I am fair skinned, blue eyed and -- well, have had a little help in the blonde department -- which is about as far from the Kim Kardashian look as you can get. Although, this suits me just fine, there are times when I am trying to keep up, but not with the Kardashian clan -- rather, with Kim's makeup looks. I have to say, her intense maquillage is the most baffling part of a TV show that doesn't require a Mensa IQ to get through. How does Kim wear so much eye makeup and not seem to be in pain? Not a grimace, nothing watering, no redness... It appears, she does have talent after all!
It is no secret that I have the world's most sensitive left eye. I cannot wear contacts and have been sporting glasses, which have morphed into my trendiest and best accessory, for over 11 years. When it comes to makeup, I wear very little around the eyes and I'm extra selective about products that cater to sensitivity. More often than not, I skip eye makeup altogether. For special occasions (i.e. weddings and parties), I use a tiny bit of primer under my brows and a very light pink shadow over it. I've been trained to stick with Clinique for my sensitivity, but when daring to use eyeliner, Makeup Forever is the only brand I trust. It stays put without a smudge through rain, sleet and tears and I know it won't migrate into my eyes. Then I make sure my brows are groomed perfectly. Mostly satisfied with this routine, I still wonder if it is possible to enhance my lashes and line my eyes, to give myself that sculpted, almost alien-like high cheekbone appearance that instills envy -- yes, come on, admit it -- Kardashienvy.
They may be becoming a tad passé, and we may currently see more of Kim's under-fire pregnancy fashion, but millions of Americans still seethe while secretly admiring the Kardashians. According to the program's ratings, many are still keeping up!
I decided to seek out the advice of sought-after makeup artists and ask them "Is it possible to get Kim's look if you have sensitive eyes?" Realize, when reading the responses that follow, eyes have varying degrees of sensitivity. If you are as highly sensitive as I am, you might want to skip eye makeup altogether and focus on the rest of your visage. A clean looking face with the right blush countering and brow shaping will naturally draw attention to your eyes anyway.
According to Meira Joselit, a New Jersey based makeup artist and Arbonne consultant, "Fake lashes and glue, so obviously a part of the Kardashian routine, hurt sensitive eyes!" So skip it, she advises. "You can get the smoky look, but a tight line (which is inner-rimmed and basically touching the eye) in addition to fake lashes with glue will really irritate your eyes." She recommends Arbonne's water resistant and super gentle mascara, and she herself has extremely sensitive and easily irritated eyes. If you want to get a good line and a "big draw" on the upper eye lids, Joselit likes Smashbox's black gel liner because it stays put. She also recommends Trish McEvoy's intense gel black liner pencil as another non-smudge pick. I plan to try this product myself because I prefer to use a pencil when it comes to my own coordination (or lack thereof!).
Celebrity makeup artist Alison Raffaele, who was Bobbi Brown's head assistant for three years and who employs techniques that have graced famous faces (i.e. Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston, Sigourney Weaver and Gisele Bundchen), points out that it is important to understand which types of eye makeup cause sensitivity:
"Among those that are irritating are powdered eye shadows, particularly ones that contain shimmer or sparkles (the particles can easily get into your eyes when applying) as well as anything purple (purple pigments are well-known allergens)."
She adds that anything with fragrance, the latex in eyelash glue, fast drying eyeliners (liquids, gels) and mascaras with fibers are seldom compatible with sensitive eyes.
"Now, this is not to say that every person with sensitive eyes will necessarily be sensitive to all of these things; this is simply a list of the most likely culprits," explains Raffaele.
So, what's a sensitive girl to do?
Raffaele delineates the following steps for getting Kim Kardashian's look:
"1. Use cream shadows & liners. These fly around less than the powdered kind, making them less likely to get into your eyes. To set them in place and keep them from smearing (particularly darker shades), set cream eye shadows with a colorless setting powder like my own brand's Transparent Finish (Alison Raffaele Cosmetics). The best way to do this is to dip a velour puff into the powder, work the powder onto the puff (don't use too much), and then press the puff onto closed eyelids. To get a major highlight under your brow bone, use a luminizer product like my Incandescence Luminizer. The optical diffusers in it reflect light without the use of potentially irritating shimmer particles.
2. A big part of Kim's look is an obscene amount of lashes, but many sensitive girls are not able to tolerate lash glue. To make the most of your natural lashes, curl them with a good eyelash curler (I like the ones by Tarte, Kevin Aucoin & Shu Uemura), then apply your mascara. To make your lashes thicker, you can dust them with a bit of powder (like Transparent Finish) in between coats. Just make sure you are not using a loose powder whose first ingredient is mica.
3. For eyeliners, the safest best is to use a cake liner with a brush, which is a powder you dampen with water to make a paste. Pencil liners can work for sensitive eyes, too, but they tend to smear and melt down more quickly than cake liners.
4. One thing a lot of people don't realize: Natural bristle brushes must be sprayed with loads of chemicals to make sure there are no bugs in the hairs when they are imported into the U.S. An easy way to avoid these chemicals is to use only synthetic bristle brushes, which do not need to be fumigated."
In addition to the tips above, there are other ways to get the Kim K look without tearing your eyes out.
To read more tips, click here.