Lopsided Liner? Wonky Wings? Try These 3 Easy Makeup Tips for More Balanced, Symmetrical Eye Makeup

Published in: Makeup Tips/How To

After driving into the city last night to pick up my race bib for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon (only nine more days!), El Hub and I stopped in Sausalito for dinner on the way back.


We went to this little sushi place on Caledonia Street called Sweet Ginger, and I was munching on my mango, avocado and sweet potato tempura veggie roll and staring at my race bib number: 22822.

I am by no means a hard-core runner, but I’ve run a handful of short races before, and I can’t say that I’ve ever had a memorable bib number.

They’re usually a nondescript string of random numerals, like from a UPC barcode on a bottle of laundry detergent or reduced fat peanut butter, but this one — 22822 — feels like a sign. The only thing better would’ve been a bunch of nines, since nine is my lucky number.

Anyway, I love this number. A lot. 🙂

I love how symmetrical it is and how the eight looks in the middle, and how if you turn the bib sideways, the eight makes an infinity sign (ooh!).

The number is also a palindrome.

Symmetry. Balance. Elusive concepts in makeup and life, but at least my half marathon bib rocks ’em!

Dude, I think you feel my pain. Symmetrical makeup is hard, especially when it comes to thick, bold liner, or darker colors in the crease.

At least it’s hard for me. I really have to work at it, but my eyes are slightly different shapes (it’s true). If you have perfectly symmetrical features, consider yourself #blessed. My eyes aren’t symmetrical at all (my left eye is slightly smaller than the right, and it sits a smidgen lower).

I think about symmetry a lot this time of year, when the fall and holiday colors show up, because I start wearing bolder eye looks on the regular, and as someone whose features aren’t perfectly symmetrical, here are a few tips that help me create more symmetrical eye makeup.

1. Keep both eyes open, head straight, and look directly into the mirror

I see you!

Instead of closing the eye I’m working on and keeping the other one open, I keep both of them open. This tip changed my makeup life. Any time I apply color in the crease, or line my upper lash line, I keep both eyes open and look straight ahead into my mirror, because it really helps me gauge how high, or far out, I need to take the product I’m working with.

2. Build up both eyes at the same time

I used to do one eye first, my left eye, from start to finish, before starting on the right. I don’t remember why, but I think someone once told me it was faster.

And maybe it is, especially if you make any big mistakes. If you totally mess up along the way, you only have fix one eye, rather than both.

It’s definitely a legit eye makeup strategy, but I don’t really do it much anymore. These days, I work on both eyes at the same time because I think it makes it so much easier to keep everything even and balanced, especially when I’m building out the wings for a cat liner look or applying darker colors into the crease.

3. Snap a selfie using a flash

How to Take a Good Selfie: Tips and Tricks!

I’ve been using and loving this trick for years. I take selfies of my eyes with my phone repeatedly throughout the eye makeup application process and at the end for final touchups and changes. For some reason, it’s just easier to tell if things are lined up correctly than it is when I just look into a mirror, maybe because left and right are reversed in pics.

Lately I’ve also started using my phone’s flash.


I read about this trick on Keira Rowland’s Instagram (she’s a Bay Area makeup artist with a pretty big following). If you haven’t checked out her page before, she has a beautiful, accessible makeup style and a fierce edge. There’s something about her that reminds me of my friend Cindy, like she’d be the friend who’d always have your back and wouldn’t be afraid to stick up for you.

She mentioned using a heavy flash for the camera tip once and said it was the easiest way to check your work, and you know what? It totally is!

I don’t know why, but the flash definitely makes it easier to notice any asymmetrical areas I still need to fix.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 10 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Divya says:

    Looking straight in the mirror makes sense! My problem is that light always falls from the window on only one side of the face and that screws up big time!
    Divya recently posted … A Wedding Moodboard | Classic and Boho

  2. Agata says:

    I love these tips! And I remember you talking about taking selfies to check your makeup earlier and I frequently use that tip now.
    Agata recently posted … Mac Cosmetics Face and Body Foundation Review

  3. I definitely still struggle with this. Thanks for the tips, Karen. Still not feeling confident though :=P
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Review | Zoya Naturel Deux Collection, Zoya Entice Collection & Zoya Ignite Collection for Fall 2014

  4. Erin says:

    That flash tip is genius!
    Erin recently posted … L’Oreal Extraodinaire Gel Lacque Review

  5. Emilie says:

    I am super psyched for the Nike half, but live on the other side of the country, so my bib is still waiting for me. Glad you got a number that makes you happy! This is my first race (ever), so I am a bit nervy, but excited to run with my girlfriends.

    Any recommendations on must-do things while in San Fran? First time there too, and spending the weekend with most of my really good friends.


  6. RM says:

    I deliberately draw the eye liner thicker on one eye to mask that my eyelid falls farther down on one eye. On the less droopy eyelid, a thicker line disguises the fact there’s more lid space than on the droopy one, if that makes sense.

  7. Annie says:

    I recently realized how much #2 helps! Especially with getting the wings even and at the same angle. I will flick out one eye, then the other. Then finish the outline of the wing on one, then the other. The fill in one, then the other. I think it has to do with motor memory – it’s easy for your hand to repeat what you *just* did on the other eye, the memory of that motion is still fresh in your mind/hand. As opposed to doing one eye and then starting from scratch on the other.

  8. Sylirael says:

    Awsome tips, Karen! I’m so bad at the ‘look straight shead’ one. It’s taken me *ages* to get that part down… 😛 The flash tip is something I’d never have thought of, so thanks for sharing! 😀

    The bib is pretty awesome, but you distracted me right at the start with the sound of that mango, avocado and sweet potato sushi… *drools* My favourite, er, flavour (?) at my local sushi place is pineapple, avocado and cream cheese makizushi, so I’m all about the fruit+avocado thing…
    Sylirael recently posted … Want Quest-Proof Makeup? Lisa from Beauty Info Zone Has Primers For Every Adventurer!

  9. Kim says:

    I always do my left eye first, then my right. But your tips make more sense. 🙂 Btw, I really like the filter and burst of color on your first pic. And your race number is awesome. I’m a fan of the symmetry as well. I’ve stopped singing Burning Love and am now on Sausalito Summer Nights.

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