Tired of eyeshadow fails? End the struggle with our foolproof guide on how to apply eyeshadow perfectly. We’re breaking it down easily so you can learn how to do eyeshadow like a pro - flawless eyes await!
First, Get The Colour Right
Knowing the flattering shades that make your eyes pop is just as important as knowing how to apply eyeshadow.
Here’s a quick ‘eyeshadow for beginners’ guide to shades best suited to different eye colours.
Brown eyes - Super flattering shades for brown eyes are bronze, copper, green, pink, or champagne.
Green eyes - Cooler shades like green, blue, plum, look great with green eyes. You can also try more earthy tones such as khaki and taupe too.
Blue eyes - Gray and slate-coloured eye shadow can make blue eyes look AH-mazing. Green, blue, purple and rose tones also work beautifully.
Hazel eyes - For hazel-eyed gals, the right shades will depend on the prominent colour in your eyes. If you have green-hazel eyes, you’ll win with cooler eyeshadow shades, while warmer eye shadows are usually a better match for brown-hazel eyes.
Now you’ve got your most flattering palette sorted, let's dive into the steps to apply eye makeup perfectly and what you need to avoid!
Apply A Primer (And Set With Powder)
Want your look to last and not crease? Then priming your eyes first is a must, even if you’re just going for a simple eyeshadow look.
Using a primer first will help the makeup glide on smoothly too and maximises the pigment. You can use a specific eyeshadow primer, regular concealer, or BB cream - just choose a product close to your own skin tone.
Set the primer with a translucent powder so the area is smooth, not sticky, when applying eyeshadow.
Your Eyeshadow Brushes Matters
The right brushes are EVERYTHING if you want to apply eyeshadow perfectly.
A tapered fluffy brush gives a soft, airbrushed look and is ideal for blending. The rounded, dense brushes pick up more powder / cream and should be used in the areas you want more definition and a concentrated colour pay off.
Do: Use a fluffy brush when you want a soft, airbrushed result.
Don’t: Use a dense brush when applying the base colour all over the lid - use a fluffy brush
Start With A Neutral Shade
Pick the most neutral shade (not the lightest) in your palette and take your tapered fluffy brush and lightly glide the tip of it in a back and forth across your whole upper eye area.
This creates the base colour from which you’ll build the rest of your look.
Do: Take the brush to the eyebrow line only when there is less product on the brush - to avoid harsh lines.
Don’t: Hold your brush too close to the bristle end when applying the base coat. Grip it further back to allow for a less controlled application (yep, this is a good thing!) to achieve the effortless, airbrushed look.
Focus On The Crease With A Darker Colour
Choose the darker colour in your palette to apply to the crease area.
If your palette has 3 colours, opt for the darkest. If you’re using a 4 colour palette, go for the 3rd darkest.
Swap your fluffy brush for a harder brush and, starting from the inside of the eye, blend the darker colour into the crease. This step gives definition to your look and the key is to blend, blend, blend!
Do: Start with a thinner line of eyeshadow closer to your eye and then make it thicker as you move toward the outer crease.
Don’t: Forget to tap excess product off the brush before applying.
Tip for hooded eyes - If you have hooded eyes, when they’re open, your upper lid covers most of your mobile lid. You’ll need to create the crease shadow in a slightly higher area than the actual crease (let’s call it faux crease!) so the definition can be seen.
Highlight Above The Crease
You’ve nailed the base coat and the crease, now it’s time to focus on highlighting.
Choose the lightest shade in your colour palette, or a multi-tasking highlighter, and swap back to the fluffier makeup brush.
Dip the brush in, tap off the excess and apply to the area above the crease in small, circular motions.
Do: Choose a more shimmery highlighter for night time.
Don’t: Take the highlighter all the way to the brow line - this will create a harsh line.
Add A ‘Wide Awake’ Touch To Your Inner Eye
A slighter lighter colour in the inner corners of your eye is a flattering look for everyone; brightening and opening the eye.
You can skip the brush for this and just press your pinkie finger into the lightest colour of your palette.
Then, gently dab the colour on the inner corner of your eye area and once again, blend, blend, blend. Are you getting that blending is key when it comes to how to do eyeshadow right?!
Do: Go easy with the colour! You want this brightening effect to look as natural as possible.
Don’t: Use darker shadow in the inner corner of your eye, you’ll make your eyes appear smaller.
Finish your look with a lick - or lashings - of mascara to make your eyes pop and polish your look. Try our White Knight Tubular Mascara.
Bonus Tips On How To Apply Eyeshadow
Build your hue, don’t go straight in with a thick coat of colour
The idea for every step is to blend and build the shade up, over multiple applications. Don’t just dig into your eyeshadow palette and apply 1 thick shade of colour. You can create different tones and depth by building up thin layer by thin layer.
Going for a dramatic look? Apply your eye makeup before the rest of your makeup
Planning to get a smoky, dramatic eye look going on? Apply your eye makeup before the rest of your look.
If you’ve applied your entire base, concealer, foundation, powder and bronzer then you screw up your eye makeup, it’s going to be harder to do over.
It's easier to take a makeup wipe and start over again just on the eye area. This is a great tip for eyeshadow beginners too!
Experiment with bronzer and blush as eyeshadow
Don’t be afraid to mix it up a little and experiment by using your bronzer or blush as an eyeshadow. Using bronzer on the eyes is a super quick way to add warmth and works for a more natural, pared-back look.
We hope you’ve picked up some helpful pointers from our quick tutorial on how to apply eyeshadow. Now go forth and apply!