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Nicole’s Quick Guide – Mastering Your Eye Makeup

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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.

Nicole's Quick Guide - 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.

Nicole's Quick Guide - Mastering Your Eye Makeup


Eyeshadow Finishes/Textures

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.

Nicole's Quick Guide - Mastering Your Eye Makeup

Urban Decay “Tease”


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.

Nicole's Quick Guide - Mastering Your Eye Makeup

Urban Decay “Roach”


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!

Nicole's Quick Guide - Mastering Your Eye Makeup

Urban Decay “Midnight Cowboy Rides Again”


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?

Nicole's Quick Guide - Mastering Your Eye Makeup

Urban Decay “Tonic”


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.

Nicole's Quick Guide - Mastering Your Eye Makeup

Urban Decay Liquid Moondust Eyeshadow “Vega”


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.

Nicole's Quick Guide - Mastering Your Eye Makeup

NYX Lid Lingerie “Mon Amour”


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)


Nicole's Quick Guide - Mastering Your Eye Makeup


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 101

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 NYXΒ 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.Β 


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.

Crease brush

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.

Lid brush

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.


Nicole's Quick Guide - Mastering Your Eye Makeup

Makeup brushes can be quite pricey, but I have found that the ones from e.l.f. and Real Techniques are affordable and perform very well.


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.

Step 1

Sweep a light brown/nude, matte shade into the crease. Here, I used “Lt. Brown”.

Nicole's Quick Guide - Mastering Your Eye Makeup


Step 2

Pat your desired lid color all over the lid. The more you add, the more intense the look will be. Here, I used “Plum”.

Nicole's Quick Guide - Mastering Your Eye Makeup


Step 3

Add a light matte or shimmer shade on the browbone as a highlight. Here, I used “Beige”.

Nicole's Quick Guide - Mastering Your Eye Makeup


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.


Nicole's Quick Guide - Mastering Your Eye Makeup


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.Β Pick your poison: skin care, lipstick, or mascara πŸ™‚


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Nicole's Quick Guide - Mastering Your Eye Makeup

What are some of your favorite eye makeup looks? Which eyeshadow palettes are your go-to’s? Let me know in the comments!


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  • Reply Rachel

    Such a helpful post. I never know what to do with the various eye makeup brushes or where to apply which shadow. I will definitely be referring back to this post.

    October 24, 2017 at 1:27 pm
    • Reply nicoledarosa

      Yay! I’m so glad this will be of help to you πŸ™‚

      October 24, 2017 at 1:41 pm
  • Reply Sheila Price

    Thank you so much for such detailed tips and tricks! I’m not very good at doing my makeup and this really helps!

    October 24, 2017 at 1:39 pm
    • Reply nicoledarosa

      Try out the simple eye look I talked about here! It’s so easy to do.

      October 24, 2017 at 1:42 pm
  • Reply Tanya

    This is such a comprehensive tutorial, thank you! Do you have any recommendations for mascara?

    October 24, 2017 at 1:42 pm
    • Reply nicoledarosa

      My pleasure πŸ™‚ I am currently loving the Urban Decay Perversion mascara as well as L’Oreal Lash Paradise!

      October 24, 2017 at 3:03 pm
  • Reply Lakesha

    This post is so helpful! I’m new to make up and I always want to look like a MUA did my make up instead of a face painter at a kids party.

    October 24, 2017 at 2:05 pm
    • Reply nicoledarosa

      omg haha that’s too funny! Practice makes perfect, my friend!

      October 24, 2017 at 3:00 pm
  • Reply Morgan

    Looks fabulous! I am never adventurous with color-the purple looks gorgeous on you!

    October 24, 2017 at 2:09 pm
    • Reply nicoledarosa

      Thank you so much! I find that plums and navy blues are a good way to ease into experimenting with color.

      October 24, 2017 at 3:01 pm
  • Reply Leigh

    Midnight cowboy is my absolute favorite. Love this post!

