“Dark brown – nearly black – slightly downturned, and defined by the shape of their lids,” journalist Monica Kim wrote in a piece for Vogue back in June. “There is no wrinkle, no crease, no skin that falls back into the socket. Just a wide, flat plane that sits unmoving below my brows.” Kim was talking about her monolids, an eye shape possessed by many of East Asian descent, and one she shares with British Vogue’s luminous September cover star, Gemma Chan.
The web is awash with how-to videos and instructional articles on how to create the “ultimate” eye look, but unfortunately the techniques often ignore monolids. Here, Hiromi Ueda, the makeup artist behind Chan’s look, shares her top tips for achieving show-stopping eyes for monolids.
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #61 series on my blog.
“I think the order you apply your makeup in is very important,” says Ueda. “It’s better to apply eyeshadow before you attempt a feline flick. And it’s wise to keep your eyes shut while the eyeliner is drying, to avoid reprinting the liner on top of your eyelid.”
Go bold and bright
With the onus being on accentuating the shape of the eye along the lash line, eyeshadow is a monolid’s best friend. Seek out bold and bright colours, and know that you can easily wear just one shade (instead of three, as those with double lids often do) across your lids. “I recommend choosing colour that’s impactful and which contrasts against a feline flick,” Ueda says. “I always check what my client is going to wear (and its key colours), so I can complement them in the makeup.”
Ueda is a fan of Mac’s Pigment Pots for the extensive shade range. Monolids can also pull off some colour below the eye, so if that takes your fancy, experiment with blending your chosen shade underneath, too.
How to create a feline flick
When drawing a feline flick, seek to extend the line outwards, rather than up towards the end tip of the brow – it will help to enhance the shape of your eyes. “Ensure the line looks straight when you open your eyes, so mark some points on the eye with an eye pencil or pen and then draw the defined line,” advises Ueda. You can further define and make eyes look wider by using a tightlining technique on the upper lash line – work your eyeliner into the waterline and areas between your eyelashes, for a subtle but impactful effect. Long-wear and waterproof eyeliners are best to ensure there’s less transfer onto surrounding skin.
For fluttery lashes
The trick to making eyelashes stand out if you have monolids is to curl them beforehand, says Ueda. “My biggest advice is also to replace your mascara regularly to avoid any clumpy bits, as they won’t create a perfect finish.” False eyelashes can also work really well.
Go for gloss
Many eye shapes struggle with eye gloss because it tends to crease and slide all over the face, impacting the overall eye makeup finish. Monolids, on the other hand, don’t have that problem, up the ante on your eye look with a little shine. “Apply alone or add some gloss on top of eyeshadow, as it can make colours stand out more,” says Ueda.
You don’t need to have expert false lash application skills to achieve a thick, long, dramatic lash look. The right volumizing mascara will do just that — no glue required. It will ensure your lashes are anything but subtle.
Plus, I have a quick application tip for you to help your lashes look as voluminous as possible. Before swiping the wand all the way through your lashes, start by wiggling the bristles into the base of your lashes and lightly stamping the mascara against your waterline. This simple step will help even the sparsest fringe look instantly fuller by filling in the gaps between your lashes. Afterward, you can proceed with your usual mascara application technique. Keep scrolling to discover 14 of the best volumizing mascaras to practice that tip with.
Maybelline New York The Falsies Lash Lift Mascara
This affordable thickening mascara left its mark on New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2020 at Christian Siriano, Jason Wu, and Naeem Khan, to name a few. Makeup artist Gato says he loves this washable formula for runway shows because it makes an impact but is easy to remove.
Los Angeles-based makeup artist Fiona Stiles has been a fan of Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes 5 Star Mascara since it launched. The reason? “It’s a great mascara that gives lashes a full, fluffy effect,” she says. “I can always count on it not to clog up fake lashes when I apply it over them, which happens a lot with other mascaras.”
Allure’s digital beauty reporter Devon Abelman has lost track of how many tubes of Tarte Maneater Voluptuous Mascara she’s gone through. Because its formula veers on the drier side, quickly layer on the product for a luscious look that could easily be mistaken for lash extensions.
