Thursday, January 17th, 2008

I have received a few questions lately about what parts of the eye are which, and I thought it would be a good time to re-post this diagram I made last year that I hope is helpful. I always call out where I put each product for every look (because unfortunately, I don’t have time to do a tutorial every time), and when I do, I use the same names for each part of the eye that it is applied to.

Brow Bone/Highlight: Generally, a lighter color will be applied to this area; it may be something that has undertones of bolder colors used on the lid, or it may simply be similar to your skintone. For example, say I do a predominantly green look, I might turn to MAC’s Gorgeous Gold eyeshadow as a highlight color because it will bring out the greens and still allow the color to taper off. Some of my favorite highlight colors are Ricepaper and Shroom.

Above Crease: This is my “blend out” area. There is strong color on the lid and the crease many times, and that strong color needs to be diffused as it moves it way upwards towards the brow. The best way to think about it is as a gradient, going from dark to light, starting on the lid moving towards the brow. Sometimes I use a lighter color than the one I used on my lid to help fade the color upwards, other times I may use the same color I chose for a highlight.

Outer Crease: Luckily my eye was lookin’ a bit tired, because you can really make out the “crease,” which is that fold of skin/wrinkle-like detail you can see. It extends from the beginning of your eye (inside) to the end of your eye (the outside). Most often I deposit color in the outer crease, but sometimes I do bring it inward a touch, more to the “middle” of the crease. I rarely go for darkening the entire length of my crease. A great universal crease color is Carbon, if used lightly, it can darken any look instantly. Soft Brown is also a nice, subtler shade.

Inner Lid: I mentally slice my eyelid into three parts–basically into thirds. There is the inner, middle, and outer thirds. In many looks you will see, a lighter color is put on the inner lid relative to the rest of the colors found on the lid.

Middle of Lid: This is the middle third of the eyelid, and since I typically do similar styles in my looks, this is where a “medium” color in terms of darkness would go. Light, medium, dark is a good way to think of how I deposit and choose what colors go where on the lid. On occasion, I might go medium, light, dark, but not nearly as frequently as I do the former.

Outer Lid: This is the outer third of the eyelid, and this is usually where I put the darkest lid color. Sometimes I will darken the very outermost portion of it (say you split the outer lid third into half, so then it’d be the outer half or the outer sixth of the entire lid) with the same color I would put in my crease.

Upper Lash Line: It is not explicitly labeled in this diagram, but it is where your upper lashes (generally the longest ones, the ones that come from your eyelid) meet your eyelid. This is the actual upper lash line. When lining the upper lash line, many create thicker lines than the natural upper lash line, but the concept is still there.

Upper Waterline: The upper waterline is also not explicitly labeled, but it can be found directly underneath your upper lashes. If you looked up, you would see a tiny bit of space, much like your lower line, and some people line this as well. It is called tightlining, for your reference.

Lower Waterline: The lower waterline is sometimes called the lower rim, because it is essentially the bottom rim of your eye. There are dozens of people who cannot put product on their waterline due to sensitivity, and many others who struggle to find a product that does not fade or dissolve because of the waterline (and the fact that it is…watery!). For those looking for longer lasting products, I know many use gel liners, fluidliners, and some even use liquidlast liners.

Inner Lower Lash Line: Not everyone likes to put color on the lower lash line, which is space directly below the lower waterline. Some prefer just a thin line of eyeliner that expands across both the inner and outer lower lash lines. I often use the 219 brush to apply pops of color; usually, a lighter color that is similar to the colors used on the lids is applied to the inner lower lash line.

Outer Lower Lash Line: Similarly to the inner lower lash line, I again apply a thin line of color using the 219 to the outer lower lash line. There are times where I might even split the lower lash line into thirds, and it just means that there is a middle part of the lower lash line for application. When it comes to smoky eyes, to “smoke out” the look, one applies a darker color to the outer lower lash line or goes for thicker eyeliner and smudges it out around the outer lower lash line.

Upper Lashes: They are not labeled, but I do hope that the majority know where to find these (though explained earlier!). Most makeup users will apply at least one coat of mascara in either brown or black. Brown mascara is more natural and less dramatic, while black can still be natural, but too many coats or using an amplifing mascara will give you dramatic lashes (but hey, I always want these, so there’s no shame in never going au natural on the lashes!). I look up and bring the wand closest to the roots of the lashes and comb it upwards. Sometimes I wiggle, sometimes I turn the brush as I move upwards – it just depends on the mascara.

