Of all of the types of makeup out there, eyeshadow is notoriously one of the most difficult to apply correctly. Beauty gurus somehow seem to achieve just the right gradient on their lids with very little effort, while the rest of us flounder around with different colors and end up looking like a very brightly-colored panda. Learning exactly which eyeshadow products you should be using, how to apply them correctly, and how to blend them without making a total mess can be daunting at the best of times! When you throw current trends like the smoky eye and the cut crease into the mix, things just get even more complicated.
However, it's not all doom and gloom. With the right tools, a bit of extra knowledge, and a whole lot of patience, even a total eyeshadow newbie can transform into a beauty expert. There are plenty of simple tips and tricks that you can pick up to improve your eyeshadow-applying ability. You don't need a beauty school qualification or makeup artist training- stunning eyeshadow is achievable at home. All you have to do is follow these twenty steps that are fundamental if you want to avoid making some serious mistakes with your eye makeup!
20 Make Sure You Have The Right Tools For The Job
Before you even think about which eyeshadow products you're going to apply, you need to make sure that you've got the right tools for the task at hand.
There are a ton of different shadow brushes out there ranging from all-over brushes to specific tools to cover your crease.
As Elle notes, at the very least, you should get yourself a domed eyeshadow brush. It'll allow for precise and well-pigmented application all over your eyelid. Plus, you should also grab a blending brush, especially if using multiple shades of shadow is your jam. Harsh lines between colors very rarely look good!
19 Get A Makeup Remover Pen In Case You Make A Mistake
Even the most seasoned of eyeshadow experts make mistakes from time to time, so it's best to be prepared. Don't worry, though: if you do have a bit of a makeup mishap, you don't necessarily have to start from scratch! Getting yourself a good makeup remover pen will save you a lot of time and effort.
These products allow you to remove the specific spot of makeup that's gone a bit wrong. Adding one of these handy tools to your cosmetics collection won't break the bank, either; e.l.f. sells a 4-star-reviewed remover pen for just $3! Trust me, it's totally worth the expense.
18 Get To Know Your Eye Shape - It Makes A Difference
This is a step that many eyeshadow fans tend to skip when they're lathering their lids in a product, but it's a pretty important one. The shape of your eye really does impact what kind of eyeshadow look will suit you best!
As Vogue highlights, there are plenty of shapes out there: monolid, upturned, downturned, and hooded are just some of the many varieties.
In particular, the shape and size of your lids will determine what kind of eyeshadow you should go for. Hooded and monolid eyes can be tricker to apply shadow to effectively, but if you learn some of the tricks of the trade for your shape, it will be a bit easier.
17 Become Familiar With The Different Areas Of Your Eyelids
For such a tiny part of the body, the eyelid has a lot of areas that makeup lovers should pay attention to! If you really want to nail your eyeshadow look, it's important to know which bit of your lid is which- and, more importantly, what shade of shadow you should use in each area.
For example, your base color should sweep across pretty much all of your eye. In your crease- if you have one- you should place a matte "transition shade" that's a little bit darker than your base color in order to create depth. In your inner corner, a touch of highlight will make your eyes sparkle. Meanwhile, your outer corner should be reserved for your dramatic darkest color.
16 Choose The Right Eyeshadow Formula For The Occasion
There are hundreds if not thousands of eyeshadow products on the market, and they come in a whole range of formulas and consistencies. Pressed powder shadows are arguably the most prominent products, but there are also cream eyeshadows, loose powders, and eyeshadow pencils to contend with.
Knowing which formula to use in what circumstances can be a bit daunting, but don't worry: it's mostly up to personal preference!
Use whatever products you want! There are some things to note, though: according to Babble, cream eyeshadow will be kinder to dry eyelids, while powders will be much easier to control and blend.
15 Primer Is Most Definitely Your Friend - Don't Skip It!
Primer might seem like just another optional product to drive up your monthly beauty product bill, but don't be fooled: it's a lot more important than you'd think. Skipping it can be the difference between an eyeshadow look staying gloriously put, or melting off your lids.
