Single and Double Asian Eyelids

Posted: February 1, 2011 in Makeup Tips

Hopefully this post answers / addresses most of the questions I’ve gotten regarding this topic! 

Today I’m going to talk about single and double eyelids and why I don’t think that it should be such a big deal.  This afternoon I was casually trolling around some Asian fan girl forums and looking at pre-debut K-Pop stars.  Obviously there is a lot of blah blah plastic surgery controversy etc etc and I’m going to have to say that I don’t really care (aside from the fact that it’s interesting to see the before and afters).  Looking at childhood photos of Asian celebrities, it seems pretty easy  to draw conclusions about how they have modified their looks over the years.  HOWEVER, looking at how my own eyes have made this natural progression as I’ve aged, I think not so easy!

  1. When I was a baby and through my little kid years, I basically had typical Asian baby eyes.  They were cute!
  2. Everybody starts out pretty awesome but then all of a sudden things just get awkward.  I had one single eyelid and one double eyelid for a good few years.  I didn’t really care though because I was just enjoying my life and not being vain.  Plus, my great grandma had those kind of eyes and I thought that that was pretty neat!
  3. All of a sudden my other eye (which always had a tiny tiny suggestion of a fold) started to fall in.  They were then both double but still a little uneven.  I don’t know why this started happening, exactly.  Although I’m pretty sure the sleep deprivation started at this point!
  4. Now (I think through careless abuse… xD I am definitely not a shining makeup guru example) they have gotten increasingly creased and are actually looking more or less even!

So as you can see, my eyes (not to mention my nose and the rest of my face) have changed plenty without any plastic surgery, just natural aging.  All throughout the way I was more or less happy with how I looked.  Not to say that plastic surgery is a horrible thing.  It’s just not realistic for most people, which doesn’t matter since there’s really no need for most people to get it in the first place.

Getting to the point.  I DON’T REALLY THINK IT MATTERS WHETHER YOU HAVE A DOUBLE OR SINGLE LID, in makeup application or otherwise.  If I had both single eyelids, I would probably apply my eyeshadow in almost exactly the same way that I do now.  It really doesn’t make sense to me how there are tutorials for “single eyelids” and “double eyelids.”  Sure double eyelids have a fold, but they’re still Asian looking!  Neither has the highly defined Caucasian  socket where the eyelid molds to the eyeball.  All my fold does is push my eye fat out more so my crease is even harder to find.

Have you ever wondered why I always take my eyeshadow pictures at a funky low angle where you can see up my nostrils in the uncropped picture?  It’s so that I can get rid of my fold in the pictures!  I always like these pictures better and I sometimes wish that they were how my eyes showed up in real life!  In some ways double eyelids can be really annoying when applying makeup.  For example, It ALWAYS HIDES MY F$%#ing BLENDING!  How maddening!

As you can see, the dollar bill folded over looks like a mushroom, not like George.  When my eyes fold, it looks like a hard edged color separation, not a beautifully blended eye shadow lid.  Good example, right?!

So now I figured out that I have to take my eyeshadow even higher just for it to show up blended (picture example above).  I essentially apply my makeup to defy my crease since otherwise  all of the eyeshadow is engulfed in it!  A lot of people have to do this extra compensation in order to defeat their hooded eyes and that’s fine!  Another problem I have is that I always have to worry about drawing my eyeliner as to make sure that it doesn’t overlap into my fold.  I also can’t make super steep eyeliner wings because they always run into my fold at the ends.  Now I’m not just trying to use this post to complain about my earth-shattering problems.  What I’m trying to say is that all eye shapes have their ups and downs, and it’s not a big deal.

My message to everybody is to not feel limited by your eye shape.  It’s intimidating to span out into that vast and flat plane that is the Asian eye lid, but you should really try it.  It makes no sense for Asians to be complaining about their lack of lid space when it’s there, out in the open.  Of course you have to do some adjusting so you don’t look like you work the streets at night …but who doesn’t?  (have to adjust their makeup, I mean… )  Actually, since I’ve gotten used it it, I really enjoy having a big flat space to work with.

Lastly, the most basic tips for makeup application on all Asian eyes:
1. Always blend your eye shadow beyond the fold.  Basically, make it visible.  Keep it soft.
2. Always work a gradient from dark to light vertically and horizontally, as shown in the diagram below.

