Maybe you can't step outside without a swipe of mascara. Or you wouldn't recognize yourself without your usual trace of liner or smudge of eye shadow. There's great comfort in beauty routines, and deviating from the usual can make you feel self-conscious, as if a mere hint of liner is tantamount to Natalie Portman's makeup in "Black Swan." "Women often think changing their eye makeup is more complicated than it actually is," says Hope Choman, a New York City makeup artist. But you can upgrade your usual approach in subtle ways. Simply find the category that best describes your default look on the following slides, and then use our pros' advice to amp up your go-to eye-makeup ritual. You might even surprise yourself -- and leave the house in more than just mascara.
Try Using an eyelash curler to make eyes look more open, says Susan Giordano, a makeup artist in New York City. Get the curler's clamp as close as possible to the base of the lashes, and hold for a few seconds. Finish with mascara to hold the curl.
For a bolder look Line along just the upper lid with pencil liner. Then, using an eyeliner brush, press shadow along the line to reinforce the color. Curl; then finish with mascara.
Try Changing the shape or pattern of how you usually line by outlining the corners only. Line most of the upper lid and about half of the lower, Choman says. (Going all the way across the bottom can make close-set eyes look smaller.)
For a bolder look Go for a cat eye, a classic that's having a resurgence. "Apply a thicker line along the upper lashes, and just tick it up at the outer corner," Giordano says.
Try Branching out with gold shimmer, Choman says, instead of the usual taupes or beiges. Dust it all over the lid. "It's really a pretty neutral, and not garish, the way you might think."
For a bolder look Don't be afraid to try color. Blues, greens, and purples are flattering for any eye color, Choman says. Apply a few gradations of the same hue, keeping the darkest one closest to the lashes, and then lightening upward.
A single stroke of Nars Eyeliner Stylo (in Nuits Blanches, narscosmetics.com) leaves the precise finish of brush-on liquid, but the felt-pen-like tip makes it far easier to apply.
A twist-up crayon, Esteé Lauder Automatic Eye Pencil Duo (in Jet Black, esteelauder.com) glides on (no tugging) and makes a line that lasts all day. Leave it crisp, or smudge it out with the nib.
CoverGirl Liquiline Blast eyeliner (in Brown Blaze, at drugstores) provides the intense color and exact lines of a liquid liner but comes as a foolproof pencil. (Plus, the formula doesn't smudge.)
Effective and surprisingly easy to use, the Tweezerman Procurl lash curler (tweezerman.com) is nothing to be scared of.
The Shu Uemura eyelash curler (shuuemura-usa.com) creates a natural-looking curve so lashes don't look crimped.
L'Oreal Paris Voluminous Million Lashes mascara (in Carbon Black, at drugstores) has a densely bristled, clump-resistant brush that grabs and richly coats every lash.
MAC Pro Longwear eye shadow in Keep Your Cool (maccosmetics.com) is perfect for reinforcing eyeliner.
The shades of Dior 5-Colours Iridescent eye shadow in Ready to Glow (dior.com) go on sheer, so you can safely play with color.
Maybelline New York Expert Wear Shadow Quad in Lavender Smokes (at drugstores) has bolder hues.
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