Eyeshadow Tutorial for Asian Eye Shapes: Deep Set Hooded Almond Eye

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

(Edited to add: This is part 1 of a multipart series. Part 2 can be found HERE, and more parts are forthcoming.)

Welcome readers, to a brand new occasional series of posts: Eyeshadow Tutorials for Asian Eye Shapes! In this series I hope to give out a few tips for Asian eye makeup. Note that I said that these are tutorials for Asian eye "SHAPES", with a reference to plurality, rather than "Shape", and this is going to be a very important point I'll be referring back to throughout these series of tutorials, and this distinction lies at the heart of my series of Asian eyeshadow tutorials.

There are, of course, gazillions of tutorials, tips, tricks and techniques for Asian eyes out there - however, often they lead to more confusion instead of actual enlightenment. In part this is often because a large number of thse tutorials are done by Caucasian girls using their own eyes, so imagining it on an Asian girl can be hard, but also, more importantly, this is because almost all these tutorials I've come across so far assume that there is only one "generic" Asian eye shape.

However, as anyone who is Asian will tell you, just as Caucasians have different eye shapes, Asians have different Asian eye shapes too! So a generic "Asian Eye Makeup Tutorial" would be pretty useless for most girls just as in the same way a generic "Caucasian Eye Makeup Tutorial" would be pointless for most Caucasian girls. A generic "Caucasian Eye Makeup Tutorial" does not take into account that there are various Caucasian eye shapes. Some eye shapes are rounder, some are more deep-set, some are hooded, and all these require different application techniques, and a set of eye makeup tips for one eye shape won't really work for another. Thus similarly, eye makeup tutorials that claim to be for "Asian eyes" really rub me the wrong way, because they make the implicit assumption that ALL Asians have the same eye shape (just like how some people like to assume ALL Asians are warm-toned, but I've touched on that in this post HERE). And of course we know that is not true either! Some Asian eyes are small, some are not as small, some are hooded, some are not, some are almond shaped, some are more round, and some have little space between the lid and the eyebrow, and some have lots of space, and some have a lot of lid space, and some don't. So a generic "Asian Eye Makeup Tutorial" is not wrong, because it will help SOME Asian eye shapes, but it probably won't be applicable to ALL Asian eyes.

However, the sad fact is that a billion tutorials abound for a generic "Asian eye shape", but there are virtually none for a generic "Caucasian eye shape"! This just goes to show you that while we are used to thinking of Caucasians as having varying eye shapes, we are still not as accustomed to recognising that Asians have varying eye shapes too. Instead, we assume that tricks and tips that work for one type of Asian eye shape will work for all Asian eyes. (This brings me back to the not-so-far-gone-days when I was in college in Chicago, and the underaged Asian students used to alcohol with the IDs of other Asian students, and they ALWAYS got away with it because some people thought that "all Asians look alike" and couldn't tell us apart. No wonder why they think there's only one type of Asian eye shape! That kind of thinking is actually pretty ignorant, if not racist, but back then, we were just happy getting our booze. LOL.)

If you still don't know what I'm talking about, take a look at this picture below. This is the standard textbook diagram every makeup student sees, and it gives you various tips on how to manipulate eyeshadow placement for different eye shapes:

See? See? What is that?! They painstakingly go through various types of Caucasian eye shapes - average eyes, wide set eyes, close set eyes, hooded eyes, deep set eyes, eyes with prominent lids, and then at the end of it all, one generic diagram for "Asian" Eyes.

Come on, you gotta be kidding me. Are you saying that all Asians should apply eyeshadow all the same way? Are you implying that all Asians have the same eye shape? Now ladies, we all know that's not true. The truth is, if you look at that diagram, it is making implicit assumptions about the "typical" Asian eye shape. It assumes that the "typical" Asian eye might be a little wide set, and it assumes that there is very little lid space and a lot of browbone space. And (very paradoxically for a guide for "Asian eyes") it assumes that the eye has a crease, and the crease is where the contour of the eye socket is. The last one is especially funny to me, because being an Asian girl growing up in Asia myself, I've had Asian girls complain to me all day long about how they have no crease, or double eyelids (as they are sometimes called). The truth is, some Asian girls have a lot of lid space, some don't. Some have a lot of browbone space, some don't. Some have a crease, some have half a crease, and some have no crease. Some are hooded, some are not. And they all require different types of treatment. Instead of assuming all Asian girls should apply eye makeup the same way for the same look, we should instead assess the eye, identify its main features and characteristics, and apply eyeshadow accordingly.

