Eyeshadow Tutorial for Asian Eyes Part 4 – Defining the Contour Area


Okie, I have officially run out of excuses to further delay publishing this. Haha. But it’s not like I was lazy; I simply couldn’t bear to do it because doing it means being one post closer to the end of this series! I’m absurdly sentimental, I know.

But Bun Bun’s gotta do what Bun Bun’s gotta do. *snaps fingers with conviction*

In the fourth installment of the Eyeshadow Tutorial for Asian Eyes series, we cover Defining the Contour Area.

This must be the hardest topic to explain, but I think is very important for me to share because I learnt it the hard way and took a long time to understand the Contour Area of the Asian eye.

More so because there is a lack of explanation for this ubiquitous area all humans have, but appears very different on the Asian eye and Caucasian eye. This tutorial is not limited just to the Asian eye or Caucasian eye, this can also apply to people of  Caucasian descent with hooded eyelids.

I use the broad categories of Asian VS Caucasian for simplicity in explanation.

I have explained what are the Crease and Contour Area about a gazillion times in eye makeup tutorials as well as in these posts:


–       Part 1: Where to Apply Eyeshadow

–       Part 2: Vertical Gradient Method

–       Part 3: Defining the Outer V

–       Where to Apply Contour Eyeshadow Color on an Asian Eye


Some of you might be very clear about the differences by now from reading my tutorials, but for those new to my blog or aren’t quite certain about the differences yet, let me explain quickly.

Our Western friends use Crease to describe the Fold, which is where the eyelid folds. Their Crease also coincide with the Orbital Rim. So it is natural for Caucasian makeup gurus to mention in their videos or blogs to ‘place the dark purple color on the Crease’, since these two areas coincide.

Okie, put simply,

Asians, on the other hand, have their Fold way down below the Orbital Rim. If an Asian were to ‘place the dark purple color on the Crease’, blindly following the tutorial meant for Caucasian eye makeup placement, then the dark purple color will end up in the Fold instead. And this is where many people get frustrated with not being able to achieve a certain look desired.

That is why I don’t use Crease to describe anything since it means something to the Caucasian eye but means a totally different thing to the Asian eye.

Now, now, don’t get me wrong. Not all Asian eyes look like that. In fact, there is a greater variety of eyes for what we call the ‘Asian eye’, if I must say so myself. I wrote in a previous post some 14 types of Asian eyes and makeup tips, so I’m definitely not stereotyping the many beautiful eyes of Asians. I used the above picture because it shows more obviously the beautiful, smooth skin on the eyelid of most Asians, and that the Orbital Rim does not coincide with the Fold (Crease, in Caucasian terms).

3 Asian beauties, just because.

Song Hye Ko

Kyoko Fukada

Fan Bing Bing

Where Is My Contour Area?

In another tutorial, I already showed a simple method of how to locate the Contour Area, and that it is clearly apart from the Crease or Fold.

For most Asians, it can be hard to define the Contour Area just by looking straight into the mirror.


Even when I look down into a mirror while keeping my head straight, I can barely locate the Contour Area. I need to raise my brows really high and be in a place with lots of shadows to locate it, and only just.

The best way to find the Contour Area is simply to use a soft brush to GENTLY push the skin into the eye, and wherever the brush sinks into, is the Orbital Rim, which is what I refer to as the Contour Area.

If you have Caucasian eyes, then you will absolutely no idea what I am talking about since your Crease = Contour Area. Haha.

Why Define The Contour Area?

The Contour Area is also known as:


Brow Bone area

Optical Bone area

Above Crease area

Transition area

‘Blend Out’ area

Orbital Rim

Socket Line


I find that Orbital Rim and Socket Line explain it more accurately.

From its many names, you can guess that it is the area where a transit color is generally placed to diffuse strong colors on the Lid, so that it looks naturally faded into the Brow Bone Highlight.

The Contour Area can be further divided into horizontal or vertical thirds. Typically, the more colors you have, the more dimension the look will have, provided blending is executed well.

Why Is It Called The Contour Area?

