Create Intricate Eyeshadow Designs With This Unexpected Makeup Hack

One of the silver linings of lockdown has been having extra time to play around with makeup—specifically creating full-on looks only to remove them about 5 minutes later. While I love the rush of dipping into a fresh eye shadow palette, you’re more likely to find me barefaced, scouring through social media for makeup videos.

During one endless scrolling session, my thumb stopped on a viral TikTok video of what appeared to be a peel that left behind an intricate eye shadow design on the lids.

Intrigued, I watched more and more. About 10 videos later, I messaged the mastermind behind this peel-and-reveal technique for the full details on her mesmerizing makeup looks.

Photo: Screengrabs from @lavanyawiles TikTok

Hailing from Cape Town, South Africa, Lavanya Wiles is an art director and makeup enthusiast with a passion for arts and crafts. Her TikTok and Instagram accounts showcase experimental eye art featuring unconventional materials, heavily influenced by her background in design, illustration, and craft.

Learn more about Lavanya and discover how an unexpected art material sparked her viral eye shadow hack. Plus, find her step-by-step guide for executing this peel-off eye shadow technique in our interview below. Take notes on her trendsetting tips for spicing up your makeup looks along with some helpful life advice!

When did your passion for makeup begin?

My sister-in-law was actually a big influence in that department. She’d do my hair and make-up and gift me products. In the earlier years, I struggled to find creators online with my skin color to see what products suited me, and I lacked the confidence to start my own account, so I never did. I did eventually find many wonderful artists, who I now follow.

Last year, though, after many months in lockdown, with bubbling anxiety and a collection of products wasting away in my cupboard, I figured I should give it a go as a form of therapy. Honestly, I’ve never experimented with makeup to this extent prior to starting my Instagram account last October. I think there’s a lesson in there somewhere about discovering passions later in life and pursuing them.

How would you describe your style of makeup?

Definitely experimental, I love the chemistry side of things. I end up with many happy accidents.

How does your background in art and design inform your experimental makeup techniques?

It’s a major factor in how I come up with my ideas. I’m big into crafts, so I have a huge stash of materials that often inspire my looks. I’m also a paper artist, so I’ve incorporated that into a few of my designs.

Photo: Lavanya Wiles | Paper art eye makeup looks

Take us through the creative process behind your unique looks.

It’s not a very clear-cut process, it’s a bit messy and all over the place. But, I’m often inspired by illustration styles, textiles, and color palettes from the art and fashion world and will see how those can be interpreted into makeup looks. Or, I might even find inspiration if I’m out on a walk and find flowers that I think would look cute on the eyes. I also sketch out ‘eye charts,’ so I have a library of basic shapes and line work I can base a look on.

Photo: Lavanya Wiles | Fynbos flower eye looks

What are some unexpected materials that you have used to create your eye looks?

Well, art masking fluid is probably the first one, and one I didn’t realize was unexpected. Flowers aren’t unexpected, but here in South Africa we have a beautiful variety of Fynbos flowers, which are often tiny, colorful, and hardy enough to withstand a few hours of being stuck to your face. Possibly also the paper art (quilling), I haven’t seen much of that online.

Photo: Lavanya Wiles | Paper quilling inspired eye makeup

How did you come up with the “Peel Reveal” makeup technique?

Completely by accident. I had a bottle of masking fluid sitting in my cupboard that I’ve used for painting. I randomly decided to try it on my skin and was surprised by how well it worked. Not going to lie, I was very proud of myself when I figured that out.

What are the specific tools needed to execute a look using this technique?

I’d recommend SFX liquid latex with low ammonia content that is meant for skin. I’ve tried eyelash glues and found them to be quite soft and tacky when it comes to removal, but have seen others try it and it seems to work.

I use a detail brush, the same one people use for graphic liner looks. You can choose your thickness. Use a highly pigmented eye shadow, but really, you could use anything, as long as there’s enough contrast between your skin tone.

Photo: Lavanya Wiles | “Peel Reveal” eye makeup look

Take us through the steps for achieving this look.

I freehand, but you can start with sketching out your design first.

  1. Apply the fluid in your desired design to a bare, moisturized lid. Wait for this to dry completely.
  2. Apply eye shadow primer (if you need).
  3. Apply eye shadow.
  4. Lastly, peel that baby away.

Any tips for glue application?

It might take a few attempts to get right, and a steady hand to apply, but other than that, it’s fairly straightforward.

Does the peeling hurt at all?

A lot of people seem to think it does, but I promise, it doesn’t. Just make sure you always moisturize first.

What’s an easy design idea for someone trying the technique for the first time?

I think my squiggle design is an easy one. You can freehand it, and you don’t have to stress if the lines get thicker in sections. Plus, you can pull it off in one go. Or, try a simple straight line that separates 2 colors.

Photo: Lavanya Wiles | “Peel Reveal” eye makeup looks

What do you like best about this technique?

I love that it’s always a bit of a surprise. You kind of know what to expect, but not entirely. Also, it’s so damn satisfying to peel off.

You can follow Lavanya Wiles on TikTok and Instagram to see more of her awesome makeup looks.