So in these series of posts, I'll be featuring a different Asian eye type each tutorial, and explaining the features of the eye shape, and what eyeshadow placement techniques we can use to enhance that particular type and shape of Asian eye. So although I call it a tutorial, it's not a hard-and-fast, follow-the-rules tutorial. It's really more of a series of tips that are effective for a specific Asian eye shape. Of course my sample size, being limited to my friends who don't mind me spending an hour to perv their eye, forcibly put eyeshadow on them, and take macro shots of it all, is going to be limited. It's not going to cover every single Asian eye shape under the sun (I would like volunteers LOL). But I hope it will show you that different types of Asian eye shapes deserve different types of treatment, and that lumping all Asian eyes under the same "Asian eyes category" is a little ignorant, and definitely not complete.

Well, with that hefty introduction out of the way, let's start on today's featured eye shape. I'd also like to add a disclaimer that the application may not be the best - like I said, this is a rough guide to eyeshadow placement, not a show-off-how-awesome-my-makeup-artistry-is post, and the emphasis is on the placement, not on the actual artistry. And also, the models I'll be using are all my friends, with my own makeup applied on them, and of course what suits me doesn't always suit them, so sometimes we'll get weird results colour-wise, but the basic point will be to show you where you could possibly place your eyeshadow, and I hope this series helps in providing some tips for the various Asian eye shapes. If nothing else, and you find my tips absolutely useless, I hope that at least you will recognise that not all Asian eyes are alike!

Today's beautiful eye belongs to my dear friend, Wendy. She has lovely eyes. Here are the main features of her eye:

Asian Eye Shadow Makeup Tutorial

1. It has a very defined crease (however, this isn't where we'll be placing the crease colour, because the contour of the eye socket doesn't lie along the line of the crease. This is pretty common for Asians, but not for Caucasians - but more about this later. It's sort of like a hooded eye, but not exactly like it.)
2. It is deep set (by Asian eye standards, anyway)
3. It is almond shaped.

I'll refer to this shape as the Deep Set Hooded Almond Eye (what a mouthful, eh?). However, to apply the makeup well, we should further take note of a few more things, the little nuances that make every girl's eye different and unique. Wendy also has little lid space, and relative to the lid space, her browbone space is a lot more. She also has a little bit of eyelid discolouration, resulting in a darkened colour in the skin area around the eyes.

So how would we treat Wendy's eye?

First, for discoloured eyes, applying a light colour all over, from lashline to the browbone, gives an even coloured base. And then we apply a lid colour. On Wendy, I've chosen to use the base colour as both the lid colour and the highlight colour, thus giving her a simple look that uses just two colours. This look works on Wendy because her eyes are relatively deep-set (by Asian standards anyway), so using a lighter colour on her eyelid helps to bring forward the lid area. But hypothetically, if I had wanted to use a different lid colour, the diagram below shows you where I would have put it:

Asian Eye Shape Eyeshadow Tutorial

Notice that I put the lid colour ABOVE the crease - instead of stopping there, as a Caucasian girl might do, it goes OVER and beyond the crease. The reason for doing this is simple. What we are trying to acheive with the lid and crease colour is to contour the eye. In most Caucasian eyes, the crease happens to meet with the contour of the eye, which is where the soft eyeball ends and where the socket bone begins. Thus, when you look at a typical eyeshadow tutorial that assumes a Caucasian eye shape, they often tell you to put a dark colour in your crease, and if you had such an eye shape, that would be correct, because your crease would coincide with your contour. The only exception to this is Caucasians who have hooded eyelids. However, in Asians, often our crease isn't where our contour is. Wendy is a really good example of this. Here you can see that the actual contour of the eye, where the eyeball meets the eye socket, is much further up than the crease, which happens to be somewhere in the middle of the lid. This is like a hooded eye, but not quite the same thing. In Caucasians it often happens due to aging, where the eyelid just tends to droop down with age, and when this happens, there is a lot of skin where the fold is. In Asians, it's just our genetics, so we don't really have as much skin in the fold, but we do get a similar end result which causes our crease line to lie below our eye contour area.

