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6 Tips For Doing Your Eyeshadow Like A Pro

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You might have your foundation application mastered, your bronzing technique on point, and your eyebrow routine down pat—but there’s something about applying eyeshadow that can be intimidating. The intimidation factor might have something to do with the endless options. There are thousands of ways to do eyeshadow and even more shades and finishes to choose from. So where are you supposed to begin?

First, don’t stress. Makeup is meant to be fun, and eyeshadow is one of the best tools to let you express your unique beauty. So go ahead and have fun with color, placement, and textures—you really can’t go wrong. And the best part about makeup? Nothing is permanent. If your look doesn’t go as planned, you can wash it off and try again. 

But if you’re still overwhelmed by all the options (we feel you!), we’re here to help. While makeup doesn’t have any rules, these six foolproof tricks will help you do your eyeshadow like a pro. 

1. Wear one shade all over.

If you’re an eyeshadow newb, the easiest look to achieve involves just one color. Using a flat eyeshadow brush or your finger, pack a pigmented shadow, like IBY BEAUTY Headliner Eyeshadow from February’s Glam Bag, onto your lid from your lash line up to your crease. Then take a clean finger or a fluffy shadow brush and blend the shadow into your crease using a windshield wiper motions until you don’t see any harsh lines. The blending will give your lids a gradient effect that looks like you used way more shadows than just one shade.

2. Get the right tools.

Speaking of shadow brushes, the right tools can make applying eyeshadow crazy easy. Of course, if you prefer to use your fingers, go for it. But a flat shadow brush, like LR110 Shadow, and a fluffy blending brush, like LR005 Tapered Blending (both can be found in the LARUCE Essential Brush Set in February’s Glam Bag Plus), are pretty much all your need and will do the work for you. Use the flat brush to pack shadow on and the fluffy brush to diffuse and blend.

A closeup image of Hazel Graye's eye with a purple eyeshadow

3. Stick with one color family.

If you feel like you need a fine arts degree to pair shades together, this might help. When you’re not sure what looks good with what, opt for one color family, like the soft purples in DOMINIQUE COSMETICS Sweater Weather Eyeshadow Palette (find it in your February Glam Bag Plus). Use the lighter and darker tones to create a gradient smoke, soft liner, or define your crease.

4. Switch to cream shadows.

If you’re struggling to blend your powder eyeshadow (blending really is key to pro-looking shadow), you might have an easier time with cream formulas. You can still use them with your fingers or a brush, but they tend to blend easier since the formula is so pliable. If you have oily or crease-prone lids, just prep them with an eyeshadow primer first. Try creams out with NATURE’S CARTEL Eyeshadow Trio (in February’s Glam Bag Ultimate) or THEBALM COSMETICS Petal to the Metal Shift into Overdrive in Turbo (in February's Glam Bag).

A closeup image of model Martine Fox's eye with dark, metallic berry eyeshadow

5. Go all out with metallics.

Want big impact with minimal effort? Metallic and shimmery shadows will get you there. Pop one shade all over, combine a few, or go full-on smoky—the cohesive finish means it will look good no matter what. Get the look with MAKEUP GEEK Champagne and Rosé Eyeshadow Palette (in February’s Glam Bag Ultimate), which also contains staple mattes for when you want to tone it down.

6. Try using your highlighter.

Just because it’s not called eyeshadow, doesn’t mean it won’t look beautiful on your lids. Exhibit A: highlighter (we love the multi-use KVOSSNYC FAIRY DUST Pressed Highlighter in Moonlight in February’s Glam Bag). Sweep it over your entire lid for a glowing, ethereal look, or focus it on your inner corners and brow bone to make them pop.

Are you an eyeshadow wearer? If so, what’s your go-to look? Let us know by tagging us on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

About the author
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Maddie Aberman
Maddie is the senior manager of editorial at IPSY. She’s been covering beauty and wellness for more than nine years. Her work has appeared in Allure, Cosmopolitan, Popsugar, Women's Health, Good Housekeeping, and Seventeen, among other publications.
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Article Last Updated January 16, 2020 12:00 AM