Saturday, October 25, 2014

My Eyelid Thing

Or so I call it in my head, because I've been unable to find a clinical name for an extra fold in each eyelid. I'm talking about this:



Internet research has yielded almost no information. The closest I've come is a forum devoted to botched eyelid surgery: apparently, people who get plastic surgery to turn their monolids into creased eyelids can end up with multiple folds. But I have yet to find a discussion of the extra fold as a congenital issue. Essentially, I have too much lid per eye, so the skin folds over on itself when my eyes are open. This creates deep creases that are especially visible when I'm wearing powder eyeshadow:


Doing my eye makeup always means taking my extra lid folds into account. I have to wiggle my eyeshadow brush just so, or the powder won't make it into the creases. Any look involving a sharp, graphic shape is off the table. It's hard for me to experiment with new shapes and placements of shadow and liner, and I'm rarely satisfied with the looks I do manage to put together. There is no universe in which this is a real problem, but it's still annoying.

Until a few years ago, I'd never even noticed my extra eyelid folds. This changed when, in pursuit of the "retro" look beloved of Tumblr hipsters (black cat eye, matte red lipstick), I bought a liquid eyeliner and began experimenting. Tracing my upper lashline was relatively easy, but I ran into difficulty when I tried to flick the liner outward to make a wing. Because my extra folds extended below the outer corner of each eye, they halted the progress of the liner pen, creating a sad, smeary mess. Most people get their shitty-eyeliner phase over with in high school; for me, that phase belonged to early grad school. Initially I assumed that the problem was my own ineptitude, but reading cat-eye tutorial after cat-eye tutorial made me realize that most beauty bloggers didn't have the Eyelid Thing. For a couple of years I gave up on winged eyeliner entirely, feeling like Buster Bluth whenever I came across yet another perky "how to get the perfect wing" article.


Today, though, I picked up my liquid liner for the first time in at least six months. I'm determined to master the flick, damn it, no matter what hilariously awkward work-arounds I have to use. Please excuse my appalling technique; I'm out of practice, to say the least. My eyeliner is Maybelline Line Stiletto in Blackest Black, which glides on smoothly but tends to flake off after a few hours. It's good for experimenting, though, since it washes off easily.

The first look is the closest I can get to a conventional cat (kitten?) shape, but the flick is more horizontal than I'd like, and even at that angle I couldn't stop the folds from playing havoc with the line.


The second is the so-called "puppy eye," in which the flick extends downward instead of upward. This shape originated in East Asia and, according to the article in the link, is meant to make the eyes look "sweeter, rounder and bigger." But on my eyes, which are already big and round, the puppy eye has the unfortunate effect of making my eyelids look heavy and droopy.


For my third attempt I extended the puppy eye farther downward, then flicked it up, circumventing the extra fold. It looks awkward here, like a worm sprawling across the length of my lashline, but I think it has the most promise of the three. With practice, I could probably find a way to thicken the flick into a triangle with a cleaner point.


And here's the third look in context with the rest of my face. My other makeup is theBalm eyeshadow in Stubborn, a shimmery pink that matches my skintone almost exactly; CoverGirl LashBlast Length mascara; NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla; NARS Coeur Battant blush; and Revlon Lip Butter in Red Velvet.


Am I the only one in the world with this problem? Please tell me I'm not.

And now, as an apology for so many closeups of my wonky eyelids, here's a shot of some glorious fall foliage.


25 comments:

  1. My sister and I have a similar issue! I don't wear graphic liner because ONE of my eyes is a little bitch and folds differently from the other. My sister has a lot of creases, too, but that hasn't stopped her from wearing bold eyeshadow looks. :) I had a bit of a problem with eyeliner, too, and in high school, I never figured out that it was because my lids folded differently from each other. SO I spent a huge chunk of that time wearing eyeliner ONLY on the bottom water line. Like a dumb head. Anyway, good luck!! I'm sure you'll master a look you're happy with with enough practice and experimentation :)

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    1. Thanks! :) I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one. I guess I'm fortunate that both of my eyes fold in the same way, but why do they BOTH have to be little bitches? Waterlining is out for me since I wear contacts, but I once tried doing an upside-down smoky eye with the liner winged out from the lower lashline. Needless to say, it looked really strange.

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  2. I have similar issues -- one eye is hooded/double eyelid, while the other is kind of wrinkly and doesn't have a defined crease. I do a combination of your first and third methods -- I definitely think you can add a "triangle" onto the end of your third flick and call it a cat eye! I find the key is to drag the brush outwards into the flick to get a clean point, tapering off the pressure as you go. Bioderma on a cotton bud and concealer is also a lifesaver!

