Eyeshadow Tutorial for Asian Eyes Part 5 – Horizontal Gradient Method


At long last, we have come to the fifth installment of the Eyeshadow Tutorial for Asian Eyes series. Here, we will discuss the Horizontal Gradient Method of eyeshadow application.

(Ah yes, if you’re confused why this is the ‘Horizontal Method’, especially since this term was already used in Part 2, then you ought to read this post!)

Lest you get lost in the sea of information in this tutorial, you might want to first check out the other episodes in this 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

The difference between the Horizontal Gradient Method and Vertical Gradient Method is, quite obviously, the way in which the gradient flows.

From my observations and research, the Horizontal Gradient Method is more well-known and commonly practised in the Caucasian makeup world because their larger lid space allows for more colors to be placed and, unlike many Asians, do not have as heavily hooded eyelids. Most Caucasians only experience hooded lids when they age.

Half of the world’s Asians do not have a Fold in the Lid at all; they have monolids and can be referred to as Mongoloids (Wikipedia). (It has been brought to my attention by some concerned readers that this term has negative connotations. I used the term in an anthropological context and hope no offense is taken.)

The Horizontal Gradient Method of eyeshadow application is also one of the ways to shape the eye and adjust the distance between eyes.

In my post on the types of eye makeup for different types of eyes, I wrote about manipulating the Outer 1/3 of the Lid to create the illusion of a wider or narrower gap between the eyes. You can also manipulate the Outer-V (Where is the Outer V?) to widen or bridge the gap.

Having horizontal gradients on the Lid requires blending – you really have to blend well – otherwise the eye makeup look will look block-ish. What we want is a smooth transition of one color to the next – left to right to left.

I think it is even more important and harder to blend horizontal gradients than vertical gradients. In Part 2 where I elaborated on the Vertical Gradient eyeshadow technique, you can see that the upward/downward gradation of colors is very easy to achieve. There’re much less things to do and look out for in the Vertical Gradient method, which looks gorgeous on most Asian eyes, especially those with hooded lids or monolids.

If you have thicker double eyelids like I do, you have more freedom to switch between the Vertical and Horizontal Methods simply because we have more room on the lids to play with for horizontal gradients, yet still look sophisticated with vertical gradients. Double eyelids FTW (for the win, not the other vulgar FTW)!

But fret not, those who are single lidded or have hooded lids! I have seen people with such eye shapes do well with the Horizontal Gradient Method, you just have to bring the colors ABOVE the fold (hooded) or stop under the Socket Line (mono).

Now, let’s get started with the eye makeup tutorial!

Remember these from Part 1 of the Asian Eyeshadow Tutorial series?

Today we will put theory into practice!

Always apply an eye primer to enhance the vibrancy of the eyeshadows. This step is especially important if you have oily lids like mine. Without an eye primer, my eyeshadows and eyeliner usually slide off by mid-day.

Apply the darkest shade of your selected set of eyeshadow colors on the Outer 1/3 of the Lid. Here I used Sugarpill Poison Plum.

Next, place a lighter shade on the Middle 1/3 of the lid. Here I used Speed Blue from Kat Von D Beethoven Palette.

I used a lighter blue (Sugarpill Afterparty) too, just so that it will transit more smoothly into the next color. You can most definitely do with just 2 or 3 colors for your gradient. No need for 4 and above.

On the inner 1/3 of the lid and a little on the inner corner, apply Sugarpill Tako.

At this point, your eyeshadow will look blockish, messy and really artsy. LOL.

But don’t worry!

Proceed to blend out the edges with either a clean brush if you want to leave it at that, or a color for the Contour Area. I prefer the latter because I always prefer to define my eye Contour Area to warm the face and add depth to my eyes. I used NYX Mermaid (from Amazon), a good dupe for MAC Humid. Blend with MAC 217.

Also apply some color on the Lower Lashline to balance out the look. Speed Blue was used. I luuurve Speed Blue, and now that I’ve got that eyeshadow nicely depotted with Tequila, I can use them even more often now! Tequila was used to highlight the brow bone area here.

