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A Girls’ Step-by-Step Guide: How to Prepare for Eye Ball

We’re having our annual Eye Ball in a couple weeks at the Museum of Science and Industry:

Museum of Science and Industry

Kwong Yee Cheng/Creative Commons

I think Eye Ball is one of the commonalities between optometry schools all over the world. My friends studying optometry in Canada, Hong Kong and Australia all have one. All the students and some faculty dress up in fancy clothes get together for a night of fun in between cramming for various tests and practicals.

At the 2012 Eye Ball, in Navy Pier’s Crystal Gardens

Last year, I scrambled everywhere looking for a dress. Lucky for me, I was able to get the red one you see above last minute on clearance for just $25! I promised myself I wouldn’t let that happen again, and shop early for the next Eye Ball.

1. The Dress I usually have a type of dress in mind that I want to wear, inspired by celebrities or magazines, and I know what dress works the best for my body shape and height. Though Eye Ball is in March, I started my dress hunting last November, on Black Friday, since there were some pretty decent deals going on. The great thing about being Canadian in America is that we get to enjoy Black Friday before our winter holidays, but if we don’t like anything, there’s always Boxing Day shopping when we head home for the break.

Tip: Look around early, so you know how much things cost and you have enough time to hunt for a good bargain.

After searching the websites and bricks-and-mortar locations of many stores including Express, Target, Macy’s and Charlotte Russe, I finally settled on a dress from a strictly ecommerce store: 

It was on sale for half priceonly $33! Shipping for the purchase and the return were both free, so I ordered it in two different sizes and sent one back. It was my first time ordering from them, but considering it was from the clearance rack, I would say I had a pretty positive experience.

Tip: If you’re shopping online for a dress, make sure you do so a couple of weeks in advance to account for time it takes to ship. This is way, if it doesn’t work out, you have time to look for another one. Also, make sure you buy things from a reputable website so that you protect your wallet and to ensure that you get decent quality items. 

2. Makeup Funny little comic from a guy’s point of view of girls (according to most of my male friends, it’s true!):

Everyone’s opinion of makeup is different, but in my humble opinion, most people can go with the rule that less is more. I’m all for covering up my blemishes, but too much of a good thing can sometimes have the opposite effect you want to achieve. I get a lot of questions from people when it comes to how to get a certain look, or what I’m going to do for Eye Ball, so I’m going to spill my secrets here:

Inspiration I like to start from looking at my favorite celebrities, or those that have similar features as me, and compare their looks that work to those that didn’t. It’s like they’re testing out looks for me, so I can just pick and choose what I want for myself. In the most recent months, I’ve been ogling the Victoria’s Secret catalogues and testing out looks from their models.



Eyes I think this is my favorite part of any look, because it’s usually the part that people pay the most attention to. The biggest mistake people do when applying eye shadow is not using a primer, or not using a good primer. It seems expensive at first, but it really lasts a long time, even if you do eye make-up everyday. It can save you money on eye shadow too, since you need to use less product since it makes the colors look more saturated and stays put for a whole day without having it settle in the creases of your eyelids. In my experience, Too Faced Shadow Insurance and Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion are the best.

For color, here’s a picture from Google Images that I use as a guide, although I don’t put anything on the waterline, since we learn first year all about how it can clog glands and make our eyes dry:

highlight: light, shimmery nude color

inner corner: either the highlight color, or a lighter complementary color to balance the dark colors you’ll use elsewhere (i.e., yellow or gold if you’re using green as your lid color)

contour: a color in between the highlight shade and the lid shade

lid: the first color people notice when they look at you, and the color that will inform your choices for all the other shadows

lower lashline: a fine tip eyeliner can give the illusion of fuller lashes if you draw them on very gently here

outer V: the darkest color you use should go here

Tip: If you’re not sure what looks to try, there are plenty of good YouTube videos that will teach you (that’s how I learned!). Start with the lighter, neutral colors if you’re a beginner, since it’s easier to correct. You can always darken the look, but lightening it again isn’t as easy. And remember to always use a primer with eyeshadow! 