    Here is a grainy pic of what my eyes look like http://iconosquare.com/viewer.php#/detail/751251906299157862_6454854

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    1. I can't see that photo, unfortunately, but I did go to your blog and subject your eyelids to creepy scrutiny. I see what you mean--it seems like your crease extends down and out from your eye as if it's an eyeliner flick in itself, which is pretty cool!

      Aaahhh, looking back at the attempts I made in this post, I'm so embarrassed that I immortalized them on my blog. I think the felt tip of the Line Stiletto is not an ideal tool for my eyelid situation.

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  3. Many people naturally have multiple folds, I think, though I more commonly encounter complaints from E Asian friends that folds multiply unpredictably and asymmetrical due to lack of / too much sleep, salt, stress and no doubt other s-words.
    My mum has a very similar eye shape to yours and the issue (for flicks, anyway) would seem to be the downturned, extended crease, rather than extra foldage? :) She resolves it by flicking with powder and cake liners rather than starker liquids, starting earlier in rather than waiting to hit the very end of the lashline (if you have round eyes and extend the natural lashline, it's only going to keep heading down), and mapping/checking the flick angle with eyes open.

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    1. Yeah, my folds seem to keep their shape no matter how many S-words I've been abusing. I wish I could remember whether I've always had the folds or whether they developed recently, but I just can't. My mother has them, though, so I assume it's genetic.

      And that's brilliant advice, thank you! I always thought there was something wrong-looking about cat eyes on me, and I suspect it was the effect of trying to extend a downward-curved upper lashline up and out. I'm going to try starting the flick before the outer corner and see if that makes a difference! I may have to write a sequel to this post...

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  4. Both my partner and I have similar problem, actually, and we're not even the same ethnicity. My partner is Caucasian and his problem is more similar to yours, where the double fold goes all the way to the corners, while I'm Asian with round, hooded eyes. For me, I circumvent around the issue by making my liner pretty thin, more of a kitten flick than anything. I've heard that making your flick more of a sword shape (straight, then tapered) instead of the more traditional triangle might help as well. I'd suggest practicing with powder or gel eyeliner and a small angled brush, it might help you find the shape that you like the most.

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    1. That's interesting about you and your partner! I have a feeling that I'm going to go around scrutinizing everyone's eyelids for the next week or two. And you're right that an angled eyeliner brush would give me more control. I actually own such a brush, and I wish now I'd used it for this post instead of the harsh liquid liner. I have two dark matte eyeshadows that I sometimes use as liner, but I'll keep my eye out for a gel liner too!

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  5. I have the same sort of thing: a little bit of extra skin on my eyelids, sometimes visible in photos. I don't really have problems with it, but I hate how it looks in a lot of my photos. And I'm pretty sure it's going to cause some eyelid sagging later on in my life. :/

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    1. I already have pretty heavy eyelids, so I've resigned myself to the eventual sagging. I'm just going to think of it as super-enhanced bedroom eyes. :D

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  6. Interesting! :-D Question: can you use it as a guide for crease shades? Or create a graphic liner look unique to you that involves colouring it in with, like, cobalt liner or something? I mean, you might as well celebrate it, yeah? ;-)

    I feel like there must be a name for it, but if you can't find one, I wholeheartedly support the idea of naming it yourself.

    I sympathise with the winged liner thing. Every tingle time I try a flick or wing or whatever, it turns out differently, Of course, it turns out differently on each eye as well. And the wing always fades on one eye more quickly. *sigh* Mind you, I'm often trying to do them with a blunt UD liner that I'm too lazy to sharpen, so maybe I shouldn't complain. In my case, the fault definitely lies with the user's skill, not the shape of her eye...

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    1. A unique look based on the extra fold is a great idea, but the fold has a way of creasing any eye makeup it comes in contact with. And yes, why is winged liner so hard? I conveniently placed the blame on my eyelid shape in this post, but my own lack of skill is another culprit. I wish there were an eyeliner made specifically for practice, one that you could apply and wipe off over and over until you got the shape right.

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  7. YES, THE EYELID THING. I have a post about it in the works but it does take some gumption to put up detailed pics. I'm also trying to figure out a way to draw better liner (i.e. present a feasible solution) before going live with the post. My problem is a sort of upside down version of yours -- too much flesh/creasing closer to the lashes rather than up top. In any case, winged liners are always a complete fail, and my issue is complicated by the fact that one of my eyes is a slanty hooded monolid while the other is rounder, hooded and double-creased.

