16 Tips on How to Apply Eyeshadow

16 Eyeshadow Application Tricks

Struggling to create that flawless, seamlessly blended eyeshadow look? Here is some tried and true advice–with luck, maybe these will help seal the deal for you!Invest in good brushes. I say good brushes, not expensive brushes, because there is a difference. I do prefer MAC brushes for their affordability (relative to other high-end brushes), variety in brushes, and look. Take a look at our recommendations for eye brushes and face brushes, plus tips on cleaning your brushes. A good brush really will go a long way in helping you improve your style and skills. You want at least one great eyeshadow brush; one that’s dense, fluffy, and picks up color without eating it. (My pick is the 239 by MAC, of course!)Practice on the back of your hand. Nothing is worse than spending all that time working on your eyes, only to find it doesn’t work. I always give myself two attempts, and if I can’t get a working look by then, I go nekkid-faced! You can test out how different color combinations will work out by doing a “look” on the back of your hand. See how the colors blend together–maybe one particular shade is finicky and you’ll know to use a smoother shade when you do it for real. This is also a great way to practice blending, too.It’s all about the base. Your eyeshadow will never look as polished, pigmented, or last nearly as long without a good eyeshadow base. A base is specifically designed to get the colors to adhere to your lid and allow it to last all day without creasing or fading. Some bases also help to brighten or intensify the colors you use.Soft and gentle wins the race. Soft, gentle strokes are better than harsher strokes when it comes to both application and blending. If you find you have a heavier hand, try investing in a fluffy crease or blending brush to help reduce your naturally heavy hand. It’s easy to over-blend if you don’t!Can’t blend? Try mono-looks. It’s not always easy to blend two different colors together, and if you just can’t seem to get it, I totally find that going for the same color family in different shades is so helpful. Browns are always the easiest — try a neutral shade like Shroom blended with a much deeper color like Bronze. You can increase your skills and move on to other color families, like a light green and a dark forest green.Close your eyes and pick. Struggling to think of a combination for the day? Or just dying to try something out-of-your-norm? Just pick a random color and go with it. Or pick a couple, and think up ways you can make them work together. If you’re totally stumped with your random choices, try it again until something clicks. Most of the time I just start with one eyeshadow, and slowly I build up a look. I rarely know what I’m going to use ahead of time!There are ten more tips! Don’t rush a look you’ve never done before. One huge mistake I often make (and can’t seem to stop making!) is trying a totally new look when I really don’t have the time to play around. It’s best to leave more experimental, tougher combinations, etc. for days/nights when you have the time to fix or even re-do the look. It really sucks when time is up and you have nothing to show for it!Take pictures of your work. Seriously, taking close-ups of your eyeshadow looks will help show you where you need improvement. Things you would never have noticed in your bathroom mirror will show up in a well-taken close-up photo. With digital cameras being so prevalent, hopefully you have one that will let you take plenty so you can learn from them.Q-tips are your friend. A good oil-based makeup remover (like Lancome Bi-Facil) works really well in combination with a q-tip to remove large makeup mistakes, smudged liner, or shadow fall out. Q-tips used alone can also help remove mascara smudges as well.Clean your brushes when they’re muddy. Ideally, you’d want to have a few eyeshadow brushes on hand, so you don’t have to worry so much about mixing colors all the time, but I know that I used just once brush for eons and made it work, too! You don’t want all of the build-up in your brush to interfere with how colors transfer onto your eye lid during application. You can use makeup remover wipes or Wet-Ones in between applications to help reduce some of the color build-up. This will let you go a day or two longer between washings.Blending takes practice. Don’t get discouraged if something doesn’t come together perfectly for you the first time around. Most of us are not lucky enough to come right out of the box with excellent makeup skills. Most of us, on the other hand, spend our beauty lovin’ lives continuously honing and improving our skills. If you find yourself getting frustrated, just stop. Remove what you have, and either go with a super minimalist look or fall back to your favorite, never-fails-you look. Try it again another day.Experiment, experiment, experiment! Makeup is removable. It is not permanent! You can always wash it away if it doesn’t work out. Try out new color combinations, or try out a different brand. Work with different textures, or copy a look you saw in an editorial shoot. #12Don’t forget your lashes. Mascara is really important to completing an eye look! Leaving your lashes bare, no matter how naturally long they are, tends to look less polished. There are so many great mascaras out there for all budgetary needs. If you’re blessed with naturally enviable lashes, try a clear or brown mascara instead. Really done-up eyes just need a little oomph on lashes to make a complete picture.Blend in soft motions. Blending can be done in the “windshield wiper” motion, which is back-and-forth motions. You can do this softly, and it will gently blend the colors together. It is important to remember that you don’t have to stay horizontal while doing this, you can angle your position, even though the motion itself is the same. Blending can also be done in small, circular strokes; this is best done with a fluffy blending/crease brush, though. You can also blend by just moving in one directly with the brush.Blending cheat code! If you’re having trouble blending, try taking the lightest color and pulling it onto the next color. You can either do this by overlaying the other color with your lighter color. It’s half of the “wiper” motion, because you aren’t really going back-and-forth–more like just forth (or back, depending on the look!).Use a colored base to make your eyeshadow pop! Are you just not satisfied with the color oomph of your eyeshadows? A good colored base will instantly intensify your shadows. One thing to keep in mind is darker colored bases will have a tendency to “eat” color, which means you’ll need to pile it on or use more pigmented shadows to begin with. Some of my favorite bases to use are MAC’s pigments, because they come in a good assortment of colors and tend not to eat color.