CoverGirl makes some of the internet’s highest-rated drugstore mascaras, so it’s no shocker that the masses love the recently released Exhibitionist Mascara too. That hourglass-shaped brush is loaded with long, dense bristles, so one coat can go a long, long way.
The Wander Beauty Unlashed Volume & Curl Mascara doesn’t just add drama to lashes, it also lengthens and helps them hold a curl. The versatile pick has won a Best of Beauty Award because you can add multiple layers without worrying about your lashes looking spidery.
Lattes, facials, and gummies aren’t the only things spiked with CBD oil lately. The Milk Makeup Kush High Volume Mascara is too, and Los Angeles-based makeup artist Molly R. Stern is feeling it. “The brush is great and deposits a full lash every time,” she says.
Los Angeles-based makeup artist Mai Quynh swears by the Yves Saint Laurent Volume Effet Faux Cils Mascara for serious lash volume. “I love the formula because it gives lashes a fullness without making them clumpy,” she says. “Also, it’s not flaky and I really love the smell!” Yes, you read that right. This is one of the few mascaras that doesn’t smell like paint.
Professional makeup artists and Allure editors alike often find themselves reaching for the beloved Dior Diorshow Mascara. Stoj, an MUA based in New York City, prefers it for an extreme-volume effect. “This mascara is enriched with microfibers to give you the most voluminous lashes,” he says.
As soon as you grace your lashes with the Chanel Le Volume de Chanel Mascara, you’ll probably have the same reaction as New York City-based makeup artist Joseph Carrillo has every time he uses it: “It’s like wow, thicker, fuller, drama, sexy, sultry,” he says.
Fenty Beauty Full Frontal Volume, Lift & Curl Mascara
Allure’s digital assistant beauty editor Angela Trakoshis only had to try Fenty’s Full Frontal Mascara one time to know she was in it for the long haul. Thanks to the drastically different bristles on either side of its brush, you can swipe on one thin layer of mascara for length, or coat it on until you’ve reached full-volume capacity. “It normally takes me four coats of mascara to get my desired lash, but thanks to Rihanna, it now only takes two,” Trakoshis says.
This drugstore selection has won both a Best of Beauty Award and a Readers’ Choice Award for its glossy black formula and wand, which is decked out with supershort bristles that help fan out lashes. Be sure to twirl the wand as you sweep it through your lashes to take full advantage of its maximizing powers.
The first time New York City-based makeup artist Chiao-Li used Givenchy Noir Couture Volume Mascara, she was shocked: “It really makes your lashes look super voluminous and doesn’t clump at all,” she says. “It’s my absolute favorite whenever I want to create great volume without using false lashes.” She recommends layering it over a coat of Chanel Inimitable Waterproof Mascara for a longer-lasting curl and over-the-top vibe.
Just as its name suggests, Lancôme Monsieur Big Mascara comes with a pretty beefy wand. Don’t be intimidated by its size. Allure’s digital deputy beauty director Sophia Panych believes it’s the key to nearly doubling the thickness of your lashes.
If you’ve ever lusted after Emily Ratajkowski or Shay Mitchell’s lashes, chances are Los Angeles-based makeup artist Patrick Ta raked Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara through their fringes. “This is one of the blackest mascaras I’ve ever used,” he says. “If you are looking for intense definition, you have to give this a try!”
While some have lash extensions, many of us will forever keep tubes of mascara in stock. With that in mind, ALLURE editors and thousands of reviewers rounded up their absolute favourite mascaras of all time, with brands ranging from drugstore gems like Maybelline New York to Sephora darlings Too Faced and AnastasiaBeverly Hills. They’ve also got the luxury market covered.
Discover all the best and boldest mascaras that give us lashes with the most volume, curl, and length each and every day.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Lash Brag Mascara
“There really isn’t a better way to put it: Anastasia’s Lash Brag Mascara (a 2020 Best of Beauty winner) hits different. Way different. This mascara’s visibly chunky formula and curvy, dense brush can surprisingly pull off lashes that are thick and voluminous, long and wispy, or anywhere between — and not all mascaras can do that without clumping or flaking away. With a couple of swipes, the formula builds itself both upward and outward, so I get big, fanned-out lashes that practically hit the ceiling.”
