Tutorial: Where to Apply Contour Eyeshadow Color on an Asian Eye


When I first started watching videos and reading blogs on how to apply makeup, especially eyeshadow, I always heard/read that we should place the darkest colors on the crease. I obediently followed.

And looked awful. Haha!

As the crease and contour area differ between Asians and Caucasians due to bone structure dissimilarities, eye makeup techniques for Asians and Caucasians must also differ.

While the crease and contour area of a Caucasian eye coincide, the Asian eye’s contour area is not as obvious. A less pronounced orbital rim and additional layer of fat under the skin prevents the formation of a lid crease in 50% of Asians. For those with a lid crease, a term we call ‘double eyelids’, the contour area is also not as apparent as in a Caucasian eye.

It is, therefore, important to know where your contour area, and not the crease per se, is to create the perception of more deep-set eyes with a darker eyeshadow color.

I have double eyelids (what Western makeup artists call ‘crease’),

but if I were to place the darkest color on my ‘crease’, and open my eyes, I would look like I didn’t apply anything there at all.

I only applied a light stroke of brown eyeliner. If I had applied a darker eyeshadow color and smudged it out with the hope of creating more depth and dimension to my eyes, I would be greatly disappointed. Not only will I be unable to achieve the deep-set look I desire, the dark color will close up my eyes and make them look smaller. Yikes!

Instead, what I like to do and find most easy to locate my CONTOUR AREA, is to tilt my head back, and then look down into the mirror.

See that? I wouldn’t have been able to see my contour area if my life depended on it otherwise. That contour area is where you should apply a dark eyeshadow shade to create an eye with more dimension and depth. Not the ‘crease’ line.

Another technique you can use to locate your contour area is to use an eyeshadow brush to gently push the lid into the socket. Where it sinks in the most, is the contour area.

I marked the contour area to make it more obvious that, for most Asian eyes, the contour area it is NOT the same as the crease line.

As you can see, when I look straight ahead again, the line that marks the contour area is above the crease line, and not on the crease line. So the next time you watch Youtube videos of Western makeup gurus or artists telling you to ‘take a dark eyeshadow shade and apply it to your crease’, you’ll know where you should not be placing that on.

I hope you’ve found this tutorial on where to apply eyeshadow on the contour of an Asian eye useful! Alrighty, now go and find your eye contour and make some makeup magic!

Useful articles:

Eye Makeup Tips For 14 Different Types of Asian Eyes

Crease and Contour Eyeshadow: Asian Eyes VS Caucasian Eyes

Eyeshadow Tutorials for Asian Eyes Part 1: Where to Apply Eyeshadow


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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.

Throughout this blog you will see Bun Bun in different poses.

Instead of using numbers (3/5, 4/5) or alphabets (B+, A+) to rate products, I put Bun Bun in different positions and expressions to represent the rating given to the product after a review.

In Bun-O-Meter, the first on the list would mean a 5/5 rating and the last one a 1/5 rating.

You can always refer to the sidebar any time you don’t understand what Bun Bun’s pose means.

I hope you enjoy reading my makeup and beauty posts as much as I did writing them.

Talk to you soon! =)


Juli & Bun Bun

  • BettyS

    Thanks for the info – found you through your guest blog on makeupandbeautyblog. I kept losing my shadow in the crease, too, ha ha!

    Have you tried Thi Cosmetics? They’re supposed to geared towards Asian skin tones. I can’t find a whole lot of in-depth reviews on them, so I haven’t given them a shot yet. They have a small line but the colors look beautiful.

  • Bun Bun

    Hi BettyS! Thanks for finding your way here. =) I used to lose my shadow in the crease all the time too!
    I haven’t heard of Thi Cosmetics, but I checked out their website. Yea! Companies should start making more products for Asians skin tones!

  • Lana

    Hi there,
    I am a Caucasian gal and that is exactly how I apply my eyeshadow to make it show up nicely too! It took me awhile to figure it out, but my eyeshadow looks so much better this way :)

  • Eddy Lampp

    Rather controversial entry. How can I subscribe to your blog? Thank you. No hablo espanol!

    • Bun Bun

      Hello Eddy, you can subscribe via email or RSS. The options are on the side bar. Thanks for subscribing! =)

  • kim

    hi, when applying the crease color, do i have to follow the bone structure of my contour area?

    • Bun Bun

      Hi there kim,

      That’s a very good question. First of all, there are no ‘have to’ or makeup rules, just many ways to look better. =)

      It really depends on the type of eyes you have – do you have deep set eyes? hooded eyelids? monolids? For people with deep set eyes, the crease coincides with the contour area, that’s why bloggers who have such eyes naturally call the ‘contour area’, the ‘crease’.
      For hooded eyelids and monolids, the crease does not coincide with the contour area at all. The crease is in fact much lower than the contour area.

      It is definitely much, much, much easier to intensify the crease for people with deep set eyes because that area is just so obvious. For the rest of us, the contour area can be a little tricky to locate. Many people with monolids or hooded lids would rather not do contouring at the contour area, or dare not go anywhere above the crease line (where the lid folds). I have hooded lids, and in this tutorial I showed that it IS possible to do a colorful eye makeup look on hooded lids, contrary to what most people think.

      I hope this answers your question, but if you have further questions, just pop me another one!