Face Since everyone has a different skin type, it’s hard for me to tell you what’s the best thing to use. I think most people use trial and error. For me, I like to use a BB cream, which was originally designed for burn victims and for use following plastic surgery. A lot of people think that the color is too light, but there are darker ones on the market from various brands now. I have pretty sensitive and dry skin and a medium skin tone, and the following works for me (the colors also oxidize a little bit, so it ends up matching a range of skin tones):

Hanskin Super Plus Perfect BB #2 Natural Beige–under the eyes and on the middle of forehead Missha M Perfect Cover #27 Honey Beige–everywhere else that should be slightly darker

I love them because they don’t make me feel like I have anything on. In fact, they blend so well, it doesn’t even look like I have anything on unless you look really really closely. It’s got the texture of a moisturizer, but really high UV protection (SPF 45!) for the summer, and light-to-medium coverage. Don’t forget to set it with a thin dusting of powder.

Tip: Blend, blend, blend! You don’t want it to look like your face and neck are disconnected because of an abrupt difference in color. 

If you want to try contouring, here’s a picture I found on the internet that might be helpful. You can use a highlighting powder, or even a lighter BB cream, for the lighter areas. For the “contour” spots, use a darker bronzer, or even blend a little eye shadow. Between the contour and the highlight on the cheeks is where you normally put blush. The map works for people of all different skin tones. We’re in optometry school now, it should be fun to work with optical illusions of cheekbones and slim faces. Again: Blend, blend, blend!

Lips I personally usually do more on my eyes, so I tend to leave my lips pretty nude, or close to it. Lip balm with just a little bit of color can go a long way. If you want to minimize the creases of lipstick build-up, use a lip brush. You’d be surprised how effective it is. You also use up less lipstick this way.

3. Hair I think most people already have some idea of how to do their hair. Most people work with braids, buns, curls, or straight hair. Since my hair is so straight, let’s talk about hair curling. I tend to curl my hair with a hair straightener, and leave the hair as is without hairspray (I hate the feeling of hard, crunchy hair, with that chemical smell). Again, there are plenty of YouTube videos that teach you how to do so. I think I’m going to go with loose curls this year.

Tip one: The longer you take for each section of hair, the tighter the curl. If it ends up being too tight, you can loosen it by running fingers through it, brushing through it, or whipping your hair back and forth (definitely more fun than the former two methods). Shaking your head is instead of touching your hair with your hands or hair brush also prevents it from loosening up too much to the point that it’s flat again. 

Tip two: Use a good quality straightener. Titanium or tourmaline are pretty good materials. CHI, Babyliss and Hot Tools are great brands. The difference between these brands and those at drug stores is tremendous. I’ve bought many straighteners and had poor results because they’re just not hot enough. If it’s really hot, you don’t burn your hair, since you don’t need to be in contact with the heat nearly as long. Try doing this and not putting hair spray in, and see how long it lasts, and notice how much bouncier the curls are compared to curling irons.  

Tip three: If you prefer a curling iron, 1.25″ barrel can make a loose wave effect, like the classic Kim Kardashian style. The smaller the barrel, the tighter the curl. Curl the tip of the hair last, since it doesn’t take as much time to curl. 

4. Shoes I used to buy shoes based on style, comfort, and of course, price. I believe that normally, you get what you pay for, so for shoes that I wear on an everyday basis, I look for craftsmanship and quality materials. However, for something that I will likely wear only on special occasions, I find it better to buy shoes in the style that I like at a lower price point, and put padding all over it. This year, I bought my shoes at Forever 21 on sale for $14, and spent another $12 on EBay for a set of insoles that made them the most comfortable shoes I could possibly wear in style for Eye Ball.

Shoes that I picked out for Eye Ball

Shoes that I picked out for Eye Ball

Tip: Sometimes, it’s okay to get pair of poorer quality shoes that are a little uncomfortable. Get them a half to whole size bigger, and pad them with the best insoles. Just check the heel and seam to make sure it doesn’t look like the heel will snap or come apart.

Everyone has a different routine, and I’m sure plenty of girls do more or do less than what I’ve mentioned, but this is how I personally prepare for Eye Ball. I’m so jealous of the boys that seem to be able to get a haircut; throw on a dress shirt, tie, and shoes; trim their facial hair, and be on their way. Here’s to hoping we can have a pajamas party someday. I’ll remember to post pictures to show you how I put everything together that day. Until then, happy St. Patrick’s Day! 


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