Speaking to Bustle, makeup artist Francesca Giaimo claimed that primer will add serious longevity to powder eyeshadow in particular, and will prevent the shadow from smudging and collecting in your crease. In general, a primer provides a solid base to build an eyeshadow look on. Plus, many primers contain ingredients that either color-correct your skin or reduce puffiness in your eye area. What's not to love?
14 To Make Your Colors More Vibrant, Opt For A White Shadow Base
If you're looking to use vibrant colors in your eyeshadow look, this tip is most definitely for you. Many brightly-colored eyeshadows lose pigment once they actually reach your eyelid, making them appear duller than you'd initially hoped. However, there's a very easy way to fix this issue!
According to StyleCaster, using a layer of plain white eyeshadow as a base beneath brighter colors will help your shadows to retain their pigmentation.
Plus, a white shadow can effectively serve as a primer- you can kill two birds with one stone! White eyeshadow products are generally pretty cheap, too, meaning this extra step won't hurt your bank balance too much.
13 Using A Quad Palette Might Be A Good Option For Beginners
Opening up a huge eyeshadow palette crammed with different shades can be more than a little bit terrifying for someone who's got very little experience in this area of makeup. Sure, having a wide range of colors to choose from is great, but it's also a bit overwhelming. Which shades go together? Are there some colors that should never inhabit the same eyelid? How does one even choose which shades to go for?
If this sounds like a familiar situation to you, you might want to consider picking up an eyeshadow quad or two. These palettes contain four colors that are guaranteed to look good together. They often contain instructions regarding which shades should go where on your lid, too. Quads are truly a lifesaver!
12 If You're Intimidated By More Complex Looks, Keep It Simple To Start With
If you've ever found yourself looking at a beauty guru's complex and multi-faceted eyeshadow tutorial and feeling totally lost, don't worry- we've all been there. If you don't have too much experience in applying eyeshadow, even getting one color right can feel like a challenge, let alone a range of them!
Before you start to panic, remember that even in the makeup world, less is often more.
You can create stunning eyeshadow looks with just one or two different colors- you don't have to dive straight in with an eight-shade extravaganza! Keep it simple until you've truly mastered the basics and feel comfortable enough to move on.
11 Seek Colors That Make Your Particular Eye Color "Pop"
It's not just the shape of your eyes that should influence which eyeshadows you choose to use. Their color matters too! While there are some shades and looks that suit every eye color, others are specially designed to make certain eye types "pop."
According to Elle, purple is a great color choice for people who have green eyes, while bronze and gold tones help to highlight brown eyes. If you've got blue eyes, try to keep things neutral- champagne shades help to highlight your iris' natural radiance. There are plenty of guides out there that will teach you which eyeshadow shades will best show off your eyes, so make sure to do your research!
10 Use Tape To Create A Sharp Line With Your Eyeshadow
Before we finally get to applying eyeshadow to your lids, there's one last hack that every eyeshadow beginner should know about.
Have you ever wondered how beauty gurus get such sharp angles when applying their eyeshadow?
Turns out it's not necessarily because they can naturally draw ruler-straight lines with their products! In reality, strips of tape can be used to mark exactly where on your face you want your eyeshadow coverage to end. Simply place the tape on your face so that its upper edge marks where you want your shadow to stop, and you're good to go! Precise edges for everybody!
9 Pat The Base Shadow Onto Your Eyelid To Give You The Highest Amount Of Coverage
Right- we're finally on to actually applying eyeshadow to your face! Hooray! Now that you've got the right brushes and the right shadow for the occasion, it's time to crack on with a base color. As you'd imagine, this base is going to be the main feature of your eyeshadow look: it's going to cover most of your eyelid.
Pick a color that's right for you, grab your dome brush, and get going! According to Buzzfeed, using a patting motion is the most efficient way to apply this base shadow, as it distributes the product fairly evenly. It also helps you to build up the color to make it as pigmented as you want it to be.
8 Add A Different Color Along Your Crease For Some Extra Definition
As we mentioned earlier, just using one color in your eyeshadow experiments is totally fine.
However, if you want to push the boat out and add a bit more dimension to your look, it's time to go in with a slightly darker shade of shadow in your crease area.
