Cheryl Cole: fatal attraction

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Stylist Team
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Cheryl Cole, face of L'Oréal Paris, models the season's most alluring eye looks and demonstrates why they're your most captivating feature.

Watching Cheryl Cole in front of the camera, two things become apparent: firstly, she is in possession of the most incredible instinct for a killer shot, shifting her small frame into new shapes for each one – an ability borne of a decade of photoshoot experience. Secondly, she is blessed with the most profoundly beautiful, biologically perfect eyes I have ever seen – they delve right into your soul. It’s difficult to imagine anyone doing a greater job of modelling spring’s new eye-enhancing looks for Stylist.

And yet, the true power of the eyes, communicating everything from mortal danger, sexual attraction and crushing pain, exists without any window dressing at all. The inner depths of emotion are found through the eyes and we unremittingly make snap judgments of others based on their eye colour, shape, the geometric distance between them and even pupil size. Information so deeply embedded in our psyches, we are often completely oblivious to it.



Above: Lacquered

“Paint gel eyeliner across the upper lash line and extend it out into a cat’s eye flick,” advises L’Oréal make-up artist Val Garland, who applied her make-up artistry expertise to Cheryl. “Use a blending brush to take it up to the socket line and outwards. Press a graphite or black eyeshadow over the shape you have created and up to the brow. Add a touch of Vaseline to the centre of the lid for a high-gloss look finishing with several layers of metallic kohl and two coats of mascara."

Gel Intenza Eyeliner, £9.99, L’Oréal Paris; Pressed Eye Shadow Refill in ME Black, £11, Shu Uemura; Pure Petroleum Jelly, £2.55, Vaseline; Le Crayon Khôl in Graphite, £17, Chanel; False Lash Telescopic Mascara, £10.99, L’Oréal Paris (used throughout) Jumper, £280, Avant Toi at Feathers; black and white rings, price on application, Chopard; silver ring, £2,070, Armenta at Talisman Gallery; wooden bracelet, £30, and leather bracelet, £40, both by Diesel; earrings, £18, Erickson Beamon; infinity necklace (around neck), £590, Links of London; platinum and diamond necklace, price on application, Boodles


Unusual eye colours are remembered as a demarcation of beauty. Elizabeth Taylor was adored for her colourful violet eyes, neatly framed by an unbroken line of black lashes. And who could forget the entrancing stare of Sharbat Gula, the Afghan war child with the piercing green eyes, like tiny olive leaves ripening for spring, on the 1985 cover of National Geographic. Of course eye colour is biological – determined by up to 16 genes which affect the amount and type of pigment in the eyes – with brown being the dominant colour and blue and green as the recessive traits.

In fact, blue and green don’t exist as eye colours in nature at all. Those with blue or green eyes actually have the brown pigment melanin, which is present at the back of the iris with a lower concentration at the front. Those with brown eyes have melanin both at the back of the iris as well as the surface layer which absorbs the light, giving off a brown, velvety appearance. Green or hazel eyes exist thanks to melanin at the surface layer and smaller amount at the back of the eye which appears yellow – so when yellow and blue are mixed, the iris appears green.

In essence, blue eyes are nature’s mistake. Research conducted at the University of Copenhagen in 2008, found that people with blue eyes have descended from a single ancestor who had a blue eye mutation up to 10,000 years ago. Before then, the entire human population had brown eyes. While the desire for a particular eye colour (I’ve always longed for my murky blue eyes to be more pastel hue) is relative to geographical and cultural factors, what is more relevant is how the way we treat each other changes depending on whether we have piercing blue or steely grey eyes.

A recent study conducted by a team of Czech researchers for the Journal Of Personality And Individual Differences found that, since children usually have blue eyes before their long-term iris colour develops during the first years of their life, they often receive ‘child treatment’ from their parents for longer, which encourages them to behave like a child for longer. The same study claims that blue-eyed children are more inhibited behaviourally than their brown-eyed counterparts and have a higher propensity for difficulty with speech.