Both are just really good rules of thumb to start out with if you’ve never worked with eyeshadow before.  I wish I had known these tips earlier and didn’t just have to learn from experimentation but that’s just how it goes.

So hopefully this instructional rant thing helped someone.  Questions down below!

  1. “As you can see, the dollar bill folded over looks like a mushroom, not like George.” BAHAHAHAHHAHA. That was the best part of this post. Your makeup always looks fierce. I’m sure it would look fierce if you had monolids too. So yes, you make a very valid point.

  2. Momeramas says:

    You have written about an important topic. Changes must run in the family. I too, started with single eyelids as a child and young adult. When I was around 9, an older neighbor girl looked at me and said, “Too bad you don’t have double lids like your brother.” My mother told me not to worry – she said they will naturally turn double when I got older. Of course, if you are a pop star in Asia, I guess you can’t wait that long. I didn’t really believe my mom, but sure enough, as I got older, the fat in my eyelids must have disappeared because now I have these big doubles and even a hint of a triple. I hope it doesn’t keep going. Good thing I never had eye surgery because I might be looking at QUADRUPLES – augh! Speaking of changes, if anyone out there is thinking of boob surgery, my advice is to wait until you are at least over 23. Really, I was an “A” cup in high school and gained a full cup during college. Now I am a “C” and not because I am overweight. Bodies can and do change shape, so think about it before you go under the knife.

  3. Porcelaine says:

    Well I guess it does kind of matter because there is a frustration there to do with application. People struggle to get it right (not because they are pathetic but because it’s a challenge). Sometimes when people put eyeshadow especially heavily they look like punched pandas whereas say a caucasian person would look absolutely normal. There is no shame in being frustrated because of that.

    • mytigerlily says:

      I don’t think that I ever said that people who struggle with eye makeup are pathetic. I just noticed that a lot of girls limit themselves EXPERIMENTALLY with eyeshadow just because of their lid shape when there’s really nothing to lose. People are obviously going to have to limit the ways they do their eyeshadow ONCE they find what works and doesn’t work through trial and error. It’s going to be frustrating sometimes for ANYBODY, including myself, which is what I tried to show here.

      I think that caucasian people, or really any people absolutely CAN look like punched pandas when their eye makeup isn’t right. (I mean, sometimes I want to look like a punched panda with really heavy makeup, but that’s besides the point XD) Everyone is going to feel frustrated and I didn’t mean to say that that’s shameful.

      It’s all a matter of getting to know your eye shape. Complaining that your makeup would be so much better IF ONLY you had a different eye shape is a cop out. Your eye makeup only gets better through experience, I know that for a fact.

      • Porcelaine says:

        Okay I’m truly not trying to pick a fight or anything. I hope you know that I’m not trying to offend you. I didn’t say that you said that people who struggle with makeup are pathetic but rather I was clarifying my own words in my first comment so that it didn’t sound like that was what I thought (I wanted to point out the struggle as a challenge and not ‘pathetic’). Of course anyone can look like punched pandas but for asians it’s a lot harder to get it right and that’s a fact rather than just a yearning for caucasian eyes. I really do think that it is easier to get the technique right as a caucasian than asian. Of course experience and practice helps though for some people make up is just not for them.
        (I’m probably pointing out my identity here…) But I personally have felt that frustration like a lot of other people. I can’t do the full black makeup because I look like a punched panda (I actually like this term :P) but like you said experience does help. But I think I will never be able to do that full black makeup because it is just not for me (and in all honesty caucasian eyes would help). But I have lived with it and made do with what I have and practice did certainly help. Still I think there is nothing wrong to yearn, but if you’re going for positive psychology then I’m all for it XD!

        Again please don’t take this the wrong way =D!

        • mytigerlily says:

          ah~ Thank you for the clarification ;) It seems like we agree more than we dissagree :) btw I’M REALLY STARTING TO LOVE THE TERM PUNCHED PANDA. punched panda punched panda punched panda. eeeee!

