Thursday, July 11, 2013

Top Secret::: Eye Opening

Photo of me, by me

Besides just using Latisse semi-regularly, I have a couple tricks that I employ every day to get the crazy-long, luscious Kardashian-worthy lashes I lust after. Yes, I really did just say that, and yes, I did actually laugh out loud calling anything on my body luscious.  Still am, actually.

My biggest secret, again besides Latisse, would be the lining technique I have been using for years, coupled with the layering of multiple mascaras onto my curled lashes.

My tools of the trade, photo by me.

The first step in this process, probably the most important of them all and one a surprising amount of folks skip, is curling your lashes.  It's such a vital part of opening up the eye and doing so changes your entire look, making you look much more awake and lifting your eye line.  I have been using the Tweezerman Pro-Curl Rose Gold Lash Curler for about a year now, since I purchased it at the last Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.  It's replaced my Shu, my Shiseido, and Sonia Kashuk, and I actually think it's the best one out there.  It still works perfectly, despite how many times I have dropped it on the bathroom floor and into the sink, which is at least once a morning. Sometimes twice.

This is how we do it: Start at the very base of your lashes, and crimp carefully, not fully, and work your way from the base to the tips. If you clamp too hard, you'll bend, not curl. This does take practice if you're new at it, but it is worth the time to learn the right way.

The before from afar 

 The after from up close, it makes a big difference in waking up your eyes!

After curling, I will do my shadowing and regular eyelining, before moving on to the next very vital step called tightlining, which I do with a dark brown or black pressed powder lining shadow by Bare Minerals, this particular compact was part of a special made-for-QVC set that Leslie Blodgett presented in what would be one of her last shows on QVC (I love her!).  I use dark brown mostly, but if it's for nighttime, Ill do black over the brown for more impact.  (P.S. Ms. Blodgett: I LOVE LOVE LOVE these liner shadow compacts beyond words. LOVE! They are actually the highlight of these special sets, the Quest/Query that just arrived yesterday might have become my favorite one, even eclipsing the original set of Perspective/Panorama shown in these photos!!! I LOVE THEM!) 

Here's a video by the amazing Wayne Goss about tightlining and waterlining, just as a quick tutorial. There are other video tutorials out there, but I think his explanation of the process and this tutorial is pretty fantastic.  If you don't subscribe to him on YouTube already, you should. Not only is he hysterical and candid, he is an incredibly talented makeup artist, and he is so gracious to do so many tutorials and reviews.  Oh, and that accent, I die!  (P.S. Mr. Goss: I can't wait for your brush line!)

Unlike in Wayne's tutorial, I actually don't do mine with a push brush,  although I do own a few of those and will do that in a pinch if I don't have a clean/dry angled brush.  I find it easier to get into the lashes better using an angled version, and I find that many push brushes are too dense and not soft enough. Most are also almost too flat and because of that they tend to "splay", make too thick of a line and pick up too much product.  That was really just a result of trial and error for me, and after a lot of experimentation of figuring out what worked best for me.

This is my angle brush, pardon the fact that it is covered in product!

Using my brush to pickup the brown powder liner shadow. Side note::: Whoa, hand cream!

As far as specific brushes go, I own this Sephora one, but the one I usually use is actually the one in this set as shown in the photograph above (a STEAL, and they make fantastic brushes!), I also own this one.  They used to sell the Ecotools one individually, and I am sad to see it's no longer on it's own.  Be sure you're buying one made for eyeliner, not a brow variant, as there is a significant difference in the type of bristles, and how they're formed in the brush head.  I have several of these because I (am addicted to shopping for things like this) wash them frequently (because I also drop them frequently!), and keep at least one in my brush cup at all times.   Keep in mind that if this is new to you, it just takes practice.  I did not come by this technique overnight, it took me a long time to get to where I am now. 

Lining my eyes, photos by my husband, who, I might add, was dumbfounded by this process!

After I have done just along the lashline as Wayne has shown in the video, I will lift my lid from the top slightly, and do from the underside just along the lashline again.  If I have to, I will pull from the outer corner and get into the lashes more, usually if I notice I have missed a spot, or if I feel I need "more" somewhere.  This fills in any gaps I may have left, and makes my lashes look thicker and significantly more lush overall, even if I only opt to do a basic 1-2 layer mascara job that day.  

I usually go back over my liner with a smudge brush to kind of blend any stray particles into my regular liner  and shadow, smoke it out a little and give a more finished look.  I like the brush I linked a lot because it's not overly thick like my Smashbox and similar smudge brushes, and it's super soft.  It doesn't smoke the line out so much that it's not a line anymore.  It's also a fantastic price. 

My EcoTools Smudge Brush

Blending with the smudge brush to make sure the two liner products become one line.

