Masterclass: A Guide To Using Eyeshadow

Masterclass: A Guide To Using Eyeshadow

Eyes tend to look smaller as we age but clever use of eyeshadow can make all the difference. We asked two make-up artists to explain how to get the most out of it for more youthful and brightening effects.

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Firstly, Begin With Hydration

“Before you apply any make-up, you need an eye cream to hydrate the skin in this area,” explains make-up master Bobbi Brown. “When skin is dehydrated, the darker the skin around your eyes tends to be. Hydration is also key for mature skin types who are often prone to dryness and, in turn, flaking of make-up like eyeshadow. Try applying a cream rich in emollients. Typically, these aren’t too dense or greasy and provide a great base for make-up to adhere to. Once that has absorbed, see where your skin is at its darkest, then take the lightest concealer you own and apply it all over – always go right up to the lash line both at the top and bottom. You need this base for proper eyeshadow application. Essentially, the trick is not to apply your concealer in large swathes but instead focus it on the darkest areas, in light layers. You want an illusion of brightness that balances eye make-up out.” Make-up artist Mira Parmar agrees: “Hydration is key prior to make-up because you want the area to look supple. If you don’t have a concealer, or prefer not to use one, make sure you apply a primer, like Urban Decay’s. It gives such a smooth base for any make-up that follows.” 

Treat Hooded Eyes Differently

“As we age, hooded eyes become somewhat inevitable,” continues Mira. “Thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can enhance them so it’s not an issue. My biggest tip is to user liner to ‘tight line’ – simply put, this is where you wiggle a cream crayon right into the top lash line and wing it out very slightly at the corners. Cream or gel textures are best as they blend easily. This gives the impression of bigger eyes and a more open, elongated effect.” Bobbi adds: “For hooded eyes, think of it in tones: light, medium and dark. The lightest tone goes all over the lid first and gives a nice clean look. Then layer up with a medium shade but apply this underneath your lower lashes as this helps open the eye up. Finally, finish with the darkest tone. Use this to line the upper eyelids softly, winging it out at the corner. Depending how deep set your eye is, I also advise applying the darkest shade very gently underneath your lashes. This is subtle, but helps you achieve a smoky effect that’s visible enough.”

Arm Yourself With Good Tools

“This is a key tip for good eye make-up,” continues Mira. “In my opinion, you should always have an angled brush, a fluffy brush and a pencil brush that allows you to smudge, blend and smoke things out. The easiest way to keep things soft is by using a buffing brush to diffuse your eyeliner along the lids, but also at the outer edges to create a wider effect. I recommend investing in a good handheld mirror, too. Use this to look directly into as you create any feline flicks or smokey eye lines – it will help you to perfect the shape.” 

Use The Right Textures

“On mature eyes, I prefer eyeshadows over liquid eyeliner pens,” says Bobbi. “You can still get a dense look with an eyeshadow using a fine, damp eyeliner brush. To me, that’s the easiest way. Liquids tend to crinkle up and set into fine lines, whereas powders don’t do this. You can still get away with gels, but soft pencils and kohls are my top recommendation. Start by using them at the outer corners of your eyes and then smudge out any lines you create with an angled brush. It’s pretty foolproof if you use this technique.”

Less is always more on mature eyes.

Don’t Just Focus On Eyeshadow

“Have several different types and textures of moisturisers at your fingertips,” advises Bobbi. “As I say, hydration instantly helps before you start with anything else. But I also recommend applying a cream – like the Augustinus Bader one – then using a cream blush (without any powder) on top over the eyelids. This literally takes years off you and gives eyes a brighter, healthier flush – it doesn’t always need to be traditional eye make-up. Likewise, I love to use a peachy colour correcting pencil on the eyelids. As we get older, our eyes become more recessed and darken – not just underneath but at the inner corners – so you want to bring light to the eyes." 

Invest In Matte Textures

“Less is always more on mature eyes,” continues Mira. “It’s why I often advocate matte eyeshadows. You can use these all across your lids to define the corners, but also the socket. Begin with a light base, then go with a darker one on top – browns, blacks or taupes work best. You can use shimmer, but only very slightly – application at the inner corners only is my tip for just a hint of something. Using too much draws attention to wrinkles and fine lines – you want to simply accentuate, not go overboard. Another tip is to use a nude or white eyeliner in your waterline. It’s an old classic, but it works every time to create the illusion of a larger, more open eye.”

Try To Avoid Too Many Layers

“A few swipes of eyeshadow is all you need,” adds Mira. “Often we layer too much which causes eyeshadow to crack and flake. I also recommend you lift any eyeshadow you apply upwards – if you don’t, it can cause eyes to droop down. You always want to lift to create a more youthful look.” 

Finally, Don’t Forget These Extras

“To get the most out of your eyeshadow, you need to ensure you’re getting other things right,” finishes Mira. “Don’t forget to fill out your eyebrows – this is a huge part of framing your face and enhancing your eye area in general. Secondly, use a mascara that brings volume; as we age, we’re often put off by heavy formulas, so look for ones that separate, but still provide inky definition – for example, Hourglass’ Unlocked formula. My final tip? False eyelashes aren’t just for the young. You don’t need a full set – a few singles at the inners and outer corners can work wonders to lift your eye make-up and keep everything bright and wide.”  

Shop Bobbi & Mira’s Eye Make-Up Picks…

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