      • kim

        i have hooded eye lids and bone structure of the left eye is completely different from the right. i have no difficulties applying the crease color (just above my eyefold) in the right eyes and the look is i think natural although i haven’t really have perfected applying eyeshdaows, my problem in my left eye is that, i think that the bone of the contour is lower than the right eye, that’s why i have to adjust it a bit higher for them to look equally. the contour on the left eye is a bit lower starting from the outer corner up to the middle of the crease

        do i really have to follow the “bone” literally on how it was shaped in applying the crease / contour color? (if you can get what i mean)

        • Bun Bun

          Do correct me if I got it wrong, but do you mean to ask if it is okie to apply color at different places or heights on both eyes? If yes, then I think I can give you a good example because I also face a similar problem.

          Occasionally (like due to lack of sleep or too much sleep), my visible area on my left eyelid becomes slightly thinner than the right eyelid – this means that the left eye is more hooded than the right. Inevitably the difference in eyelid space will affect the way I apply eyeshadow and eyeliner.

          Let’s start with eyeshadow first. I like to think of my right eye as my Master Eye. Haha. The Master Eye marks the way I want the eventual eye look to be. Then disregarding where the contour of the left eye is, I place eyeshadow at exactly the same spot following the right eye (Master Eye). Also, to balance the different lid space on both eyes, I will apply eyeshadow slightly above the fold on the left eye. This is to ensure that my eyes look as symmetrical as possible.

          As for eyeliner, I will have to draw a slightly thicker line on the right eye so that the amount of lid space left un-lined looks the same as that on the left, making eyes look somewhat of the same size when opened.

          So, yup, more than following the contour or lines of each eye, I would suggest making them look more symmetrical.

          • kim


            now i’m confused. hehe.

            what i mean is that, i can’t get to apply eyeshadows perfectly because of the bone of my contour area is different from each other. that’s why, if i follow the left bone, the eyeshadow is a bit lower than the right eye, i mean the effect of the eyeshadow.

      • kim

        what eyeshadow applciation technique can you recommend if i just dont want to apply color in my crease?

        • Bun Bun

          Have you heard of the upwards gradient method? Instead of emphasizing the crease or contour area, we will work on a gradient progressing from one color to the next upwards. Start with a darker color close to the lashline, then a mid tone color above it, then a lighter color moving towards the brow bone area.

          It doesn’t have to be a neutral-brown combination, even though browns are the easiest to blend and are good to start with. You can try a dark purple on the lower lid, then an indigo color, then a light blue, and end with a highlight color on the brow bone.

          This method is most used by people with heavily hooded lids and monolids as the contour area is often too far away from the crease line, so faking a sharp contour area can look a bit unnatural.

          Ah, your question makes me wanna do a post on the gradient method!

          • kim

            ok, can you post a tutorial for the gradient method?


          • Bun Bun

            Yup I will soon! =D

  • kim

    i think i am now cleared on how to explain to you my eyes. i just realized last night that the left is more hooded than the right, the fold is hanging on to the lids and i can barely see my lids compared to the right where i can see the lid area and does not have problems locating the contour and it makes the contour a “c” shape, unlike my left eye, contour is not “c” shape when i open my eyes, and i find it difficult to adjust.

  • Wing

    hi Bun Bun,

    I have double eyelids, but my eyes are ‘wide-set’. In that case, how should I apply the eyeshadow? Any tutorial you could share on that?
    It seems to me smokey eyes is but only a dream to me…. as the Western tutorial I saw on smokey eyes always have to apply darker colors on the outer? Whereas for wide-set, the tutorials say to apply lighter color to the outer?!?

    Please help…..

  • Karen

    OH MY GOD!!! I FINALLY GET IT!!!! this is so helpful! I have a problem with my eyes where i have a deep crease on one eye and a nonexistant one on the other. on that other eye all there are are so really fine lines where the crease should actually be but isn’t there. i even out my eyes with lots of eyeliner. it works and looks good, but it’s kind of annoying to do with liquid liner. any tips that don’t involve tape or glue?

  • evanyah

    Thank you for this guide it really helped me!  My eyes look like the eyes on the photo even though I’m Greek. My mom and her sister have eyelids like that as well.

    • BunBunMakeupTips

       @evanyah Thanks for dropping by, evanyah! Glad you found this guide useful! The eyes here are actually mine. Lol. I’m Singaporean-Chinese. =)

      • evanyah

         @BunBunMakeupTips Thank you for the reply! I think my asian genes comes from my grandmother’s grandfather. Her sister said she found out that her grandfather was from Mongolia. And well my grandmother’s father came from Asia Minor. I hope it makes sense! lol

  • peacherbs

    Most useful eye makeup tip ever!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  Intelligent and informative!  I learned so much.

  • giselemilanezi

    OMG, dear… this is so helpful!!!
    I’m not asian, but I have hooded eyes and this is perfect for me too!
    I couldn’t thank you enough!

  • purplefairy321

    I’m Caucasian and this helped me a lot – I have a hidden contour area as did my mother and grandmother. So I am just as annoyed by those eye charts as your are!

    Thanks for the article! :)

  • hearingxcolors

    Oh my gosh, THANK YOU!!! I’m half Japanese and have a double eyelid and very hard to see contours. I’ve been trying to figure out for years how to do eyeshadow! I will be reading and trying out all your tips this weekend =D

    Doumo arigatou!!!<3

  • marixml

    great tutorial! I’m Mexican, but  my eyes look like of Chinese . .  I hope you post more tips.