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Monday, 10 February 2014 17:43

Are You Afraid of Aging? | Facial Contrast Part 2


Part 2: Eyes And Lids

The eyes and their surrounding structures are the most complex and expressive parts of the face. The eyes are quite literally an extension of the brain and can convey a myriad of feelings without any additional expression from another part of our physical being. Many people consider their eyes their best feature. When they feel that way, they are in fact thinking of the entire "orbital" area, meaning the brows, the upper lids and the lower lids in addition to the actual eyes themselves. We talked about maximizing the beauty of your brows in my last note on "contrast", and now we'll talk about the eyes. Bringing out the beauty of your eyes really refers to making the most of the lids and brows. Not everybody needs or wants eye make-up, but most of us benefit from it, especially as we age.

natural eye makeupAlmost all women look more beautiful if the eyes stand out as a feature. Unfortunately, as we age the eyes themselves tend to sink back and down a bit as the openings in our skull -- in this case the eye sockets, or "orbits" -- enlarge with the inevitable loss of bone. (Our skulls shrink about 20% over the course of our lifetime.) Additionally, the eyelid margins which form a sort of hammock between the bone at the sides of our nose and our temples tend to be stretch and the eyes appear smaller horizontally and rounder. This latter condition can be corrected surgically, but a bit of receding back of the eyes is something we just have to accept. However, the "appearance" of the eye being smaller can be helped with some well-placed cosmetics.

While it may seem intuitive that placing a darker color around the eye will make it recede more, remember that contrast makes an object stand out against its background, and therefore appear more prominent. This was one of the first things I learned during my training as a professional artist. So if we can create that contrast without placing a shadow in areas that will visually push the eyes or lids back, we've created a more beautiful eye. There is tremendous variation in color, prominence, shape and tilt of the eyes and lids. Making up the eyes in a manner that suits each individual's face, personality and lifestyle often requires some help from experts, and we are here if you need us at 941.951.2220. That said, defining the eyelid margins with eyeliner creates the contrast that makes the eyes stand out from the rest of the face. There are different forms of eyeliner including liquid, gel, wet and dry powders and pencils. Pencils are the easiest to master. There are myriads of colors, but the most universally flattering are either brown-blacks for warm-toned complexions, cool gray- or blue-blacks for cooler complexions, pure blacks or smokey violets, the latter of which were discovered by the Impressionist artists of the late 1800's to be a natural "shadow color" in nature.

Although there's a little learning curve with liner, once you've mastered it, it's pretty easy to do. Here again, some professional lessons can be immensely helpful. The two mistakes I see with eyeliner the most are too harsh a line, and a line that ends at the outer corner of the eye. In the first case, a strongly defined line can look great on some people, but it can look too harsh on most of us. Pencils are particularly good at creating a defined line at the base of the lashes where you want it, but they easily can be softened at the opposite edge and blended into the surrounding skin or shadow. Because the eye appears to narrow as we age due to the lid margins weakening, a more youthful shape will always be achieved by bringing the liner beyond the outer corner of the eye a few millimeters. By lifting the line up and out a bit at the outer corner of the upper lid and then connecting the line to the outer edge of the lower lid margin -- forming a "V" that is sort of on its side but lifted a bit -- you can help recreate the almond shape more associated with youth.

Next time, we'll talk about contrast and your lips.

Read 812 times Last modified on Tuesday, 11 February 2014 18:27

dr barbour

Oculofacial Plastic Surgeon,
Sarasota, Florida

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