This new research goes some way towards supporting previous assertions, namely from Swedish psychologist Mats Larsson, that iris patterns are linked to personality traits. Larsson’s work showed that a low amount of crypts (pronounced squiggly lines extending outwards from the pupil) are strongly associated with warmth, tenderness and trust. Whereas, those with distinct furrows (circular lines within the iris that surround the pupil) are associated with impulsiveness.

Regardless of iris colour, a strong limbal line (the dark line surrounding the outer edge of the iris, most common in those in their 20s and very noticable on Cheryl) has been proven to be a subconscious indicator of youth – as it diminishes with age – proving the power of the eyes as a silent biological decoder.


Above: Graphic

“Prep eyelids with a nude base, this smooths the skintone allowing the liner to stand out. Take a liquid liner, look down into a mirror and apply from the inner corner of upper lash line to the centre. Then start at the outer corner where the flick will finish and work back across. This is much easier than painting straight across the lid,” says Garland. “For the lower lash line, pull your temple so the skin is taut and starting from the outer corner work towards the centre of the eye diagonally – it will make your eyes look bigger.”

Mister Light Concealer, £22.50, Givenchy; Eye Canvas, £22.50, Laura Mercier; Shimmer Wash Eye Shadow in Champagne, £15.50, Bobbi Brown; Perfect Slim Liquid Eyeliner, £6.99, L’Oréal Paris; Dessin Du Regards Waterproof Crayon, £19.00, YSL Jacket, £399, Day Birger Et Mikkelsen; platinum and diamond ring, £34,000, Boodles; white gold and diamond ring, £3,520, Chaumet; necklace, £110, and bracelet, £60, both All Saints

Shaping Up

Equally crucial to the perceived beauty of a woman’s eyes is the particular shape they take. Would Kate Moss’ career have spanned three decades if she hadn’t been bestowed with cat-like almond eyes?

The prevalence of the almond shape began with Egyptian queen Cleopatra and her striking, soot-lined eyes. You only need to consider the most prevailing eye make-up trend of the last 60 years – the feline eye flick – beloved of Jane Birkin, Marianne Faithfull and, of course, Kate Moss – to see that the almond shape is still widely considered the most desirable, at least it is in the Western world. Unlike eye colour, eye shape can be manipulated with make-up; almond or feline eyes can be made of smaller, round eyes with just a couple of well-placed eyeliner flicks.

And yet, it’s thought that larger, widely spaced eyes are considered to be more attractive to the opposite sex. Why? It comes down to science. Eyes, along with fuller lips, large foreheads and smaller chins, are indicators of high levels of the female hormone, oestrogen. Those with high levels of oestrogen are generally considered to be more fertile than those without. It’s nature’s trick for human preservation.


Above: Sculpted

“Smooth a creamy eye base over the entire lid,” says Garland. “Then, with a black eye pencil, trace the upper and lower lash lines, softening the line with your finger. Extend the black pencil from the outer corner, curve it around into the socket line and blur with a brush. Then sweep a taupe eyeshadow across the lid and up to the brow, pressing a deep-grey shade of shadow over the kohl arc. Finish with lashings of mascara.”

Double-wear Eyeshadow Base, £16, Estée Lauder; Contour Kohl in Jet Black, £4.38, L’Oréal Paris; Eyestudio Mono in Silken Taupe, £4.09, Maybelline New York; Pure Pigment in Android, £15.50, Illamasqua; Rouge Dior in Fantastic Plum, £22.50, Dior T-shirt, £220, Raquel Allegra; rings, from £30, Pandora Photography: Simon Emmett at CLM Make-up: Val Garland using L’Oréal Paris Hair: Lisa Laudat using L’Oréal Paris Casting Crème Gloss Stylist: Charlie Anderson at Naked Artists Nails: Marge Christodolou using L’Oréal Paris Color Riche Nail Collection Shot at Big Sky Studios

Flirt Mechanism

Eyes also reveal a lot about our emotions. I remember word being passed around the school playground that when someone is attracted to another, their pupils dilate. It’s all part of the mating game. And for a group of 13-year-old girls, it was the most exciting news imaginable – banishing the endless question of “Does he? Doesn’t he?” What has come to light since is that we actually tend to find those with dilated pupils more attractive. A recent experiment at Edinburgh University found that women who are ovulating are more attracted to men with large pupils as they strongly associate them with sexual interest.

