Photo: Jason Lloyd-Evans

If you’re anything like me, you’ve watched many a YouTube makeup tutorial and thought, “This would never work.” And no, it’s not just a matter of taste—though that’s sometimes the case—but this has more to do about my eye shape. I’m what they call “monolid.”

Most monolid beauties are Asian, but some European and African women also rock the look. So when beauty tutorials tell me to apply dark shadow in the outer corner of the crease, I think, “What’s a crease?”

But after much experience in the beauty world, I’ve learned that my eye shape doesn’t preclude me from participating in all of the season’s greatest beauty trends—whether it be a dramatic Chanel smoky eye or a technicolor Kenzo liner. It’s all about re-thinking conventional makeup tutorials and applying them to your beautiful self.

To help me explain, I turned to three makeup geniuses: Mai Quynh, Maki Ryoke, and Hung Vanngo, who have worked with a bevy of single-lidded beauties (including the iconic Fei Fei Sun and Liu Wen!), to get their expert artist tips for monolid gals.

1. Think ombré. “Whether you’re going for an intense smoky look or daytime neutrals, the key is to apply your shadow in a gradient with the darkest color closest the lash line and slowly fading upwards,” advises celebrity makeup artist Mai Quynh. “This gives the illusion of depth and dimension, even though monolids tend to be flat.” Start with a black or dark brown liner close to the lashline, and don’t be afraid to use a heavy hand to really fill in with the dark color. Then, go over the lid with a medium color shadow (gray if you’re going for a smoky eye, or a taupe if you’re going for a day look) and blend upwards and outwards towards the temple. Finally, take the lightest color and blend that into the top of the lid to finish the faded, gradual effect. Make sure you blend outwards instead of inwards: If dark shadow gets too close to the nose bridge, it will make eyes look more closely set. After you’ve finished, take one clean fluffy eye brush and gently dust it over the eyes to make sure everything is blended and seamless. Shop our suggestions for products below.

2. Draw a more dramatic cat eye. “Sometimes, monolid girls complain that their makeup gets folded into the eyelid and is hidden,” explains Quynh. “If you find that you cant really see the makeup, don’t be afraid to apply a thicker line at your lashes to give the look more impact.” She advises pausing every few seconds during application to check if the line is visible while the eye is open. “Asian eyes are particularly well suited to create a beautiful winged cat-eye look,” she adds. “Since there’s no crease, you wont have to worry about the liner smudging all over the lid.” Vanngo offers an additional tip: When you’re drawing the cat eye, make sure you’re looking up instead of down,” he says. Asian eyes tend to change shape when you look in different directions, so for the best results, always look up as you finish the design.”

3. Focus on the lashes. “The shape and skin of a monolid eye can push the eyelashes downwards,” says backstage makeup pro Maki Ryoke, who frequently works with top models. “Make sure you always curl the lashes and then apply multiple coats of curling mascara to hold the shape throughout the day.”

4. Choose one bright statement. “If you want to wear a bold color, apply it all over the upper and bottom lids,” advises Ryoke. “Since monolid eyes tend to be an almond shape, close your eyes and apply the color to the upper lid in that same shape, then finish by lining the bottom lid with the same hue.” Ryoke also suggests wearing one color and sticking to it: “I personally don’t blend multiple colors—there’s not enough space on the lid to mix different hues without it looking overwhelming. I find that simple often makes more of a statement.”

5. Opt for a natural highlight. While you might see models with deeper-set eyes wearing white eyeliner or a highlighter in the inner corners, Vanngo recommends that Asian or monolid gals do otherwise. If you have a flatter nose bridge, the inner corner of the eye doesn’t go in as deeply, so a very light color will look jarring instead of giving it that brightening effect,” he explains. Instead, you can highlight by defining waterline and tear ducts with a softer, flesh-toned color. Ryoke also recommends focusing a bit more powder on the bottom inner corner of the eye, which gives the “illusion of a deeper eyelid and a three-dimensional effect.”

6. Bottom shadow and liner are essential. “I always apply a little shadow on the bottom lid as well, says Vanngo. “This is another trick that gives the effect of a larger eye. Keep the intensity mostly on the upper lid, but use a slightly softer shade on the bottom lid, close to the lashline, to help create a more open shape.” If you want to go more low key for daytime, skip the shadow but still line the bottom of your eyes.

7. Don’t fake a crease. Sure, it can be tempting, but you want to enhance—not hide—your natural shape! All three artists advise never faking a crease with harsh lines or shadows, which will just look obvious. Ryoke puts it best: Showcase how beautiful you naturally are.