Beauty Tips & Tricks


Simple Insider Secrets on Exactly How to Apply Eyeshadow Right

03 Apr, 2018
By Andie Reeves
Applying your eyeshadow is not as easy as dabbing one colour on your lids and heading out the door. We’ve gathered the best tips and tricks from makeup artists that will change your eyeshadow game completely. 

Whether you’re someone who gets their winged eye perfect every time, or someone who looks like they’ve been punched when they attempt a smoky eye, we’ve got a trick for you:

First, Prep Your Eyes

…Because every great artist needs to prep their canvas.
  • No matter how perfect you get your eyeshadow, if you’ve got big bags under your eyes it’s going to ruin your look. After washing your face take an ice cube wrapped in a cloth and hold it under each of your eyes for five minutes to instantly de-puff them.
  • Eye drops aren’t only for those with allergies. Using them makes the whites of your eyes even whiter, which will make your eye shadow colour really pop. Plus they make you feel super fresh and awake; it’s definitely worth adding to your morning routine.
  • Always apply your eye shadow after your moisturiser and primer but before the rest of your make up. Loose flecks of powder often fall onto your cheeks while you’re applying your eye makeup and these are pretty impossible to remove without ruining your foundation. Some makeup artists like to layer their cheeks with translucent powder, apply their eye makeup, then dust away the translucent powder (along with any flecks that might have fallen down in the process). Our pick: Yardley Absolute Translucent Loose Powder.
  • If your lids are prone to getting oily first blot them with blotting paper before applying your colour. Our go-to choice is Palladio Oil Absorbing Blotting Tissues with Rice Powder.
  • Primer is important for adding ‘grip’ for your eye makeup to stick to. Apply it along your lash line then blend upwards with your finger. Let it dry for at least 10 seconds before moving onto your makeup. We like Catrice Prime and Fine Eyeshadow Base.
  • If you don’t have an eyeshadow primer at hand you can fake it. Use your concealer to cover your whole eye area (or wherever you will be applying eye make up). Next seal your concealer with a layer of translucent powder and your DIY primer is complete. You’ve now created a smooth base and covered any discolouration that might affect the colour of your shadow. Try Essence Stay All Day 16H Long Lasting Concealer.

Read More. Expert Advice on How to Totally Fix Dark Circles Under Your Eyes

Use the Right Eyeshadow Brush

First things first: if your eyeshadow came with a little sponge applicator do yourself and your face a favour and throw it away. You need to use a proper eyeshadow brush (or sometimes your finger) to apply your shadow if you want your face to look even vaguely Instagram-able.

There are a lot of different and strange looking brushes out thee, so don’t stress if you don’t know which one is which. Here are the four basic types of eyeshadow brush you might need:
  • The stiff flat brush: This is the most common eyeshadow brush you will come across. It’s great for picking up a lot of pigment and works best for applying shadow onto your lids and under your lower lash line. Our pick: Barbara Hoffman Professional Eyeshadow Brush.
  • The stiff dome brush: Because of its closely packed bristles, this brush doesn’t remove or shift colour as much as other brushes. This makes it ideal for when you want to blend more than one colour without taking away any pigment in the process. Try Cala’s Shading Brush.
  • The fluffy dome brush: This is the brush for blending. Use along any harsh lines to blend two or more colours together seamlessly. Our pick: Essence Eye Blender Brush.
  • The pencil brush: Use this brush to apply colour along your lash lines, especially your lower lash line. It gives you a softer look than an eye liner pencil. You can also use a pencil brush and a dark brown shade to add depth to your crease if your eye crease isn’t as pronounced as you’d like. Cala’s Fine Eyeliner Brush is a perfect choice.First things first: if your eyeshadow came with a little sponge applicator do yourself and your face a favour and throw it away. You need to use a proper eyeshadow brush (or sometimes your finger) to apply your shadow if you want your face to look even vaguely Instagram-able.
  • How you hold your brush matters. Some of us are guilty of holding our brushes too close to the bristles, which actually makes your application harder. Hold your brush like you would hold a pen and remember to always use soft and gentle motions.
Read More. A How to Guide on The Brushes You Need for Super Easy Flawless Makeup

The Application Basics

  • The foolproof way to apply eye make up is by using two colours: one light and one dark. For an every day look choose two shades of brown. Run your eye shadow brush over the light colour and tap the brush to get rid of any excess product. Now dust it over the whole of your eyelid, stopping at the crease.

    Emphasising the crease of your eye adds depth to your face. Use a blending brush and start at the outer corner of your eye with your darker tone. Sweep inwards along your lash line, stopping halfway along your eye. Sweep back to your starting point and now sweep upwards into your crease. This makes a ‘V’ shape on its side. It’s crucial to blend well so keep making this motion over and over until the colour has totally blended into your lash line and crease.

    The easiest way to select your shades is to mix and match single shadows like Essence My Must Haves Eyeshadow in Steel and Tiffunny.
  • Always start with the lightest tone and build from there. The darkest shade should always be applied at the outer corners of your eye, and when blending blend up and outwards, towards the tail of your brow. This gives you a flattering ‘lifted’ effect.
  • Don’t know what colour to choose? The complementary colour to your eyes is the best go-to shade. If you’ve got blue eyes go for peach and orange tones, brown eyes do best with cool blue shades and berry colours will make green eyes pop.
  • After dipping your brush in your colour start applying where you want the most colour to be, because this is the stage where your brush has the most pigment on it. This will usually be in the centre or outer corner of your eye.
  • When you’re overwhelmed with colour and texture choices bear this general rule in mind: matte and dark tones go along your crease, and shimmery light tones go best on your brow bone and eyelid. Try Catrice Art Couleurs Eyeshadow in Taupe Addict and their Highlighting Eyeshadow in Metallic Lights.
  • When you’re in a hurry but want eyes that look wide and bright just grab your highlighter. Use your finger to dot highlighter in the inner corners of your eyes and then a highlighting brush to sweep some along your brow bone. You’re good to go! We like Catrice Made to Stay Highlighter Pen I Need!
Read More. Think Opposites When You Want Awesome Eyes

