How to Apply Cut Crease Eyeshadow Like a Pro

These six simple steps will take your makeup to new heights.

Close-up of person applying cut crease eyeshadow

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Cut crease eyeshadow first became popular in the 1950s and continues to be a major eye makeup trend today. Eddie Duyos, a New York-based professional MUA, says there are various iterations of the look. "There's a 50s Marilyn Monroe style that is matte in texture while soft and blended, a 70s Diana Ross disco cut crease that adds color and shine with a bit more definition, and lastly, a 60s Twiggy eye with strong contrast using black and white for a bold graphic effect." But in case you're not feeling these styles, feel free to adapt a cut crease to fit your personal taste — and eye shape. To show us how, we tapped Duyos and celebrity makeup artist Jamie Greenberg for their tips.

Keeping scrolling to learn how to pull off cut crease eye makeup, according to experts.

What Is a Cut Crease?

"A cut crease is an eye technique of applying eyeshadow that clearly defines and separates the upper lid from the mobile lid by creating a sharp definition right in the contour of the eye," explains Duyos.

How Do You Do a Cut Crease?

  1. Apply an eyeshadow primer to ensure your makeup stays put and goes on evenly. "If you don't have an eye primer on hand, I like to take any excess foundation from my brush and sweep over the lid to act as a primer for eyeshadow and eyeliner," says Duyos.
  2. Use a dark eyeshadow or eye pencil and apply it to the crease. "Starting with a darker shade will help to define the end result of the cut crease," explains Greenberg.
  3. Blend it out. "Using the tip of a small flat brush, blend the line towards the inner and outer corner of the eye as well as slightly blend upwards," suggests Duyos.
  4. Add a transition shade above your newly defined cut crease, then Duyos says to blend it up toward the brow.
  5. Apply full-coverage concealer to your lid. Greenberg says this will cut and cover your entire eyelid stopping right before the crease and giving you a precise and sharp eyeshadow look.
  6. For your last step, Greenberg says to pack on a lighter eyeshadow shade directly where you placed the concealer to lock it in and prevent any creasing.

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How Can You Create a Cut Crease if You Have Monolid or Hooded Eyes?

Makeup is like painting in that you can create any look you want with the right technique. "If you have hooded or monolid eyes, follow the steps above, but instead of stopping before the crease, you would want to pull up a little above the crease to create the illusion," suggests Greenberg.

Are There Any Makeup Hacks for Creating a Cut Crease?

"If you need help creating a cut crease, an easy hack is by using a spoon to help guide where to put the darker shadow in your crease," says Greenberg. "Simply place the spoon over your eyelid, and start blending the darker shadow above where the top of the spoon falls."

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What eye shape does cut crease work best on?

    Cut crease can work for any eye shape but works really well on hooded eyes since it can help to define the crease, as well as create the appearance of a bigger eyelid.

  • What is a half cut crease?

    A half cut crease is when you cut crease the inner half of your eye only. It's less dramatic than the traditional cut crease and is often combined with a subtle smoky eye.

  • What is a reverse cut crease?

    A reverse cut crease is essentially a traditional cut crease inverted. Eyeshadow is applied to the brow bone instead of leaving it bare, as is the case with the traditional version.

  • What color eyeshadows work well for a cut crease?

    The sky's the limit when it comes to which color eyeshadows you can use for your cut crease makeup. However, keep in mind that you should apply the darker of the shades into the crease and blend upward and outward with a lighter shade.

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