“OMG. Your eye make up LOOKS.SO.GOOD. It looks like you are in the circus!!!” I made this gleeful proclamation after a good-natured friend surrendered her beautiful face to me and my bounty of shadows and liners and lashes. She immediately grabbed a mirror and laughed (with what could only be delight) as she inspected her shimmering lids and glittering winged lash line. Maybe she needed a little convincing? “You TOTALLY pull it off . . . it's fun!” And she did pull it off. And our night was fun. Circus worthy eyes make any night fun, right?
I concede that my brand of circus inspired eye make up is not for everyone. Rarely does an occasion merit heavy purple glitter eye shadow to be visible even under the big top. (Read: Pile on the glitter and wing out that liner when competing with zoo animals for attention).
But dramatic eye make up is a different story. Dramatic eye make up is as essential to a cocktail party as your little black dress. It transforms mousy to sex kitten and plain Jane into sophisticated. Simply put, you need to perfect a simple dramatic eye go-to look. But we’ve all seen the horror stories! Poor eye make up application is often more street walking raccoon than alluring and demure.
Fear not, dramatic eye novices! I’ve got an easy 6 step tutorial for creating an alluring and dramatic eye. Sans glitter. And I promise, no one will mistake you for Britney Spears circa the Circus tour (I’m saving that for our next tutorial. Wink. Wink.).
What You Will Need:
Below is general list of tools and supplies needed to create this look. Most of the products are probably already in your makeup wardrobe but if you are a make up newbie or simply don’t have a huge makeup arsenal, check out my personal bonus product/color recommendations at the end of this article.
- Under eye concealer
- Loose Powder
- Lid primer
- Black eyeliner pencil
- Brown matte powder shadow
- Dark grey matte powder shadow
- Champagne pearlescent powder shadow
- Black mascara
- Eyeshadow brush
- Sponge smudge/blending brush or Q-tip
- Eyelash curler (optional)
- False lashes and Eyelash Adhesive (optional)
Step 1: Prepare your Canvas: Conceal and Prime
First, lightly apply concealer to cover any under eye darkness. Dust loose powder underneath the eye area to catch any shadow fallout in step 3.
Next, apply a lid primer all over lids. Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer Potion is my favorite ($20 at Sephora).
Step 2: Line the Upper and Lower Inner Lash Line
This step calls for a good waterproof black kohl eyeliner pencil. Gently lift your lid to reveal your upper inner lash line. Smudge pencil gently into the inner lash area. Repeat for lower lash line (often called the waterline).
Keep your eyeliner pencil handy because you will need it again in step 3.
Note: This step is easy but can take practice if you are not used to lining your inner lash line. Be brave, glamorous ones!
Step 3: Shadow and Line Some More
Next, using an eyeshadow brush, apply brown powder shadow across the lid and into the crease of eyelid. Concentrate color towards the outer corners of eyes.
Pick up that eyeliner pencil again! Thinly line the top of your lash line. This will just enhance the inner line from step 2.
Now, dip either a smudge brush (a Q-tip will work in a pinch) into the dark gray powder shadow. Blow any excess powder from the applicator then softly retrace the lined area. Basically, you are smoking out your liner by blending the pencil into the shadow.
Start with a light layer of shadow first and gradually build the color.
For extra drama, apply a small amount of gray shadow directly under lower lash line of each eye.
Step 4: Highlight and Adjust
Using an eyeshadow brush, wash champagne pearlescent shadow from brow bone to lashes. Be sure to dap a bit in the corer of the eyes as well/
Step back and look in the mirror. Does the shadow look too dark? If so, sweep more champagne shadow across lid to tone down the darkness.
Step 5: LASHES! I’m talking about Falsies!
If you aren’t up for applying false lashes, simply curl lashes and apply two coats of black mascara on both the upper and lower lashes.
If you are fabulous enough for false lashes, apply either a full strip or half strip to each eye. Applying false lashes does require a small amount of practice but holding the lash strip with tweezers works like a charm.
Hold lash side of strip with tweezers and lightly apply adhesive to lash band. Allow adhesive to set for roughly 5 seconds. Then, gently apply lashes as close to lash line as possible. Work from the outside of the eye inward until secure.
Be careful to not close eyes completely until adhesive is dry (My friend Sandy, once ignored this step and glued her eyes shut. But that’s another story.).
Once lashes are set, apply two coats of black mascara.
Step 6: Finishing Touches
Viola! You now have an amazing dramatic yet sophisticated eye! Be sure to clean any smudges or shadow fall out from the eye area. Balance your face by keeping lips and cheeks soft and sheer. A sheer nude gloss and subtle sweep of blush is all you need.
I wanted to include a Step 7 which would be “Go Out and Conquer the World” but I figure that’s a given? Go forth, beautiful ones!