Get your liner on! And don’t forget to Tightline! 😀

Finish the look by curling your lashes and apply mascara and you’re good to go. If you’ve got some time to spare, put on some false eyelashes!

I prefer the DUO Eyelash Adhesive in DARK-TONE over CLEAR-WHITE coz I don’t like that the white one sometimes dries yellowish instead of transparent. Also, since I always use black eyeliner when I apply falsies, the black one melds into the line perfectly.

I was so glad to have been able to use up my white eyelash glue for my Halloween 2011 Geisha look.

And that’s why I’m giving away the black one as one of the presents for the Bun Bun’s Birthday Giveaway! Enter Giveaway Contest here!

I love these falsies. They look so natural and don’t look overwhelming against the backdrop of soft blues and purples. (FAQ answered: I got them from Taiwan)

While waiting for the glue to dry, pack your table. LOL.

And you’re done! JANG JANG!!! 😀

Bun Bun’s Makeup Tip: The trick to making each color blend seamlessly into the next so that there isn’t any obvious start and end to each ‘block’ is to use a brush with firm but soft-to-the-skin bristles to merge side-by-side colors together (I recommend MAC 239, elf Eyeshadow Brush).

Blend Poison Plum into Speed Blue, Speed Blue into Afterparty, Afterparty into Tako. Don’t be over-adventurous and use a single stroke to blend across all the colors.

Blend as you go along, little by little. << Very important!

Most eyeshadows are highly blendable nowadays, even those at drugstore prices. There are the occasional ones that make you go ‘How did this pass the Blending Quality department?’ – refering to the non-shimmery sides of L’Oreal HiP Eyeshadow Duos, but yup, most are pretty easy to blend.


Recommended products:

MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush

MAC 217 Blending Brush

Sugarpill Eyeshadows

Urban Decay Naked Palette 1


Here are some looks using the Horizontal Gradient Method:

Soccer jersey-inspired look

Colors of Fire-inspired look

And don’t think the Horizontal Gradient Method can only be used to create bold looks. It is very much applicable to everyday eye makeup looks too!

Ohmygawd, we’re done with the 5 episodes of the Asian Eyeshadow Tutorial series! Can’t believe it! 😀

Have you enjoyed this Eyeshadow Tutorial for Asian Eyes series? I think it’s a good idea to do more of such, what would you like to see next?


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


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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.

  • Hanny

    This is the method I use the most, being Chinese as well. ^.^ I cannot do the vertical gradient at all to save my life though.. >.<

    • Bun Bun

      Hmmm why? The Vertical Gradient method is the relatively easier method since it’s faster and easier to blend out the eye shadows. It might not be suitable for all eye shapes/sizes though. My eyes look better with this Horizontal Gradient Method. :)

  • Tati

    Ahhh, I’m so sad that this series was over. It was so great! You should do a smokey eye series…if that’s possible…anyway, lovely post!

    • Bun Bun

      Yay! Thanks for saying that Tati! I’m happy it’s over (coz it was SO MUCH work!), but also slightly sad coz I’m sentimental like that. Left bits of my heart behind with this series. Haha. I’m overjoyed with all the positive comments left in these posts, really glad to have helped so many people get better at their makeup application techniques.

  • Julia

    omg, LOVE the color combo that you used!! ^_^ Great tut series so far, the sections on contour/outer v helped me soo much. I guess if you did more Asian eyeshadow tuts, I’d like to see something on changing eye shape with e/s. Sometimes I notice my eyes look more rounded or smiley or elongated depending on my e/s shape but it’s mostly trial & error at this point… I’m looking forward to whatever you decide to enlighten us with, though! hehe :)

    • Bun Bun

      Thanks Julia, I love the color combo too! 😀 Purple eyeshadow suits almost any eye/skin color, just need to know how to match them with other colors to make it stand out even more.

      You mean like how to use eyeshadow to change the shape of the eye? So for now you get a rounded or an elongated shape based on… chance?

