The Monolid Trilogy. Part 1: What You Might Need


Monolid trilogy part 1

Welcome to the Mostly Sunny 2013 Monolid Trilogy! I get asked monolid-related questions very often, and I keep promising I’ll do a new tutorial. Since there is a lot I’d like to share, I decided to divide it into three parts. In the first part, I will talk about what you might need. In the second part, eyeshadow placement. In the third part, eyeliner and mascara. I hope this series will be helpful for those who aren’t too sure how to work with monolids. If you have more questions, you are always welcome to leave a comment, drop me an email, or tweet me!

Monolid is a common term for an eyelid that does not have a prominent crease. However, this is a grand generalization. There is a large variety of eye shapes within the group, and let’s not forget about personal preferences! The best I can do is showing you how I work with my own monolids, and sharing tips I think might be helpful.

monolid tutorials tools

Here you see all the tools we are going to use in the next two parts. In terms of eyelash curlers, I have tried both Shiseido and Shu Uemura. There was a bit more of a learning curve with Shu Uemura, but once I got past that, I actually like it more. It is sturdy, and it gets all of my eyelashes in one go (including the ones around the inner corners that I had previously thought nothing would ever get). Mascara curlers are very personal, but I would encourage you not to get a random cheap one. I made that mistake once and ended up losing some lashes… It could have been worse though. In short, safety first. Find an eyelash curler that is well-constructed and fits your eyes more easily than others!

In terms of brushes, I would suggest you begin with a paddle brush (like MAC 239) to lay the color down, a blending brush (for example MAC 217) to blend everything into a smooth gradient, and a pencil brush (MAC 219). As you will see, a pencil brush is very useful for smudging eyeshadow onto the lower lash line, as well as highlighting the inner corners!

eyeliner brushes

If you use gel liner, a good eyeliner brush is indispensable. There are many different shapes out there, and my personal favorite is Bobbi Brown Ultra Fine Eyeliner Brush (on the left). Of course what you’re used to plays an important role here, but if you haven’t found a brush you love, this is something you should try. I often lay it down horizontally and drag it across my lids. It is so much easier than slowly building the line up. I personally find it riskier than just going ahead with some courage of conviction. Bdellium Tools 760 is another one you can consider. It is easier to create a sharp wing with this one.


I know the primer talk might appear very basic for many, but I have got quite some questions along the line of “everything smudges on me. What do I do?” Well, have you tried a primer? I can’t exaggerate the importance of eyeshadow primers, particularly if you want your eye makeup to look vibrant and last all day! I have tried NARS Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base and Urban Decay Primer Potion. Both work well enough on me. If you have oilier lids, UPDD might be a better bet. In all honesty, I prefer the tube packaging as well. There are many more primers on the market. I’d like to think everyone can find a good one!

cream stick eyeshadow

What if primer alone wouldn’t hold everything in place all day? Have you tried cream shadows and stick shadows? I used to be skeptical about anything holding up on my lids, but some formulas do last all day without any help! What’s more, it gives the look more depth and dimension. That’s always a bonus!


When it comes to eyeshadows, I’d say whatever floats your boat! Be it a big palette, a trio, a neutral shade or a bright pop or color, sky is the limit!


Eyeliner is another big topic. Should I go for liquid, gel, or pencil eyeliners? In general, I gathered that most have better luck with gel liners. Some liquid liners can also go the distance. I personally prefer to keep pencil liners to my lower lash line. They are available in a big range of colors. If you want to experiment with colors, I find the lower lash line the best place to start!

mascara primer, mascara

Last but not least, let’s pump those lashes up! Lash primer is something else I would encourage everyone to try. My go-to is Diorshow Maximizer Lash Plumping Serum, but there are many other on the market nowadays! I used to think only waterproof mascaras will hold curls. However, as it turned out, as long as a formula isn’t too wet, you’re probably good to go! it could take some experiments before you find your dream mascara. The good news is a lot of drugstore mascaras are excellent, so it really doesn’t have to break the bank! If you know how to put on false eyelashes, you are already heaps and bounds ahead of me! I have tried a couple of times and found wearing them fun, but I never practiced enough to be able to wear them every day.

