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How to Create Beautiful Glossy Eyelids

glossy eyelid makeup

If your peers have their say, sticky sheen on lids isn't going anywhere–literally.

Let’s call it like it is: Glossy eyelids are a makeup artist’s construct, typically created in controlled environments (think: photo shoot sets or runway shows) where the gloss needn’t hang around for longer than a few hours tops, or—better yet—where it’s temperamental nature—creases, smudges and bleeding—is perfected by a talented retoucher. Very rarely do everyday women turn out with glazed lids, but, as MAC Cosmetics director of artistry Romero Jennings sees it, that’s changing with each passing day. “Yes—a high-gloss eye has been a big trend on the runways, but I’m starting to see it on the streets, too,” he says. And there’s a reason for that: “It’s big right now because that retro matte liquid lip is still so hot, so people want a contrast. Obviously, the everyday woman doesn’t have to choose a super-bright, glossy lid like some that have debuted on the runways, but I think it’s still achievable. All you’re doing is color, gloss and mascara—it’s super simple,” he claims.

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So, now’s the time to load on the luster—but in the smartest way possible. Here, pros lend their best practices for eye glossing.

Your Base Counts

If you’re looking to make the most of your eye gloss application, pay attention to the base. “It’s really all about what you wear underneath the gloss that makes the look successful,” explains editorial makeup artist Kabuki. He points to any type of long-wear eye product as the smartest way to base your design. “I use a 24- hour eye primer to lock down the base color—because it’s that color that ends up moving once you apply gloss over top.” Agrees Jennings, “If you apply a base that dries down and doesn’t move, you really can apply gloss over top and not have the design disrupted.”

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And, yes: Color comes first, followed by gloss. “Never pat a pigment on top of gloss; it just gets messy that way,” says Viviana Martin, Kevyn Aucoin director of Global Artistry Pro Artists Relations. Instead, if you want to lay down a personalized glossy hue, she suggests premixing the gloss with a pigment on a makeup palette, and then applying the shiny hue to the eye area.

But even before you base the eyelid, when working with gloss Jennings suggests sticking to a strict order of eye makeup application. “Curl the lashes and do the mascara first and foremost. Then, base your lid. I like to apply the color shadow or cream as a stain— slightly diffused. Then, follow with your gloss.”

Smart Application

Eye gloss application conforms to slightly different rules than typical eye shadow. While Martin prefers fingertips as her glosser tool, Kabuki shellacs his designs with a makeup brush. “You want to use a soft brush; you don’t want to use a tool that’s going to move the product underneath,” he warns. “So, something like an eye shadow brush is better than a dense lipstick brush. Your natural inclination may be to use a lipstick brush because you’re applying a product that is highly viscous, but that type of brush will disrupt your design.”

As you apply gloss, start with a light application and build up to your preferred sheen. If your hand is too heavy and the gloss begins to cake, Martin says, “Use a dry finger and then lightly pat it over the gloss. Then, pat that finger on a tissue to remove the gloss, and then go ahead and re-pat the eyelid until you get the look that you desire.” Avoid the temptation to dab with a tissue as this could alter the texture and design.

Clean Up

Speaking of gloss refinement: If the glaze has traveled outside of the boundaries of your eye design, Smashbox pro artist, Global Artistry Relations, Laura Jane Schierhorn says a makeup sponge with straight edges will be your glossed creation’s best friend. “A sponge sometimes is the best for clean up because you can ‘slice’ where you need to refine your design,” she explains. Avoid perfecting edges with makeup remover; it tends to increase product bleeding because it thins out the gloss. Instead, dip a makeup sponge in a silicone-based primer and blot and slice where needed; “this duo acts like a little magic eraser by removing the gloss but not disturbing everything around it,” Schierhorn says.

Know Your Results

If you prefer layering clear eye gloss on top of eye shadow or cream, be forewarned that your base color will darken. “Eye gloss makes the color more intense,” explains Martin. “Just know the gloss will make the color pop a little bit more.” Eye glosses with pigment built into them will obviously alter any color when layered on top, and are typically meant to be worn on their own. Black, a popular eye glossing choice, comes premixed by various brands and, when layered over color, lends a grittier, grungier appearance to the look.

In the end, eye gloss is a look that’s built for artists—and their clients—who revel in experimentation and don’t mind imperfection. After all, “with eye gloss, there are no rules. It’s impractical, for sure, but it’s fun,” says Martin.

Glossed & Found

Slick on one of these glossifiers for super- sleek-and-chic lids.

1 Milk Makeup Eye Vinyl in Nude

2 Kevyn Aucoin The Exotique Diamond Eye Gloss

3 NYX Lid Lacquer in Black

4 Embryolisse Lait- Crème Concentré + Gloss

5 MAC Cosmetics Studio Eye Gloss
in Money Honey

6 Bobbi Brown Eye Gloss in Island Pink

–by Karie L. Frost