I may not be a beauty guru, or a makeup artist and I may not even be a proper blogger (more on that in the future, possibly) but I do have a handful of helpful hints for applying eyeshadow that can help you create a great, simple eye look every time. If you’re struggling to blend or just don’t know where to begin, this blog post is for you. Or not. You do you.
1. Start With Brushes
This may seem obvious, but a good eyeshadow day starts off with good eyeshadow brushes. If your brushes are bad, then the likelihood is that your makeup won’t look great. Good brushes doesn’t necessarily mean splurging your hard-earned cash on a Zoeva or Sigma set, although they are amazing – I have some beautifully soft and easy-to-work-with ones from Spectrum and eBay. The ‘fake’ (unbranded) Zoeva brushes you see all over eBay are actually brilliant, as are the MSQ Professional brushes on there and Amazon. You’ll need a couple of big fluffy brushes, a couple more in varying sizes, a flat brush or two and a shader brush to start you off.
2. Eye Primer
A lot of people skip this step, but it’s unbelievably important if you want your shadow to stay in place all day and the colours to be as pigmented as possible. Either a dedicated eye primer – Urban Decay and Essence are my personal favourite brands for eye primer – or some matte concealer – Collection or Essence again are great – all over the lid and wherever else you want to place your eyeshadow will help your eyeshadow look amazing and not shift. You may need to set your eye primer with some nude eyeshadow or your face powder, but not all primers will need setting. If you want to place glitter on your eyelids, Nyx have a great glitter primer.
3. The Tape Trick
You might have seen your favourite YouTubers using some sticky tape under the eyes to get a sharp line of eyeshadow or eyeliner. This is a great way to keep your eyeshadow even or precise if you do your eyes before your base. However, if you prefer to do your foundation and other face makeup before your eyeshadow (there’s no ‘rule’ on which way round you do it, by the way – just personal preference) you can instead use some transparent powder in a straight line where the tape would be. Dip a damp beauty blender with a straight edge (like this EcoTools one) into some loose powder and press onto the skin in your desired shape and put some excess powder under your eyes to catch any fall-out. Once you’re done you can simply brush this away leaving a sharp edge and clean under-eyes.
4. Circles and Wipers
When applying the eyeshadow onto your eyelids, use a mixture of small circular motions with a very light hand and windscreen wiper motions across your eye. Doing a mixture of both will ensure you get a great, even blend and your shadow won’t be patchy. It’s always easier to apply very light layers of colour and add to it if necessary rather than attempting to put down all the pigment (that’s called the ‘dump and blend’ method!). It’s almost impossible to take away pigment once you’ve placed it on the eye so don’t go in to heavy-handed at first and remember to tap off the excess powder from your brush. In between each layer, blend everything together with a clean fluffy brush.
5. Size Matters
Possibly the most useful trick anyone has ever taught me was that blending brushes should get smaller as darker colours are used. In general, a standard eye look will consist of a transition shade, a crease shade, a lid shade and an outer corner shade. So the transition will be the lightest colour, applied with a large fluffy brush, the crease colour will be slightly darker and done with a smaller blending brush and the outer corner colour will be the deepest and done with an even smaller blending brush. Between each colour I usually blend everything together using a medium-sized fluffy brush to keep things consistent.
6. Matte Matte Matte
Only use mattes your crease, outer corner and as transition. A shimmery eyeshadow in these areas tends to look a little disjointed and will bring any imperfections in those areas into full view. It can make the lids of hooded eyes look more prominent and the whole eyeshadow look can feel unfinished, unblended and even child-like. Some people can get away with using very slightly shimmery shadows (or mattes with micro glitters) in these areas but, as a general rule, I’d avoid it! You can use shimmers on the lid, browbone and inner corners, however.
7. More Vibrant Shimmers
When you come to use shimmery shadows on your lid or inner corner, use pressing motions with your brush or finger in order to get more pigment. You want the shimmers to pop – blending them or dragging with the brush will sheer them out. You can also use setting spray, fixing spray or just water to make your shimmers more vibrant! Simply spray the brush with your choice of spray and dip into the eyeshadow. After placing the shimmer shadow down, blend the edges in with a little bit of matte eyeshadow (whatever colours you’ve used above it) to make it look more seamless.
If you’d like to see a demo of these tricks, plus a quick easy eye look, check out the video below (and don’t forget to subscribe!)