Now that we have gone through all the tools you might need, there is something I have to say. The message I received growing up in Taiwan is a crease is infinitely more desirable. Even last year when I went shopping with a monolidded friend in Taipei, we were informed by a sales assistant from a large international cosmetics brand that “it is so much easier to work with double lids.” I didn’t find out until much later that many with monolids also feel they are somehow stuck with their monolids in different parts of the world, but apparently that is the case.

Monolid, like everything else, is simply a feature. As long as you figure out what makeup (this includes no makeup whatsoever) makes you happy, that’s all it counts. You don’t “have” to wing your eyeliner out/highlight your inner corners/define your crease because you have a certain eye shape. You do it because you think that’s how you look your best, and that’s what makes you feel beautiful!

Now, are you ready to have some fun with your monolids?

Sunny, your beauty culture translator xx

  • Becca @ The Beauty Sample

    Awesome post, Sunny! These are all products that I either have and can’t live without or want to try. Great picks for anyone with monolids or even just oily lids (unfortunately, I have both :P)

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Becca, I have oily lids too! Probably not very very oily, but definitely not dry and many things smudge on me!

  • Chris El

    Hey Sunny! I don’t have monolids but this is a super comprehensive post and I saw a bunch of products that I’ve been wanting to try (Benefit Skinny Jeans, Edward Bess shadows, Pixi eyeliners.) I also want to try the NARS primer. I find myself wearing primer more often this summer to keep my lids grease-free. :)

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Chris, I HAVE HAVE HAVE to use a primer! Some cream shadows are good enough on their own, but other than that I definitely need a primer!

  • Diana

    Yay, thank you for this post! I honestly don’t wear eyeshadow because I can’t work with my damn monolids. I just go for a wash of colour (usually beige) and then a pop of colour by using coloured liner. I’m looking forward to part 2!

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Diana, I actually do that too! It’s always great to explore different ways of doing things though :) I hope the next parts will help!

  • Ruby Chua

    Thx for putting this tutorial together, Sunny. I can’t wait for the 2nd and 3rd installment of the monolid series

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      You’re welcome, Ruby! They’ll be up soon!

  • Kiss & Make-up

    How nice of you to put such an extensive tutorial together :-) And as for the monolid, I know many people with eyelids like that don’t like them or find it difficult to create nice eye looks, but I personally think that when you don’t have a pronounced crease you look younger a lot longer! You don’t get overhanging eyelids as fast and they always look fresh and awake. There is just less there that can get saggy or wrinkly :-)

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Melissa, that could be an added benefit! I do think ANY eye shape is pretty though!

  • LifeOfBun

    Ahhh this will be a great read for people with monolids! :) Such a clear explanation as well. I actually wish I had monolids.. the saggy deep crease that I have going on on the left side really keeps me from applying a lot of eyeshadow there. >_< But I can imagine it must be annoying for liner sometimes though! Ahhh we all have our issues don't we lol!

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Aww I’m so sorry to hear that :( You’re right though. I think there’s something that requires a little experience and practice for every eye shape, but once you get it you’ll be fine!

  • Melissa

    Hi Sunny! Can’t thank you enough for putting all this together, eagerly waiting part 2 and 3! I’m mostly afraid of taking color too high and looking like I got punched in the eye. =( For that reason I stay away from anything dark, and usually just do a light color on my lids! I do love the LM sticks though, I use primer before and those don’t budge!

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Aww you’re welcome, Melissa! I’m glad to hear you like it!

      As long as you don’t go past your socket line, you’ll most probably be fine. I do prefer to keep certain parts of my eyeshadow light though. I think that helps opening my eyes up. I’m explaining it in the second part!

  • Liz

    Great series! Looking forward to the rest of them. :)

    I have a particular problem with the monolid — only one of my eyes are mono and the other has a full visible crease. Eye makeup is such a b-tch that I usually do just mascara and a single subtle shadow on most days. Liners make the difference between the two super obvious.

