Ask Jean: Wide-Awake Eyes?

Ask Jean

We want to answer your most pressing questions—or, you know, just the things that you’re curious about. Please keep them coming to: [email protected] Below, a q for our beauty director, Jean Godfrey-June.

Dear Jean, I want my eyes to be more noticeable—I feel like I end up looking tired when I’m not. But I hate obvious mascara, eyeshadow, etc. What’s the no-makeup makeup formula for the eye area?—Kim P.

Dear Kim, You’re speaking my language: There are people who look amazing with sophisticated gradations of color rising from lash line to brows, or gigantic circles of soot-colored smudge, or even just your basic made-up eye with darker shadow in the crease, etc. On me, it looks like a pile of makeup with my face arranged uneasily beneath it.

Even if I could pull off the occasional major eye, it would still, as for most people, be occasional. What you want every day is: Awake, even bright-eyed. Pretty. Straightforward. Crisp. You-but-better.

  • STEP 1

    Start by patting eye cream under your eyes, patting from the inner corner outwards. Wait a few minutes so it sinks in, smoothing the area, and making concealer application—should you need any—about 1,000 times easier.

    goop by Juice Beauty Perfecting Eye Cream
    goop, $90

I do liner next; liner might seem like major makeup to you, but it’s the key to a defined, natural-looking eye because it allows you to apply much less mascara. The most pigmented liner is the best—you need the least of it to make your eyes stand out. I love the liquid liner from W3LL People, which takes a minute of practice but could not be more worth it, and is easier than it sounds (if you prefer pencil, Beautycounter’s is really good).

  • STEP 2

    Ink the smallest amount possible at the base of your upper lashes, starting at the outer corner. Think of connecting the dots between your lashes, rather than drawing a line. Remind yourself that you can clean up any smudges or errant bits with a Q-Tip, so the pressure’s off. Fill in the dots about a quarter to a third of the way in toward the center of your upper lashes.

    W3ll People Expressionist Liquid Eyeliner
    goop, $18
  • STEP 3

    Follow with mascara—many fewer coats of it than you might normally need. With the liner doing its job, the mascara just has to coat your lashes—as opposed to building up thickness to give you definition. The result is a much more natural look, not to mention less smudging.

    W3ll People Expressionist Mascara 1
    goop, $22
  • STEP 4

    Clean up with a Q-tip, Ursa Major face wipe, or tissue and water—until it looks good.

    Ursa Major Essential Face Wipes
    goop, $24
  • STEP 5

    With a brush, dab up a bit of concealer—the brilliant “un” concealer from RMS is best when you warm it a bit by dabbing it on your hand, or working the brush back and forth across the concealer a few times—and put it only where the dark, red, or otherwise discolored spots are.

    RMS Beauty “Un” Cover-Up
    goop, $36
  • STEP 6

    You might need hardly any, you might need a lot, but the key is the brush allows you to place the concealer only on the exact spots you want to conceal. To blend, pat, don’t rub: When you rub, you move the concealer to a part of your face that doesn’t need it, which is how people end up looking over-made-up. Pat lightly, it will seem like it’s not going to blend in, pat patiently for a few seconds more, and the concealer will melt into your skin—and your eyes, and whole face, will wake right up.

    ILIA Concealer Brush
    goop, $30

Related: Best Non-Toxic Mascara, How To Look Wide Awake In 3 Minutes

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