A major fear for many makeup novices is what to do with their eyes when a special occasion beckons. Why? Because garish colours, heavy liners and dramatic shading can make you look like the Bride of Frankenstein. It's not always easy for the novice to apply eye makeup that improves their looks, and bad experiences lead many to avoid doing anything at all. But professionals say that by following a few simple rules, you can look refreshed and bright-eyed, starting with colour. 'You can bring attention to the eyes using silver/grey and black shadows,' says makeup artist Pui Pui Wong. 'Your eyes will not look as bright if you use pastels.' She says that everyone can use a simple black eyeliner and try out false eyelashes for that special occasion. Toni&Guy makeup artist Kathryn Carroll-Lea says: 'My makeup philosophy is about grooming and polish. My top tip to really open up and emphasise your eyes is to ensure your eyebrows and eyelashes are maximised. 'This season is slightly more relaxed and natural with the brows, but do make sure there are no straggly hairs.' Carroll-Lea advises having brows groomed professionally once a month and maintained with eyebrow tweezers in between. 'I pluck brows into shape and tint to match hair tone or increase definition,' she says. Then, use a good quality powder or pencil to fill in the gaps. When it comes to mascara, take a little bit more time before running out the door. 'Apply your mascara concentrating on the roots of the lashes and work through to the ends,' says Carroll-Lea. 'By ensuring the roots are well covered you increase the lushness of the lash-line. Then use your finger to gently set and shape the mascaraed lashes in an open bend without lash curlers. This technique gives the lashes a natural looking curl.' Another lash tip is to give the mascara brush a slight wiggle at the roots of the lashes, as this allows the brush to coat the top, bottom and sides of the lashes at once, covering any pale powder from eyeshadow that may have covered the top roots of the lashes. Colour is also important. Unless you're an aspiring Amy Winehouse, go easy on the eye shades. 'Use a matt or low-shimmer cream, or vanilla shade to neutralise pinkie tones on the lid and close to the lash line,' says Carroll-Lea. 'Pay particular attention to the inner eye and under the eyebrow. By applying light to these areas, your eye makeup appears simple but enhanced.' In other words, eye makeup mistake No1 is simply using too much. 'Keep your eye makeup simple. Use a matt natural shadow such as taupe at the outer lid and in the crease,' says Carroll-Lea. 'Wet the [eye colour] brush and use the same shadow with a fine brush to trace a soft line really close to the lashes from where they begin to the outer end of the lash line.' She also says it's important to mind the gap. 'Having a nasty white gap between the lashes and the lid is so awful but so easily fixed. Always apply your liner before your mascara and increase the effect of the liner by applying it right into the roots of your lashes first then thicken it as you like. Use a Q-tip to really blend it into your lash-line.' And, she says, don't apply the same colour shadow as your iris because it provides no contrast and can detract from the intensity of your own eye colour. 'When in doubt, use brown,' she says. 'Lighter browns such as sand or taupe work for blue eyes and dark plums or mahogany purple-browns work for brown-black eyes. Bronzes and khakis will highlight green hazel eyes.' Makeup artists often suggest using eyeliner inside the upper lash rim. But Carroll-Lea says that for everyday situations, it's a bad idea. 'It traps your eye. Used alone, it will make your eyes look smaller and unfinished. It makes the eye look more defined but not bigger. Using liner inside the rim is really only appropriate when one is doing a full eye makeup or smoky eyes, but it's not a particularly safe practice - lashes are designed to keep things out of the eye.' A good tip for a big night out, she says, is to start with a good moisturising and brightening eye drop before you start your eye makeup. 'Taking the redness out of the whites of your eyes goes a long way towards projecting a wide-awake look.' Application tricks are also important and a good habit to get into. Makeup artist Angie Pasley says it's all about giving your eyes a lift. 'Keep the eyes open, look straight ahead, and draw the outer edge of the eyeliner first. This will allow you to draw the liner slightly higher up at the edges, giving the eyes lift to make them appear larger and younger. Add grey, brown or black to the lower inner rim of the eye if you prefer a smoky eye.' Focus anything white or brightening in the inner corner of the eyes, near the top of the nose. This gives a more awake look if you're feeling tired. 'Add a touch of either cream or powder white shimmer shadow to the inner corners of the eye and under the highest point of the arch under the brow,' Pasley says. 'This will lift the brows for a younger appearance, and add a nice highlight to open the eyes. A white or silver liner added to the inner lower rim of the eye will also enlarge and brighten the eye.' Highlights of any colour will draw attention to the eyes, Pasley adds, even shimmering, smoky blacks. But Wong says too much colour and shimmer can be a mistake. The tools of the trade are worth buying, but knowing how best to use them is vital. Wong says warming the lashes with a battery-operated curler helps get the right curl. Pasley says using the right brush is important. 'A thin-angle brush for shadow eyeliner can be much easier to control than pencils or liquids. Dip the brush in water, then in the eye shadow and apply as a liner. Also invest in a small shadow brush with compact bristles to apply powder to the top of the lid, and a medium-sized brush with softer, more flared bristle to blend off the edges of the colour of the lid.' Longer lashes can see you go from zzz to zing in seconds. 'False lashes can draw attention and enlarge the eyes,' says Pasley. But if they're too tricky (which, unless you have a surgeon's steady hand, they may well be), she suggests using an eyelash curler then volumising mascara. Add long-lash mascara to the edge of the lashes. The microfibres in the mascara will stick to the ends of the lashes, creating the illusion of a bigger eye. It's easy to make mistakes, such as keeping the eye half or fully closed when applying liner. Pasley says: 'This generally leads to eyeliner coming down too far at the edges, making the eyes look droopy, not lifted. So look downwards and draw across the whole eyelid.' Finally, you'll always look refreshed if you're healthy. 'Good skin is the basis of good makeup. Drink more water, rest more and don't smoke,' says Wong.