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How to Apply Eyeshadow

[See the rest of our How to Apply Makeup series for beginners.]

Eyeshadow is a great way to emphasize your eyes and create some really pretty looks. Most shadows come in powder format in little pots without any instructions. With so many different colors and brushes, it can be difficult to know where to start when applying eyeshadow. Since this “how-to” is part of our beginner’s How to Apply Makeup series, this is a basic routine for an everyday eyeshadow look. We have instructions on more advanced looks on our eye makeup page.

1. You will need a minimum of three colors to achieve a pretty eyeshadow look. Choose three shades in the same color family: one very sheer, one with a medium tone, and one dark color.

MAC Neutrals
Creative Commons License photo credit: Jacklyn DL

2. Begin with the sheer shade. This will be used as a wash over the entire eyelid. Neutrals are best for this purpose. Sweep the color over the entire eyelid all the way to your brows using a flat eyeshadow brush.

3. Next use the medium shade. Apply it only to the lid using a tapered brush and stop when you reach the crease. This color should fill the space between your lash line and the crease.

4. Finally, use the darkest color. This color should be applied sparingly. Remember, you can always add more but if you start out with too much, your look will be ruined. Using an angled brush, apply this color into the crease and then extend it slightly past the outer corner of your eye using a light sweeping motion.

5. Blend, blend, and blend some more. This is the most important step to achieving a natural look. Use a big, soft blending brush and brush in an outward motion from the inside corner toward the outside corner of each eye.

6. To tie the whole look together, you can take the darkest color and use it to line your lower lash line. A wet eyeliner brush can transform dark eyeshadow into a great eyeliner.


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