Still, rather frustratingly for the human race, pupil dilation is not something that can be used at will. Depending on the light, pupils naturally dilate or contract to assist with vision, with mood lighting – dusky light schemes in restaurants, bars and even living rooms acting as cheats for manipulating the pupil size and therefore sending the message of attraction. Women’s pupils are also known to dilate when excited, with the biggest response coming from looking at pictures of babies, triggering a maternal instinct, and on looking at a picture of an appetising meal when hungry. Conversely, the pupils will contract when we feel angry or disgusted.

Laws of Symmetry

As an impressionable adolescent, it was kindly noted by some boys that my eyes were too far apart for me to be deemed kissable. It’s a comment that’s never really left me. And yet, a recent study has revealed wide eyes to be a positive aspect of beauty. In four experiments, researchers at the University of San Diego and the University of Toronto asked volunteers to make comparisons of attractiveness between multiple images of the same female face, which have been manipulated to display varying distances between the eyes and the eyes and mouth.

They discovered two ‘golden ratios’, one relating to length and one to width. The faces were judged as more attractive when the vertical distance between the eyes and mouth was approximately 36% of the face’s length and the horizontal distance between their eyes was roughly 46% of the face’s width. Strikingly, these results are in-keeping with the proportions of a globally average face, pointing to the fact that familiarity is key in identifying beauty.

The golden ratio is not only favoured in terms of genetics and beauty but, known as the divine proportion, it has also popped up throughout modern civilisation as a widely accepted facet of beauty. The ancient Egyptian pyramids, the Parthenon of Athens and in countless works of art (think da Vinci’s, The Last Supper) and great forms of architecture – even nature – are pervaded by a wide, rectangular shape. Professor Adrian Bejan of Duke University in the US puts this human obsession with the horizontal shape down to the ease of our eyes in scanning left to right which is five times faster than scanning vertically. It’s a result of our perceived world being a horizontal tableau – we quickly scan horizons and landscapes for danger and in the search for a mate, not from above or below.

How identical each eye is to the other is often hyped as a key sign of attractiveness. It’s a common feature of catwalk models and something Cheryl possesses. And again, it finds its root in genetics. Studies suggest symmetrical faces are attractive to both women and men, correlating with long-term mental performance and fewer genetic mutations. Achieving symmetry, however, is a genetic miracle – it takes billions of cell reproductions to pull off perfect symmetry, which is why it is such a powerful sign of genetic health.

Still, the true beauty of eyes is that no two pairs are ever the same. They are our most powerful physical tool, they speak for us (saying the things we wouldn’t dare), and subtly decode information about others, without us being conscious of it. What do we see in Cheryl’s beautiful eyes? Huge bundles of inner strength. And a woman in the prime of her life.


Above: Bronzed

"This is the easiest of all eye looks. Prep below the brow bone and beneath the eye with a light-reflecting concealer, then dust with translucent powder,” says Garland. “Add black kohl to the upper and lower waterline. Draw an egg shape over the eyelid, fill it in and, while it’s still waxy, take an eye brush and press on little piles, building them up. Sweep away the powder and any stray flecks of glitter with a large brush. Add lots of mascara. This is definitely a party look.”

Lumi Magique Light Infusing Pen, £8.49, L’Oréal Paris; Loose Powder, £48, Chantecaille; Bronze Reflects Glitter, £15.50, Mac; Cream Shadow in Zardoz, £17, Nars; Smooth Silk Eye Pencil in Black 4, £18, Giorgio Armani Bracelet [just seen], £19,400, Stephen Webster