How to Apply Eyeshadow
We’ve all searched our favorite influencer’s channel on YouTube, clicked an eyeshadow tutorial and watched in awe as they flawlessly create the perfect eyeshadow looks. As fellow beauty lovers, however, we know eyeshadow application isn’t always as easy as it seems on social media. While you’ve likely already mastered how to apply liquid lipstick and perfected your eyebrow routine, you might still have a few questions about how to apply eyeshadow. What colors go where? How many brushes do I really need? How exactly does blending work?
If you’re hoping to step up your eyeshadow game, you’ve come to the right place! This week on The Arch, we tapped Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Director of Training & Artistry Development Alyssa Anderson to talk about all things eyeshadow. From our trusted techniques to the tools and products you need to perfect your application, read on for everything you need to know about how to apply eyeshadow the right way.
Eyeshadow Tips You Need to Know
Never Skip Primer
Nothing is worse than spending 30 minutes buffing and blending your eyeshadow, only for it to crease and smudge within a few hours. That’s why Anderson’s number-one rule for eyeshadow application is always starting your look with an eye primer. This step is particularly important if you have oily lids that struggle to hold eyeshadow in place throughout the day.
“Eye primer helps your eyeshadow apply best and last throughout the day,” Anderson says. “Not using an eye primer can cause eyeshadows to crease faster, appear less pigmented or apply patchy.”
Looking to add an eye primer to your routine? Give our Eye Primer a try. This water-resistant eye primer creates the perfect base for matte and shimmer eyeshadows for a smooth, blendable application and smudge-free wear.
Choose the Right Tools
Let’s face it: An artist is nothing without their tools! You’ve got the canvas and the colors you want to play with—now, you need to make sure you have the best eyeshadow brushes on hand. Each eyeshadow brush serves its purpose in helping you create a flawlessly blended look. According to Anderson, it’s all about finding the right size brush to help you seamlessly achieve your chosen look. She suggests avoiding using brushes that are too big for your eye shape.
Every aspiring or pro makeup artist should have three basic brushes on hand—a blending brush, a shader brush and a pencil brush. You’ll need a blending brush like A12 Pro Small Contour Brush for applying and diffusing colors into the crease, a shader brush like A13 Pro Medium Shader Brush for packing on product and a pencil brush like A14 Pro Pencil Brush for precise application.
“Smaller brushes help control your application, so you have less cleanup,” Anderson says.
Complement Your Eye Color
Just like finding the right hair color to complement your skin tone, choosing the perfect blend of eyeshadow shades can be the most effective way to enhance your eye color. Whether you’re working with baby blues or dark brown eyes, Anderson says finding eyeshadow hues that complement your eye color is all about following basic color theory. Not sure how color theory works? Take a look at the color wheel. Blue and orange are on opposite ends of the spectrum, making them complementary to one another—which means if you have blue eyes, orange eyeshadow will make your eyes pop.
“If you have blue eyes, try wearing warmer orange tones. If you have brown eyes, wear cooler blue tones to bring out the warmth in your eyes. If you have green or hazel eyes, try wearing plum or violet shades,” Anderson says.
Not sure where to begin? Check out our Eyeshadow Palettes to determine which color story is right for you.
Set Your Lids
After priming your eyelids, use a flat, firm eyeshadow brush like A16 Pro Large Shadow Brush to apply a neutral base shade across your entire lid and up to your brow bone. This step creates a brightening effect and preps your eyes for the rest of the shades you’ll be using. This step will also help to conceal any discoloration on your lids.
Define Your Crease
When applying eyeshadow, think of your shades as a gradient from lightest to deepest. Always begin with lighter shades and slowly layer deeper colors to avoid using too much pigment (otherwise known as the dreaded raccoon eyes).
All of the best eyeshadow looks begin with a transition shade in the crease. As a rule of thumb, your transition shade should be about two shades deeper than your skin tone. This essential step will act as a base and help you to seamlessly blend out the rest of your crease shades. Pick up a fluffy blending brush like A26 Pro Crease Blending Brush and use sweeping motions to diffuse and blend your chosen color throughout the crease.
Once your transition shade is applied, always go in with a deeper color to further define the crease and add depth and dimension to the look.
Don’t Forget Your Lower Lash Line
If you want to add a bit of drama and intensity to your look, try sweeping eyeshadow across your lower lash line. Just like the shadow on your lids, blend the colors from lightest to deepest using a small dense brush like our A14 Pro Pencil Brush and then use a fluffy blending brush to buff it out.
Make Your Inner Corner Pop
Want to really make your eyeshadow pop? Press a pearly, iridescent shade onto the inner corner of your eye. We love our Vermeer Eyeshadow Single shade. This easy trick instantly adds brightness to your look and makes your eyes appear wider. Apply the same shade to your brow bone to create a lifted effect and highlight your brows.
If you don’t want to apply eyeshadow that close to your eye, use Highlighting Duo Pencil to add an extra pop of shimmer and brightness to the inner corner of your eye.
Choose Your Eyeshadow
Now that you’ve got the tips and tricks down pat, here comes the fun part: Choosing which eyeshadow colors you want to play with! If you’re looking to achieve a neutral eye makeup look for every day, opt for an eyeshadow palette featuring neutrals, soft browns and bronzes like our Soft Glam Eyeshadow Palette or Modern Renaissance Eyeshadow Palette. If you’re looking to play with a bit of color, opt for our Norvina Eyeshadow Palette or Riviera Eyeshadow Palette.
Now that you have all the expert tips and tricks you need to achieve the perfect eyeshadow look, you’re ready to put your new skills to the test. Read on for a step-by-step, four-shade tutorial using our Modern Renaissance Eyeshadow Palette to get you started.
1: Use Eye Primer to prep your lids. Pack shade Tempera onto your lids using our A16 Pro Large Shadow Brush to create your base.
2: Define your crease with shade Raw Sienna using A26 Pro Crease Blending Brush.
3: Pick up shade Cyprus Umber using A25 Tapered Blending Brush to deepen the crease. Then, go back in with A26 Pro Crease Blending Brush to seamlessly buff and diffuse the two colors.
4: Bring both Raw Sienna and Cyprus Umber down to the lower lash line and blend.
5: Press Primavera onto the lid using our A27 Small Firm Shader Brush. After picking up your color, mist a few spritzes of Dewy Set Setting Spray onto your brush to amp up the intensity of its shimmer payoff before you apply.
6: Highlight your inner corner and brow bone with shade Tempera using A13 Pro Medium Shader Brush.
7: Create a winged liner on the upper lash line using Liquid Liner.
8: Apply a coat of mascara or pop on a set of False Lashes.