6 basic tips for applying eye makeup with monolides

If I’m presented with hours of free time (which is especially relevant right now), I’m almost guaranteed to fill it by browsing the many nooks and crannies of YouTube. Then, around eight minutes into a makeup tutorial, I realize that the rendering of a smokey eye for the girl in the video won’t be the same on my monolid eyes.

After a few years of playing around with makeup and finding my favorite techniques, I’ve learned a few tips for accentuating my monolides.

What exactly is a “monolid”?

Monolids are eyelids that do not have a crease, and they are commonly seen in East Asian people.


Now, I’m not saying complex tutorials aren’t good, but they aren’t always helpful when trying to decorate our lids with more colors and details that can actually fit. Perfecting a cut pleat can be tricky when you don’t have to “cut” one. If you’re struggling to find help with your makeup journey, these tips will guide you!

1. Find YOUR colors.

You may have done this before (whether you have monolides or not), but it’s still a great first step in planning your future makeup routines. By finding the shades you love and feel confident in, you can simplify your palette collection and feel less overwhelmed when navigating your image.

I find that oranges, terra cotta and rusty pinks work best for me and my complexion whenever I want to add spice to an ordinary day. Darker brown and black shadows are also a must-have for any at-home MUA. This Morphe X Jaclyn Hill palette has everything any natural look lover needs.

Morphe X Jaclyn Hill Ring the Alarm Eyeshadow Palette: $16, morphe.com

I love the rusty brown transition shade of this Color Icon Eyeshadow Palette as an everyday pigment. The darkest brown helps me add depth to any look, and the formula is extremely smooth and easy to apply.

Color Icon – Not a Basic Peach 10-Piece Eyeshadow Palette: $5.99, wetnwildbeauty.com

2. Start small.

Any type of eye shadow brush will work well, but make sure you have good control over where you put the product. Control is especially important for this second tip: start small. Partially close one eye and place a single line of shadow just above the upper lash line – almost like an eyeliner.

Repeat this process on the other eye, then open both eyes and see how much color is visible. Thicken the eyeshadow line until you’re satisfied, but take your time! You don’t want to put in too much at once and have tons of fallout and wasted product.

You can also keep both your eyes open and apply shadow directly to the visible parts of your eye.

See these methods in action in this Beauty Insider tutorial with professional makeup artist Irene Kim. Suggested clip: 2:20 – 2:50.

3. Bold or subtle?

Before you go overboard with your thick line of eyeshadow, decide whether or not you want your eyes to be the center of attention when people look at you. I don’t have much room on my eyelid, so I tend to stick to harder, thicker lines for my shadow for noticeable pops of color.

For softer looks, you can stick a line or two of solid product above the lash line and then blend out the harsh lines.

By knowing what the desired result will be, you are less likely to go overboard with the pigments. Your subconscious will remind you when to stop and remind you before you fall into a whirlwind of color and end up brushing the shadow all the way to your brow bone.

4. Follow your eyes.

It’s 2020 – we’re celebrating and improving on what we have.

For a while I wanted to use makeup to make my eyes look like all those other artists on the internet. As a result, I failed miserably and went back to the first piece of advice I shared. Finding the colors I’m really comfortable in has made a huge difference in (and around) my eyes.

Once you find what works for you, you can achieve a simple and effortless look (because it is!).

The second part of this trick is to literally follow your eyes with your products. Don’t try to change the shape of your eyes to fit the tutorials. Use a few of your favorite pigments to your advantage and follow your eye shape. You got a glimpse of this from Irene Kim in Tip #2.

5. Extend outward.

As you follow the flow of your eye shape, don’t be afraid to pull your liner and shadow outward! You may not drag your brush all the way to the top of your ear, but this general direction is perfect for adding some punch at your pace.

If you’re trying to achieve a smokey effect, keep the darkest colors near your lash line and move outward as desired. Feel free to mix generously.

By tilting your eye products sharply upward, you create the illusion that your eye is smaller. Unless that’s what you’re looking for, I’ll stick to outward strokes and avoid getting too close to your brows.

Watch Fenty Beauty global makeup artist Priscilla Ono demonstrate the outward motions in this tutorial. Suggested clip: 0:20 – 0:48.

6. Experiment with mascaras.

A coat of mascara can do wonders whenever you’ve finally gotten your eyeshadow perfect and don’t want to risk messing it up with a shaky eyeliner application (which I’m VERY prone to do) . If you haven’t found your favorite mascara, you should give it a go!

By applying mascara to your eyelashes, you add an extra lift to your eyes and highlight your lash line in a way comparable to the effect of a typical liner. Also, it will compensate for the slight sag you may have felt if you gave up on your upward brush strokes earlier.

Some mascaras I use include this Covergirl Lash Blast volumizing mascara. The formula isn’t heavy on my lashes and it doesn’t smudge under my eyes as badly as others. The flexible wand bristles are very soft and won’t clump together.

Covergirl Lash Blast Volume Waterproof Mascara: $6.19, target.com

I also like to use Neutrogena Healthy Volume Mascara for the same reasons, but it tends to smudge a bit sooner than Lash Blast. Waterproof mascaras are ideal as monolides tend to have more fallout and potentially irritated, watery eyes.

Neutrogena Healthy Volume Waterproof Mascara: $7.59, target.com

In the past, I’ve tried Maybelline’s Volum’ Express The Rocket mascara ($8.77, maybelline.com), Volum’ Express The Falsies ($8.77, maybelline.com) and Great Lash ($7.40 $, maybebelline.com). The Express The Rocket was my first mascara, and I used it for a few years until I threw it in the trash past its expiration date. The last two mascaras were a little wet on contact, but it’s perfect for reapplying and building your mascara to your desired thickness.

Plus, curling your lashes can help lift them. Mine aren’t very long to start with, so rolling them up was obviously a game-changer. Be sure to curl neatly and follow quickly with your mascara. If your lashes look like mine, it won’t take long for them to succumb to gravity.

It’s time to try it!

Remember that all the products I have shared here are recommended to you based on my experiences with them; they may or may not work for your eyelids or lashes, but they’re a great, affordable start to finding what you love the most.

All of these tips are pretty generic and applicable to many different eye shapes, but I hope monolidded girls around the world can benefit from them in particular. Good luck!