After I am done with the liner and shadow, I start with a base layer, or two, depending how intense I want my eyes to look, of Maybelline Lash Discovery Waterproof in Very Black.  For me, that is the ultimate lash primer. I have tried a few primers out there, most, if not all are white, which is not beneficial to the majority of us trying to get a deep, dark lash.  The formula of the Lash Discovery Waterproof is perfect, especially for locking in the curl, but the brush is the biggest factor in this process.  It's small, and gets almost every lash, and you are able to get behind/on top of the lashes as well.  I make sure I really wiggle it into the base before I wiggle it all the way through the lash.  I have begun to stockpile this and the next mascara product I mention in a disturbing way, because I notice that it's gone missing from stores and is a lot harder to find, indicating a possible discontinuance. If any Maybelline execs happen upon this: DO NOT DISCONTINUE! Best products you make! 

Base coats of the Lash Discovery. Surely I am not the only one who makes crazy faces when applying mascara. I had to contain myself from laughing when I would hear the shutter on the camera because I realized that 1) my husband was watching this probably thinking "what is this face about?" and 2) I so did not want everyone on earth seeing some of the faces I make and never thought much of until now. 

Combing the lashes

In between layers, I comb with a Tweezerman Lash Comb, to make sure nothing is clumpy.  I will typically do one eye, comb, do another coat on that eye, then switch to repeat that process on the other eye.  I don't let each coat totally dry between the layers, which I think contributes to both the fluttery result, and the lack of clumpiness that I experience.

Full 'n' Soft


The next layer or two come from a tube of Maybelline Full 'n' Soft Waterproof, also in Very Black.  Again, I make sure to layer it on without letting it dry between coats, same process as above.  Some days I will just stop with just the Lash Discovery, or add only one coat of the Full 'n' Soft over the Lash Discovery, usually on weekends I have nothing planned.  If I am looking for more impact, I break out the L'oreal Voluminous Waterproof in Black.  I do also have Carbon Black, but I save that for night, because in daylight that one is a little too much for me being a pale redhead.  Most workdays though, I will add one coat of the Voluminous Waterproof in regular Black over all as the final pop.

This is how it looks when it's all done:::

Viola! The final look!

You will note that I am using waterproof formulas with real brushes, not those weird plastic finger things that seem to be turning up everywhere.  There are three reasons for this.  

First, waterproof holds curl significantly better than standard formulas because they're usually drier formulas.  Second, I have a combo of allergy eyes which water a lot, and I rub my eyes a lot more than I think the average person does. Using waterproof prevents the migration/ruboff that would occur as a result, and prevents it from smearing under my eyes and undoing the concealing I spend a great deal of my prep-time working on. 

The third and most important reason is related to the brush.  Those plastic finger-y brushes pick up too much of the wet product and deposit too much on the lash per stroke, which in turn undoes what your eyelash curler just did.  Because those little fingers are not long enough or plentiful enough on the brush head, the "wiper" that is installed on the opening of the tube cannot reach the little fingers to help remove excess from the areas between them before the wet product hits your lashes, whereas the wipers on the tubes that have these standard brushes, even the Lash Discovery, have the ability to actually pull excess off the brush correctly.

Lash Discovery on Left, Full 'n' Soft on Right

To explain this better, I'll use an analogy like wet paint. A thinner coat applied with a denser brush dries faster, and looks better, right?  Well, in this case you'd be using a brush with less bristles with way too much paint on it, brushing on a super thick coat, and expecting that to look as good as say, two thin coats with that denser brush and less paint on it.  

Because there's so much "paint" on that "brush", it cannot dry down in the same way it would on a traditional plush bristled brush in the time it comes out of the tube to go onto your lashes.  So not only are they soaking your lash with too much overly wet product,  they also can do nothing to separate the lashes the same way a traditional plush brush with bristles does and you end up with too much formula that weighs your lash down and clumps up as it dries.

Another secret to my lash look::: I almost never apply mascara to my bottom lashes. On the rare occasion that I do, it's a thin coat of the Lash Discovery Waterproof right at the lashline, not through to the tips of the lashes.  My reasoning is that doing so casts an additional shadow of darkness under the eye that I don't need, considering the amount of work and time I put into concealing that area.

I also never wear false lashes. I have made a few attempts in the past...and I am just not that coordinated or patient!

What secrets do you employ to get your favorite look? I'd love to know in the comments below.

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  1. thank you so much for the excellent liner tutorial! I just learned i've not "curled" my lashes correctly-ever. i use a heated curler from sephora's and do only 1 crimp!!! i'm definitely going to try this.

    side note-you have rare, amazingly beautiful eyes and hair. keep up the reviews, lovin' the blog.

    1. Aww thank you!!! Made my whole day!

      I think curling and lining comes with practice, and I have a whole graveyard of brushes and curlers in that closet that I have tinkered with. Keep practicing! I watched YouTube videos like crazy til I felt like I had it figured out, then I stared in the mirror practicing every morning til I had it.

      I am so glad you enjoyed the tutorial and that it was beneficial to you!


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