    October 24, 2017 at 2:26 pm
    • Reply nicoledarosa

      It’s so gorgeous, right?! Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

      October 24, 2017 at 3:01 pm
  • Reply R. Alexandria

    Thanks for this! I barely wear makeup but I need to get better at applying it for special occasions. I may have to bookmark this for later use!

    October 24, 2017 at 2:36 pm
    • Reply nicoledarosa

      Awesome! I hope it will be of some help to you πŸ™‚

      October 24, 2017 at 3:02 pm
  • Reply Corey | The Nostalgia Diaries

    This is so helpful. I’ve always struggled with my eye makeup!

    October 24, 2017 at 5:24 pm
    • Reply nicoledarosa

      I’m so glad it helped you! πŸ™‚

      October 24, 2017 at 6:58 pm
  • Reply Kristen Jones

    Love this look on you!! Midnight Cowboy is one of my all-time fav colors!!

    October 24, 2017 at 9:21 pm
    • Reply nicoledarosa

      Thank you so much! That color is so gorgeous, right?

      October 25, 2017 at 10:15 am
  • Reply Gillian

    Love reading different ways to do eye makeup, as I myself am into Makeup and do videos.

    October 24, 2017 at 9:39 pm
    • Reply nicoledarosa

      I agree – it’s so interesting to see the different ways people do things πŸ™‚

      October 25, 2017 at 10:16 am
  • Reply Zerin Hassan

    Defo something I want to take on board!

    October 25, 2017 at 12:40 am
    • Reply nicoledarosa

      Awesome! Glad you enjoyed it πŸ™‚

      October 25, 2017 at 10:16 am
  • Reply Bria | Tendril Wild Blog

    Dang, this was SO thorough – I loved it! I’m a huge product and makeup junkie, so I’m always experimenting with different palettes and looks. I’ve watched a lot of YouTube makeup tutorials to try to learn the best techniques, but this guide is super helpful as well. Glad you took the time to explain the different brushes because brushes make a huge difference in how your makeup goes on and how the finished look appears.
    I love the colors you chose in the look you did – super complimentary! πŸ™‚

    October 25, 2017 at 2:51 pm
    • Reply nicoledarosa

      Thank you so much! Usually I’m not a purple/plum person but I thought it would show nice on camera. I ended up really liking it! I’m glad you enjoyed the guide πŸ™‚

      October 26, 2017 at 1:00 pm
  • Reply Linda

    Great brush makeup routine is just eyes and lips now I know how to achieve that eyelash look…thanks!

    October 25, 2017 at 7:03 pm
    • Reply nicoledarosa

      Yay! Have fun with it πŸ™‚

      October 26, 2017 at 1:00 pm
  • Reply Kristi

    I’m such a visual learner. I appreciate the graphics in your post.

    October 26, 2017 at 3:01 am
    • Reply nicoledarosa

      Me too! That’s why I included them. It’s just makes everything easier to understand.

      October 26, 2017 at 1:01 pm
  • Reply ShootingStarsMag

    Oh, thanks so much for sharing this. I’m getting more into makeup and I LOVE eyeshadow, but I’m not an expert by any means so these tips are great for me. I really like the look you shared!!


    October 26, 2017 at 9:42 am
    • Reply nicoledarosa

      Thank you! Eyeshadow wasn’t always my favorite part of makeup but recently, I’ve been really getting into it πŸ™‚

      October 26, 2017 at 1:01 pm
  • Reply Carri

    Beautiful look! Love the purple color.

    October 26, 2017 at 10:26 pm
  • Reply jordan

    girl i sooooooo needed this, thank you!!!! i just recently started getting into beauty products and am absolutely overwhelmed. i want so many things but don’t even know where to start. your guide was super helpful, going to refer back to it for sure!

    November 4, 2017 at 5:41 pm
    • Reply nicoledarosa

      Yay! That’s exactly what I wanted this to achieve. Good luck on your journey πŸ™‚

      November 6, 2017 at 8:49 am

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