As with some of the terms I use, like ‘Vertical Gradient Method’ and ‘Horizontal Gradient Method’, the ‘Contour Area’ is not an official term. I sorta came up with it because Orbital Rim and Socket Line sound very… um, anatomical. They don’t quite sound quite as pretty as Contour Area. Lol.

I named it Contour Area instead of Contour Line because, especially on Asian eyes where the Socket Line is above the Fold, any line drawn on the Socket Line is going to look very unnatural, and may even look like an eyeliner smudge. Horror!

That’s why the line should be extended into an area, blended out.

How to Define the Contour Area?

For people whose Orbital Rim is way above the Fold, don’t worry, you still can create depth to your eyes!

You want to define the Contour Area to create more deep set eyes, but you don’t want to leave a harsh line there.

Apply the eyeshadow color of your choice at the Orbital Rim with an eyeshadow brush. The e.l.f Contour Brush and Stage Shadow Smudger worked fine for me, in fact I liked them a little more in the Contour Area than the MAC 219 just because the 219 is so precise it can be a little hard to blend out afterwards. A badly blended line will look even more obvious on an Asian eye because the Fold is way below the Orbital Rim. I reserve the 219 for the Outer V.

Then, use the MAC 217 Blending Brush to blend out the line created. The Essence of Beauty Duo Crease Brush set is a new favorite of mine!



Easy right?

I use 2 eyeshadow brushes for the Contour Area because the 217 is a little too large and too fluffy for me to be used directly to create the Contour Area. If you have really large eyes and wide space between your eyes and brows like Marlena from MUG, then by all means, go ahead and use the 217.


Bun Bun’s Makeup Tip: If you’re not familiar with defining the Contour Area yet, try first with brown, neutral shades. They’re more forgivable. :)



I like to apply a warmer color first (like orange or warm pink, warm brown) on the Contour Area, followed by a darker color nearer down, and then define the Outer V. I also go back and forth on blending whenever I add a new color to eliminate any harsh lines.

I know it sounds like a lot of steps and work just to create depth to the eyes, but it really takes no longer than a couple of minutes. In fact, using the right type of brush saves you more time. Just imagine drinking soup with a tea stirrer versus a soup soon. At the end of the day, both allow you to drink the soup, but the soup spoon gets the job done more quickly and you experience less frustration with it.

Eye Makeup Looks without Outer V:

Contour Area – Urban Decay Ammo Palette – Smog

Actually I did an Outer V for this, but it’s so small it’s not visible from this angle. I like that the Contour Area is very obvious here.

Contour Area – MAC Eyeshadow Post Haste

Contour Area – Urban Decay Naked Palette – Darkhorse

Contour Area – Stage Eyeshadow Poison

I did a tutorial for this eye makeup look! And here’s the review of Stage Cosmetics.

Eye Makeup Looks with Outer V:

Contour Area – Urban Decay Naked Palette – Smog; Outer V – Urban Decay Naked Palette – Darkhorse

In review for L’Oreal Color Infallible Eyeshadow Emerald Lame

Contour Area – Urban Decay Naked Palette – Smog; Outer V – Urban Decay Naked Palette – Darkhorse

In review for Pupa Multiplay Triple Purpose Eye Pencil

Contour Area – MAC Eyeshadow Free To Be; Outer V – NYX Eyeshadow Dark Brown

(Click here for eye makeup tutorial)

Contour Area – Urban Decay Naked Palette – Smog; Outer V – Urban Decay Naked Palette – Darkhorse

(Click here for eye makeup tutorial)

The Outer V makes all the difference, doesn’t it? :)


Here are some of my favorite colors for the Contour Area:

MAC Eyeshadow Free To Be (pink)

MAC Sheertone Blush in Peaches (orange)

MAC Eyeshadow Satin Taupe (brown)

Urban Decay Naked Palette – Smog, Naked, Buck (brown)

NYX Single Eyeshadow in Mermaid Green (Great dupe for MAC Humid!) (green)


Note from Bun Bun: Do note that the Contour Area is quite different from the Outer 1/3 of the Lid. The Outer 1/3 of the Lid can contain any color you like, but keep the Contour Area quite neutral, unless you are sure to blend well.



