A Smoky Makeup for Asian Eyes Tutorial, Because Even Small Lids Deserve To Have A Little Sultry Beauty Fun

It's taken me literally years to figure out how to do my eye makeup, because let's be real: Most fashion magazines aren't geared towards Asian/Asian American women. And sure, there are lots of Asian beauty tutorials out there, but many of them are aimed at girls with monolids — that is, girls without a crease in their eyes (think Lucy Liu and Sandra Oh). The thing is, I do have a crease (and no, it wasn't through surgery, even though strangers will often ask me that). Having Asian double eyelids was pretty confusing on the makeup front — it meant I couldn't do dramatic black eyeliner like my monolidded friends, nor smokey eyes like my double-lidded pals.

Finally, I found some great Asian makeup tutorials (I especially love Jung Saem Mool and Candice Chen, who runs The Makeup Box) that taught me I have small eyelids. And suddenly, it all made sense — that's why cut-crease eyeshadow made me look like an errant raccoon; why smoky eyes made me look like I had a black eye. Learning this meant I could finally wear eyeshadow without looking crazy and/or sick! I was over the moon! The trick, it turns out, is to keep the dark colors below where your crease would be — and definitely not all the way up to your socket line, like most tutorials would lead you to believe.

Here's the winged shadow look I've been wearing on a daily basis — it works well for anyone with small/shallow eyelids or monolids!

1. Prime

Start off with some sort of base. I used a shimmery cream eyeshadow, spreading it all over my eyelid as a primer, and under my eyes for a little of that Korean-inspired shimmery under eye look.

Note To Self: Unlined eyes encircled in frosty eyeshadow look kind of creepy!

2. Create The Wing

Next, take a neutral shadow just a few shades darker than your skintone, and apply it in a slight wing shape. It should be thick, ending somewhere near your natural crease. That varies from person to person, but for me, about half a centimeter works well. Take the wing out about another half centimeter or so past where your eye ends.

3. Add Some Drama

Punch up the look a bit by adding a darker-toned shadow into the outer V of your eyes. I used a dark brown with purple undertones. (Also, sorry it looks like I'm sleeping; it's hard to take a picture that shows your whole eyelid without some serious derping).

4. Finish With Liquid Liner

Then, you can give the look a touch more impact by adding in a slight cat-eye. I prefer gel eyeliner, but liquid and pencil will definitely do the trick as well! Oh, and don't forget mascara (I did).

It's no Pat McGrath-style drama, but it's a nice way to ease your way into eyeshadow, if you mostly stick just to liner. It can be pretty versatile as well — for example, if you use black eyeshadow (and some shimmer up to the browbone), you'll look a bit more high-impact, similar to Kim Yuna's signature look:

Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Now, why did I just put a picture of my face next to Kim Yuna's? Am I some sort of masochist? It's all in the name of makeup tutorials, my friend.

Images: Rosie Narasaki; Getty Images