      • Julia

        Not quite by ‘chance’ (that would be funny, haha! One eye round, one eye elongated Ow~)
        But in the past by ‘accident’ I’ve found some things that make my eyes rounder vs more long or uplifted, but I’m not sure if I’m doing it the best’ way, or if there are other better ways, as I have no idea of the working principle behind it. If that makes sense?
        By the way, I love that you take the time to reply to every individual comment! <3

        • Bun Bun

          I think you can try reading Part 1 of this series, the one about where to apply eyeshadow. Way down, I mentioned the ‘Border’. Use that as a guideline and you can be sure your eye shape created from eyeshadow would be less susceptible to chances. Lol.

          I try my best to reply to every single one of them coz if my readers take the time to write something for me, I believe it is polite to return that nice gesture. I love communicating with my readers! Well, unless of course there’re exceptions, like in a giveaway post. :) I’d feel awesome if a blogger replied my comment too.

          • Julia

            Aww, honestly I’m insulted! I was thinking such techniques would be useful for me to know for days when I want to go for, say, a more ‘innocent’ look vs the usual contoured smokey that I do. But it’s ok, I can see it would be hard to make a tut on that kind of thing as everyone has radically different eye shapes and such. Thanks for the reply though! ^_^

  • Sarah

    OMG! This is so gorgeous!!! This has got to be one of the prettiest eye look I’ve seen recently. Oh how I wish you would do a live tutorial on YouTube… Please continue to give us lots of creative tutorials. And maybe more skincare reviews too? :)

    • Bun Bun

      Yay happy happy! 😀 😀 😀 You can try it too!

      Skincare… hmmmm… I’ve been thinking about that too… But it’s gonna be rather different coz the results are not immediate, compared to say, if I apply foundation on my face so you guys can see the shade/coverage. Imagine doing a review on a facial toner. I spritz it on my face, take a picture, and it’ll just look like there’s nothing. Haha.

  • Sunny

    Wheee this is my go-to eyeshadow method, and I love how you do it with so many vibrant colors! Ah-mazing!

    I haven’t tried to wear color with color. Usually when I wear a non-neutral I pair it with neutrals, just because I’m a wimp. You have encouraged me to dream big though!

    • Bun Bun

      This is my go-to method too! It suits me better than the Vertical Gradient Method just because I have thick double eyelids that make the gradients look less pretty. I do neutrals + vibrant too, but love colorful ones more! You should try! Share once you’ve tried, ya?

      • Sunny

        Yup I will!

  • Ling

    Simply stunning! Love all your tutorials. Your pictures and instructions have been very clear and detailed! We want more!!! Please :)

    • Bun Bun

      Thanks Ling!! 😀 Feels awesome to know my work is appreciated!

  • Mary

    hi, I’m a longtime reader but lazy commentor. I love your tunes. Could never work out why my eyeshadow was always disappearing I to my crease despite following various tutes until this series.

    I just wanted to let you know that where I come from ‘mongoloid’ is a derogatory term. Maybe not where you are but I would never call anyone a mongoloid here :X

    • Bun Bun

      Oh dear! I never knew! Where are you from, may I ask? And in what way is it derogatory? To me it’s just… you know, like a category, like I’m a female. Thanks for letting me know though. 😀

      • Mary

        I’m in Australia :)

      • Mary

        Oops i forgotto reply the other part. Sorry :p it’s used to imply someone is stupid.

        • Bun Bun

          WHAT…!?! That’s shocking to know! Tsk tsk tsk. People with monolids look gorgeous and they’re becoming more well-loved due to K-Pop.

          • Mary

            They certainly are.! In the use I was talking about it has nothing to do with monolids at all though. I suppose it’s just that it has a completely different meaning to us. The connotation is more to say someone is … Primitive like a cave person. Really not nice. Hence why I would never call anyone that. I’d just continue to say they had monolids.

  • Jyoan

    Personally, I definitely prefer this method as opposed to the vertical gradient. It makes me eyes look better.

    • Bun Bun

      Me too! I have obvious double eyelids – the Asian kind, not the Caucasian kind where they coincide with the eye socket – so the Horizontal Gradient Method works better for me. My friends who have monolids look gorgeous with the Vertical Method. Are your eyes somewhat like mine too?

