Devi Beauty: I Spy A Beautiful Devi Eye

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Almost every Devi I know has beautiful eyes. And, even more tellingly, almost every Devi I know cites her eyes as one of her favorite features. For good reason. Though part of the deal of being Indian includes beauty horrors such as hairiness and hyperpigmentation, Indians, by and large, have gorgeous eyes. Bright, large, with thick rims of lashes--the windows to our souls are looking good! But we are Indians, we are perfectionists, there is always room for improvement...!

Make-up options for eyes could fill volumes. The basic 2 minute eye, the going-out eye, the smokey-eye, the "I'm gonna get you sucka" eye. They all can be yours! And, they all start the same way--with good, smooth skin. If you don't got it, fake it:


Maybe we didn't need eye creams when we were 18. But, ladies, we do now. I used to think that "eye cream" was just regular face cream in a smaller pot with a bigger price tag. "Get back consumer capitalist conglomerate, you're not going to fool me!" You're hearing it here first--my apologies to the CCC: Sorry Consumer Capitalist Conglomerate, I will take your eye cream, I will wear it, I will never doubt your powers again.

When it comes to eye creams, I am fickle and I have yet to find my holy grail. That being said, I do believe that this is an area where you can "save" (versus areas where you should "splurge"--like when you are buying foundation. More on that later this week). There are great brands available at the CVS. The main thing you need is a cream that softens the fine lines and wrinkles (wrinkles? who said wrinkles? none of us have wrinkles yet NONE OF US) in the delicate eye skin. To firm up skin, look for creams containing caffeine, retinol, or alpha-hydroxy acids. To combat darkness, look for vitamin C or kojic acid. I have had great luck (and saved a bunch of money) with the eye products made by Oil of Olay--check out its site for coupons and free samples.

The second step of prep is concealer. If I were stranded on a desert island and I could only bring one beauty product it would be concealer. The best smoky eye in the world will look like crap if you don't conceal under-eye circles and puffiness. You already know my gold-standard concealer: Cle de peau. It's just perfect. In my eyes, there is no other. It's one of my children. (Okay okay, I've gone too far). THAT being said, being the concealer junkie that I am, I have tried many other concealers through the years and have some runner-ups that other Devis swear by. In addition, Cle de Peau does not make shades for the darker end of the Devi spectrum, so we need some other options. Check out these picks:

-Laura Mercier secret camoflouge: A cult-favorite, now available in three shades for darker skin. Don't be turned off by the fact that you have to blend two different parts of the compact--there really is no "wrong" way to mix them.
-Amazing Cosmetics Amazing concealer in "Deep": Started as a company to provide makeup to the televion trade, "Amazing Cosmetics"'s concealer his a creamy consistency and stays on all day.
-Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer kit in "Honey": This kit contains a concealer and a powder to set the concealer. Don't opt for this particular combo if you have lots of lines around your eyes, as the powder can sometimes settle into fine lines. If lines aren't your problem, this is an amazing formula for full-coverage concealing. Also works marvelously on covering up blemishes.

Important tip: Many women dutifully conceal directly under their eyes, but forget to cover-up the corners of the eyes--nearest to the nose--where shadows pool the most. Keep on concealing ladies.

Covered-up? Check. Let's paint those eyes.


If you are going for an everyday look, I say skip the eyeshadow. Eyeshadow, for some reason, scares people. After giving it way too much thought, I trace this fact back to: Indian weddings. We have seen too many of our fellow Devis sit through eighteen hours of make-up, 17 of which are focused on the eye, in which some random Rajni or the other puts seventy five different shades of bronze onto our eyelids--only to eventually create a...bronze eye. It's intimidating. If it took Professional Rajni that much time and that many scary looking paletes of half-used powdery shadow to do this, should we even try? The answer is yes, and you know what? It's much easier than you think.

