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Anyone else notice the massive amount of new eyeshadow palettes out on the market? There seems to be a new makeup company popping up everyday with more new and beautiful products for us to buy! When it comes to eye makeup, there is a lot to talk about; everything from eyeliner to brushes to picking the best eyeshadow palette. That’s where I come in! Let me break down everything you need to know about mastering your eye makeup.
Parts of the Eye
Here is a simple visual of the different parts of the eye that I will be referencing throughout this guide.
Understanding what the different eyeshadow finishes/textures are is important for knowing which ones will work best for you. Even though two eyeshadow colors may look the same, if they have different finishes, they will apply and appear very differently on the eye. Here are the finishes you will see most often along with examples so you can visualize them.
This is one of the most popular eyeshadow finishes because it is the most versatile. Matte shadows don’t have any shimmer or shine to them. They are great as a base for eye shadow looks and for blending colors together.
There is often confusion between metallic, shimmer, duochrome, and glitter shadows, so let me break them down! Metallic shadows are more pigmented, meaning they appear much bolder on the eye. They are also referred to as “foil” shadows at times because of their opaque, metal-like finish and are mostly used directly on the lid of the eye.
Shimmer shadows are less pigmented and have a pearlescent or sparkly sheen. They are often used to add a subtle highlight to the brow bone or inner corner of the eye. Some shades can be used as a highlight for the face too because of the beautiful sheen they give off!
We are seeing more of this texture in the world of eye makeup lately and that’s because they are pretty damn cool! The prefix duo means “a pair or duet.” So when we’re discussing eye makeup, a duo-chrome eyeshadow appears to be one color but “shifts” into another color when the light hits it. When you hear beauty gurus mentioning a “shift” or “reflects”, they are referring to the underlying color that appears within the main color. In this example, we see a purple eyeshadow with blue reflects. Can you see it?
This is exactly what you think it is. Glitter eyeshadows are actual glitter that come in a loose form or as a gel. These kinds of shadows work best when used with an eye-safe glitter glue, which helps the specks to bind to the eye better.
If you’re horrible at blending and using powder shadows, then cream shadows may be best for you! These normally come in a small tub or tube, like a lip gloss, and dry to a matte finish. They are easy to apply with a finger and can be blended out easily. The only downside to these is that some formulas tend to crease and slip around easily on the eye.
Choosing Eyeshadow Palettes
Eyeshadow palettes make applying eyeshadow super easy and they are usually great for travel too. Every palette is different, with varying colors and finishes, all of which are so beautiful. How do you even pick which one?!
Here is what I look for when shopping for everyday palettes. I am using the Lorac Pro Palette 2 as an example.
- A light, matte color to use as a base, brow bone highlight, and on the lid (Buff)
- A light brown/nude, matte color for blending and as a simple lid color (Lt. Brown, Cool Gray, Nectar)
- 1 or 2 deeper colors for smokey looks, blending into the crease, and eyeliner (Plum, Navy, Charcoal, Black)
- 1 metallic or shimmer color for highlighting and foiled looks (entire bottom row)
- 1 or more bold colors for brighter, fun looks (Plum, Navy, Jade)
As you do more eye looks, you will see which shades you use the most. That will help you to easily pick palettes for yourself and know which ones you will get the most use out of.
Eyeliner is where you can get really creative with your eye makeup looks! Here are the main types of eyeliners and their uses.
These come in an actual pencil form or in a retractable component. They are great for smudging and for lining the waterline. It’s best to warm these up on the back of your hand before use as they can be a little dry at first (especially the ones in pencil form).
The pencil liners from NYX perform great, are affordable, and come in a variety of colors.
If you are looking for a super precise line or to do more complex liner looks, then this type is for you. Sometimes liquid liners can be a bit runny or streaky, so finding the right formula is important. I would not recommend using a liquid liner if you’re a beginner as they can be a bit difficult to use at first.
Revlon ColorStay Skinny Liquid Liner is great for precision.
Gel liners are usually thick and sometimes even clay-like in texture. They are easier to control and usually have very opaque formulas – perfect for bold, winged liner.
Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner works wonderfully and does not crease throughout the day.
If you want to learn more about winged liner in particular, here is an article I wrote all about my signature winged liner and how I achieve the look!
Essential Eyeshadow Brushes
Hands down, this is the most important part to mastering eye makeup! If you don’t have the right tools, then it just won’t work. Here are the basic, essential eyeshadow brushes every collection should have.
Large, fluffy brush
This is perfect for blending out shadows and sweeping colors all over.
This one should walk the line between fluffy and dense. You want it to sweep colors easily in the crease, but also be able to contain the color within that area.
This should be a smaller, denser brush for packing colors onto the lid.
Small, highlight/liner/smudger brush
This one is meant to get into smaller places, like the inner corner of the eye or the lower lash line. Use this one to highlight the inner corner or brow bone, and to smudge out liner for a smokey look.
My Super Simple Eye Look
So let’s put everything we learned together and go through this short tutorial! This is the simple technique I use for an everyday makeup look. The colors are interchangeable and completely up to you.
Here, I decided to go for a plum look using the Lorac Pro Palette 2. A primer is always wise to use, especially if you have an oily complexion. I like to use the Urban Decay Primer Potion or Rimmel Stay Matte Primer.
Sweep a light brown/nude, matte shade into the crease. Here, I used “Lt. Brown”.
Pat your desired lid color all over the lid. The more you add, the more intense the look will be. Here, I used “Plum”.
Add a light matte or shimmer shade on the browbone as a highlight. Here, I used “Beige”.
That’s it! Super simple, right? If you want to amp up this look, add winged liner, line the waterline, or smoke it out by adding some of the lid color to the lower lash line.
Whew – we did it! Now, you’ve got everything you need to master your favorite eye makeup looks! If you’re ready to take on everything else, check out the rest of my quick guides. Pick your poison: skin care, lipstick, or mascara 🙂
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What are some of your favorite eye makeup looks? Which eyeshadow palettes are your go-to’s? Let me know in the comments!