Bun Bun Makeup Tips and Beauty Product Reviews

Eyeshadow Tutorials for Asian Eyes Part 2: Vertical Gradient Method

Series, Makeup How-To: Tips & Tutorials, Makeup Looks
October 25, 2011
Composed by : Bun Bun

(Update 10 Mar 2012: All ‘horizontal’ terms in this post have been changed to ‘vertical’. Please read this post for clarification. :))

Hey guys! I’m so happy the first installment of this series (Where to Apply Eyeshadow) was so well received! Thank you all for your support! 😀

In the second installment of the Eyeshadow Tutorials for Asian Eyes series, we discuss the Vertical Gradient Method of eyeshadow application.

The Vertical Gradient Method is widely used on Asian models I often see in Japanese, Taiwanese, or any other magazines that showcase Asian models.

While there are no rules when it comes to makeup, the Vertical Gradient Method is one easy method of eye makeup application, and looks great on people with limited lid space, have heavily hooded eyelids, or have monolids.

The Vertical Gradient Method is basically dividing the lid horizontally, most commonly into 3 sections and with the darkest color placed nearest to the eyelashes.

In my opinion, why the Vertical Gradient Method is not as popular among Caucasians is because having just one color on the bigger lid space will not bring out the contours of the Caucasian eye as much as having more colors and defining their Crease.

On the other hand, the Vertical Gradient Method looks polished and sophisticated on many Asians because the lower position of the Fold and non-coincidence with the Orbital Rim creates a smooth canvas for color gradation. Monolids or heavy hooded lids will benefit the most from this eyeshadow application method.

Because I have slightly more prominent double eyelids, this look is quite not as optimal on me as compared to a person with monolids or with a lower Fold. It must be the existence of the Fold that causes interruption to the beautiful gradation of colors.

It is because of my eye shape that I find it necessary to define the Outer-V and Contour Area to make my eyes look more defined and dimensional. The Outer V and Contour Area will be covered in the third and fourth parts of this series respectively.

Using multiple shades of color of the same family builds dimension and definition. For this look, I used Sin (light champagne), Smog (bronzey brown) and Darkhorse (dark brown) from the Urban Decay Naked Palette.

Now let’s go through together the simple steps of the Vertical Gradient Method!

Step 1:

As with all eye makeup, make sure that the eye area is free of oils and water.

Then apply an eye primer to prolong eyeshadow lasting power and bring out the vibrancy in them. Having an eye primer on is especially important for people with oily eyelids like myself. Without a primer, even MAC, Urban Decay and Sugarpill eyeshadows tend to fade like nobody’s business by mid day on my eyes.

Step 2:

Apply the lightest color (Sin) on the entire eyelid area. Don’t stop beneath the fold – go ABOVE it instead, especially if your eyelid fold is very low.

See, with just one color the eye is brightened up instantly! =D

Step 3:

Now use a darker color than the first (Smog) and apply it from the lashes upwards, stopping just slightly below the first color (Sin). Now you have 2 colors on the lids and it is most important that they don’t look like 2 blocks of colors.

With neutral colors such as browns, bronzes, and pinks, blending is a lot easier than say, loud bright eyeshadow colors that are of a different color family.

So if you are just starting out on eyeshadow makeup, neutrals are a safe bet. But you know me, I LOVE my bright colors and I think that everybody should try a wild look at least once in their lifetime! Heh! =D

Step 4:

Take the darkest color of the 3 (Darkhorse) and place it nearest to the lashline, almost using it as a guideline for the ensuing eyeliner.

You can see from the picture on the right the gradation of 3 colors. If I didn’t have such a thick eyelid fold, the picture on the left would reflect well the 3 colors too.

You may also do it the other way round – applying the darkest color near the lash line first, and then work your way up in a gradient, ending with a highlight color under the brow.


You’re done!

I guess this is how it will look like if I didn’t have double eyelids (looking down so that the crease is not visible). That’s why people with monolids or heavy hooded lids can totally rock this look.

Blending is key here. You want a natural progression of colors, not blocks of colors (unless that is your intention, like Color Blocking), nor a muddy mess of brown.

Bun Bun Eyeshadow Blending Tips: By ‘blending’, it means to blur the intersection of 2 colors, not the whole 2 areas. There must not be a definite start and end to each color. It’s like you can see it, but can hardly put a finger to where the start and end points are.

I prefer using makeup brushes, but sponge applicators can definitely do the job for the Vertical Gradient Method.

Complete the look with eyeliner and mascara!

Remember in the first tutorial for this series I mentioned the Inner Corner of the eye?

Can you spot the difference?

Yup! I highlighted the Inner Corner of one eye with Sin.

See how a little spot of light eyeshadow brings light to the eyes? =D You should try it!

Both eyes with Inner Corners highlighted

Gradients don’t have to be boring or limited to browns and neutrals. I, for one, am more of a COLORS fan. LOL. I love to use purples, blues, reds, greens, oranges, yellows, pinks to bring out my dark brown eyes.

Browns tend to drown out my brown eyes, as mentioned in a post on the Bobbi Brown Gel Liner Chocolate Shimmer Ink. Shades of browns are nonetheless important in neutralizing or toning down colors, or to diffuse strong colors in the Contour Area.

Here are some looks I found in my stash of makeup looks that exhibit the Vertical Gradient Method. Somehow I never posted them as tutorials or makeup looks. Haha. I’ll put up tutorials if requested though!

Oh, by the way, I don’t think Vertical Gradient Method is an official term. Heh. I just named it so because it describes the method as it is. =D

I also asked my friend, Min, who has heavily hooded eyelids to be my model for a demonstration of the Vertical Gradient Method. Check out our Eye Makeup Tutorial for Asian Hooded Lids!

In the next episode of this series, we will look into Defining the Outer V. Yippeee!!!

Get the Urban Decay Naked Palette


Get Too Faced Naked Eye Soft & Sexy Eye Shadow Collection

Get NYX Cosmetics Eye Shadow Palette 10 Color, Bohemian Rhapsody

Get Maybelline EyeStudio Color Explosion Eyeshadow- Caffeine Rush

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


2 thoughts on “Eyeshadow Tutorials for Asian Eyes Part 2: Vertical Gradient Method”

sealit says:

I’m really late commenting on your blog. But I had to tell you that this is a complete game changer. It is amazing! I grew up in a white town, with white friends, in a white family. No one ever knew what to do with my Asian eyes. I can’t tell you how many times I went to the MAC counter and was shown the paint by numbers eye shadow, lid-crease-highlight routine. My contour area always looked terrible!

I’m working on the horizontal ombré look from part 2. I went today to get the UD Naked palette. I have eyes like yours, heavy folds. (I’m told I look like Disney’s Pocahontas, never Mulan.) I really appreciate all the pictures and diagrams you used to illustrate everything. And thank you for just naming all the eyeshadow colors and brushes instead of making us guess. Great job!!

Ah, those diagrams that do as much as nothing for us lol. Hope you’ve invested in some good brushes too coz they really do make a difference! =D

Comments are closed.