  4. How interesting that your eyelids have changed as you’ve gotten older! And I totally agree–single, double, who cares?? My BF is Japanese, and he’s pretty much a monolid type. I want to put eye makeup on him just out of curiosity, but he never lets me. : (

  5. elizabeth says:

    thanks for your comment on my lil bloggie! you rule, i really like your clean makeup looks and nice pictures!! i’m putting it in my reader <3

  6. buddleia says:

    I’m Chinese and one eye is more double-lidded than the other. :D A couple of months ago I met a guy who had one doublelid and one monolid; it was pretty distinct, but I doubt people would even notice (unlike me, who would have more of a tendency to notice.) Whatevs, I just work with my different eyes. mentioned in a post a while ago that most people’s eyes are different; she got this piece of insight from a professional makeup artist (can’t remember who).

    • mytigerlily says:

      I’m not sure it takes a professional makeup artist to see that everybody’s eyes have their different positives as well as constraints ^^ Yeah I know this one girl who has one of each and she’s really cute/pretty!

      • buddleia says:

        Oh, I meant to say that this makeup artist said that both eyes of each person is different from each other, not that all people’s eyes are different. :D (Which they are, of course.)

  7. Cara says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! As I’m starting to find out, I’m not the only one who experienced having one “single” eyelid and one “double.” Reading blogs like yours and other Asian gals, I’m finally learning how to apply eye shadow for eyes like mine. Thanks again and keep up the great work!

  8. Gloria says:

    haha, hey, me too. becoming sleep-deprived thoughout high school, my left eye creased last year. but it’s frustrating because i only line my lid anddd, it’s only apparent on my creased eye. :< which means i have to thicken the liner on my right eye, but it looks funky when i close my eyes or look down. haha, oh well.
    hopefully, my eyes will even out like yours. see you today, beautiful.

    • mytigerlily says:

      I know for sure that for a long time I had to adjust my eyeliner on each side so that they would look even when open. It took a long time and did look a little weird when my eyes were closed/looking down. If anything it just helps you practice working with your eye shape a little more, and chances are it won’t last forever! Another good tip I think is to blend/smoke out your eyeliner… when the line is less precise it’s easier to make the application more symmetrical.

  9. Fluffy says:

    Omg my eyelids also changed over the years similar to yours! ( I’m Asian as well). My older sister experienced the same thing too and her friend asked her if she had work done. Lol

  10. Col says:

    This post was actually pretty helpful to me. Ive always had a lot of trouble putting on eyeshadow and have even had many people put it on for me incorrectly. I’m not Asian but most of my family does not have the typical Caucasian eye shape. I had given up on wearing eyeshadow because I couldn’t figure out how to make it look right while my eyes were open. It always looks great when they’re closed then I open my eyes and it’s like all my eyeshadow disappeared. I’ll definitely be trying the suggestions in this post.

    • mytigerlily says:

      I’m so glad to hear that you’ve enjoyed this post! I’m always frustrated when others do my makeup because I feel like they just don’t have the same feel for my eye shape. When I do makeup on other people I think the most important skill is to constantly be assessing the behavior of their lid/skin so that you can move an adjust as you go. There’s no real formula that will work on each person. If you have any other questions, feel free to send me a message!

  11. Bella says:

    Ran across this randomly, but I wanted to compliment you. You’re talking about your features, and how you felt about them in such a no nonsense way that its clear your beauty is not defined by your looks, yet it doesn’t keep you from having fun with your looks. Grounded and inspiring message for everyone.

  12. I really enjoy your article on this and you do beautiful make up… hopefully ill learn some tricks from you for my audience :D

  13. Vanessa says:

    Nice post! I came across it randomly when I googled “makeup for Asian eyes with double eyelids” haha. My double eyelids are pretty prominent and although I like them, I’m having a hard time figuring out how to do my eye-shadow. I don’t want to use that much but I feel like if I don’t go up over my crease it just looks awkward. I’ll have to try your method of going up higher but keeping it soft. Since, like u said, I don’t want to look like someone to walks the corners lol.

    • mytigerlily says:

      Hey Vanessa! Thanks for taking the time to comment. It’s nice to hear feedback now, especially since this post is aging and activity on this page is more sparse these days. I’d also like to thank you for pointing out the pictures! I really prefer to write longer opinion pieces, but I’m realizing that they’re less easy for readers to stick to unless broken up and clarified by images. Let me know how your experimentation goes, and take pictures! You can always reach me through facebook. =)

  14. Vanessa says:

    Your pictures were also very helpful and made things easy to understand.

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