So as a result, we don't want to actually put the "crease colour" in the crease, but rather the contour of the eye. In fact, I personally feel that "crease colour" is a misnomer; it should really be called contour colour, but the term is now a matter of convention. The diagram below shows you what I mean:

Crease for Asian Vs Caucasian Eyes

As you can see, Wendy's contour of the eye socket isn't actually where here crease lies, and thus that's why we apply the crease colour in the contour of her eye socket, NOT in the actual fold of the lid.

So, with that in mind, when applying Wendy's crease colour, we don't actually put it in her crease, because that would visually close up the eye by putting a dark colour in the middle of her eyelid. Instead, we bring the crease colour above the crease, and into the actual contour area of her eye, to open up the eye visually and make the lid space appear bigger. This technique is particularly effective on Wendy's eye, because she happens to have relatively little lid space compared to her browbone space, so by contouring the eye this way, we balance out the spaces and make the eyelid area look bigger. If we had put a crease where the actual fold of skin was, it would make her eyelid area look smaller instead. This technique of bringing the crease colour above the creaseline and into the contour area also works for hooded eyes of all types, regardless of whether they are Asian or Caucasian.

Eyeshadow tutorial for Asian Eyes

See the difference in contour a well-placed crease makes? And that's really the gist of it for Wendy's Almond shaped hooded eye - the key to this eye shape is to ensure that you are actually contouring the eye by placing the crease colour correctly. She can add some liner and mascara, but the eyeshadow placement is done. In short, here's a summary diagram for a deep set almond-shaped Asian eye with a hood:

Asian Eye Makeup Eyeshadow Tutorial

I'd like to stress that while finding the right place to put the crease colour in an important technique that works for all eye shapes, it's an especially helpful tip when it comes to Asian eye makeup. This is because like I mentioned before, one of the differences between Asian and Caucasian eyes is that in Caucasian eyes, the crease line usually coincides nicely with the contour area, but this is not necessarily so in Asians. As a result, while most Caucasians can use their crease line to identify the contour area to place the crease colour, Asians may not always be able to do this, and attempts to do so often end up in confusion. This is especially the case if you are one of those girls with a double-lid on one eye and a monolid on the other eye, or if your crease line appears and disappears at will (like mine).

The key thing is to not get confused by the seeming inconsistency of your double eyelid, because it doesn't actually matter too much in eyeshadow placement. The contour area, not the double eyelid, is what really matters. Instead of using the double eyelid or the creaseline as a guide, feel around instead for the area where your eyeball meets the eyesocket, and place your crease colour following that contour area instead. This is a very helpful makeup tip, because even though the crease may be inconsistent, your eye contour area always remains the same. In fact, you shouldn't be bothered by your creaseline at all when it comes to eyeshadow placement. Typically eyeshadow tutorials will tell you to look for your "crease" because they assume a typical Caucasian eye structure, in which the crease meets nicely with the contour area. However if your crease line doesn't meet the contour area, then it's not really relevant to eyeshadow placement, so instead just look for the contour area of your eye where the eyeball meets the socket bone, and contour that area instead. (I might write a separate post on this and remove this bit to keep the content streamlined, but until then, I'm leaving it here so everyone can read it.)

Now to amp up the look a little for more drama. Here, we use colours that are a bit darker, but we abide by the same principles. So we darken the crease, extend it a bit further, put a darker colour on the lid, and add a little liner. And this is what a night time look would be on Wendy:

Asian Eye Shape Eyeshadow Tutorial

And that's it for today, everyone! I can't tell you how excited I am to have FINALLY gotten a move on this series on Asian eyeshadow tutorials for different Asian eye shapes! I still have other friends who have been forced into becoming eye models for me, so watch out for more - probably in a few weeks' time though, since tutorials are really time-consuming to make, and I probably won't want to be doing one anytime soon.


  1. Bravo! There are definitely different types of eyes among us Asian girls and I'm very appreciative of you taking the time to share this information with all of us. :) I'm looking forward to your posts in the future. Thanks so much!

