How to deal with common health- and beauty-related eye problems.
Eyes are our windows to the world, and important signifiers of vitality and beauty. Small wonder we spend so much time and money enhancing our peepers.
The global eye makeup market is estimated to be worth US$5.87 billion in 2017, and will grow 5.9 % annually for the next five years (source: Transparency Market Research).
Eyelid surgery was the third most popular cosmetic surgical procedure worldwide in 2015 with more than 1.3 million operations reported (source: International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery). In China, it’s the commonest plastic surgery performed (source: South China Morning Post).
Dr Claudine Pang, an ophthalmologist who treats all kinds of eye and eyelid conditions, notes: “Eye shapes are often determined by genetic variations stemming from geographical, race and evolutionary effects.”
The Caucasian variation tends to be hooded and deep-set, unlike the African variation which is usually wide-set and round.
“The Asian variation typically has an almond-shape appearance, and may be upturned, narrow-set and monolidded. About 50% of Chinese, and 80% of Japanese and Koreans, have monolid eyes,” says Dr Pang, who has been in practice for 13 years.
Peter Khor, a makeup artist with 20 years’ experience, says 70% of his Chinese female clients either have:
- two monolids;
- one monolid and one double eyelid;
- or double eyelid folds of different depths or lengths causing an ‘imbalanced’ appearance.
Both our experts agree that invariably, the commonest complaint amongst Asian ladies is that of their small eyes, largely due to the infamous monolid.
“While aesthetic surgery can easily create a double eyelid in those seeking to enhance their eye shape, there are other non-invasive ways to create the appearance of a larger eye such as eyelash growth treatments and colored contact lenses. With countless products in the market, it is prudent to choose ophthalmologist-approved products as the use of poorly regulated products may lead to unwanted side effects including eyelid irritation, skin hyperpigmentation or eye infections,” shares Dr Pang.
Eye makeup is the another quick fix to enhance our eyes.
“We tend not to have a well-defined eye socket area, so puffiness above and below the eye can be a concern. Skin discolouration, such as redness, dark undereye skin, visible blue or green veins, droopy eyes, sparse or improperly groomed eyebrows are common complaints too,” Khor adds.
To get your eyes looking their best,
Khor shares the following tips:
Prep the eye area before makeup:
- Cleanse, apply eye cream with light tapping motions, dab on a little facial oil.
- Use a colour corrector (green, red or purple), followed by concealer over the entire eyelid.
- Do the undereye area as the last step.
If you have monolids:
- If you don’t have a very obvious eye socket contour, feel for it with your fingers and blend soft brown eyeshadow around its outer edge.
- For very puffy or droopy eyelids, use eyelid tape to create a fold, but make sure you can’t see the tape at all.
- Draw a thicker line along your upper lash line with eyeliner, so you can see a soft line when eyes are open.
- Use a soft/medium brown eyeshadow to blend over the line.
- Rim the inner eye with a creamy textured eyeliner or kohl pencil for a full-lash effect.
- A longer, thicker eyeliner “tail” at the eye’s outer edge creates the illusion of bigger eyes.
- Highlight the brow bone with a pastel pink or beige/white eyeshadow.
- Apply subtle shimmer to the inner eye tip area, within the eye socket and under the eye.
- The smokey eye look can work. Get a pro to teach you the technique.
If you have symmetrical double eyelids:
- Keep it simple.
- Using eyeliner, draw a thin, clean line close to the upper lash line, following the eye’s shape. Finish off with a subtle wing extended very slightly past the eye’s outer edge.
- Use a cotton bud to smooth away hard lines of the wing.
- Curl the lashes; finish with one coat of mascara.
Don’t forget your eyebrows:
- Common mistakes include not filling in sparse eyebrows, drawing them too straight, or using the same colour/strength to fill in the entire brow.
- Use a softer colour and a lighter hand at the start of the brow, then a darker colour at the tail.
While monolid eyes are easily enhanced with makeup, or aesthetic surgery, other opthalmological issues can adversely affect the appearance of your eyes and your overall look.
- Meibomianitis or blepharitis (eyelid infections) may be caused by makeup residue, which is often hard to detect except under a microscope.
- Can be easily treated with eyedrops, eye creams or eye washes.
Dry eyes and meibomian gland dysfunction:
- Causes chronic eye redness, irritation and dull appearance.
- Treatments include eyedrops, punctual plugs and IPL treatment, which is quick, painless, carries no downtime, and has been scientifically proven to improve dry eyes.
Abnormal eyelid contour and eyelash misdirection (inturning lashes):
- Results in a less than desirable appearance and significant eye discomfort.
- May be corrected with epilation, laser or surgical procedures.
Sagging eyelid skin (dermatochalasis) and droopy eyelid (blepharoptosis):
- Usually ageing-related, droopiness of the upper eyelid may obstruct the visual field, leading to impaired vision.
- Sagging upper eyelid skin can become abrasive with the lower lid and lead to eczema or skin rashes. In such situations, surgical correction is medically necessary.
Lower eyelid puffiness/eye bags:
- Ageing leads to prolapse of fatty tissue around the eye especially in those with genetically predisposed weakness of the eye tissue.
- Most effectively corrected surgically.
- Possible causes include chalazions, concretions, meibomian cysts, papillomas, naevi (or moles).
- Specialised removal techniques for each type of lump ensure the best cosmetic outcome.
Eyelid twitching (blepharospasm):
- Sufferers tend to find the sensation bothersome and embarrassing.
- Treatments include eyedrops and botox injections
Dr Pang concludes that removing eye makeup properly and thoroughly is probably the most important step in eyecare. “I see a lot of patients with eye makeup residue that remains trapped at the eyelash roots, days or even weeks after last applying makeup. This residue is the source of eye irritation and eyelid infections. The main culprits are smudge-proof eyeliner and mascara. A good eye makeup remover is undoubtedly the most important tool in a ladies’ armamentarium. Spend as much time and care in taking it off as you do putting it on!”
Khor’s favourite eye skincare and makeup products:
- Eye makeup remover: I like Chanel, but Biore is an affordable alternative.
- Eye cream: A good one helps reduce puffiness, dark eye circles and wrinkles, while improving skin texture and radiance. Try La Mer, Cle de Peau, and Sulwhasoo.
- Patch eye masks from Sulwhasoo or SK-II: Use weekly and leave on 10 minutes or less, otherwise skin ends up drier.
- Eyelash curlers: ones from Japanese brands such as Shiseido, Maquillage and Shu Uemura are designed for Asian eyes
- Eyeliners: Urban Decay 24/7 waterproof eye pencil. Budge-proof yet glides on smoothly. Dab black eyeshadow over it to set it.
- Eyeshadow: Palettes from Dior or Chanel, and the Urban Decay Naked series. If you’re 30something or below, experiment with colours such as blues and greens as long as they’re not too dramatic. If you’re 40 and above, stick to subtle earth tones unless you’re a makeup pro.
Images courtesy of Urban Decay