I would see it all the time in Fashion Week photos, in high-fashion editorials, and on the eyes of every female pop star during the early 2000s. I’m talking eye gloss: that sultry look that seems achievable only by the hand of a makeup artist and on the pages of some oversized fashion magazine.
At least in the editorial sense, it seems that glossing the eye was some chic, theatrical way to emphasize a model’s eyes for a stunning albeit ephemeral look. I beheld it as the same daunting concept as liquid latex makeup: something best left to professionals (and George Romero).
While we plebeians gawked all like, “HOW YOU DO THAT?” many makeup artists had the shamefully obvious idea to just top eyeshadow with lip gloss, Vaseline, or the chicer alternative, Elizabeth Arden’s 8 Hour Cream.
If it’s good enough for nearly every makeup artist’s kit, I will partake.
For the beginner in eye glossing, lip glossing, cheek dewing, and brow taming, this is the stuff for all goop-required tasks. It’s thick enough to form and maintain a peak when you squirt a little on the back of your hand. Normally, I’d just use this on my lips, cuticles and dry patches, but a dab on my eyelids as well as coating my lashes, makes for a glitter-free, dewy, fairy-fresh visage. The best part is that instead of creasing it kind of just melts into your skin and settles.
If you want color and shine in one go, there are a handful of “glosses” out there for just that. I say “glosses” because while I initially thought some of these products were just tubes of repackaged lip gloss (and sometimes they are), the new eye glosses are more sophisticated than that, mostly using a near duo-chrome shimmer effect to mimic the look of a wet gloss.
They are not exactly low maintenance, requiring some patience to apply, but I’ve taken the liberty of road-testing a few. Oh, and you can leave your primer at home. They won't do much good here.
If you aren’t satisfied with a clear shine but you don’t want to get all J.Lo circa her Glow campaign just yet, Eddie Funkhouser Chromographic Eye Gloss is a good step up.
I tried out Magic Hour, which is a lovely golden peach color. It comes in what appears to be a lip-gloss tube, with the familiar doe foot applicator. It pretty much acts as such, which is why a light hand is best.
I lightly dabbed it onto my eyelid--only the mobile lid--making sure not to get into crease territory, blending lightly with my fingertips into the inner corners for a highlight.
You can use this a highlighter as well, swiping a tiny bit under your brow arch and on top of your cheekbones for a hit of glimmer.
If you want to step up your gloss game, Paul & Joe makes an awesome collection of Eye Glosses that come packaged in a dual-sided stick with complementary colors. I tend to stick to shimmery bronzes when it comes to eye colors, so their Bourgeoisie color was right up my alley.
This gloss also has a doe-foot applicator, which makes it easy to “paint” it on your lids.
The texture is surprisingly watery, so it goes on without so much of a smudge. The trick with this one, as I’ve discovered by attempting to smudge it with a brush only to discover that it gets all weird and separated when I do that, is to apply and then let set. I blended the edges with my finger, since I'm learning that glosses in general don't play well with brushes.
When you apply an opaque glossy layer, it dries to a metallic finish and stays put.
Seriously, I painted this on my eyes and then, finding myself out on a rainy night at Death By Audio in a sweaty Tacocat-incited mosh pit, trudged home thereafter to find every sopping bit of me completely bedraggled, except for my eye makeup (waterproof mascara mandatory). Well-done, P&J.
For those of you more dedicated to defining your evening gaze, Topshop’s “The Damned” collection had me harking back to the days of Aaliyah as the Queen of such. Their name came up on many recent searches for “eye gloss,” but what I found was that their Eye Gleam requires a bit of artistry.
I finger-painted the Noir color all over my eyelid, blending it a bit into the crease. The texture is creamy but doesn’t take well to brush application or smudging--I found that dabbing with my fingers worked the best for an opaque finish.
Laying the pearly white color, Winter Frost, in the center of my eyelid created a multi-dimensional look, which while not necessarily a gloss, certainly lives up to the gleam. I’m a little overly content for the Goth crowd, but I really don’t mind a metallic alternative to the smoky eye.
You might be thinking “Dude, these are eye gloss impostors!” and you wouldn’t be wrong. But consult the makeup oracles and they will likely tell you that no amount of Urban Decay Primer Potion will hold tight to that shiny stuff.