Up Your Eye Shadow Game with These 5 Tips

Eye shadow is usually the final hurdle a beauty beginner needs to clear in order to rise to the intermediate level. Let’s face it, even those of us who consider ourselves a fair hand at makeup in general still struggle with it. It can be a daunting, involved process that takes several steps to achieve, from picking complementary colors to the right methods of application. In this article, we help you elevate your eye shadow game from “just fine” to “flawless.”

Do Prime Your Eyes

Prepping your lids with a primer helps in a number of ways: it provides an even base for the pigment to cling to, it can make colors appear more vibrant, and it minimize smearing while making sure that your eye shadow doesn’t fade over the course of your day. It’s a must for those who have oily or creased lids, as this helps the shadow stay put instead of sliding off. It also just helps your eye shadow go on better in general. While many prefer to use a dedicated eye shadow primer, you can also use a cream concealer to prime your eyes in a pinch—something that’s thick and slightly tacky should do just fine.

Do Invest in Good Brushes

You may have seen those tiny sponge applicators that come with eye shadow palettes and thought to yourself that they’re all you need to get a smoky eye look going. You’d be wrong. While those applicators do serve a specific purpose, you would do well to look into getting some quality brushes. For beginners, we recommend having at least three on hand—a fluffy blending brush, a flat shader brush, and a tapered brush for the crease. You can invest in more specialized brushes as you go along and learn more about eye shadow application.

Do Start with Palettes

Small palettes, that is. Many brands offer eye shadow palettes in duos or trios of complementary colors, which are great for practicing with, especially if you’re only just starting out. Don’t go crazy and pick up a 45-color eye shadow palette on your first go. Instead, learn which colors go best together and how to apply them perfectly before sinking a wad of cash on a professional makeup artist’s palette you don’t really know how to use. Eye shadow duos and trios can also be more economical than buying singles. Missha’s Triple Shadow eye shadow palettes give you three beautiful colors in one pan for convenient application on the go. They also come in a variety of gorgeous shades suitable for daytime or night.

Having Trouble Color-Coordinating? Do a Gradient

Eye shadow gradation is a recently popular technique in Japan and Korea. It involves the use of gradating eye shadow colors to make small, hooded or monolid eyes appear bigger and more awake, though the technique still works regardless of your eye shape. If you haven’t got the faintest clue which colors go well together, just pick one—then get the same color but in a lighter shade, and another one but in the darker or darkest shade. Apply the colors from the lightest to darkest order on your eyes, starting from the inner corner, using the darkest shade to contour your crease. Boom, done.

Don’t Forget to Blend

Blend, blend, blend. The trick to flawless eye shadow is well-blended application, so that the colors look like they’re fading into each other. You don’t want eye shadow that looks muddy or patchy – the goal is to create a smooth gradation of colors that don’t skip unattractively. How do you achieve this? With patience. Good blending involves taking your time and using a good brush to distribute pigment in windshield wiper-like motions on your eyelid, and diffusing the color using small, circular movements. If that’s hard to visualize, look up a YouTube video! There are a ton of eye makeup tutorials made by talented beauty gurus available for your perusal.

With the right tools, good products, and a little practice, you too can copy your favorite celebrity’s smoky eye or cut crease. Start small, take a deep breath, and remember that there’s no reason to be afraid: no makeup mistake is ever permanent—at least as long as you have makeup remover. So don’t worry about it, and let us know which eye shadow hack is your favorite.

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