The simplest way to use eyeshadow is as an all-over "wash." You pick one color and put it all the way from your lash line to the crease in your brow. The reason so many of us tend towards metallics in this situation is because metallics look really great on our skin. For once, we have it easier than our fellow Janes and Bettys in making our eyes "pop." Check out these metallics, some of my current favorites for Indian complexions: DuWop ShadowLift in Sol (a subtle, bronze sheen), NARS Eyeshadow in Galapagos (slightly more pigmented than the DuWop, and with more gold), and Urban Decay in "Midnight Cowboy Runs Again" (a little drama--flecks of silver to make you stand out).

All of these are as low-maintenance as girls who don't blow dry their hair. Put your finger in the pot (or, in the case of the DuWop, squeeze some of the liquid out of the tube) and smear onto your eyelid. Done. Contouring is all fine and good--for later. And eyeshadow is one area in which I do believe that investing in some good brushes pays off but, baby steps, baby steps...!

Also, be told: The (eye shadow) world does not begin and end with gold, silver, and bronze. Though we all tend to reach for muted palettes and many-a-browns, contrasting colors can really make our eyes stand out. Contrast for most of us (with brown eyes) is--get this--almost anything! Dark, pigmented jewel tones (think lush purples, greens, and sapphires) look--yes, surprisingly--amazing on our skin.

One of the biggest problems eyeshadow presents migration--loose specks of it splattering all over your face and, in particular, under your eyes. To get rid of these pesky flecks, dip a sponge into some foundation and use it to wipe away the stray shadow--it's the perfect eraser.


I am a recent eyeliner-convert. I've always loved the look of liquid liner--so clean, so precise--but assumed it would be impossible to achieve, and pencil eyeliner tended to fade away faster than my youth (haha). On a whim I decided to give liquid liner a shot a few months back, thinking it could counter-act my absolute lack of sleep. It kind of worked.

What's the point of eyeliner you ask? I have asked the same thing. Simply put, liner enhances your lash line to frame the eyes. It draws more focus to your eyes and makes them look wider and more alert. (Alert=always good, no?). The closer to the lash line, the more natural the effect. Word to the wise: Only line the top lashes. Depictions of Bollywood starlets aside, rimming the lower lashes only accentuates under-eye circles...and we are tired mommas, of course we don't want to do that!

My favorite liquid liner is: CK Electric Edge Liquid Liner. It is foolproof and, believe you me, I am quite the fool. When only pencil will do (for instance, if you want to create a smokey eye and need to smudge the eyeliner), try Elizabeth Arden's Smokey Eyes Powder Pencil in Midnight. It "sticks" more than any other pencil I have found, and it comes with its own smudger. Another tip: When using a lining pencil, prep your lids with some powder before to make sure your liner doesn't fade away before the last dance.

Many a devi loves her kajal, and why not? The richness of the pigment is difficult to replicate. Just take note: More and more studies are coming out about lead content in kajul, and the state of New York recently issued a warning on the same. Darkly rimmed eyes are not worth lead posioning.

Watch this video for some good tips on how to apply your eyeliner. And check out this tutorial on how to create the liner and shadow looks of Miss Sri Lanka's look (courtesy of "IndianMakeUpGirl")


Who doesn't love mascara? The promise of a seductive, fringed frame; the way shadows of great lashes are photographed. Just thinking about mascara makes you feel sexy. And yet, the absolute schmorgosboard of choices quickly undermines that feeling of seductiveness and forces you to decide if you need to "plump" your lashes or "volumize"; "thicken" or "lengthen." DiorShow is my best pick for overall mascara and comes as close to"doing it all" as we all do...! Just one coat gives you a set of lashes that approximates the lushness of fakes. Layer on a couple coats and you have instant drama. There are many, many great mascaras out there (I am currently waiting to try a free sample of Givenchy's newest offering which looks like some sort of torture device but is supposted to somehow enable you to reach even the tinest of lashes on the edges of your eyes), but DiorShow keeps coming up on the top of the heap. It is rare that consumers, beauty editors, magazines, and shop sales all collide to show us a clear winner: Let's take our clarity where it lays...!

