When I first started my makeup journey the one thing I latched on to was eyeshadows. Not foundations, concealers or lipsticks, all I cared about was playing with colour on my eyes. I had literally no idea what I was doing until I started reading beauty blogs and consuming every makeup tutorial insight. Eventually, as I consumed more content I realized I was making some silly mistakes that were keeping me from that flawless finished look. In fact, I’m still learning new tricks, tips and techniques every day to amp up my skills. And let’s not forget the more you practice the better you get.
If you’re a beginner, don’t worry I understand how overwhelming it can be to make sense of all the palettes. In fact, it’s very easy to make some basic mistakes with your eyeshadow because let’s face it, it’s not as easy as swiping on lipstick. But when done right, it can totally transform you from boring blah-ness to absolutely gorge. Below I’ve shared a few common eyeshadow mistakes I’ve made over the years and how to best avoid them.
Eyes are the windows to the soul and everyone has their own unique eye shape. The reason why your eye makeup might be looking lousy is that the tutorial or technique you’re following doesn’t quite work for your eye shape. Figure this out and you’ve already won half the battle for eyeshadow application. Once I recognised and understood my shape it helped me make better choices for a flawless result.
At the start, I literally could not be bothered to use eye primers or any kind and wondered why my eye look faded by the end of the day. Then once I did use one, I had a horrible experience trying to blend my shadows out. This is where I learnt that not all eye primers are created equal. Primers are necessary to help the shadows stay on longer and keep the shadow from falling on your face. But it’s also essential to find a formula that works for you. Once you figure that out, trust me it’s smooth sailing with application no issues with blending. Two highly recommended eye primers are the NYX Professional Makeup Eyeshadow Primer and Urban Decay’s cult-favourite Primer Potion.
If you’ve got dry skin like me or have issues with flaking it can lead to shadows looking uneven and patchy. You need to keep the delicate skin around your eyes hydrated morning and night. Invest in a good eye cream if you haven’t already and always prep your skin well before your makeup application. There’s no point in even attempting to wear shadow when your eyes aren’t well taken care of. It can be a big, fat flaky disaster waiting to happen. If you’re still struggling with dryness try cream shadows instead of powder for a smooth base.
If you do a quick google search or ask any of your friends you’ll find a different answer each time. Many are for eye makeup after foundation and many recommended doing it before your foundation and concealer. Having tried both I fall squarely in the middle. If you’re dealing with heavy pigments, dark shadows or very powdery formulas prone to fallout I suggest applying your eye makeup before your base makeup. In case there’s a mess or your prone to making a mistake it makes it much easier to fix without messing up your foundation. However, if you’re just opting for something super basic or light like one colour on the lid, there’s no harm in doing your eyes after. But make sure to protect your under-eyes by baking them with loose setting powder to catch any stray eyeshadow particles.
Step away from that cheap plastic sponge applicator. Trust me you don’t need it. That might have saved you in a pinch but it’s rubbish when it comes to blending shadows. It’s always worth investing in a good set of eyeshadow brushes that will take you far. Don’t worry there’s a ton of affordable and amazing brush kits out there. I bought mine online or from the drugstore as a beginner before investing in high-end brushes that require more care.
If you’re starting out all you really need is a fluffy blending brush and a tapered flat brush. Also, make it a point to find out and play around with different brushes as you grow your collection. Each one, while it can be used for multiple things is usually best for a specific purpose or intention. For example, a dense fluffy is great for crease application and works best with cream shadows. While a flat brush is perfect to apply shadows evenly across your eyelid. Knowing what brush to use makes a world of difference in your eyeshadow application.
It’s so easy to go overboard and put too much product on your brush. I did not even realise I was doing this at first. It just leads to harsh lines and uneven application making it tough to blend out. Moreover, that’s how you end up with shadow falling out all over your face. Always start with a little bit of product and remember to give your brush a tap to shake off the excess. You want to build the colour little by little. You can always add more later but if you put on too much it’s going to be a pain to blend out or take it off entirely.
I used to be terrified of putting shadow on my lower lash lines thinking I would end up having a case of raccoon eyes. But trust me don’t skip on this step, it makes your look feel very incomplete. Brave it by using a small tapered brow brush or pencil brush to get in that delicate area. Then, take the colour you’re using back up to the crease in a sideways V-shape. This will enhance your shadow work, leaving your eyes looking polished and tie the look together.
Blend, blend, blend and blend, that has to be your mantra when dealing with eyeshadows. Whether you using 2 shadows or 6 if not done correctly, can be a big, fat mess. When I look back at my old pictures I can see the harsh lines where everything was super unblended. You want to create a smooth gradient of colour. Practice blending using gentle motions with your blending brush and use windshield wiper motions to soften any harsh lines or creases. Don’t forget your fingers too! They work great to apply and blend cream formulas.
Makeup has rules but it’s fun to play around with and experiment too. I think the best way is by learning the basic rules and theories so you know how to break or twist them in your favour. You just never know what might look really nice on you so go crazy and don’t be afraid to fail. Trial and error is the best way to figure out what works best for you personally.
Did you find any of these tips helpful? Let us know in the comments below.
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