Nailing a sharp feline flick, cut crease, or any other tricky eye makeup look takes time, perseverance, and makeup remover by the liter. And monolids (the type of eyelids that do not have a visible crease or hood) can up the tricky factor. Battling through hours of beauty tutorials telling you to blend three shades into a crease you might not have can be pretty frustrating. But the last thing you want to do is throw out your eye shadow palettes and resign yourself to a future without eye makeup.
No one needs that kind of negativity in their life, so if you struggle with trying to find looks that work for your eye shape, listen up to the tips ahead. Monolid eyes open you up to an entire world of makeup experimentation, so don't bother with trying to manipulate them into looks that don't work—start embracing new ways to make them stand out. We've spoken to some industry experts who've shared their top tips.
Make Your Lashes Stand Out
Elongating lashes is one of the easiest ways to define your eyes. False lashes are a one-step option if you're looking for a way to define your eyes without eye shadow, but a lash curler can prove beneficial when trying to add length.
"Start by curling your lashes correctly," explains Dominic Skinner, MAC senior artist. "Crimp your lashes with a lash curler at the root of your lashes. Then gently loosen the curler and move to the middle of your lash and crimp again. Finally, crimp the tips. This 'C' technique creates the perfect curl instead of a bent 'L.'"
Stop Mascara From Smudging
To avoid pesky smudging (and to really get the most from your mascara), opt for a mascara with a moulded brush to lift your lashes. "The more lightweight the formula, the more lifted your lashes will be," advises Ariane Jaksch, education manager at Smashbox. "Place your mascara horizontally against your lash line. Wiggle and drag your mascara brush upward for the ultimate lifted lash," she says. When choosing your next mascara, makeup artist Lillie Russo recommends purchasing a lengthening waterproof mascara as "monolids are prone to smudges."
Play Around With a Cat Eye
The feline flick has to be the queen reigning over all eye makeup looks. There's no greater satisfaction than admiring a sharp-as-a-knife flick. But equally, it can be an absolute nightmare to get to grips with. Luckily, with mastered application, it can be your signature eye look, too. Jaksh agrees: "This eye shape lends itself beautifully to a cat flick. Start with the flick on both eyes for symmetry. To get the most flattering flick for your eye shape, place your eyeliner at the outer corner of your eye."
If you haven't had much luck with nailing a cat eye in the past, makeup artist Russo has some advice to steer you in the right direction: "For monolids, it's best to keep the eyeliner line thin and elongated at the end, flicking out towards just below the end of your eyebrow. I also wouldn't start the line right in the corner of your eye; instead, start the line 1/3 of the way in."
Use the Right Tools
Fluffy brushes can often make blending eye shadow into the crease a breeze, but with a smaller lid to work with, you'll need to have a different approach. "I always advise using a more dense, flat, or smaller brush to control placement and build up color and intensity," says Kirsty Djajasaputra, senior makeup artist at Urban Decay. She also has another pro tip to share if you find it hard to apply pencils directly onto the lid: "For easier application, you can break down our 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil ($22) and use an angled brush to build the shape."
So it just means rethinking the way you use some of the brushes you might have in your makeup bag to get your products to work harder for you. If you're in need of some new brushes, keep this in mind: "Avoid brushes with bristles that are too soft, as they can project the pigment in every direction. You can also consider foam or silicone applicators to set and build on the intensity of an eye shadow pigment," notes Fred Letailleur, artist for YSL Beauté.
Applying Eye Shadow
We can't talk about eyes without mentioning eye shadow, but it can be daunting working out what formulas and shades are best to use. "For monolids, anything with a smooth shimmer works best, as it picks up the light," says Skinner.
Now that you have the correct formula and finish down, you can start applying it. "Don't apply the same rule of thumb as an almond-shaped eye," Letailleur says. For a monolid eye, work in a vertical way, applying a medium color along the lash. Then bring up the color—blending it above the lid in one color block that still shows even when your eye is opened. The color should be applied evenly and uniformly from the inner corner to the outer corner of the eye, keeping it one or two millimeters above the crease of the eye when the eye is opened."
Consider this your go-to guide for working with your eye shape, and refer back when you're struggling to get a look right.