Lower Lashes: These are the shorter lashes found beneath your eyeball. I always like to give them a quick coat of mascara after I finish doing my upper lashes, because then they’re blacker and stand out a touch. The best way I’ve found to apply mascara to the lower lashes is to use a mascara wand that is not huge and burly – it is a small space, and why do you want to get mascara all over your face? Since I do not even need a super duper mascara, I may use a lesser, but still black, mascara to coat them. Look up and lightly tap the mascara wand to the lashes. I usually just move the wand from side to side, rather than up and down like my upper lashes because I find it coats them to deepen color, slightly lengthen, and that’s all I need.

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86 thoughts on “Tutorial & Reference – Eye Diagram, Parts of the Eye, Basic Eye Makeup

  1. Patty Santos

    This diagram its awesome, but now that i understand all that, i was wondering what type of brush i could use to deposit color on my outer lid so i get a really defined look?

    • I actually use the same brush for just about anything – the 239. You can always get more color to get a more defined look. If you want an ultra defined crease, the 219 would help.

  2. Erin

    Patty: if you want it to be more defined, use a paint brushy looking brush, like the 239, you know, just a flat one and pack it on thick, then blend. If you want a more blended look, try one of the round-tipped brushes you can use in a circular motion.

    Awesome, Christine! How thorough of you.
    MY question has always been WHERE IS THIS MYTHICAL “V”? People always talk about the outer V and I can never really see what in the world they’re talking about. That’s probably how you can tell they’ve blended well, so I suppose it doesn’t matter so much.

    • The V? You know, that is the most uninformative terminology, lol. The V is really the outer crease/outer lid area as far as I understand! It’s as if part of the V shape is the outer crease, with the other half of the V being your bottom part of the outer lid, I guess….

  3. Fie

    This diagram has helped me numerous times. Haha. I have it on my laptop desktop for future reference. And yes, the 239 is my savior. 😀 It’s one of those must have brushes.

  4. Brooke

    Thank you so much! I saved this one to my favs, it will definately come in handy pretty much every day!

  5. Anna Clara

    thank you SO much for this diagram..


    ..if ONLY there were as many specific words in current Italian for those parts! it drives me nuts when I’m tryig to explain my friend a certain look, because I really have no clue what words to use! so they all end up going like.. ‘crease?.. cosa?’.. cosa meaning what.. lol

    • No problem, Anna! Oh, I wish there were, how unfortunate that you don’t have them, lol! I’m surprised that they haven’t devised any, though.

  6. Nicole

    How do you apply your liner on the bottom of your eyes, do you put stuff in your waterline? If so, what product? Great diagram!

    • I put stuff on my waterline personally, but not everyone does. I use Blacktrack fluidline or Feline kohl power usually. I apply liner, when it’s shadow, with the 219 brush!

  7. Erin

    Kohl liners work well for the waterline, but you have to be careful, it’s not recommended. It can really damage your cornea. Also, you might not imagine it being a problem, but I stopped doing it when I actually had to SQUEEZE black gunk out of my lower tearduct.

  8. Ashlee

    Love that diagram!

  9. MoOn

    I love looove these kind of tutorials, they are very helpful and I enjoy them especially with pics :p

  10. nunu

    thank you for this :)

  11. Patty Santos

    Thankxxx for the recommendations everyone :p

  12. Gio

    thanks for this, love the diagram, it’s very helpful

  13. I love this diagram. Thank you!!! Im sure this will be very useful.

  14. victoria

    great diagram. very clear. now i want to know the difference between the loewcornell maxine brush to the 239. although they appear similar, there’s got to be something different, right?

    • Thanks, Victoria! The LC brush is rougher than the 239, that’s the biggest difference. I find they’re nearly identical in size, but the bristles might be a touch thicker than the 239.

      • victoria

        thank you soooo much. only recently did i noticed that because i also use the lc brush for paintpot and it started to scratch my lid. when using it dry, it was okay but not with paintpot and i was wondering if the 239 was the same. i am thinking of getting another brush for paintpots. thanks again, it’s hard to tell just by touching the brush at the store. it’s really helpful when you have the option of others.




  17. Tori

    omg you have leopard eyes!
    sooo cooool!

  18. laura

    loved your tutorial it really helps to see exactly what to do, but I did not understand the primer do you mix that yourself how much is 1 part glycerine? Also after you did that you put on a color on the whole eyelid was that a specific shade or did you mix that one as well? Please help me out. Thanks

    • Thanks, Laura!

      One part glycerin is anything… okay, so say you use 1/4 tsp glycerin, then you need to use 3/4 tsp of water. For every one 1/4 tsp of glycerin you put in, you need to put in three 1/4 tsps of water.

  19. Elaine

    Where have you been all my life?!?! I feel I have only just really learned about cosmetics and how to apply them!! Amazing – 5 mins on your site and I have a huge amount of new ideas for doing my own make-up, which I must confess, I was getting quite bored with. And the colours you use are amazing, you have re-inspired me!! thank you, thank you, thank you; I am going to start putting colour back into my make-up drawer and start enjoying them again. Your eye make-up is fantastic and I Love reading about the products/colours you use. Have a fab day :)

  20. sam

    Christine,hi.I was going through NYX website, trying to get some eye colors, and i realise that they have so many different types.Which one do you think one should get.
    Is it the ones in a jar or the trio?
    Which ones are the best?