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    1. I worried that closeups of my weird eyelids might be visual TMI, but I didn't see any other way of representing the problem. What I'm really embarrassed about is not my lid shape but my shitty liquid-liner technique. I'm so out of practice! Anyway, I look forward to your post, and I have no doubt that you'll come up with a very elegant solution.

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  8. What Kate said - I have hooded eyes with a double lid, but sometimes I can wake up with an extra fold because of salt/lack of sleep/too much sleep/etc., as she mentioned. It is usually closer to the top of my eye than the side, though, so it doesn't usually factor in too much if it does happen, except that I can sort of feel it sometimes and it's weird.

    ANYHOO. I wear liquid liner every day, because I can't be fussed with gels and brushes and pencils and whatever else, and I like the winged eye daily because it helps embiggen eyes, as it were. Having tried a lot of different ones, I think you're right and you might try a liquid liner with a more flexible tip, like the Sephora (http://www.sephora.com/colorful-waterproof-eyeliner-24-hr-wear-P384877?skuId=1551910) ones - I actually think felt pen tips are the trickiest liquid liners because they are the least forgiving, and you get more drag than with the brush tips. Also, Sephora makes a khaki/olive glittery shade, which is devastatingly pretty but also not as intensely black/pigmented, which I often like to soften a look (or when I had red hair), which might also help.

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    1. Oh! Actually, that link is to the ones with the flocked tip. The brush tip is the High-Precision one, I think? (WHY so many?)

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    2. I do find that my extra fold deepens if I'm sleep-deprived, but nothing makes it vanish, alas. I've actually never tried liquid liner with anything but a felt tip, and it does seem that a brush tip would give me more control over the flow of the liquid. I also don't think black is the best eyeliner color for me--you're right that something softer, like a khaki, would look less stark. Thanks for the Sephora recommendation!

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  9. Ha! Your eyelid thing is MY eyelid thing. My non-mobile lids fold over my eyelashes pushing them further down. I can't do a wing liner because I will have to draw over a puffy drooping hood lid thingy. I'll still try to do your second look, never done that before and I live in (south)east asia... :D

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  10. Finally glad to have found this post. Always wondered if I was the only one . For me the winged eyeliner always looked sad in pics , especially when I'm looking straight or up. I ve been doing winged eyeliner for years now n come to realise that smoking the outer corner of my eyelid by smudging wid an eye pencil solves the problem a bit. Then go over it again and draw the wing .Give it a shot n see if it works for u as well.

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  11. we both have the same problem. Just that i have two folds in my both my left and right eyelids which are very prominent..Eye shadows never work and becomes worst if i put eyeliners on.

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    1. Sometimes I actually do wake up with more folds than pictured in this post. (I should probably update the post with better photos if people are still reading it.) I've been doing some research into dermatochalasis, which is a similar problem (the extra eyelid skin creates a hooded look), but it seems the only solution is plastic surgery! Sigh.

      I'd encourage you to keep experimenting with eyeshadow and different primers! These days I don't bother with liquid liners, which are just never going to work for me, but I like tightlining with a brown or black pencil for extra definition.

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  12. You are not alone. I am so glad I found your post. I have the same problem and my crease is even more prominent. No winged eyeliner or eyeshadows for me. But unlike me you are a very beautiful woman and your eyes are pretty and unique with that crease.

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  13. I should really update this post, since my crease has become more prominent and harder to work with in the two years since I wrote this. But I still manage to wear eyeshadow (usually just one color blended into a sheer wash) and eyeliner along the upper lashline, and if I can do it, pretty much anyone can. It makes me sad to read your comment--I guarantee that fewer people notice your eyelids than you think (seriously, no one has EVER commented on mine), and I hope you play around a bit more with eyeshadow and find a method that works for you. <3

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  14. I googled: eyelid double fold crease images and it brought me here. My eyes are virtually identical to yours. I too could not find a name until I stumbled on another pic that was referring to orbital ridge falling on the lash line in relation to Asian eyes. I am not Asian but the picture is my eyes to a tee. I do do winged liner and I wouldn't even know how to explain how I do it but could show a pic. A very annoying tricky problem to have that I assume will only get worse with age!

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    1. I wish my post provided more insight than "well, this sucks," but it's so hard to find information on our problem. I assume what I have is some version of dermatochalasis (probably genetic, since my mom's eyelids are similar). Knowing that doesn't really help, though, since the only solution is plastic surgery. I admire you for figuring out winged liner! I've totally given up on that.

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