September 18, 2009

Eyeshadow Placement and Diagram

(Revlon Colorstay liquid liner and eyeshadows from the original 88 palette)

I get asked quite a lot about how and where to place eyeshadow on the eyes; the parts of the lid area basically. Yes, there are different ways to apply eyeshadow but for the sake of ease this is just a basic representation of eyeshadow placement and areas of the eye. The placement can change depending on the look. As for the areas, since eye shadows vary, these areas may not be exactly how they are shown here. However, the basic segmentation is very similar regardless of eye shape.

The inner corner of the eye is exactly where it sounds like it is; Just at the inner corner of the eye, toward the nose. It can also span partially onto the lid and lower lashline depending on the look. This is where some like to place a highlight color to brighten up their eyes. Also, for eyes that are more closed in, this will make them appear to be a bit further apart.

LID (split into 3 colors)
The lid is the part of your eye area that is mobile, meaning that it's what covers your eye when you close it. It can be divided up into any grouping of segments that you desire for a look. For this, I've divided the lid into thirds.

INNER LID (Lime Green)
The inner lid is the area from the inner corner to where the iris (the colored part of your eyeball) starts. Typically, people will use a lighter color on this inner protion of their lid as a typical placement. However this does not always have to be done.

The middle lid is the area directly over the iris. This is where people normally place a medium toned color; darker than the inner lid color, but lighter than the outer lid.

Covering the area from the outer corner of the eye to where the iris ends is the outer lid. A color that is darker than what was placed on the middle lid is usually applied here.

CREASE (Black line directly above the lid)
Your crease can easily be found by looking down into a mirror while keeping your head straight. The line of indentation right above your lid is your natural crease. Alternatively you can feel your crease by running your fingertip or soft end of a brush along the area right above your lid, but below the bone. While this area can also be segmented, in this case I left it as one solid area. Usually a darker color is blended into the crease to bring the lid colors into the colors above the lid.

The brow bone, or optical bone, is the bone that is essentially part of your eye socket. I often refer to this area as the lower browbone. It's there a transition color is placed; something that will blend in nicely with the highlight color.

Also part of the brow bone is the highlight area. This is the upper portion, directly below the brow. Depending on how high you choose to take your main eyeshadow color, this area can be larger or smaller. The picture just gives an exampole of where I place my highlight. The color placed here can range from white to any neutral shade that goes with your skin color or even your eyeshadow colors.

The lower lashline is on the underside of your entire eye area. It realy is optional whether you put color there or not. You can smudge color all the way across, blending it out for a smokey eye, apply a thin line of color, or go thicker like I tend to do. It's a matter of personal preference.

WATERLINE (Blue, above the lower lashline)
People have a upper and lower waterline. This is the wet area of your lashline where the tear duct of your eye is located. For smokier looks, this is a good place to add some black liner to deepen the overall appearance. Alternatively you can apply a white liner here to brighten and give the illusion of larger eyes. I have taken a liking to leaving my waterline bare or using Painterly Paintpot because it's not as harsh as white liner. Lining your upper waterline is known as "tight lining."

LASH BASE (Black lines along the very upper and lower lashlines)
The base of your lashes is the point where your eyelashes meet the skin. When applying eyeliner along your top lashline, you should try to keep the liner as close to the lash base as possible. Along the base of your lower lashes, you can add a black or any other darker color to give more dimension to an otherwise flat area of color.

OUTER V (Black V shape on the outer red portion of the lid)
The outer V is the area on the outer lid where you can create a "V" shape to attach your upper lashline to your crease. This is an area where a darker color can be placed to smoke out a look, tie the lid color in with the browbone color, or even just to add a bit more dimension.


  1. This is a great diagram! Great job! Thank you

  2. I've never read any explanation so well writen! It's perfect!
    I have a problem because my eyebrow is at a low position, so the higlight and the area of the optical bone is nearly not there!
    What should I do?

  3. I think this is exactly what a few of us need to see! Thank you, gorgeous :D

  4. Great explanation and diagram, I need to try to get my makeup looks on point, my problem is color placement. I always love how you get your looks rounded according to your eye shape, and I tend to always wing my makeup looks (butterfly wing shape) and I need to grasp the rounded effect. Thanks dear for doing this :)

  5. Thank you so much for these... very helpful!

  6. Thanks for this! I always get a bit confused with placement and this should really help me :)

  7. Great post! It will be helpful for a lot of ladies! :)

  8. This is amazing! So helpful! I will needo to come back to this page from time to time to see this diagram. Thanks for posting it!

  9. Glad to hear this is going to help a lot of you out! :)

    Patricia...if you don't have a lot of space between your crease and eyebrow you can always just skip the browbone/optical bone color; so you're blend your crease into your hightlight. Or you can also do the crease color on the outer half of your crease, and the browbone color on the inner half, then blend both into the highlight.

  10. I love how you did this! This is a perfect description!!! Amazing visual! Thank you!

  11. Wow!! You are just fabulous. LOL Thank you for sharing such detailed explanations

  12. Thank you so much.. I just love the way you explained it..!

  13. You explained everything so well! Thank you.

  14. This is excellent! Thank you soo much. Just what I needed. Definitely going to print this out.

  15. This diagram reminds me of the MAC Color Play look. :D I would totally rock this the way it is. Heh

  16. First of all thank you so much for this explanation! Clears a lot of things up. Thank you! I want to start with makeup and this helps a lot. But I'm still a little bit confused about the 'crease', because there also seems to be a sort of thin black line (fold of the lid?) in the lid area. But that's not the crease?

  17. Thank you so much for sharing this info on how to apply eyeshadow in different areas of the eyes as well as what type to use. I just recently bought a color palete of matte eyeshadows and was needing to find something like this so I can have some fun with my eye make up!

  18. love it! very informative! thanks!