Growing up, my two grandmothers only ever agreed on one thing—that I should undergo a double-eyelid surgery when I was old enough. I was somewhat late to the makeup game: during the summer before 10th grade, I got contact lenses, and before then, my beauty routine consisted of a quick swipe of Lip Smackers (or, if I was feeling really glam, some lip gloss), and I had never experimented with my face or eyes. Eye makeup seemed much more complicated—the simplest tasks, such as applying a wash of shadow, required careful precision.
Eventually, inspired by fashion editorials and pushed by friends who were starting to wear eyeliner to school, I began to experiment with eyeshadows. It seemed like an easy place to start, but I always felt that the wash of brown looked funny on my monolids. I was so frustrated—I had no idea how to apply it, and instead of making me look and feel more beautiful, makeup seemed to accentuate my missing creases. I looked nothing like the celebrities in my favorite fashion magazines.
Finally, my mom took me to a Laura Mercier makeup counter for a makeover, and it was then that I was introduced to the one product that encouraged me to learn to work with my features instead of changing them: tightline cake. When I wet my brush and created a paste with the cake, I could intensify my lash line. I loved the way I looked with thicker, more intense lashes, and it’s the one product I continue to use today.
Slowly, I learned that makeup application is unique for everyone, not just for those with single eyelids. Although beauty editors will try to convince us otherwise, there is no one shade that flatters everyone, and nor is there one technique that will work for every face. For me, shadows accentuated my single eyelids, and tightlining fakes full lashes. Two coats of mascara and I’m good to go.
As a beauty lover, I love watching YouTube videos of new looks and trying different techniques and trends, but many of the “beauty secrets” don’t work for me. My eyes are unique; they’re monolided and two different shapes from one another. I’ve had to accept that certain things work for me while others don’t. I’ll never stop my Sephora hauls and experimenting with new products that promise to be easier to use—once in a while, I’ll find one that works. But most of the time, I end up going back to my usual routine. Rather than using magazines as a textbook, I’ve come to use beauty editorials as a place of inspiration—a jumping-off point. I take a look I love and interpret it into something of my own. Makeup application has become less frustrating and more fun as I begun to embrace the uniqueness of my eye shapes and become more playful with my makeup.
I’ve found that many take double eyelids for granted. Many of my American friends don’t recognize monolids until I explain my missing creases. And once I learned how to apply makeup, I’ve become more comfortable about it. In the grand scheme of things, eyelid surgery doesn’t seem all that important—or crucial. It’s unrealistic to proclaim that we should all just “love ourselves as we are” without further qualification, but I’m now confident with how my eyes look—and I do embrace their unique beauty. Sorry, grandma!
Header image credit: Tery Hung