How to *finally* nail a cut crease makeup look

Cut-Crease-Shay-Mitchell

Overhaul your entire makeup look with these expert tips

Beauty Crew Beauty Writer / August 12 2019

There’s no denying that the cut crease makeup trend is still going strong. Really strong. If you’re a beauty enthusiast (read: all of us), by now you’ve probably seen a zillion cut crease makeup looks and tutorials making their rounds on Instagram and YouTube. 

But when it comes to actually recreating the look at home, it can be a little bit tricky – especially if you’re not using the right products or technique. Luckily, you have us cute peeps ready to give you the lowdown! We spoke to one of Sydney’s top makeup artists Sabrina Melei to find out her top tips and tricks for mastering this genius eyeshadow technique. 

What is a cut crease makeup look? 

You might not know this, but the cut crease eyeshadow technique has been around for *yonks*. It was originally used in black and white films as a way of drawing attention to the actresses’ eyes. While this older style was a little softer, these days it’s all about making a statement! Melei says, “The cut crease technique is an application of eyeshadow that is more structured and less blended. It is a display of eyeshadow colours that meet at crisp lines to create a defined look.”

Simply put, you apply a lighter shade of eyeshadow over your lid and apply a darker shade on top of your lid crease (hence the name). It involves little to no blending, and when applied correctly, it can make your eyes look bigger and brighter than ever. 

Who suits the cut crease look?

Good news – cut crease makeup suits *everyone* – especially hooded eyes! (Yep – FINALLY). “All can pull this off, but this look is best suited to hooded eyes, as it can create the impression of a more open lid by cutting the crease higher than usual. It is also a great way to show off sparkly or metallic eyeshadow on the lids of your eyes or a defined liquid eyeliner,” says Melei.

What kind of products do you need? 

So what kind of products do you need? Is there some kind of cut crease brush we need to get to be able to master this look? Well, according to Melei, you probably already have most of the tools in your makeup kit already – namely a small and hard fine-edged eyeshadow brush (like Morphe M705 Pointed Concealer Brush) and a flat brush (try ZOEVA 234 Smoky Shader).

In terms of the actual makeup products, Melei says having a good eye primer on hand is super important to ensure your makeup look lasts. She also notes you’ll need “an oil-based foundation stick to assure the eyeshadow sticks on and doesn’t move or blend, an eyeshadow palette with lighter and darker eyeshadow colours of your choice – this can also include glitter – [and liquid eyeliner and mascara is a must to finish the look”.

How to do a cut crease

While there are a ton of different cut crease looks (we’ll get into the different versions in a minute – promise!), for an easy cut crease, Melei says to follow these five simple steps: 

#1 / Prime
A good eyeshadow primer will make sure your eyeshadow lasts through the day (or night) without fading/smudging right off your lids. It’ll also work to intensify your eyeshadow colour. “Start with a neutral-coloured primer to create a clean canvas,” she says. Elizabeth Arden Advanced Eye-Fix Primer should do the trick.

#2 / Apply foundation or concealer
“Take a stick foundation/concealer (my favourite at the moment is Revlon’s new ColorStay Life-Proof Foundation Stick! It honestly does not budge – perfect for a clean look like this). Using a small fine-edged hard eyeshadow brush, apply your foundation over the whole eyelid. Taking it up to the crease [and] create a defined line. Create this line in a round shape for bigger eyes or a slant shape to the outer edges for a more almond eye shape - and there you have your crisp cut crease!”

Pro tip: Melei also says, “Try to keep the eye you are working on semi-closed before you have set the foundation with the eyeshadow [in the next step], as it can transfer the foundation and make the cut look less sharp.”

#3 / Apply eyeshadow
“With a flat brush, apply a very light-coloured eyeshadow over the foundation on the eyelid (this can also be your favourite metallic glitter for a real statement).”

#4 / Perfect your cut
“Choose a medium to dark eyeshadow, applying with the flat side of a fine flat brush. Follow the crease in a line, making sure you DON’T blend the cut, or you’ll lose that sharpness,” she says. 

#5 / Finish your makeup look
“Apply a generous amount of mascara. And seal with a spray of makeup sealant/setting spray,” says Melei. “And don’t forget a defined brow to finish off the look!” 

5 different types of cut crease eye looks

Now that you’ve mastered the basic cut crease technique (go you!), this is where the fun begins! There are so many different versions of cut crease makeup, and so many different effects – you can even change the shape of your eyes! “Crease cut can be used to create an almond shape by exaggerating the cut on the crease to the outer lines,” says Melei. “Or it can be cut in the centre of the crease upwards towards the brows to create a more open eye effect.” Bigger, brighter eyes? Yes please.

Ready to mix up your makeup look? Here are some of the best cut crease makeup looks you need to know about, and a handy tutorial on how to nail each one!

Smoky cut crease
If you’re getting bored with your regular smoky eye, step up you game with the smoky cut crease. It’s highly versatile and one of the more popular cut crease versions, for good reason – it’s totally wearable and it looks *SO* damn good.

Half cut crease
If you’re newer to the cut crease game and still want to give the look a try, try the half cut crease first. It’s basically where you only define half of your crease and create a diffused, smoky look on the other half of your eye. It sounds tricky, but once you get the hang of it it’ll probably become your new go-to for a night out.

Glitter cut crease
Want to take it up a notch? This version simply swaps the usual matte eyeshadow for a glitter formula, which is placed in the crease for a finished look that can be as over-the-top or as subtle as you want. The best part? It’ll make your eyes pop on a whole new level.

Double cut crease
Why have one when you can have two?! This look features eyeshadow on the lid, with a sharp border at your natural crease and a second (‘fake’) crease drawn on above. It’s double the drama, and we’re all about it.

Gold cut crease
Fact: A gold crease looks BOMB. If you have a special event coming up and want to bring your A-game, girl get practicing because this version is for you! With this look, instead of using a matte eyeshadow, you’ll apply a gold formula over the entire lid (try NYX Professional Makeup Glitter Goals Liquid Eyeshadow in Polished Pin Up). Make your winged liner sharp to enhance the look, and keep the rest of your makeup minimal to really let your eyes take centre stage.

Looking for the best eyeshadow palettes to help you master cut crease makeup? We’ve rounded up some of the top eyeshadow palettes in Australia.

What do you think of the cut crease makeup look? Would you try it? Let us know in the comment section below.

Main image credit: @makeupbyariel

Erin Docherty is a Beauty Writer for BEAUTYcrew and a Grooming Writer for Men's Health magazine. She has a keen interest in cosmeceutical skin care and is currently working on minimising her 9-step skin care routine – because ain’t nobody got time for that. When she’s not writing about the latest beauty news, or applying copious amounts of serum, you can find her spending all her money in Sephora.