And now: Drum roll please. Ladies, I want to introduce you to the secret weapon of almost every star you have ever seen on the silver screen, and the one product a litany of makeup artists won't live without. With the exception of one person (You know who you are JP), every single person needs this product and looks better with it (JP is just genetically blessed). The YSL touche eclat highlighter is not a concealer--the YSL marketing people waat to be sure you know that (as if there is something gauche? plebian? about being a concealer? I don't know.) It's also not a fountain of youth or a facelift. But it is subtle transformation. Apply it to any area you want to "lighten"--it's ingredients deflect light and softly illuminate the area you paint. It banishes shadows and signs of fatigue like a magic wand. When my full eye makeup is done, I put two dashes of this under my eyes and blend. I also put a little bit at the corners of my eyes. The effect is as if you are all of a sudden under the sort of flattering lighting that would make Michael Jackson look good and natural. Both shades 3 and 4 look fantastic on Devi skin.

Devis, all of this is just a primer (no make-up pun intended, I swear). But keep on the look-out for more. We are going to delve into topics such as the easiest way to create the smoky eye in all its glory, the pros and cons of vibrating mascaras, how to use certain products to make your eyes seem bigger or more set apart, and how one or two extra minutes can change your entire eye makeup look. Just to name a few. In the meantime, it's your turn: What are your favorite eye makeup products? Tell us your recommendations in the comments section below, and the rec we like the best will win a tube of the ultra-glam DiorShow mascara in blackest black.

Up Next: Keep On Blushing, Even After You're a Bride--The Best Blushes and Highlighters for Devi Cheeks
Anu said...

My favorite liner is Almay Liquid Liner - I've tried some more expensive stuff and this stuff stays. Also the applicator gives you the best control.

Sara said...

Wow, this is unreal, I really hope you are planning on writing one of these on skincare too? It's really helpful!

My favorite eye product: Benefit Moon Beam. Unbelievable how a little bit can add just the right amount of sparkle.

I am going to go try the YSL highlighter at lunch--thanks, I'm so excited!

Purva B said...

This is awesome, can you list some of the other eye creams you have used/loved? I am always on the prowl. I don't have any major issues but would like to use one that "brightens" the eye area?

My secret weapon is the Sephora brick eyeshadow in bronze. It is easy, it is cheap, and it is a mix of colors so it sort of looks like you have done more work than you have. Whenever I wear it I feel like my husband wants me more and I'm not ashamed to say it!

mm said...

fantastic!! I want to experiment with eye makeup and this is such a great starting point! Looking forward to learning how to do a smoky seems so hard??

Jasmine said...

What's a "vibrating mascara"?!? You have piqued my curisoity! Also, please explain the "2 minute eye". I can shellack on the mascara with the best of them for evening, but I am clueless when it comes to everyday stuff so I end up doing nothing!

Bonita said...

Haha, if it could make MJ look better I am willing to try it--I need some heavy-duty "transformation" on some mornings!!

My favorite eye product: St. Ives cucumber cooling mask for the eyes. I'm not sure it actually "does" anything in terms of long-term results, but it feels amazing on tired eyes and I think it makes my eyes less puffy.

Niyati said...

I've always thought I looked more "tired" when I rimmed my under eye, but I kept doing it because I thought I was "supposed" to. (Silly I know but with makeup and beauty, I don't really have a sense of what works, I sort of just do what I think is supposed to work?) Anyway, thanks for dispelling the myth! These last two posts are great, keep em coming!

My favorite eye product is Almay liner in silver. I have read over and over that if you line the inner corners of your eyes in silver or white, it makes them "pop."

Anonymous said...

Okay this is going to sound retarded but thank you so much for breaking down the eye cream ingredients! I get overwhelmed with all the supposed stuff that creams are supposed to do. It's good to know that caffeine can help with one thing and vitamin C with another. Why don't they tell you this stuff simply?!?

shilpa said...