  • lyn

    Gorgeous, I really love your makeup tips! I gotta try this some day. I usually go for the vertical gradient method because it’s easier :-)

    • Bun Bun

      The Vertical Gradient Method is popular among my friends too coz, like you said, it’s easier. More importantly, it suits their eye shape. 😀 I hope you try the Horizontal method! It’s a good challenge and you might end up addicted to it! Hahaha, personally I prefer this method over the vertical one due to my eye shape.

  • Jhitomi

    Oh I was confused about the horizontal/vertical issue till I read your other post and now it makes total sense! Thank you for showing the difference and congrats on being the first blogger to write about it. Colors are so pretty !

    • Bun Bun

      I want to ‘Like’ the “the first blogger to write about it” in your comment. Yayness max! Woohoooo!! 😀 x 100000.

  • MakeupByAnna888

    This is a great tutorial. Love the colors you used on your eye :)

    • Bun Bun

      Glad you liked it! =D

  • kelina

    I love the colours used! i’ve a wedding dinner to attend tmr… and i’m wearing a royal blue dress… i think this gradient will match my dress nicely!!!! i’ll be trying this combi out. heh.

    thank you loads!!! <3

    • Bun Bun

      I think it will look fabulous with your royal blue dress! I can already imagine it! =D

  • Christina Chiang

    I’ve tried it out just yesterday and received a TON of compliments 😀 Was happy because I mentioned in your posts earlier on that i can’t seem to rock blue eyeshadow as well as you do, but this tutorial made it look all nice and dandy 😀 (i used MAC entremauve pigment instead of sugarpill poison plum, MAC Clone eyeshadow and the rest I just… ah.. found something to make it work :P)

    thanks a bunch 😀

  • Vonvon

    I use this method very often too, as compared to vertical gradient. But usually with 2 colors for work makeup.

  • FacesBySarah

    this is absolutely gorgeous!!!!

    • Bun Bun

      Thanks Sarah! 😀 😀 😀

  • Tuyet Vy

    HI BunBun,
    just out of curiosity, what eyebrow powder are u using? I really like the light/medium brown you have on. I have black hair and also nice black eyebrow, I’m currently using Anastasia eyebrow duo in ebony (I use the brown color from the duo) but it’s still a dark brown, and when applied on my black eyebrow it only lighten my eyebrow a bit, not much. I like to have brown eyebrow when it comes to makeup so I won’t look as dramatic. I know I can’t go too light, but I’m really in need of good lighter brown color for my eyebrow. Any recommendation? I particularly like the one you’re using or even lighter. Thank you

    • Tuyet Vy

      I forgot to mention, I used contour powder for my eyebrow and it look too reddish, I need a good true light brown color that’s like the ones korean stars are using…please help me. Thanks

    • Bun Bun

      Hello Tuyet Vy, for this makeup look I used a combination of a pencil from Lioele and an eyebrow mascara from Kate. It’s a great combination I found recently, to make my very dark eyebrows go much lighter. I’ll have reviews of these two products up soon so do look out for them! =D

  • TIne

    Omg I love this! I’m so going to try this colour combination and method out 😀

    • Bun Bun

      Aww thanks Tine! Thanks for supporting this series! Hope to see you try out this look :)

  • Jeanne

    I love this series! I’m half South East Asian half Australian and my eyes are more Asian looking (however I have Asian people telling me I have huge eyes and Caucasian people telling me I have exotic almond eyes!) I just tried out this horizontal gradient today, I had no idea I could make it work – I used to ALWAYS put a light colour on my eyelid, then darker in the crease and that’s it, I find doing the vertical gradient makes my eyes look smaller.

    • Bun Bun

      I get that ‘mixed look’ often too – that I look slightly Caucasian. But most people say I look Japanese. Real Japanese will come up to me and start asking for directions in Japanese without making sure I understand at all. Doesn’t matter whether I’m in Singapore or vacationing in other countries. Lol.

      I prefer the Horizontal Gradient method too, due to my eye shape. The Vertical Gradient Method doesn’t work as magically on me as it does on other people who have eye shapes that look gorgeous with that method.