  2. Yes, this is a great idea! And what you say about lack of "caucasian eye tutorials" is SO true. And that diagram defaulting Asian eyes to having a double lid is definitely silly. I wanted to say that in its defense, any eyes can be a combination of the above (like wide set and hooded or something) but what does "Asian eyes" even mean? XD

    Can't wait for more of these! Do any of your friends have 1 creased lid and 1 not-creased lid? *winkwinkhinthint*

  3. YAY - finally someone doing this! Seriously! I recently had a friend ask me if I could teach her how to apply eyeshadow because I'm the only other Asian she knows with double lids (that wears makeup) and I had to gently tell her that the fact we both have double lids means absolutely nothing in terms of shadow placement. It's SO TRUE! I've put eyeshadow on two of my friends, and our eye shapes are TOTALLY different. Even people with monolids have differently shaped eyes!!

  4. @Mellie: Thank you! I hope you'll enjoy reading the posts! :)

    @pfefi: I agree! "Asian eyes" doesn't even mean anything to me, because there is no "typical" Asian eye shape..In my opinion there's waay too much variation to really pinpoint a "typical" Asian eye..

    As for the issue of having 1 creased lid and 1 monolid, I suggest that like Wendy's eye, put the crease colour in the contour of the eye area, instead of worrying about the crease. Usually you worry about the crease if you have a "typical" Caucasian eye, because the crease line is a good proxy for where the contour area of your eye is. However in Asians the crease is often in a rather arbitary position that has no relation to the contour area of the eye, which is why it isn't even in some people, so it doesn't really matter in eyeshadow placement. The key is to find the contour area and place the crease colour there, and not worry about the creaseline. Your contour area won't change (unless you break your socket bone or something), and is usually pretty even for both eyes, so this is the best way to help both eyes to look as even as possible, without drawing attention to the fact that one has a monolid and one is double-lidded.

    Thanks for this question though! I've actually found it relevant to the content of the post (the idea of finding the contour area instead of using the crease line as a guide) so I've actually added a paragraph to the blog post to explain this! Thanks!

  5. Thank you so much for that chart!!!!! I have been looking for something like that forever!!

  6. Sweet, thanks for the tip! Do you think you'll extend any of these posts to talk about eyeliner also? I know some Asian eyes with very low crease have a tendency to folder over to completely obscure any normal amount of eyeliner. xD It looks like another thing Wendy and I have in common~

  7. @pfefi: Ooh, you've actually given me another idea! You're like my muse or something :P Actually, it might be a great idea to do a tutorial for eyeliner placement for Asian eyes, but if I do wind up doing that, it will be a separate series, and not part of this series, because for eyeliner placement your considerations are different...Like you don't really care about where your contour area is etc but you do look out for other things. I know what you mean about eyeliner though, I have that fold-over thingy at the lashline too that obscures any eyeliner unless it's half an inch thick. Wendy doesn't actually have that problem, but it's kind of hard to tell from the photos unless you zoom way in.

    @Obssessed.Makeup.Addict: You're welcome! I hope it helps you!

    @Catherine: I'm glad someone else knows what I'm talking about! :)

  8. What a gr8 post! I loved it :D... Looking forward to more so that I can find my match!

  9. Cool! Can't wait to see the next tutorials! Even tho I'm caucasian! HEHE
    I always wondered how Asians with such hooded eyes (like Wendy's inner corner) do their makeup >.< Must be difficult!
    Thank you for putting effort into this post!

  10. Interesting post! I agree with you, not all Asians have the same eye shape. :)

    Lots of love,

  11. Very informative! The truth is I envy Asian women's eyes and hairstyles.

  12. haha yeah no kidding not all asian eyes look the same at all!! lovely tutorial!

  13. thanks for ur comment!
    i am impressed by ur blog as well!
    keep going on like this^^


  14. :O thank you for this!! i've had to do so much experimenting.
    sweet blog
    great posts
    stop by some time xx

  15. it's really great what you do here!!!i have 4 Asian friends and the all have completely different eyes!!
    plus two of my best friends(Greek 100%) have Asian eyes ,people mistake them for Japanese or Malaysian..and they never get it easy around all those make up tips for Caucasians...
    i',m definitely linking them to your blog!

