Whether you feel like a makeup novice or a pro, applying eyeshadow can be a difficult process. Make a misstep and you could end up with theatrical-looking makeup or one side that’s darker or different than the other.
Here’s an eight-step guide to applying eyeshadow like a makeup artist. With a little practice and the right products, you can get consistent results every time.
Step One: Assemble Your Materials
Don’t start the process without assembling your tools. Being ready with whatever you need is key to getting the job done quickly and easily.
We can’t stress this enough. The right brushes make all the difference. You’ll need at least two brushes for proper application.
A rounded, elongated brush for cream-based shadows and a flat, dense brush for applying powder shadows. Having several of each will allow you to switch between colors quickly, without cleaning in between.
Primers are used to dry the skin and give your makeup a foundation to hold onto. The skin on the eyes is different from the skin on the rest of your body. It’s much thinner and extremely delicate. It doesn’t have sebaceous glands, so it’s easy to dry the skin on the eye if you aren’t careful.
When using an eye primer, use only a small amount. Using too much can cause overdrying and lead to flaky skin which will be impossible to conceal once you apply eyeshadow.
No matter what mood you’re in, there’s an RMS Beauty palette to create the look you want. Our palettes are available in creams and powders and are always formulated with the cleanest ingredients available.
If eyeshadow application makes you a little anxious, stick with one to two colors that complement each other and will blend well.
Setting Spray or Powder
Setting powders and sprays are designed to help your shadows last, however, you probably don’t need them if you apply your shadow correctly and use a shadow with a long-lasting formula.
Step Two: Use Primer
Begin by using your primer, but remember, less is more, especially on the delicate eyelids. Also, it’s important to choose a primer that doesn’t contain drying ingredients; they will be too harsh for your eyelids.
Any oil applied to your lid should be done so minimally — the less on your lid, the better, especially if your lids are already oily.
Step Three: Choose a Style that Flatters Your Eye Shape
The key to successful eyeshadow application is using styles that flatter your natural eye shape. Using techniques to accentuate your eye shape helps keep your shadow looking natural and effortless.
Almond eyes can wear practically any shadow style. The easiest way to get a great look on almond-shaped eyes is to carry your shadow out just past the end of your lid in a slightly upturned “wing” shape.
This will create a visual lift and only requires two colors to perfect. One color swept over your crease, and another blended from the middle of the lid to the edge or wing.
To lengthen round eyes, focus on creating length with shadow. Wing your shadow outward and upward from the center half of your eyes to the edges and avoid using dark color or shadow beneath the eye.
Make sure you avoid lining your entire eye with dark eyeliner, as this will accentuate the round shape of the eye.
Monolid eyes are eyes that don’t have a very well-defined crease on the lid. It’s easy to create beautiful shadow creations on monolid eyes because they are essentially the smoothest canvas.
Monolid eyes can handle a concentration of color on the middle of the lid, which can give the eye more depth and a striking look. It’s also helpful to slightly up-turn the shadow application at the corners of the eyes to elongate the eyes and create even more drama.
Hooded eyes have brow bones that can create a “hood” over the lid, making it difficult to see certain parts of the eyelid. This can make it difficult to apply numerous shadow colors, so it’s best to just pick one or two shades.
Step Four: Choose Your Palette (Or Create Your Own!)
The specific formula you choose for your shadow depends on the look you want and what type of shadow you find easiest to use.
Should I Use Powder or Cream Shadows?
Both powder and cream shadows can give you a flawless look, but depending on your own abilities and the color options available, you may prefer one to the other.
A cream-based shadow will generally be more blendable and works better if you have lids that are particularly dry. Older skin benefits from the use of creamier shadows because it helps to hydrate them.
Why Do People Apply Their Eyeshadow Wet?
The number one reason is that it’s easier to blend, and it also pops the color impact and creates longer than normal staying power.
Applying your eyeshadow wet is also a technique used when you plan to smudge your shadow. You might use this technique to create a smokey-eye look, or when you are using your eyeshadow in place of eyeliner.
Step Five: Sweep an All-Over Color
The first color you use should be your base color. It should be subtle enough to cover your entire lid.
Don’t blend your eyeshadow into your brow line; stop just below the brow bone. Cover your entire lid with this color, and extend the shadow slightly past the outer edge of your eye if you plan to wing your shadow.
Work with colors that counteract discoloration on the eye to avoid exaggerated buildup. For example, if you have a pink undertone on your lid, try to avoid pink eye shadows that can exaggerate the discoloration.
Step Six: Blend a Darker Color in Your Crease
A complimentary darker color should be applied from the middle of your crease to the outer edge of your eye. Unless you have a rounded eye shape, you can apply the darker shadow further inward on the crease of your eye.
Rounded eyes can apply shadow further inward, but it will accentuate your natural, round eye shape.
Step Seven: Add Highlighter Below the Brow and to the Inside Corner
If you choose to use a highlighting shade, you’ll apply it just below the brow (where you stopped application of your base color). You can also add a dab to the inside corner of your eyes.
If you don’t want to use a highlighting shade, you can use your base shade to gently blend your crease shade.
Step Eight: Set Your Look
You can use a light, translucent powder to set your look and ensure it is long-lasting. Again, you won’t really need to “set” your shadow if you are using high-quality shadows like the ones available from RMS Beauty.
What Should I Look for in an Eyeshadow?
What you put on your eyes is just as important as how it looks when it’s applied. Here’s what we recommend you look for in a great eyeshadow.
Buildable coverage makes application easy because you can start with a light application and add more as needed. Richly pigmented, thick shadows are easy to mess up, and you could end up wiping off makeup to try again.
Even if you are working with lighter colors, the pigment in your shadows should be visible and long-lasting. Avoid shadows pigmented with synthetic dyes, as they can be harsh and cause eye sensitivity.
RMS shadows rely on natural ingredients that are safe for the eyes and always the cleanest available.
At RMS Beauty, we refuse to involve animals in any part of the development, testing, and creation of our eyeshadows. We believe beauty should bring joy, not harm.
Ease of application is important for any user, even if you’re an expert at applying eyeshadow. The ingredients in RMS Beauty’s Swift Shadows and Eye Polishes are natural and spread easily over the eye, melting into skin to create effortless looks.
One of our RMS Beauty shadows alone can be enough to use over the lid due to its combination of five to eight different colors rather than just one color. This approach leaves a slight light-reflective contoured look to the lid, avoiding the typical paint by number typically used.
“I feel the one shadow approach is much more modern and youthful to the eye than the matte powered down technique. Excellent for more mature eyes for sure, as well as when a simpler approach is desired.” - RMS Beauty Founder Rose-Marie Swift
The Cleanest Ingredients
There’s clean beauty, and then there’s RMS Beauty. Our ingredients are so pure, some of them are food-grade. You’ll never find a toxic chemical or harmful ingredient in our eyeshadows, but you will find ingredients that are nourishing to your delicate eyelid skin in colors you love.
Applying eyeshadow will become easier with practice. Less is always more on the eyes, and you should have fun with it! If you see a look you love, recreate it.
If you get stuck, our beauty experts are only a click away and can help you find a shade or give you a quick application tip.
For the cleanest, greenest shadows that consistently outperform others, trust the expert formulated shades at RMS Beauty.