In the next episode of this series, we will look into the Horizontal Gradient Method of eyeshadow application.


Eyeshadow Tutorials for Asian Eyes series:

Part 1: Where to Apply Eyeshadow

Part 2: Vertical Gradient Method

Part 3: Defining the Outer V

Part 4: Defining the Contour Area

Part 5: Horizontal Gradient Method


How’s your eye makeup getting along? I hope my tutorials have, in some way or another, helped you get better at it! 😀


You will also like:

About Bun Bun

Hello! My name is Juli and Bun Bun is my alter-ego. I blog to share my love for makeup, how to apply it, and what works or what doesn’t work, all from an Asian perspective.

My first makeup product was a shimmery light blue lipstick which I proudly wore all over my eyelids and lips. It cost $2.50, felt like $250, and made me feel like a million bucks.

  • Sunny

    Hey Bun Bun! Whoa, this post is EPIC! You did such a fantastic job explaining everything!

    I personally never blend anything into my crease though. I have no fold at all, and there isn’t that much space between my brows and my eyes, so I’ve always been cautious about it. To soften down the colors on my lids, I usually use my 217 to blend out the edges. I just don’t think there is enough room for another shadow! I do own a lot of the colors you recommend though, so I’ll give it a try soon, and I’ll keep you posted!

    Can’t wait to see your take on the vertical gradient method! And you know what? Once this series is done, you can think about asking friends with different eye types to be your models so you can demo on them! Just an idea :)

    Hope you’re having a good weekend!

    • Bun Bun

      217 is such a necessity, isn’t it? It just blends out harsh edges so well and doesn’t feel scratchy on the skin. Some brushes make me feel like I’m getting a lid exfoliation. @_@

      You read my mind, girl! I already got a girl friend to agree to let me play makeup on her! She has those ‘hidden’ double eyelids (heavy hooded lids) and will be quite challenging and fun to see what I can do for her eyes. =D

  • Jessica

    All I have to say is wow! I recently discovered this wonderful blog and I’ve been reading through your more technical guides on makeup for asian eyes and I just have to say that you’re amazing and thank you for this! I really do need the whole breakdown for eyeshadow application (when I follow other people’s video tutorials, I usually end up with smokey panda eyes) and I was about to give up hope until I read this ^^ Thanks so much 😀

    • Bun Bun

      Hello Jessica! Thanks for appreciating my technical posts and I really hope you benefit from them! No more panda eyes! =D

      I do post tutorials on eye makeup looks too, so you can draw inspiration from those. Being an Asian, I think my eyes will be a better gauge for people WITHOUT deep-set eyes and deep creases.

      See you around!

  • Stephanie

    Great tutorial! Thanks for your clear and succinct instructions! One question: in the no-outer-V looks I do notice that there’s kinda an outer V but instead the crease – oh I couldn’t help it, I mean contour – color blends into the outer V region, rather than a separate outer V color. Am I right or not? Thanks again! You’re amazing!

    • Bun Bun

      Yes dear, that is correct. So it’s more like a BIG V, but with a much shorter bottom tail, and much more blended.

  • BooBooNinja

    Thank you for this excellent post. I am going to practice this. If I can get it right, I think it’ll make my eyes look great. I’m quite clueless with the eye makeup thing (as well as all other makeup things) despite all the reading & research I’ve done and all the facts and tips I can spout off. So thank you!

    You mentioned: “I like to apply a warmer color first (like orange or warm pink, warm brown) on the Contour Area, followed by a darker color nearer down,”

    – I have NC20/25 skin, would you consider MAC Soft Brown, Wedge, maybe Concrete suitable for this? For the “warmer colour” , is where your recommendations come in for: MAC Free To Be and MAC Sheertone Blush in Peaches?

    – For the “darker colour”, is this where your recommendations come in for: MAC Satin Taupe, UD Smog, Naked & Buck, MAC Humid, NYX Mermaid Green?

