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· Beauty Notes: Hi-Contrast

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Beauty Notes: Hi-Contrast
by Dain

Laura Mercier Deep Night // Fyrinnae Shenanigans // Sleek Pink Parfait // Hourglass Nocturnal

You can't get much simpler than my eye shape. There's nothing to enhance, nothing to correct. For years, I've relied on a drearily narrow range of techniques—a rounded wash or or a smudge of eyeliner—with most of the variation deriving from a colorful palette, rather than placement. That's why I'm excited to share this: for once it's something new. While playing idly with brush and pigment one day, I shaded the inner corner with an inky matte, instead of the usual highlight.

Now, I have no reason to highlight the inner corner. My eyes are wide set, the inner corner shallowly recessed, so highlighting does me no favors, and looks rather awkward. Even so, a darkened inner corner goes against the grain of convention; the number of looks that take advantage of an inner-corner highlight, which balance smoky eyes and gradations both, is beyond count. But on my eye shape, a central highlight is most flattering, and darkening that inner corner emphasizes that. It creates the illusion of dimension (along the z-axis), far more effectively than contouring, while opening up and rounding out the eye (y-axis).

I draw the outer corner first, which, as you can see, resembles a classic wing, its bottom edge following an extension of the lower lashline, much like a flick or winged eyeshadow. Blend, if necessary. Towards the inner corner, I line as I would for a gradation—covering the mobile lid, barely peeking out as liner once the eyes are open, all the edges soft and smoky. Then, I start to shade the inner corner. Until you add the central contrast, this will look extremely odd. Don't fret. As long as the curves of the top edges connect, it'll work out.

Drop a contrasting pigment onto the center of the lid. You'll build the sharpest contrast if using both color and finish to your advantage. The antique bronze of Fyrinnae Shenanigans is certainly a tonal contrast to Deep Night, a navy, but it is also a textural contrast, since one is a metallic laced with rainbow sparkles and the other an absolute matte.

There isn't much to say about the bottom lashline, though it should be noted you can move the accent wherever you'd like.

Laura Mercier Black Plum // Sleek Guipure // YSL #206 Grenat Satisfaction

Personally, I prefer high contrast. It allows me to play with a dramatic two-tone eye, instead of a single wash or smudge of vibrant liner. Furthermore, since the darker pigment is usually quite neutral and matte, it makes experimenting with difficult colors, such as the golden coral Sleek Guipure, infinitely more wearable.

the expresso from Guerlain Les Verts // Stila Diamond Lil //
the powder blue from Shiseido Opera // Sleek Crochet // Guerlain Chamade

When the pigments are similar in tone and texture, the effect is subtler. Though blue and brown are contrasting colors, I used a taupe, Diamond Lil, as a transition shade. Since the degree of shimmer is roughly equivalent, between Diamond Lil and Opera, the final look loses some visual impact, but it also makes a seamless shift from brown to pastel blue—not an easy transition under normal circumstances. Even so, I think this picture illustrates that this placement works best with strong contrasts.

A final possibility, which I've not attempted, this placement done entirely in neutrals, but with high-contrast finishes.

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