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Thanks, Liz!

      Even eyelids seem more challenging, but I did hear it’s also possible to balance them out a bit with a thicker band of dark eyeshadow close to the lash line. Have you tried that?

    • Lydia

      I sometimes have this problem too! One of my eyes is more hooded than the other so I actually apply more liner/shadow on that eye so when both eyes are open the makeup looks symmetrical. You should check out frmheadtotoe on Youtube, she has a great tutorial on balancing partially monolidded eyes.

      • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

        Hey Lydia, I think I saw that one! Liz you should check it out!

      • Liz

        Thanks for the tip – I’ve tried it numerous times in the past but it’s way too obvious because the difference between the two eyes are quite drastic. I don’t look weird in person but it’s highly visible in photos and mirrors. Thinking of just getting one eye lid lifted when I go to Korea.

        • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

          My bestie has the same problem, and she’s thinking about getting one eye done as well! I’m a bit of a wimp, so I’ll just wait to hear your stories 😉

  • TracyBeautyReflections

    What a great idea!! This will help a lot of people for sure!

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      I hope so! Thanks, Tracy!

  • Sofia

    How nice to put this together. I don’t quite have a monolid because I’m just half Asian (though I think monolids are so gorgeous!) but I do have oily lids and am obsessed with long wearing cream shadows… I love the Bobbi Brown gel liners, though I only use them when I have time to have a steady hand AND wash the brush straight afterwards… Lately I’m using just black eyeshadow as liner and it works well with me. Because I already have concealer on and cream shadow on, it surprisingly lasts all day long!

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Sofia, you don’t have to wash the brush straight afterwards though! I normally leave it till the end of the day, and it’s still quite easy to get everything off! I agree. Cream shadows save so much time! I especially like shadow pencils. It’s easier to be precise with those.

  • Larie

    Fun! Very cool post. I don’t have a monolid but the lids are tiny so colors can disappear when I open my eyes…I think nobody has the perfect eyes that go along with allllll of the tips that people offer, so it just takes time to play around with what you’ve got. People shouldn’t be afraid to play! And this will definitely get them in the right direction, hurray, Sunny!

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Thanks, Larie! I’m hoping my experience will be helpful somehow 😉

  • Jenni @ lifeandlensofbeauty

    might be off topic but can’t help loving the cat-themed plate in your pics XD!!! so cute!!!

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Haha thanks, Jenni! My bestie gave me this little tray and a mug with the same pattern 😉

  • Whitney

    I don’t have monolids, but hooded eyelids….which makes me look like I have monolids T_T I love the shu uemera eyelash curler and the diorshow lash plumping serum 😀 The only eye product I’m scared to be adventurous is eye shadow, I just can’t make it look great :( And I agree that I get most luck with gel eyeliners!

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Whitney, I know hooded lids are often put in the same group as monolids, so maybe this could help?

      I’m sure you will be able to make eyeshadows look great with some experiments and practice!

  • ValleyDoll

    Although it doesn’t apply to my own features, this is a really interesting post. And I love all the pretty stuff in the pictures !

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Thanks, Eva! Just in case you have a monolidded friend, now you know one more source you can point her to 😉

  • MyLuciteDreams

    I can imagine this wll be a very helpful series. Might I mention I love your crazy little cat tray! hehe

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Haha thanks, Taylor! My bestie gave me a mug and this is the matching tray!

  • Jacqueline Ma

    Sunny that is a very helpful post! Although I am no mono lidded my double eye lid is so slight it is almost non existing.

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey Jacqueline, I’m glad you like it! I think this might work for smaller creases too.

  • Lily

    Monolid or not, this is a very helpful post :-) I have a small crease, with folded double eye lids. While I don’t have much problems with eye shadows, the placement of colours is also very important. Can’t wait to read your next post!

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Thanks, Lily! I’m glad it’s a fun read for you!