How To Apply Eyeshadow

There are many ways to apply eyeshadow. I want to keep it simple for you.

Just keep these pointers in mind:

  • Wear the most natural colors in your palette. For warm tones this usually means browns and beiges and for cool tones that means taupes and greys.  There are some cool browns out there, and they are good for cool seasons. 
  • You don’t want people to see your eyeshadow; you want them to see your eyes. Look at the drawing. You have basically two ways to apply eyeshadow for a natural look.

1. Shadow all over the lids

A. First, you can take a medium shade and sweep it all the way from the top of the lashes to just above the crease or higher. Blend. You want to leave the space right below the eyebrow arch light or even highlighted.

B. You could take a second darker shade and apply it right above the lashline and at the corner of the eye for a bit more drama.

C. Unless you are prone to under eye circles, you can also take the medium shadow and lightly smudge it from the mid to last 3rd of eye below the lower lashes. If you are prone to under eye darkness, its best to leave the area light and apply no dark shadows.

2. Shadow only in the crease

A. Apply the medium shade into the crease and the outer corner of the eye. Blend.

B. For a more dramatic effect, you can add a darker shade to the outer corner of eye and blend.

C. You can also take the medium shadow and lightly smudge it from the mid to last 3rd of eye below the lower lashes.

These are the basic two techniques when it comes to applying eyeshadow, regardless of your eye shape.

Of course, there are tons of variations of how to apply eyeshadow and a multitude of different colors you can play with. For the most natural look, stick to a basic neutral medium color. Then if you want you can add a few shades darker for the crease and outer corner of the eye and a very light, even frosted highlighter. Make sure you blend, blend, blend!

Abbey's Eyes

I’ve always envied women who had the large eye lid area in which to play around with makeup. Specifically I was so jealous of Donna Mills, who played Abbey Ewing on “Knots Landing.” I was mesmerized by her eyes. I wanted eyes like that SO bad.

Unfortunately I wasn’t so blessed as she in the eye department. My eyelids are barely visible when my eyes are open, with a large fleshy area hanging down above the crease.

I learned how to apply eyeshadow to my less than ideal eyes by practicing and experimenting over the years.

I usually go with option 2. “Shadow only in the crease” to help “carve out” my crease as much as I can. Here is a before picture of my eye and then an after picture after I applied medium brown shadow in the crease, and some very dark brown shadow in the outer corner and above the lashes.

I also used a liquid liner right above my lashes. I am a big fan of liquid eye liners. They create a crisp dark line in which to get right up to the lash line. I use Maybelline’s but almost any liquid liner will do. Most fashion editors caution against them saying they are too severe and/are difficult to use. As for severe, I wouldn’t use it alone without other shadow and mascara if you have really light skin and lashes like me. And it only takes practice to get the hang of it. I think it’s an excellent way to define the eye area and highly recommend it.

One last 'trick' I used all the time: I use a dark brown or black eyeliner in the inside above the lower lashes. Again, some people advise against it saying its too severe or or it can cause irritation (my PYW Eye Pencil does not irritate my eyes. I've been using it for years).

I feel that it helps define my eye area. Otherwise that area just 'disappears' on me. Also, I don't want to use eyeliner below my lashes because 1. I do tend to have circles under my eyes and liner can just emphasize that. And 2. My eyes are large and can seem 'bulgy' if I don't define them with liner. This helps to make them a bit smaller. Conversely, if you have very small eyes, apply white liner inside the rim it will open up the eye dramatically. Try it for yourself.

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