“The formula of the Tarte Maneater Mascara is on the drier side, so you can easily build up lash extension-like volume and definition (and you can sneeze right after swiping it on without creating a Jackson Pollack painting on your under-eye area). Plus, this 2020 Best of Beauty winner has a cylindrical brush lined with tiny bristles that evenly coat even the thinnest of lashes.”
“One of the most exciting things about L’Oréal Paris Bambi Waterproof is the so-called ‘wide-eye brush.’ It has a combination of short and long bristles, which are supposed to ensure you grab every lash – no matter its length — on each swipe. It’s perfect for days when you want your makeup to look as natural as possible and there’s nary a clump to be found once it’s applied. No wonder it won a 2020 Best of Beauty Award.”
“Never in my life did I think I’d be in a position to say my favorite mascara was one made by Gucci, but here I am, living large. Label and aesthetically pleasing pink-and-gold packaging aside, when I first tried Gucci’s L’Obscur Mascara, I was immediately drawn to the formula, which is made to lengthen and define — rather than thicken — my wispy lashes. I typically only need a coat or two to see immediate natural-looking length and never have to worry about annoying clumping or mid-day smudge. Gucci, you made a damn good mascara.”
“Never say Kim Kardashian doesn’t have talent because she did the damn thing with the KKW Beauty mascara. Just one coat separates each lash, making them look full, thick, and dramatic. No primer needed.”
“The only mascara that gives me that lift and volume closest to what my beloved lash extensions do is the Thrive Casemetics Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara. It contains polymers that wrap around each lash to lengthen and strengthen, plus castor seed oil and shea butter to deeply condition each hair. Two coats and your eye area is instantly opened. I always get compliments about how long my lashes are when I use this.”
“When it comes to wearability, the formula in the Wander Beauty Mile High Club Mascara doesn’t smudge or flake — even after a full day of work followed by a gym session. If you’re going for drama with little-to-no effort, then this mascara is a dream. Lift? Check. Volume? Definitely. Length? Oh, yeah, my lashes were practically touching my brow bone by the time I was done.”
“Something about the combination of the Maybelline New York’s The Falsies Lash Lift’s hourglass-shaped wand and lightweight, not-too-wet formula replaces the need for a lash curler, extensions, and falsies. After sweeping it through, my lashes are instantly lifted upward and volumized like a lash enhancement. The dip in the middle of the brush also makes adding mascara to your lashes as mess-free as possible.”
“When I want to add a little color to my look but am short on time, I always reach for Colourpop’s BFF Mascara. By applying just one or two coats (I start at the root of my lashes and wiggle the brush slightly from side to side as I swipe), you get a ton of color payoff. I find that my eyes are instantly brightened up, and I look more awake within seconds. It’s basically an all-in-one eye look. My personal fave color is Blue Ya Mind, though the brand’s classic black (called Black on Black) is a great staple.”
Tarte Sugar Rush Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara
“The Tarte Sugar Rush Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara gives my lashes length, volume, and makes them look super fluttery. I love to use this alone or layer it, specifically with the Milk Makeup Kush Mascara.”
“It’s fitting that one of my favorite makeup brands of all time makes one of my favorite mascara brushes ever. I love how thin and easy to maneuver it is, and the formula is perfect for everyday wear. For nighttime, I just add a second or third coat and the Kevyn Aucoin The Volume Mascara looks great without being clumpy, thanks to how fine the bristles are.”
“My eyelashes are naturally pretty long, albeit blonde, so I don’t really love wearing mascara all the time (mostly because I hate taking it off at the end of the day). When I do, however, I go all-out glam with the Dior Diorshow Waterproof Mascara because it makes my lashes longer, thicker, and just the right amount of obnoxious diva.”
“My all-time favorite mascara, the Too Faced Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara, might be obvious, but it’s ubiquitously beloved for a reason. Maybe I should’ve started with this, but I’m actually partial to the waterproof formula. It helps hold my lashes in place long after I’ve given them a good curl. It checks all the boxes: providing mega-volume without the clumping, inky-black color without the smudging, and just the right amount of length. I’m not much of a mascara girl, but when I am feelin’ it, this is the one I always reach for.”