Monolid Asian Eyes and Eye Makeup

I’m a lazy girl. Unless I’m going out to a bar, club or nice restaurant, I very rarely wear makeup.  Some lotion and chapstick is enough for me (though I should be wearing sunscreen).  However, I love the look of well-applied makeup, especially eye makeup.  I have a slight obsession with eye shadows and find myself buying them constantly.  I just love owning a little pot of color; it’s like owning a brilliant jewel with no two brands/shades being alike.

As I mentioned at the end of an earlier post, I jumped on the NXY lot sale and got Lot 3 (now sold out), which consisted of 43 of their great eye shadows.  So now I have 43 new shadows to play with, though I admit I probably have used less than 25% of the shadows I already own.  Despite my fascination with owning eye shadows, I don’t often put them to good use.

I think this is because I am never quite satisfied with how eye shadow looks on me.  Unlike my three younger sisters, I have monolids, also known as single lids or what one would consider typical “Asian eyes.”  Eye shadow is usually applied on the upper eyelid, but that’s pretty pointless for me because you can’t see my upper eyelid when my eyes are opened.  My eyelids disappear underneath my fatty epicanthal fold.  So, if I want to actually wear eye shadow and have the color be visible, I have to apply it higher than my natural eyelid area; I have a lot of visible space between my opened eye and eyebrows.  It’s like a big blank canvas with no guidelines.  I want guidelines dammit! A lot of traditional instructions for applying eyeshadows use your upper eyelid crease and browbone as a guide for where to apply color.  Well, I don’t have an eyelid crease and my browbone is pretty flat, so it’s not easy knowing where exactly to put the color and what “shape” to apply it in.

With no crease to follow, what does one do?

So many possibilities; with no crease to follow, what does one do?

There are tutorials out there for single lidded Asian girls, but they don’t really work for me.  Even though I’m monolid, my eye shape is rounder and larger than those in the tutorials:

I like how my eyes look here, but want to jazz them up with some color.

I like how my eyes look here, but want to jazz them up with some color.

Also, a lot of tutorials don’t get very specific about what exactly they’re doing, especially video tutorials.  It’s very easy to take for granted something you yourself already know how to do (guilty!).

Well, I finally found two detailed tutorials that work for me.  One of them actually draws guidelines to help me determine where to shade:

Guidelines for monolid eye shadow

Guidelines for monolid eye shadow

Christine wrote a great tutorial at Asian Beauty Blog, which you can read here.  2013 Update: That blog is no longer being maintained and that link no longer works. I was able to find the text using the Wayback Machine and have copied and pasted it below.  The original entry had step by step photos that are no longer available, but I DID save the above image from the tutorial and you can refer to that.

Monolid Tutorial by Christine_jiyoon
Original found at:
Retrieved from the Wayback Machine

hey all, this is the monolid ”tutorial” that i promised! i hope u found it helpful in some way.

i made a diagram of where each color should be placed on the eyelid. in the picture shown, if u look closely i have already applied my highlighter (shroom) and MAC bare canvas–hence, the shimmeryness.

step one:
start out w/ a clean and well moisturized face before applying face makeup. i used bare minerals in light as my concealer (which literally) took like, maybe 20 seconds), then i buffed on MAC NC 30 studiofix w/ my #187 brush. then, i applied MAC blush in tenderling. prepare to do ur eyes and have all necessary tools.

step two:
to prepare ur lid, no matter what size they are, apply some form of primer. it can be an eyeshadow primer or even concealer. i like to use MAC bare canvas paint. apply all over ur lid starting from the lashline up to ur eyebrows.

step three: BLUE dotted line
apply MAC shroom, following where u put the bare canvas paint…again, starting from the lashline up to the eyebrows. this completes the eyelid prep. also, these two steps doubles as a highlighter. if u want,
u can focus by adding more highlight (the blue dotted line).

step four: RED dotted line
it is important to get to know the shape of ur eye. whether u are double lidded or monolidded, everyone’s eye shape is different. the reason u need to know ur eyeshape, is bc u want to be able to follow
it when applying ur various shades. u always want to apply ur medium tone first. apply it along ur lashline, and begin to angle it upward. this way, when ur eyes are open, color is peeping out beneath ur fold.
ex.) if u were doing a smokey eye, ur medium tone would be the grayish color

step five: GREEN dotted line

next, apply ur dark shade. u want to apply staright along the lashline. after u have done this, take a fluffy brush (aka bobbi brown shader) and blend the RED dotted area and the GREEN dotted are together, blending outward and up at the angle (like the red dotted line). blending is SO important here. u must blend the medium and the dark sahde together to merge the two colors together…making the colors appear as if they have faded into each other.
ex.) if u were doing a smokey eye, ur dark shade would be a dark gray or a shimmery black.

step six:
remember, when ur eyes are open u should mainly see the colors of the red dotted line. the merged dark and medium tones should be peeping out at the corners of ur eye at an angle. if u have not achieved this, keep blending, or apply more dark tone and bring that shade up.