Good Housekeeping suggests that a dark brown color will probably work in this section of your lid, but feel free to experiment with a range of darker colors! As for exactly how to apply the product to your crease, Beth Bender Beauty recommends a "windscreen wiper" motion: sweep your brush back and forth until you've applied the desired amount of shadow.
7 The Outer Corner Is The Place For Darker Shadow To Live
Now that your base shade and your crease shade are sorted, it's time to add even more depth to the look in the outer corner. This is where the darkest shadow you're using should live! It doesn't necessarily have to be something intense like black or dark brown.
If you're going for a light, neutral look, your "darkest" shade might just be a light brown. However, it's important that the darkest shade stays in the outer corner to avoid it overpowering your other colors. According to BelleTag, you should apply this dark shade in a sideways "V" shape that stretches from your lash line to your crease.
6 Adding Shimmer To Your Inner Corner Is A Must At All Times
While your outer corner should hold your darkest eyeshadow shade, your inner corner should be the home of the lightest! Easy to remember, right?
Adding a light eyeshadow to this area- especially one that shimmers- will have a highlighting effect that makes your eyes truly sparkle.
MakeUpGeek confirms that it'll leave them looking not only brighter, but bigger too! Plus, it's a great way to finish off the light-to-dark gradient of your complete eyeshadow look. If you don't own a white or cream-colored shadow, you can always use an actual highlighter product to make your inner corner glisten and gleam.
5 Make Sure To Blend, Blend, And Blend Again
Even when you've applied all of your desired eyeshadow shades to your upper eyelid, your job isn't quite done yet. It's time to blend! If you've used multiple colors in your look, you want them to transition smoothly and in a gradient. You don't want to see sharp lines where each color begins and ends.
Even if you've only used one color, it's important to blend around the edges so that there isn't a harsh transition from your skin to your makeup. Grab that blending brush and use gentle circular or windscreen-wiper motions to blend to your heart's desire- and until any obvious lines have disappeared.
4 Bring A Bit Of Shadow Round To Your Lower Lash Line
The use of eyeshadow isn't just reserved for your eyelid area: oh no! To finish off your shadow look, it's often a good idea to bring a bit of product around to your lower lash line area.
This is totally optional, of course: if you're going for a lighter, less intense look, you can easily leave your lower lash line bare.
However, if you're going for something more dramatic, grab one of the darker shades you've used and apply a small amount directly under your eyes. It's often a good idea to use a smaller makeup brush in this instance, just so you have better control over where you're putting the extra shadow.
3 If You're After A Smokey Look, There Are A Lot Of Tricks You Can Use
The Smokey Eye is a timeless eyeshadow look that pretty much every beauty guru has shown off at some point in their lives. Since this technique often uses a lot of quite dark shadow shades, it can be a bit daunting for newbies to attempt- you don't want to look like you've got a black eye!
However, there are plenty of tips and tricks out there to help you achieve this look if you want to. For example, makeup artist Jenny Patinkin advised Allure readers to use a soft brush when applying their smokey look; this ensures that you can apply your product lightly and fully control how pigmented it appears.
2 Take Steps To Deal With That Irritating Eyeshadow Fallout
If you're using powder products, eyeshadow fallout is an inevitable by-product of creating a sickening eye-makeup look. Little specs of powder always become loose and drift down onto your under-eyes and cheeks, and there's not a lot you can do about it, right? Well, not necessarily.
There are tricks you can use both before and after applying your eyeshadow that minimize the effects of fallout.
For example, you can cover your under-eye area with tape or pad products that catch any shadow as it falls. That way, your skin remains totally fresh and fallout-free! Alternatively, blogger Beautiful With Brains advises using plenty of eye primer: it'll lead to less powder falling off your lids in the first place.
1 Finish Off With A Spritz Of Makeup Setting Spray
A crucial step in any makeup routine is applying a spritz of setting spray when you're happy with your final look. Makeup.com highly recommends using a spray to prevent your makeup from moving throughout the day, especially if the weather is hot and sweat is a factor.
There are different sprays out there for different skin types, and some that can make you look more matte or dewier- it's up to you! However, it might be a smart idea to apply your spray before you use mascara. As you'd imagine, these sprays are quite wet: you don't want to ruin your look by making your mascara run!