      Thanks for commenting, Jeanne! :)

  • LalitaKeswani

    hi… i loved d entire series of “Eyeshadow tutorials for Asian eyes series”.  So full of details and that too step by step.. wow! brilliant work and what a hard wrk.  Great work dear.. You won’t believe, since 2 days I have been checking out the entire series while at work :).. ha ha.. boss thinks I am working hard ;)..well couldn’t help it. Your entire series was so addictive :))..
    Can you also add some tutorial on “Smoky eyes”? I couldn’t find it on the blog.
    Keep up the great work.. Luving every bit of it.

  • ahola

    I enjoy ur Asian eyeshadow series..very informative..Thanks for the time and effort doing it…

  • MrXax

    As a straight white guy who does not wear makeup, I loved the series. Seriously. Very well-written and photographed. (I stumbled upon it while looking into eyeshadow tips for my Asian girlfriend, in case you were curious. 😉

  • chinkysue

    Thank you thank you!! im gonna go out and buy lots of brushes and eyeshadow.. YOU made a huge difference in my life… I always just wore mascara and eyeliner because I suck at eyeshadow and cannot duplicate any tutorials and rock em out.. with your tutorials.. I dont look like a noob wearing eyeshadow and feel confident that I look good and not some funky clown looking chick ^_^ as a thank you… if you would like, I will recreate some tutorials from your website (for your website) on my “asian” i think “phoenix”- looking eyes.. i have a very, small, tiny, low crease, almost a monolid, but not as prominent and large like yours… so more readers can benefit from your hard work and intelligence ^_^

  • Claire

    I really enjoyed the series, as I am just getting into wearing makeup. There aren’t a lot of tutorials out there for Asian eyes. I am Chinese and my tear duct? area (you know, the inner corner) is covered, and my eyes are a little different than yours. This really did help, though, so thank you. :)

    • BunBunMakeupTips

      @Claire Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment, Claire. I’m really happy you enjoyed reading this series. I’m looking into creating another series, targeting eyeliner application, probably! See you around! =)

  • sheyanne

    Nice~! I just finished reading Part 1 – 5 of your Eyeshadow tutorials for Asian Eyes. I will try it out tonight! =) Wish me success though.. I have never tried putting on eyeshadows! =P 
    By the way, do you have any tips or tutorials for make up for sensitive/dry skin? Or for dry lips. Will appreciate that! Thanks and take care!!

    • BunBunMakeupTips

      sheyanne Thanks for reading! I’m glad I inspired you to start playing with eyeshadows! =)
      For dry lips, I usually just apply the balm from Burt’s Bees. Nothing fancy~

  • shareenadean

    Thank  you soooo mucccchh!!! This series are great/awesome/ incredible and helpful~~!!! I always thought my eyes are a bit weird to work with and seeing other gurus on youtube make me depressed more, lol.. Thank you again ,..~ I will try and do your method and let you know about it. ****kisses and hugs***

  • aaayes

    omg your blog is sooo helpful. esp for asian eyes, thank you so so much for sharing this. xoxo

  • ElBelle

    your blog is amazing! so helpful for me thank you thank you thank you!!! xx

  • Mulyani

    Gosh i so love your tutorials. You have made it very technically informative. :-) 
    Thank you so much for spending so much time and effort to explain to your readers about how to look good with make up. I especially love your Asian Eyes Tutorial series, It inspired me to be more adventurous with my make up.

  • Ezekiela2003

    Hi… This is very helpful. Thank you so much. I luv your detailed explanation. Can u post more of about how to blend the eyeshadow neatly in very detailed explanation. Im having problems with the blending. Maybe you can help me with your techniques and tips.

  • mrsaishalerman

    Hi BunBun! Thank you so so SO much for your Eyeshadow Turorial for Asian Eyes series!!! I just finished reading all 5 installments and wow, thank you so so much! I am just starting out with makeup and all the beauty gurus on YouTube did not help me at all. I tried looking for Asian beauty gurus with eyes like mine but there were none. Thank you so much for this; you have no idea how happy I am that you did this!! U0001f604U0001f604U0001f604

  • moonlitglimmer

    Hi there! could I ask if asians with hooded eyes (like yours) should use the vertical gradient method at all? As I find my gradient is always disappeared into the crease. So I’m not too sure how to correct that! What do you recommend?