step seven: BLACK dotted line
begin to apply ur lightest shade sparingly. it is best to use a shimmer tone…something really of no color (like MAC pigment in vanilla). this just adds definition and depth, without changing ur color scheme.

step seven:
apply black eyeliner halfway along ur bottom lashline and waterline.

step eight:
when applying eyeliner to the top lashes, dont follow ur exact lashline. u want to follow the shape of ur eye–that is, when ur eye opens and u see the folded area…thats where u want to draw ur line.

step nine:
curl ur lashes, apply lash primer (optional) and apply mascara.

step ten:
fill in eyebrows; apply lip color (or chapstick lol).


note: u should never apply ur colors in a ”rounded” manner, following ur top eyelid evenly. remember colors at an angle are a monolid’s best friend. and no, this will not make ur eyes look ”chinky”–this is
usually the most common concern among monolids. remember that u want the colors to be peeping out from the corners, and from the top half of ur open eyelid. REMEMBER, overlap, blend, and fadeeeee.


It’s been nearly 5 years since I wrote this blog entry, and I’ve gotten pretty good at applying eye makeup (the few times I get unlazy enough to do so).  Another great tip that I’ve come across over the years is that in most eye makeup tutorial (for non-monolids), they will use the crease as a guideline, such as “use the darker eyeshadow in the crease” or “apply color X up to the crease” and “apply color Y to the outer 1/3 of the crease” etc.  It’s hard for monolids to follow these instructions because our crease gets “sucked in” by our fatty lids.  What’s the point of using our crease as a guideline when it disappears?  Well, I came across an amazing piece of insight:

The crease = the underside of the top edge of your eye socket
In those with double lids, the crease is formed where the top eyelid meets the socket bone. It’s easier to say “apply a dark color to the crease” than “apply a dark color along the curve formed along the underside of the top edge of your eyesocket bone.”   In those with double lids, it’s the same thing and when tutorials say “crease” that’s the area they mean.  For us monolids, our natural crease starts below the eye socket curve.  We usually don’t have the visible indent/valley/hollow (aka crease) caused by where the lid and the socket meet, but if you push with your finger or with your makeup brush, there it is!  That space is the “crease” to use as a guideline.  I like using a slightly stiffer, flat brush to apply a darker shadow here to give my eyes more depth.  I concentrate the darker color on the outer 1/3 or so, and will blend it out to a brighter color towards my inner eye.  It’s been so much easier to play with makeup now that I think of that socket area as my crease, and not the teeny sliver just above my lashes.  End update.

I followed the steps from Christine’s tutorial earlier and was very happy with how it came out.

I also found a detailed video by mulzana on YouTube with a different technique especially good for creating a smokey eye:

So now that I’ve found a couple techniques that work for my eyes, I hope to actually use all the eye shadows I have!  In addition to having quality shadows, I’ve also come to realize that good brushes and a primer are important tools for great eye makeup.  I use Urban Decay’s Primer Potion, a small brush for applying precise color and a larger brush for blending colors.  Black eyeliner and mascara are key too!

I’m also wondering how to achieve the eye looks in the following two pictures.  Any thoughts?

Love this, but thinking maybe you need this exact eye shape for this look?

Love this, but thinking maybe you need this exact eye shape for this look?

What a gorgeous, deep smokey eye!

What a gorgeous, deep smokey eye!

  • Jessica

    Omg thanks for putting this up (: My eyes are like yours so it’s helpful. I have round eyes with really small creases, so makeup doesn’t work for me sometimes. I generally like to keep it natural. :D

  • Ally

    wow. thank you for posting this! i’ve been frustrated with make up for so long (and making several mistakes for several years) until now!! thank you thank you thank you

  • Jessica

    Omg thanks for putting this up (: My eyes are like yours so it's helpful. I have round eyes with really small creases, so makeup doesn't work for me sometimes. I generally like to keep it natural. :D

  • Lauren

    This was great! I've always had trouble with dealing with my monolid eyes, and I've had no idea what to do with it! I found a site with some videos that were very helpful! have a look! they have many videos with Asian Makeup tips at

  • ChristyJennings

    Great makeup tutorial! The details in your pics are great for the monolid eyes. I have a few Asian clients to show this to!

  • Lll

    your Asian Beauty Blog link is not working…!

    • vuthy

      Oh no! Sorry, that's not a site I run, just something I came across when I wrote this entry over a year ago. I don't know if they're currently having server issues or if perhaps the site is no longer being maintained. :-

  • Mri(hi3

    GREAT video!! thanks thanks thanks

  • Online shopping store

    Nice eye makeup tutorial. Hey a nice collection of cosmetics.. This is quite an interesting and informative posting on cosmetics products which girls and women out there would surely find useful… :) 

    Thanks for sharing!!!

  • Beauty Products

    I like smokey eyes very much. This video is really amazing and very helpful. Thank you so much for sharing this video.