    • Bun Bun

      Yup! I use Free To Be and Peaches on the Contour Area; they bring out warm undertones really well.

      As for Soft Brown and Wedge, I think they work pretty well too. Browns usually go well on NCs. However I can’t say 100%, coz some browns have a slightly ‘bluer’ tone and that might not look as well as a warmer one. You get what I mean?

      As for your last question, I want to first make sure you understand that it’s not the Outer V, but just slightly lower than the edges of the Contour Area. So you can just use one color on the Contour Area, or use two colors on the Contour Area – say Peaches on the whole area, then Smog slightly lower than the edges. You can use any colors you want but these colors are what I love to use! =D

  • Jess

    I’m offended by how gorgeous Fan Bing Bing is.. *wears paper bag* xD

    Hey, see if I sent you a picture of my eye, would you be able to help me with e/s product placement? I have so much trouble doing a nice e/s look ><

    • Bun Bun

      LOL at your ‘*wears paper bag*’!!! XD

      Do you remember huan zhu ge ge? She was zi wei ge ge’s maid you know! She has since transformed into such a super beauty!

      Maybe you’d like to describe your eye to me? If you read an above comment, I mentioned that I’m getting my friend to be a model. Her eyes look very different from mine.

      • Katelyn Tuyet Vy

        When i watched Huan Zhu Ge Ge I wasn’t even noticing Fan Bing Bing, she wasn’t that attractive then, who would have known that she would turn into such a great beauty. My favorite back then was Zhao Wei, to me she was the prettiest in the movie, then Ruby Lin comes in second, but now Ruby and Fan Bing Bing are so much prettier than Zhao Wei

        • Bun Bun

          YA!! Fan Bing Bing had such a small role and despite it being such a popular series, she didn’t get noticed much. I liked Zhao Wei too! Her eyes are so beautiful! And her character was so fun to watch – all those tricks and clumsiness… LOL. I thought Ruby was too boring.. Hahaha.. very learned, but it was all poems and playing the guzheng. Zhao Wei is already a mother, but she’s still pretty and sexy. I think she’s the face/body for some slimming company.

          • Katelyn Tuyet Vy

            I love Zhao Wei for her beauty and her role int he movie, I love Ruby for her beauty but totally hate her role, it was so boring that I pass forward whenever I see her without Zhao Wei, My favorites were Zhao Wei and Alex Su…

  • Jhitomi

    Wow, what a comprehensive tutuorial. Thank you so much. I am much much older than you, old enough to be your mom, and I have to say, as a monolid Asian girl, I never had any instruction in how to do makeup. Now that I’m older and have youtube asian girls giving tutorials, I have some instruction but the outer ‘V” thing always confused me. This helps a lot. Also, having the typical Asian short eyelashes, I hate that eyeliner makes my lashes disappear, and I don’t want false eyelashes so have to use a lot of mascara. Love your blog!

  • Kat

    Thank you for this awesome tutorial. I can see how much work, effort and thought went into doing this and it is quite extensive. Thank you again!

  • Michelle

    This is so useful!
    Nice meeting you today! Great blog here (:

    • Bun Bun

      Great meeting you too, Michelle! Welcome to my blog!! =D

  • Chelsea

    I came across this on StumbleUpon and these tutorials are amazing. My first time doing makeup on Asian lids while working at Lancome was basically a disaster. I’m very happy to have found this!

    • Bun Bun

      Hi Chelsea, thanks for dropping by! I’m glad StumbleUpon brought you here!

      Sorry about your first attempt with Asian lids. Haha, they’re tricky. So how did the client walk away feeling?

  • Christina

    WOW!! I have to say that you are probably the BEST at explaining all of the technical but basics of makeup- ive never seen someone explain it so well in terms that are understandable that help so much- i have somewhat of a hooded lid so its been so hard over the years figuring out what worked for my eyes & now i understand- Thanks so much for such a beautiful, informative, and amazing blog!! i will def steer everyone i know your way- Ive been loving going thru all your posts & catching up and seeing all the goodies you have given all of us! Keep up the good work! Its incredible, honestly!! Its so nice

    • Bun Bun

      *face turns red* Awww… thanks for saying that, Christina! I’m really happy my blog has helped you with your makeup skills. That was what I set out to do with my blog, and having people tell me I’ve achieved my goal convinces me that I’ve been doing things right! 😀 Thanks for garnering support for my little makeup blog! I hope to reach more girls who have problems with applying makeup and don’t know where and how to seek help.