The Not-So-Basics

Now that you’ve got the essentials of eyeshadow down you probably want to start experimenting with different looks. Effects like glossy eyes or 3D shadow look impressive and hard to achieve but are totally do-able.
  • Powder eyeshadow can look a bit ‘flat’. To make any powder shade more vibrant you just need a touch of cream eyeshadow. After applying your powder shadow use your finger to dab your shimmery cream formula on top. The powder pigment shows through the cream and gives a beautiful 3D effect. Our pick: Catrice Liquid Metal Longlasting Cream Eyeshadow in Champagne Shower.
  • Remember that cream-based formulas are prone to shifting and settling in the creases of your eye as the day goes on. To avoid this set your cream shadow in the same way you would set your face makeup: with powder. Use a translucent powder so you don’t lose any of your pigment. If you’re looking for a deep rich brown shade try Revlon Colorstay Creme Eyeshadow in Chocolate.
  • If you have hooded or deep-set eyes you probably know the pain of spending ages perfecting your blending, only to have to totally invisible once your eyes are open. Try applying your shadow with your eyes as open as possible so you don’t waste time and precious pigment on spots that won’t even be seen. Read our tips for transforming the shape of your eyes using just makeup.
  • Eyeshadow crayons are ideal for lazy girls on the go who don’t want to fiddle around with brushes and palettes. The stick is super pigmented, giving you bold colour, and is thin enough to get close to the lash line. They also don’t flake or spill onto the rest of your face.

    To apply fill in the bottom half of your lid and lash line and use your finger to blend in an upwards motion. If you want the colour to be more subtle rub the crayon against the back of your hand. Now use your finger or makeup brush to pick up the colour from your hand and apply to your lids. Try Yardley Stayfast Eyeshadow Stick in Royale.  
  • Remember when using cream products not to use a rubbing motion. This removes the pigment. Rather use light patting motions with your finger or brush to blend the colour.
  • Powder eyeshadow is great because you can play around with its intensity. For a casual and light look one layer of powder will do the trick. But the more layers you add the more intense the colour becomes so keep building layers if you want more drama. Our palette picks: LA Girl Eye Lux Mesmerizing Eyeshadow Palette in Sensualize and Maybelline Diamond Glow Eyeshadow in Coral Drama.
  • For glossy eyes apply your eyeshadow then add a small dot of eye gloss or lip gloss to your ring finger. Gently pat the gloss only onto the ball of your eye. For a super minimal look you could skip the shadow altogether and just pat on your gloss. We like Essence Shine Shine Shine Lipgloss Behind The Scenes.
  • Incorporate the bronzer or blush you used on your cheeks as one of the shades in your eyeshadow routine. This creates a cohesive look and you won’t have to worry about your eyes clashing with the rest of your face. Pro tip: Try a multi-shaded blush palette like LA Girl Beauty Brick Blush Collection in case you want a lighter or darker tonally matched shade for your eyes.
  • To get rid of harsh lines between two colours without adding more product, grab a clean blending brush and use that to soften the spots where your colours meet.
  • Shimmering nude shades should always be one shade darker than your actual skin tone otherwise it looks too frosty.
  • If you want drama and eye colour that doesn’t budge you can actually use liquid lipstick. Keep your eyes closed while it dries but once it has it will stay put and have an amazing velvet-y texture. The shades that work best are beige and browns. Try Essence Matt Matt Matt Lipgloss American Girl or LA Girl Matte Lipgloss Stunner.

Shop your Products Now

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Barbara Hofmann Prof Eyeshadow Brush Large
R 179.00

Cala Fine Eyeliner Brush
R 35.95

Cala Shading Brush
R 59.95

Catrice Art Couleurs Eyeshadow 050 Taupe Addict
R 54.95

Catrice Highlighting Eyeshadow 030 Metallic Lights
R 54.95

Catrice Liquid Metal Longlasting Cream Eyeshadow 020 Champagne Shower
R 79.95

Catrice Made To Stay Highllighter Pen 030
R 74.95

Catrice Prime and Fine Eyeshadow Base
R 69.95

Essence Eye Blender Brush
R 34.95

Essence Matt Matt Matt Lipgloss - American Girl 09
R 34.95

Essence My Must Haves Eyeshadow - Black As A Berry 18
R 32.95

Essence My Must Haves Eyeshadow - Steel 19
R 32.95

Essence My Must Haves Eyeshadow - Tiffunny 17
R 32.95

Essence Shine Shine Shine Lipgloss - Behind The Scenes 01
R 41.95

Essence Stay All Day 16H Long Lasting Concealer - Natural Beige 10
R 51.95

La Girl Eyelux Mesmerizing Eyeshadow Sensualize
R 99.95

LA Girl Matte Lipgloss - Stunner
R 54.95

Maybelline Diamond Glow Eyeshadow 02 Coral Drama
R 139.95

Palladio Oil Absorbing Blotting Tissues with Rice Powder
R 69.95

Revlon Colorstay Creme Eyeshadow Chocolate
R 95.00

Yardley Absolute Translucent Pressed Powder
R 149.95

Yardley Stayfast Eyeshadow Stick Royale
R 109.95

Eyeshadow Dos and Don'ts | STEPHANIE LANGE

Images. Pinterest

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