Monday, March 22, 2010

How to Avoid the #1 Eye Shadow Mistake

Are you over 40? Are you less than satisfied when makeup artists apply eye shadow for you? The most common mistake they make - and they have done it to me over and over and over again - is to apply shadow over crepiness on the upper eye lid. Even the smallest amount of crepiness can be accentuated with eye shadow. Read on to find out how to work around nature.

The photo isn't me (you know I'm a photo phobe!). It was taken from a cool site that has before and after photos of cosmetic surgery. This is a before photo and illustrates the crepiness that can develop in the inner half of your lid, right above the crease, as you age.

Here's the deal. Any kind of shimmer or sheen, certain colors, and sometimes even matte shadows can make those tiny wrinkles that comprise crepiness stand out. Instead of fading into the background with an expert application on other parts of the lid, they shout, "Look at me!" Take a look at the gorgeous Helen Mirren's eye shadow. That pink made her crepiness stand out.

What disturbs me is that many makeup artists paint right over crepiness, as if it weren't there. They have a paint-by-numbers look, by golly, and they are going to apply it to everyone. A few weeks ago, a darling young artist (keyword "young") did it to me. I wasn't paying attention, and sometimes it's hard to learn when you are too directive. So, I let her do her thing. When I was given a mirror to admire her work, the only thing I saw was gold pigment over my little crepiness, making me look about 80. What's so sad is that the rest of her work was pretty, and I fixed it easily when I went home. I just took a Q-Tip with a bit of eye makeup remover, and wiped the gold off that section of my lid. Then I covered it with a matte neutral shadow that I blended into her work at the middle of the lid. Presto! I looked good.

Loyd Cassler, Armani Beauty guru at Saks in Chevy Chase, Maryland, is a makeup artist who knows. The only shadows Loyd has ever applied to that section of my lid are matte or relatively "flat" neutral shades. You have to know your skin, and you have to know the shadow. Some will work over crepiness; some won't. I have found a shadow primer that works well over the whole lid, and it also brightens. Most of the time, I apply no shadow over it in that inner corner.

I leave the drama for the outer section of the upper lid (crease and up), which elongates my eyes at the same time. I use shadows that shine on the lid below the crease, where my lids are smooth and receptive to just about any type of shadow. I get my eye shadow fix, focus on a good feature, and avoid the trap.

Almost without fail, application of a shimmering shadow over wrinkling or crepiness will age you. Know your skin. Try different looks and find the ones that work for you. There will be a way to wear that striking new gold - as long as you put it in the right place!

Now, about eyelid surgery. If the crepiness gets really bad, you might want to consider an upper eyelid lift. The procedure is fast and can be done without general anesthesia (same for the lower lids - they use "twilight" anesthesia). Recovery is relatively simple, and the procedure can make a world of difference. I'm not advocating, just commenting. I haven't had the procedure, but know many happy women who have. An extremely well-regarded surgeon told me I was not a candidate and that there would be laser treatments available when I became one. Oh well. Maybe now that years have passed, I'll go talk to him again.

Photo courtesy of RealSelf and Yahoo! TV


Anonymous said...

Life is full of ups and downs and I feel happy we keep going...

rkogirl_dc said...

Great post - thank you!! At 39, I am mortified by the crepiness that has recently begun to plague me. I shudder to think how it will look in another 10 years (thanks, genes!). What shadow primer have you found that works well? I'm in the DC area - any chance that surgeon you reference is also??

so said...

I am so glad that you brought out this point. I was looking at eye shadows not too long ago and the young girls at the counter tried to talk me into buying shadows that had a lot of shimmer. As I have gotten older I learned that matte shadows are more flattering on my eyes because of the sudden crepiness that appeared. What I didn't understand was the older sales person who did the same thing and was wearing heaps of shimmer revealing lots of crepiness. We need to learn as we get older new make up tricks that flatter and not take away from our looks.

Charlestongirl said...

Good afternoon, Rkogirl_dc!

I use a shadow primer that has, unfortunately, been discontinued. It was made by Stila (came in a little pot), and I was able to get my hands on a few of them when I found out it was "history." I really love it. I will look on the Web and see if it's available anywhere. If I can find it, I will post the source in another comment. The last time I looked for someone, I did find it.

Dr. Paul Gavaris is an "oculoplastic surgeon" - he only does eyes (not other forms of cosmetic surgery). He also does a lot of reconstructive surgery on eyes and all other forms of ophthalmology. The man is a legend in his field. I know five women who have gone to him for eyelid lifts, and the results have been unparalleled. He has offices in Spring Valley (DC) and Tysons.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi So!

Good for you! Know your eyelids and select accordingly.

I always size up an artist's own makeup before I will let one touch me. :) Maybe that's why so many of my favorites are men (she writes with a giggle).

Crepiness just happens. I'm not sure we can prevent it, even with the best products on earth. Rkogirl, you are right: our genes do have a major effect on our aging process. At least we have options!

Thanks for the comments!

Charlestongirl said...

Stila Eye Concealer is still around online! I wear Fair. Amazon has most of the shades, including Fair! It's $13. A little pot lasts forever. This primer is worth its weight in gold.

Looks like it is being sourced from Beauty Encounter.

Anonymous said...

Hello - so, just to be sure I'm understanding.. you use Stila "Concealer" as a "primer"? Is this the one you describe in your post that is brightening as well?

Charlestongirl said...

Yep, you got it right. :)

Loyd Cassler, Armani Beauty makeup pro, also uses concealer as a primer. The consistency, texture, and "grab" have to be right for that to work. The Stila one is terrific as a primer.

It's brightening in the sense that the shade I use brightens out the inconsistencies in skin tone in my eyelids. I lose any darkness when I wear it. It's not brightening in a shine-imparting way.

I am really taken with the Stila product. Was so surprised when they discontinued it! Fortunately, it can still be bought.

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled on this site for fun I am a make-up artist that focuses on mature beauty for the rich and famous. I want to give some tips seeing that a lot of mature and fabulous women are very confused about eyes. #1 use a flat base NEVER a concealer and try to stay away from tube bases. #2 luminous shadows are great for deflecting light adding a supple look to the skin. This is very different from glitter or frost. #3 use a flat flesh colored tone under the brow no "Highlight color. #4 NO CREASE this is aging and sets your eye back adding 10 years to your eyes. I hope this helps! Stay fresh ladies.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi there, Anonymous, fun job!

Great tips! Thank you! I was really interested in your comment to use a flat base because that's what the concealer I use as a primer is. It's not a tube concealer. In fact, it's the most unique "concealer" I have ever found. That's why I love it. I'm still bummed that Stila discontinued my tiny pot of heaven.

Isn't it true that luminous shadows are superb for us? They sure perk up my eyes! While I see so many gorgeous photos of ladies wearing sparkly shadows, I have to remind myself that they are 22.

I look at it this way: I may not be able to wear fireworks on my eyes, but my skin doesn't break out anymore. :)