  • Rhaysnake

    Dear, your site is one of the best that i ever seen!
    Just love it, and i’m not an asian girl 😉
    A hog from a brazilian fan!

    • Bun Bun

      Awwwww…! Thanks for saying that, Rhaysnake! It means so much to me! :D:D:D Hope to see you around! <3

  • Occultine

    “If you have Caucasian eyes, then you will absolutely no idea what I am talking about since your Crease = Contour Area. Haha.” 
    I’m caucasian (european) and have absolutely no asian ancestor, but this series of tutorials is very useful for me and my uneven eyelids XD I have one ordinary (caucasian) eyelid on the left, but the right one sink in, making it look like an “asian” eyelid hahaha I’m sooo lucky.
    I might just use double eyelid tape only on this eye ^^’ or try to rock 2 different eyeshadow styles on my eyes XD XD
    Anyway, thanks a lot for giving me some alternatives for my daily make-up !

    • BunBunMakeupTips

      @Occultine LOL!! I realize after so many comments that actually many Caucasians have eyes that look kinda ‘Asian’ too~ Interesting how we all look so different yet have similarities. I would love to see a double eyelid tape on a Caucasian! Must be SUPER COOL coz I’ve it’s such an Asian thing. Haha.
      (Sorry for the late reply! Somehow the alert went into The Black Hole of my inbox haha)

      • Occultine

        @BunBunMakeupTips  @Occultine no problem ! yeah it would be an interesting test, if I really do it I might send you a picture, just for the lulz 😉
        have a nice day !

  • chinkysue

    OMG!!!! I finally get it!! i just got this biiiig question/confusion out of my mind.. i feel soooo enlightened ^_^ You are sooo AWESOME!! you are the BEST!!

  • susiemusch

    This series of tutorials is the best thing ever. I am half-Asian and half-Caucasian and have a really weird hybrid eye, with a deep crease, fairly large amount of eyelid area, but a somewhat hooded double eyelid and an orbital rim that does not coincide with my crease. I could not figure out why my eye makeup never turns out the way I want it to, and after trying some of your suggestions am SO MUCH HAPPIER with how it looks. You are even inspiring me to want to play around with some less neutral colors, now that I think I understand this a little more. Thanks!

  • soulever

    This is so completely enlightening. My god.  Lightbulb moment.  *THANK YOU*

  • lwanveer

    I wish I could have read your posts as a teenager(but there was no internet then LOL) Keep up the good work. I’d love to see a post for people with mixed Asian heritage. Is it possible to combine tips for Asian and caucasian eye types? My eyes are in between as I am 1/4 Korean.

  • RabiaKhan1

    These are the best tips of makeup i have ever read on web. You have explained every thing in detail. After reading these now i am able do do my makeup myself. I am really thankful to you.

  • dapperfish

    I’m a Caucasian makeup artist and i work mostly with also Caucasian clients, and I have to say, it has always been a huge pet peeve of mine when I hear people say “crease” when they actually mean the socket or the contour area, as you call it. I was googling this stuff when I found this brilliant series of yours, it’s not only really thorough and well-researched but also quite enlightening – although I should disagree (and agree at the same time) when you say that for a Caucasian eye the crease is the same thing as a socket. For most Caucasians, especially as they get older, it is definitely not! But most beauty gurus on YouTube tend to confuse the two, and that is where I agree with you. Eyeshapes differ from person to person, no matter if they’re Asian or Caucasian, and what you did here is brilliant! 

    so thank you and I’m really sorry that I’m late for the party. My socket definitely doesn’t match my crease 😉 Sometimes I even have two creases. And a socket.