getting your eyes right

No physical feature expresses your individuality more than your eyes, and there are literally thousands of products out there designed to play them up.
Every season, new colours in eye make-up sweep in and out of vogue on the beauty pages of magazines. Although experimenting with blues, greens and purples can be fun, the experts say that what suits most women is a basic palette of neutral shades. Like having navy, black, taupe and white as the basics of your wardrobe, which work reliably for you year after year.

Bobbi Brown believes every woman needs to invest in just two basic powder eyeshadow colours. First, a light colour for sweeping over the lid (bone, ivory or the palest shell pink, depending on skin tone; for example, shell pink doesn’t work well on olive skins). This also works as a base to help eye make-up stay put. Then, a medium colour – she likes taupe, charcoal or a plummy heather – for the socket and underneath the eye, if you like to wear shadow there. This might not sound dramatic, but it looks marvellous. Darker colours, Bobbi says, need more expert blending than most women can achieve.

The key to perfect application, Bobbi believes, is having the right brushes: a rounded eyeshadow brush for lids – preferably two, one for each shade – and a finer, blunt-ended brush for underneath the eyes. ‘It’s the best eye make-up investment you can make. Those fiddly little applicators that you get with most make-up palettes don’t give enough control.’ Just about any make-up artist you can name instantly throws out the manufacturer’s own brushes when stocking their kits, and substitutes brushes by names like Shu Uemura, Chanel, Laura Mercier – or Bobbi Brown’s own. If you like your brushes to be synthetic-, rather than animal hair-based, check out Liz Earle Colour or Urban Decay.

The secrets of eyelash curlers

Some models and make-up artists (unlike Bobbi Brown) wouldn’t be without them – but eyelash curlers are infernal contraptions until you get the hang of them. Used properly, they can make your lashes look twice as long.  So…

  • Do invest in a good curler; it’s worth the investment; cheap metal curlers can actually cut your lashes. Tweezerman’s is one of the new high-tech curlers and the rave fave of those in the know. It has non-stick silicon pads which gently curl lashes, rather than ‘crimping’ them.
  • Don’t use the curlers after you’ve applied your mascara; mascara can stick to the curler and the lashes get tugged out when you release it.
  • Do clean the curler, especially the pad, preferably after each use with a cotton square and alcohol.
  • Don’t pull with the curler clamped down, or you’ll yank lashes out.
  • Do replace the curler if the rubber starts to crack.
  • Do try the double-squeeze method: place the open curler near the upper lash roots, and arrange your lashes between the two rims. Squeeze gently for five seconds. Release the curler, and move it slightly towards the mid-lash area, then repeat the process. The effect is a beautifully rounded curl.

Faking it

False eyelashes as daywear have had their day. (For now.) But some women still like to wear them at night, for high drama. You can buy them either in strips, or as little clusters, packaged with their own, rubber cement-like glue that ensures painless removal (with a little tugging). International make-up artist Chris Colbeck first applies glue to the tip of a lash cluster, from the tube. Then, with tweezers, he nestles only one small cluster of false lashes into the real eyelashes just at the outside corner of the eye. ‘Often, that’s all a woman needs.’ For a fuller effect, he places clusters closely together, along the natural lash line.

Strip lashes can be trickier, and should first be cut to fit. Then glue the band; place the strip on the lid just above the real lashes; anchor it first in the middle, then at the edges. Applying mascara to natural and false lashes ‘fuses’ them for a more natural result. ‘And eyeliner can fill any gap between the two,’ adds Chris.  We love Bourjois’s false eyelash applicator tool – read about it in Beauty Bible Loves.