For eyeliner, I love Benefit's Babe Cakes. It's not waterproof, but it doesn't smudge easily. The best part is the bent brush allows for an application very close to the eyelash line- Also great is the Laura Mercier eyeliner. Their brush allows you to dab the eyeliner between individual lashes! It's super natural looking and smudge proof! With eye makeup, it's all about the brush.

Anonymous said...

the urban decay eyeshadow potion is a great primer to keep your eyeshadow and eyeliner on all day. also, i've been liking cream eyeliner :)

Shona said...

Oldie but goodie tips: (1) Store your eye cream in your fridge; and (2) To de-puff eyes, use freezing cold spoons. Cold works!!

jaime said...

OMG, this is so helpful...I am a beauty product junkie just like the rest of us but for some reason I neglect my eyes. I always thought it was because I wanted to minimize my make up application time and my eyes could do without, but after reading this I realize I was wrong...I just needed a more thorough lesson than what the make up artist at MAC provides. My secret weapon...

Nita said...

You're killing me devis! First I have to give up my beloved Carmex, and now my kajal (which is truly my secret weapon for the sultry look I am hoping will snag me a husband--heh) has lead in it?? What next, the end of the American economy? Oh wait...

Thanks for these posts, they are amazing!

tejal said...

OMG "jaime", that is my hands down favorite eye cream ever! I sometimes don't even recommend it to people because I want it to be "my secret"!! Silly I know. They also make the absolute best sunscreen and I heard they are opening their own skin care spa in NYC...

parutron said...

you wouldn't believe it being deepa's sister, but i only really started wearing make up a year ago. but eye make up has been my gateway drug since high school! my favorites:

eyebrow comb (aka eyelash comb) - i had an aha-makeup moment when i realized that the other side of my eyebrow brush is a genius tool for finishing my mascara application. i get rid of chunks and even out my lashes by running this comb through my lashes from above and below. i suggest this one from sephora because it has superfine metal teeth.

vita k - i'm honest with myself, i'm not going to get rid of my dark circles. but when i feel the need to do *something* about them and throw money at the problem, i do so sparingly. and on something that will accomplish at least some lightening and other good things for me (while deluding me), like this cream available at walgreens.

concealer under eyeshadow - i don't know about you guys, but my eyelids suck up eyeshadow like it's disappearing ink. if it's the same for you and you're going to doing anything more-than-simple, i recommend using your concealer over your entire upper lid. one guess on which one i use (deepa has shown me the light with cle de peau). for me, stila shadows have the most stick when i don't have time for that.

oh and on the liquid an almost daily user, i just switched over to drugstore brands (current: l'oreal) after using the mac and dior "pen" versions. no noticeable difference in application, look, or wear! YAY, it's fun to save!

Anonymous said...

Hi! I tried the DuWop eyeshadow today after reading your post and be still my heart I am in love! Thank you so much!

jaime said...

i know's the best! thanks for the sunscreen and spa tip. i have been using skinceuticals sun defense for years, but since i am an open minded devi...i will have to try PTR :-)

Jyothi said...

Best eye cream ever: Laura Mercier brightening serum. It is a little bit iridescent which shows through under your concealer. Also feels like silk when you apply it.

Best blush, I agree: NARS orgasm--my African American friends love it, I love it (I am a medium skinned Devi, I think?) but--bonus--NARS makes a palette at sephora with both Orgasm and a great shade of bronzer--two in one!!

My favorite secret trick for eyes: Bliss Oxygen eye mask (might not be the exact name). They're these little capsules you burst onto pads that you put under your eyes once a week. You wouldn't BELIEVE how much better rested you look after!! And I think Bliss is having a free shipping promotion right now!

THANK you devis, I have really enjoyed these beauty posts! Would love to see some more on skin care/cleansers?

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