  16. i'm not asian, but i thought this was great and truly informative. it's good to have this here to cater to other women!

    thanks for entering my giveaway. i'll be picking a winner over the weekend as the giveaway ends May 14!

    i've added more fashion and makeup posts--check out my blog. :)


  17. aww thanx xo much for commenting I appreciate it! =) can you pls follow me. that would be great =)

    xoxo, kim

  18. This is SO great. I have eyes almost exactly like your friend, my eyelid fold is really low; when I was younger I'd read eyeshadow tutorials that would tell me to apply the darkest color to my "crease" so I would... I'd apply it to where my eyefold was. It literally took me years and years before I discovered they actually meant where your eye socket is. Way higher for me!

  19. This is just outstanding. Thank you so much for such a wonderful tutorial series. It's about time someone realizes that not all Asian eyes are created equal. As someone who is only 1/4 Asian, I have sort of an in-between eyelid, and have never been able to get the "crease" right either. I can't tell you how much this helps! And you're also just doing a great service to everyone. Awesome.

  20. Wow! Thank you so much for this. I am trying to teach my daughter some makeup tips and I just don't know how to work with her eyes because they are completely different from mine. Even though she is caucasian she has an asian/exotic eye look and people are always asking if she is. Anyway, now I know how to teach her. Thanks to you!!

  21. A very helpful tutorial!
    I am kind of sad how incosiderate many of (us) Caucasian make-up artists are towards Asians.

  22. You should preach towards the choir girl! Amen for someone finally telling people us Asian ladies all have different shapes! It's not just the generic eye shapes. I don't know how many tutorials I've tried to find for Asian eyes only to have it not match my eye shape. You're a life saver! My shape is really similar to your friends so I'm definitely gonna give this method a try :D

  23. Thanks so much for this series of makeup tutorials! I was always frustrated too with all of these makeup tutorials on 'asian eyes.' None of those diagram/tutorial things ever match my eye shape! my eyes have a crease, but the size of it changes sometimes and my eyes have uneneven crease size and...i don't know its just really hard to work with.

    anyways please consider doing a series of tutorials for eyeliner! i always try to put on eyeliner but it doesnt work. i'll line my eyes close to my lash lines but when i open my eye only half of it shows up and so i add more and then it becomes a mess and i end up with wayyyy too much eyeliner on :(

  24. Omg you're awesomeeeeeeee :)))))))
    Thank you for making such a thorough tutorial!!! So helpful hahaa. Even tho it's around midnight right now, I feel like putting on makeup and trying out your technique! :P

  25. I can't THANK YOU ENOUGH!!! I have spent almost 15 years doing my eye shadow like magazines and other tutorials meant for wide Caucasian eyes. I bought the Two Faced Natural Eye palette yesterday and tried to use the tutorial cards with it. I was rather.disappointed in how it looked. I stayed up all night searching for a video tutorial to help apply the eye shadow combo and found your blog!!!! I think my eyes are more like your friend Wendy's! I got up and used your tutorial to put my make up on before church using the same palette I bought! What a difference a small change in placement does for "our" eyes! Thanks again for this. I really do appreciate it!!

  26. Hey! Can I first and foremost say fascinating read! And secondly, I started my career in Asia doing all the top models and mags there and I personally hate doing trying to do the crease thing on asian eyes. I never have and felt that I shouldn't. I just think asian eyes have a different shape compared to caucasian eyes and should be celebrated for it's beautiful shape and focus less on the lack of crease or lid space. There are ways of using all the colours and products out there on asian features, just tweaked specially for us! Believe me, I work on supers like Liu Wen,k Du Juan & Tao every season for shows so I know! Thanks and look forward to more of your blog! x

  27. Being half Japanese, sometimes I wake up my my lids mysteriously gone (O_O no really) or at least smaller than usual. Other days I wake up with them really prominent and pronounced. Eyeshadow is one of those big scary things to me - I haven't properly learned how to apply it yet. I suppose i'd better get to it and i'll be starting here. :D

  28. Don't even get me started on the so-called 'Asian eyes'!!! I have single eyelids, and my mother has double. My own birth mother has eyes that are completely different to my own. Indians are Asians, right? Okay, so, I guess Aishwarya Rai has the same eye shape as Jenna Ushkowitz??? Why not? They're both 'Asian'!!! Both are uniquely beautiful, but their eyes are completely different. These beauty textbooks are going to tell us that we should use the same eye makeup techniques for Aish and Jenna. Yeah right!!!