  21. Maribel

    Thank you so much!!!!!! This diagram help me a lot!! 😀

  22. Jan

    I have this picture saved and bookmarked! it really helps when applying eyeshadow or looking at your ‘looks’ and tutorials! You’re really a savior in the MU world, finding time outside your school and ‘mothering’ to post many goodies up for us! THANK YOUUU! Oh did you know I literally ran out to MAC to get a 239 when I started reading here. It gets the color of the e/s like what we see from the pot….and now the 213 is just collecting dust somewhere…haha.

  23. jessica

    i love everything!! im newly single and learning to experiment with eye makeup… i have small eyes that have a slight downward slant what would be th ebest look for me?? HELP PLEASE :]

  24. jessica

    Thank You!!

  25. Jan

    Yes! The 239 is Godsend, suddenly I like all my lustres! lol.

  26. This is an awesome post. You have clearly explained the different areas with the diagram and you have very well explained the process.
    This is really wonderful.

  27. Does anyone know where I can get good clip in hair extensions? I really need some extensions for my prom in a few weeks. I need a brown colour with some highlights, I prefer clipins as this is less damaging to my hair. The glue in hair extensions just aren’t good in my opinion. Any suggestions for

  28. Jasmine

    Thanks! I’ve been searching for something like this, and I found exactly what I have been looking for!!!

  29. shirley

    Hi Christine!

    That’s a godsend “chart” for eyepart!

    Hope u won’t mind that I borrow and paste on my blog

    thanks! *kiss*

  30. This is the best ever !!!!!!

    Learnt so much and so so so so very excited to actually experiment now :)

    Christine favour, may I borrow this entry and put it on my blog also? I’ll link back and post a direct linkage to your site. Pleaseeeee :)

    Hope it’s alright :) Let me know kai?


  31. Hi I have been looking for a diagram like this for ages. Thank You so much.

  32. RJ

    I have been following your blog for quite sometime and it has REALLY inspired me to be bold with my make up…. It has helped me tremendously. The tips are great and this diagram is absolutely wonderful.

    Thank you for sharing your insights and tips ! Happy New Year to you :)

  33. Chynna

    The diagram’s great for when you’re making up new eye looks, but it would’ve better if you labelled the inner crease.

  34. Elizabeth

    Thanks! This is VERY helpful!!!

  35. Tanya

    I love your site!! I’m new with make up and I can’t thank you enough for your posts. Thanks a ton :)

    This is the most helpful eye diagram I’ve seen. I recently came across something called the tight line. What’s that?

  36. Stefani

    this is really helpful. thanks!

  37. Kirsty

    Hi, I’ve got a slight problem with regard to smudging! I always apply a great concealer before eyemake up. I use a ‘smudgeproof’ kohl pencil on the lower inner and outer lines of my lashes and after an hour, my eye make up has smudged and it looks like my eyes are dark underneath. What am I doing wrong? Is there anything I can do to fix this? Kirsty

    • Is it your mascara that’s causing the smudging? Even though your liner says it is smudgeproof, it might not actually be. You may want to try another liner (or try wearing no liner) and seeing if that works!

  38. Jevina

    Thank you infinitely, Christine, for these wonderful tips, which seem to be the best in the world! u r truly a genius, and generous as well for sharing these eye-make up techniques with us!

    3 cheers!!!

  39. Anna Zara

    Hello i have two questions: i was just wondering what you do more, eyeliner on the waterline or lower lashes? I’m trying to learn how to do the waterline properly but end up look semi racoon eyed when i try. Would you suggest just using a lighter colour when i waterline, so that it doesn’t look too heavy when i’m at school?

  40. Christine,
    Can’t thank you enough for all these tutorials! Not only am I getting more and more excited for prom, practicing and trying out all these styles, but I’m also starting to realize how to make myself look better. Great stuff – thanks again! 😀

  41. hi..thank you so is really a great help for me..i’m also confused when i’m watching a you tube on make up tutorial..but i’m having a hard time which brushes i needed to have a great eyeshadow..especially smokey eye..can you help me pls…i have a little crease..thank you so much

  42. Gamze

    Could you please make a similar chart for hooded eyes? I have trouble placing the eyeshadow and I can only apply one single shade on the lower eyelid.

  43. Jesslyn

    thanks so much. they’re always using these terms that just don’t make any sense!!!!

  44. Ruru

    Anatomy of the eye for make up.

  45. Amanda

    So how many different colors would you say you used for this? 3? 5?