tip that stays cool to the touch and can actually help drain puffiness when massaged onto skin (especially when puffiness is due to sinus inflammation). Any longterm skincare claims are, in my opinion, garbage, but I think this is a lovely real-time product to give eyes a pick-me-up. Use under your concealer, OR I like it particularly to address my eye region on light makeup days when I’m just wearing an SPF or tinted moisturizer. Also grab this anytime you’re headed onto an airplane.