    Well, I've been using eyelash curlers since I was 13, and the first time I used it, I was really amazed by the difference it made! I've scoured YouTube for monolid makeup, and there were some good ones with girls who have similar eye shapes as mine. Even 'monolids' have different shapes. Some have hoods which are more prominent, and some people have monolids which simply means that they don't have the crease, but they have pretty big eyes.

    So, thanks for this blog, it was really helpful, and I laughed when I read "See? See? What is that?!" after the picture of the textbook. Hahaha!!! I hear you!!!!

  29. hi there. i came across your article few minutes ago. I've been trying to find out about the shape of my eyes so I'll be able to check out some correct eye makeup for myself. I realized you talked bout both deep and hooked eyes set. I"m still confused about my own type of eyes. do you mind telling me about my eye shape? i hope you'll help me out. thanks:)

  30. Thank you for raising the subject of different Asian eye shapes. Sadly, not enough people are bringing this to public attention and sadly, those likely to stumble across the subject are likely to already have some awareness of it.

  31. THANK YOU! i cringe when i see "eyeshadow for asian eyes" tutorials. this article was very helpful, especially the crease part. that was new to me :P

    well thanks again for this article! it was really helpful

  32. I love playing with make-up and trying different looks. :)

  33. Hi! What a great post!!!

    I stumbled onto this by accident as someone mentioned it. I've always had massive trouble trying to figure out how to best put e/s on. After reading this post and experimenting with the e/s I own but almost never use - my eyes don't end up really small looking anymore!?



  34. I may not be Asian, but I have very hooded eyes and THIS is EXACTLY what I needed to read! I have always followed the crease-here guides and wondered why do my eyes look even deeper set and even less open and even smaller. Duh, my "crease" is higher than the actual fold in the lid! Whod'a thunk?

    Thanks you so so so much.

  35. Hello! Thank you ssoooooooo much for this informative post! I've just started trying makeup, and because the space between my eyes and brow is super small, plus I virtually have no visible eyelid, I stumbled upon this while looking for a solution. After using this style of application, I must say that my makeup REALLY improved. I hope you continue to make post like these for other Asian eye types!


  36. Fantastic article and blog! I have never understood how to apply eye shadow to my Asian hooded eyes. It never looked right. Now, I can't wait to try it! And maybe have it look good at last! Thank you! Please post more :)

  37. OMG finally someone who understands it!! For years ive been watching torturials from caucasian girls and asian girls. But none of them helped me out i kept thinking why it doesn't look good on my eyes. I have double eyelids with much space between eyelid and brows so i don't know how to fill that up without looking lika a clown. I was at a MAC counter once for makeup advice and the MUA did my makeup. Seriousely i ended up looking like female dracula!! So dissapointing ;(( still searching for the holy solution for my eyes or the good technique... geez my eyes are so hard to handle but i'm very happy to read this article:DDD

  38. "This brings me back to the not-so-far-gone-days when I was in college in Chicago, and the underaged Asian students used to alcohol with the IDs of other Asian students, and they ALWAYS got away with it because some people thought that "all Asians look alike" and couldn't tell us apart."

    Wow, that really works? I was about to suggest that sarcastically!

  39. *LAUGHS* As someone with "Asian" eyes, I laughed my butt off reading this, because OMGosh! Heck Yeah! & Thanks for pointing out the OBVIOUS!!, that somehow (hevean only knows why**), all makeup brand seem to still SKIP RIGHT ON OVER (probably, because they lack ASIANS in tneir Beauty offices! *winks*)
    Hopefully, one day they will wise up and realize that, No!, We "ALL", ABSOLUTELY, do NOT "all look alike!" The same way that every Asian woman isn't BUILT & SHAPED the Same, No do we ALL have the same personalities! Thank Heaven, because Man would that be BORING! *winks*...THANKS for starting a conversation, that has been a LONG TIME COMING! KUDOS! & BRAVO! I look forward to reading your other ASIAN EYE SHADOW SHADING POSTS (for one that applies to Me, TOO! *smiles*)


Thank you for commenting! I read each and every single comment! If you ask a question in your comment, please check back to this post, as I will reply in a comment to this post as well :) Please note that comments with soliciting links to shops or websites will be removed. Thanks!


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