I used to think that because of my hooded, deep-set, kind of downward-slanting eyes, that I couldn’t really wear eyeshadow, let alone a smoky eye. Not true! I just had to figure out how to wear it in a way that flattered my eyes, and by “flatter” I suppose I just mean in a way that was visible when my eyes weren’t shut. If you, like me, are not blessed with large eyes with lids the size of garage doors and brows that reach your hairline, then you too know the struggle of putting on beautiful eyeshadow, only to step back to take in your reflection, open your eyes, and have it…disappear.
But this isn’t about hooded eyes, this is about doing any iteration of the upside down eyeliner look, or wearing shadow on your bottom lid, which is just one of the many hooded-eye hacks that I’ve discovered and keep coming back to.
If you’ve never done it, wearing shadow on the bottom lid seems like heavy drama, right? It can be, but it doesn’t have to. Beauty can be whatever you want it to.
As hard as I tried, my eyeshadow looks never started making sense until I started dragging some color down to the bottom lid. For starters, on my face, color on the lower lash line draws attention up to the rest of the shadow, connecting it all. It also works to manipulate the shape of both my eye and the shadow placement in general. There are a couple of tricks I do to change the way my eye looks (really, only to make my eyeshadow stand out more, I’m okay with the shape of my eyes) and shadow on my lower lid is just one.
Anyway, let me shut up and let’s get to it.
I mean, there’s really not that much to it. You kind of just…put it there. But as always, there are a few things to help make putting it there a lot easier.
First of all, prime! Yes, prime your lower lash line and bottom lid. You don’t need a lot of product and you don’t need to coat your whole bottom lid. I just dip my pinky into some primer and smudge it under my bottom lashes. Since you’re putting the shadow on your lower lid under your lash line, there’s nothing to catch fall out, and you don’t want the color migrating downward throughout the day.
Next, the right brush. As always, the tool you’re using to apply your product is as important as the product itself! You could use any brush you like, I guess, but a skinny pencil brush ensures you place the shadow only where you want it, so you don’t end up covering your entire bottom lid in color. I swear by Sigma’s E30, but anything with a similar shape will work fine.
Morphe has a ton for like five bucks each.
This just my general rule for myself but when I’m putting shadow on my upper and lower lids, I usually try to make one of them the focus and one of them the compliment. Groundbreaking, I know. If I’m doing a lot on my top lid, I’ll take the transition shade, or that shade in the middle of whatever color spectrum/family I’m working with, and drag that part way or completely across my bottom lid. Or, if I’m doing a pop of color on my bottom lid, I’ll make my top lid pretty simple. That’s just me. You do you.
I’m really into soft halo eyes right now — sort of a mirrored smoky eye, with darker colors on both the outer and inner corners of your lids. When you have small lids to begin with, I find that the halo effect adds a bit of dimension and gives the illusion of a larger lid.
But you can start however you want. I’m actually really obsessed with simply sweeping one shade across your entire top lid. It’s simple, pretty and takes minimal skill.
Since I’m doing a really bright look on my lower lids, I set my primer with a stark white shadow to make the colors I lay down on top of it really pop. This will look crazy until I put color over it so please hold.
As you’ll see, I’m using a bunch of bright shadows and pops of color for these looks, because I like to keep my eye shadow very bright. You can use whatever colors you want for this, but I’m just sick to death of bronze shadow looks.
First, I wanted to really snap on that lower lid, and do a gradient of a couple colors on each lid, just to show that it is possible no matter how small your eyes are. First (and don’t be scared) I took a matte yellow and put it on both of my inner corners, and dragged it over to the inner third of both eyes, looking real crazy.
On my right eye, I took a bright matte orange and put it right in the middle of my lower lid, under my pupil, and blended it with the yellow while making this stupid face.
On the outer third, I wanted to lay down a pink, but I wanted to wing it out just a bit for something like a cat-eye with a hard flat line on top, and a buffed out line on the bottom. I took a dense, angled brush, wet it just a bit, and dipped into a matte hot pink, Sandbar by ColourPop. Wetting your brush before picking up a super pigmented shadow is a great way to turn it into a liner or get even more opaque coverage and precise lines, if that’s what you’re looking for.
Then I took the same pencil brush with a bit more of the shadow on it and buffed it out.
On the other eye, I did the same gradient with opposing colors for a rainbow eye look.
Because every month…
is Pride Month…
…when you’re gay.
I lined my waterline with ColourPop’s Crème Gel Liner Pencil in Kicker, a silver. These slide on like butter. They’re the only thing I wear on my water line because they’re insanely easy to apply and stay comfortable all day. And look at how damn metallic that is!
The hit of color on the lower lid can also be a nice compliment even if you’re not doing a gradient. I started this look off with a soft peachy halo eye and then took a bright satin turquoise and pulled it all the way across the bottom lid.
It’s a LOT, yes, but I thought it was kinda cute. You don’t have to go so bold with your shadow, but I figured I was already using bright turquoise liner and there’s nothing subtle about that. Might as well go for it. To give it just a little more structure and make it a bit more polished, I took the wet angled brush again and gave the outer corners a tiny little wing, capping the inner corners off with a downward point.
This is certainly a MOMENT but it will still look great with your standard Naked palette or whatever your favorite neutral shades are. I just always go bright because, why not? Whether you’re going muted or vibrant, a little color on your lower lash line really opens up a world of possibility with eyeshadow, just like it did for me!
All photos: Tynan Sinks
More eye lewks to learn:
- 17 Pretty Makeup Looks to Try
- 11 Ways to Make Your Eyes Look Bigger
- 7 Smokey Eye Makeup Pro Tips for the Perfect Look