The ‘cut-crease’ is nowhere near as painful as it sounds. Essentially a form of contouring for the eye, as with the contouring trend in general, it’s going nuts on social media. It could be the Kardashian effect (they’re cut-crease converts), perhaps it’s the stir created by a viral makeup tutorial advocating achieving the perfect ‘cut-crease’ with a bottle top (brushes over bottling your eye I say) or maybe we’re all looking to expand our skills beyond a classic smokey eye; whatever it is, creating a defined crease is the makeup mood du jour. Searches for ‘cut-crease makeup’ were up by 138% on Pinterest at the end of last year, however, as makeup artist Dani Guinsberg explains, cutting the crease is nothing new:
“Cut-crease is a term to describe applying eye makeup to your socket line. Think 60's makeup where black was literally drawn into the socket to give depth to the eyes.”
Obviously channeling Twiggy and Elizabeth Taylor is always to be admired, but many modern incarnations of the ‘cut-crease’ are also not so subtle. A quick Google brings up a fair few blocky, heavy interpretations of the trend, and while there’s absolutely nothing amiss with adoring your socket line with glitter, it’s not exactly doable day-to-day. Find a middle ground, however, and cutting your crease could enhance and lift your eyes instantly, especially if yours are small or hooded .
Just how do you bring the cut-crease out of social media land and make it work for you? Dani’s on it:
“A much more modern approach is to use natural tones - think taupes, browns and greys. Blend like crazy so that the effect is more natural than theatrical. I recommend using a dome shaped eyeshadow brush- this will do most of the work for you in terms of defining the eye crease with your darker choice of shadow.”
“To really give your eyes impact, keep the rest of your makeup minimal. A cut-crease is especially flattering when you have a healthy glow to the skin. Try a nude lipstick too. Overall this will give more of an focus to the eye, but your makeup won’t look ‘overdone’ or fake.”
In terms of getting the look, here are a few cut-crease pointers- this is the time to whip out that matte eyeshadow palette that’s been gathering dust…
1. Apply an eye primer all around the eye and lid to keep shadow smooth and in place. As you’ll be using more than one shade, you want to maintain definition, and a primer will also prevent eyeshadow from gathering in fine lines. The technique may be called ‘cut-crease’, but you don’t want your shadow creasing all over the shop. Cover FX Smoothing Anti-Ageing Eye Primer , £25, is hydrating enough to serve as an eye cream yet light enough to set shadow.
2. Apply a shadow slightly darker than your skintone all over the lid. Here’s where the palette comes in- mattes will create a more natural finish than shadows with spangle. Urban Decay Naked Ultimate Basics , £39.50, is the toolkit of dreams, with twelve matte shadows at your service catering for all skintones and allowing you to achieve tonal plays on the cut-crease.
Becca Ombre Nudes Eye Palette , £36, is slimmed down and sticks to the brown spectrum, but the graduated shades ensure you’ll use each pan, whether you’re going for a soft or smoked out finish.
Alternatively save your pennies and opt for Barry M Get Shapey Brow and Eyeshadow Tin , £6.99. Likely a better fit for lighter skin tones, the eight matte shades will allow for chocolatey definition in the socket and a light highlight in the middle of the lid, creating the illusion of larger eyes.
3. Trace a darker shade along the socket line, blending to avoid a harsh line but still keeping the neutral and deep shadows distinct (hence the ‘cut’ at the crease). For application, the MAC 217 blending brush , £21, is the quintessential buffing and defining double act, but smaller eyes may find Zoeva Luxe Petit Crease Brush , £8.99, easier to manoeuvre. Blend shadow back and forth, keeping eyes open as you do so so that you can see your eye crease. Keep shadow darker at the outer corners and lighter at the inner corners for an eye-opening effect, buffing a little of the darker shadow into the lower lashline. If you’ve gone too dark and stark, you can soften it with a lighter shade from your palette, and if brushwork feels like too much effort, Burberry Colour Contour , £23, sculpts the eye with zero shadow fallout- just blend in with your ring finger.
4. Finish the look with a lick of liquid eyeliner at the root of the lashes and a few coats of sooty mascara. Adding a touch of the lightest shadow in the palette to the inner corners of the eye will make eyes appear all the more Bambi-like.
For advanced level cut-crease skills, Illamasqua even offer a two-hour course in the technique, allowing you to experiment with intensity, textures and brush designs, plus you can sketch out more complex cut-crease creations and bring them to life. The course covers everything from ‘barely there’ to big night out, is adapted to beginner, intermediate and professional levels and includes a 20% discount on all Illamasqua product purchases during the session. Far superior to a DIY bottle top attempt.
Lastly, for the total opposite of both Kardashian filtered and boardroom appropriate, take your cut-crease cue from the edgy oranges and reds swiped over the eye socket by makeup artist Thomas de Kluyver at the Salvatore Ferragamo SS17 show. Keep the rest of the fact minimal and call it modern art.
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