Eyelids: The shutters to your soul

This is going to seem like a strange posting to some; so be it. I have a love/hate relationship with eyeshadow. I am convinced that colored eyeshadow is utterly unnecessary, and I’m still debating it’s desirability. If eyes are the windows to the soul, then eyelids are the shutters. And do we really need to paint our shutters regularly? Wouldn’t it better to work on our windows?

Let me be absolutely clear: I don’t want your eyelids to be red, purple or pink, as is their natural proclivity. Because our eyelids are thin skin, they are somewhat translucent. So the capillaries that feed blood to that skin often peek through, lending our lids a tinge of zombie-like zest. And I am by no means in favor of zombie eyes, or eyes that make you look depressed, hungover, or as though you haven’t slept in millenia. (You may already be aware of my penchant for under eye concealer for the same reason)

After “doing” thousands upon thousands of eyes, here’s what I’ve whittled it down to:

The Vermeer:

On a “nude” day, your eyelids should closely resemble your natural skin color, but a shade lighter. That means, if you’re naturally a fair skinned girl, you’re going to reach for a light creme colored eyeshadow, and sweep it across the area from your brow bone to the base of your eyelashes. You want your lids to match your brow bone (the area under the arches of brows), and brow ridge (that area between your eyebrows, above your nose). If you’re a deep, honey brown, your everyday color is going to be a gorgeous golden honey eyeshadow which matches your brow bone and brow ridge. If you’re a beautiful beige, you’ll find yourself a light beige eyeshadow to brighten and even out your royal beigeness. Get it? That’s one color, everyday, to freshen your eyes.

I call this “The Vermeer Look”. Vermeer (think Girl With the Pearl Earring) was this fabulous Dutch painter whose subjects had the most beautiful eyelids in all of art history. The purity of the skin (as emphasized by that fantastic Northern light) was apparent in every portrait, and lent an innocence, a FRESHNESS to his subjects. Of course, Vermeer’s subjects aren’t wearing eyeliner or mascara, either, but you may find that amount of austerity to be too virginal for your taste. Just remember if your lids look pure, the windows of your soul won’t look so dirty.

The Urban Sophisticate:

You’re a lawyer, business woman or corporate slave, and you need to project confident sophistication. You’re a career gal, and you want to be taken seriously! Use your nude color all over, then reach for a deeper warm neutral tone. If you’re beige, it’s probably going to be a “tan” color. Either apply it just in the lid crease, for added dimension, or apply it on the lower lid. Your nude color will act as a kind of base, remember, it goes up to your brows, and the slightly deeper color will add dimension and depth. If you go for this step, you definitely need mascara, and a fine eyeliner is fab.

Dinner With Andre (or Andrea) :

Eyeshadow Disclaimer: I love a nude eye with back eyeliner and black mascara and red lips as a classic look for a little black dress kind of night.

Of course, another sultry option is the ever popular smoky eye……But if it’s not that kind of night…….

Times Square Special:

It’s New Year’s Eve. Or it’s just “Eve”, and you want to party: You’re prepping for a night on the town. THIS is what eyeshadow was invented for!! THIS is the time to have a party in your bathroom all by yourself!!

Play with color and with sparkle (I hate shimmer…it often looks FROSTY, and since it’s not 1986 anymore–thank goodness–frost has no place on your face. One exception: warm, highlighting shimmer on cheekbones). As a general rule, keep the lightest colors on the brow bone or inner eye (be they light aqua, gold, silver, pale purple, etc.). Keep your darkest colors either in the outer crease or on the lid itself. An easy way to do color is to “build it”, starting with the darkest color at the lashline, and getting lighter as you go up.

(I’d use a maximum of three complementary colors if you’re not shooting for Drag Queen Hostess.  Practice playing with your eyes at midnight when you DON’T have a party to go to. Do each eye differently, experiment, have fun, then wash your face and go to bed.)

Less pressure = better results.

More practice = better results.

Less makeup = better results.

~Save the fancy shutters for Mardi Gras, and let your own light shine through the windows to your soul every day.~

(And don’t forget–if you’re going to use eyeshadow, practice safe eyeshadow! Go paraben free, petrochemical free, toxin free. If you prefer your shadows pressed (though in somewhat limited shades), you have good options with Dr. Hauschka, Josie Maran, Eco Nvey, Lagona, Eco Bella, and 100% Pure to name a few. If you want to really go wild, check out the loose and highly pigmented mineral powders available. I love my fun collection of Larenim matte and super sparkly eyeshadows in colors like Cosmos and 24 carat–bonus: I mix them with clear nail polish to make a rainbow of dazzling nail colors!)

photos courtesy of flickr’s powerbooktrance, neverletmego, realnaughtyangel, and vagamundos


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