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How to Make Your Eyeshadow Look Good, Regardless of Your Skill Level

Here's how not to hate it.
How to Make Your Eyeshadow Look Good, Regardless of Your Skill Level
IMAGE INSTAGRAM/justinlouisesoriano
Here's how not to hate it.

Welcome to How Not to Hate It, where we make serious cases for misunderstood beauty products. Here, we talk about things that: You like but find tricky to work with, don't like but everyone else loves, and products that you have no idea how to use. Basically, this is a safe, prejudice-free space for newbies, haters, and lovers alike to making a specific product work to their advantage. So sit back, keep an open mind, and scroll through for a deep dive.

How Not to Hate It: Eyeshadow

Using eyeshadow is a choose your destiny kind of experience. You can either go for a simple, one-shade wash of color that you can finish in under a minute, or go all out with a watercolor eye or a cut crease. Regardless, both categories can be a breeze with a few tricks under your belt. Here are eight to help you get started:


1. Know your eye shape.

And by that, we mean know it inside out. Being familiar with your eye shape means you know exactly what you need to do to define it. When you have monolids or hooded eyes, for example, you should note that you need to apply product higher than others for it to show up. (See our guide to different eye shapes, here.)

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2. Familiarize yourself with the parts of an eye look.

Next to knowing your eye shape, it'll be easier to follow makeup tutorials if you're well-versed with the terms often used to direct placement. Here's a visual guide to help you out:

3. Always use an eyeshadow base.

If you moisturize and prime your skin for foundation, then you should prime your eyes, too. Having a base/primer under your eyeshadow will neutralize the color of your lids, make colors appear more vibrant, and control creasing and oil—in short, it'll make putting on color a more pleasant experience.

Applying some concealer or foundation on the eyelids may be a popular alternative to eye primer, but it won't work for everyone, especially those who have oily eyelids. If that's you, opt for a real eyeshadow base that's specifically designed to secure pigment on your lid and control creases and greases.


FENTY BEAUTY Pro Filt'r Amplifying Eye Primer, P1250, NARS Tinted Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base, P1450, Rustan's

4. Create an ombré effect.

The secret to a seamless blend is to apply eyeshadow like an ombré. For a traditional eye look, your colors should be the most opaque on the lashline, followed by the eyelids, gradually fading into nothing under your browbone.


5. Assign "roles" to your eyeshadow colors.

Eyeshadow palettes are fun to have, but the number of colors to choose from can be a little overwhelming. To make picking easier, take a good look at the colors you have and give "roles" to them before you start.

First, choose your main shade or the color you want to be the most prominent. Taking BYS' Reigne eyeshadow palette as an example, your main color can be Throne for a simple orangey eye look. After that, choose your "hardworking" eyeshadows—a light bone hue like Crest can be your base color, a soft brown like Scepter can be your crease color, and lastly, a light brown like Ruler can be a perfect transition shade for blending harsh lines. That said, if that sounds like too much work, blending your main shade all over your eyelids is foolproof.


BYS Reigne Eyeshadow Palette, P799, SM Beauty

6. Have eyeshadow brushes on standby.

As easy as it is to smudge eyeshadow with your fingers on the go, it doesn't always do the trick. With tasks such as blending, packing color onto the eyelid and defining the lashline, you're better off using brushes to give yourself more control and achieve a seamless effect. No panda eyes! (Can't tell which eye brushes you need? Read our guide, here.)

PHOTO BY Real Techniques

REAL TECHNIQUES Enhanced Eye Set, P1150, SM Beauty

7. Put color everywhere—not just your eyelids.

Wearing a cool eye look doesn't require having color all over. When you're in a rush (or too lazy), you can make an instant statement by adding a pop of color on a smaller area like your inner corners and lashlines. This will take you less time than blending eyeshadow all over your eyelids and using multiple shades.



STILA Shimmer & Glow Liquid Eyeshadow in Freedom, P1250, Rustan's

8. Do the tape trick.

Those winged eyeshadow looks you see on celebrities aren't just for pros. You can recreate them on your own with a special little tool: Tape. It's an old trick that even makeup artists use to achieve that sharp edge without being too precise with your eyeshadow application. To do it, attach any kind of tape (just dull the adhesive a little) on the outer corners of your eyes to make some kind of a DIY stencil. Once you're done with your eye makeup, gently peel off the tape to reveal a flawless cat eye. Speaking of which, you can do this same trick for eyeliner, too!

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