Masterclass: A Guide To Using Eyeshadow Correctly

Masterclass: A Guide To Using Eyeshadow Correctly

Eyeshadow can make all the difference to a make-up look, but some avoid it altogether – it can certainly feel like a bit of a faff if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you fall into that camp, we asked two make-up artists to take us back to basics and explain how to get the most out of the different formulas – be it creams, powders or even glitter…

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Cream Shadows


“One of the key benefits of cream eyeshadows is how easy they are to use,” explains make-up artist, Jessica Kell. “They blend beautifully and take little effort to get a great finish, as well as depth of colour. They work well on their own and as a base to hold eyeshadow in place all day.” Make-up artist and creative, Levi-Jade Taylor agrees: “They are a must-try if you’re looking for a product that provides quick and easy application, but with maximum impact. They’re great for novices looking to build a quick five-minute smoke-y eye that looks like it took an hour to perfect.”


“Everyone can benefit from a cream eyeshadow as they suit everyone,” continues Jess. “They range from heavily-pigmented with a strong, matte finish, to super sheer with a hint of shimmer – no matter what you’re after, there’s something for you. Another benefit is their staying power. Powders tend to slip, whereas creams are relatively budge-proof. If you have hooded eyes, cream eyeshadows are still flattering. In this instance, take a warm shade and run it along your lash line, blending it with a brush or your finger until it sheers out. Once this is done, go back into the lash line again to line the lid. It creates a beautiful effect without being too heavy.”


“Apply cream shadows with your fingers,” says Levi. “Use your ring finger with light pressure to gently tap product across your lids. – you can always add another layer for more impact. If you want a more seamless blend, use a fluffy blending brush to taper the edges and soften everything out. Another application hack is to use creams as a base. Apply a deeper cream roughly along your lash line and buff it out until smooth. This will give you an intense base of colour to then blend powder or metallic shadows on top. It’s much easier to do it this way than trying to build up powder shadows from scratch.” Jessica adds: “My tip is to apply a few layers of different cream colours together for maximum impact. Take a light shimmer base and sweep it all over the lids. Next, follow up with a deeper, matte shade and blend it into the socket. For a last step, take a creamy eyeliner – either black or deep brown – and apply it along the lash line.”

Glitter & Liquid Shadows


“Glitter and liquid eyeshadows are a great way of bringing a bit of extra oomph to your look,” explains Jessica. “They don’t have to be over the top, however. You can use glitter in a very chic and grown-up way, too. For instance, they are a great topper for any matte eyeshadow – use a small dab in the centre of your lids to draw attention to your eyes. You can also apply a smattering on top of smokey eyes to bring about more glamour. The same goes for liquid, vinyl textures that can add an almost wet-look gloss.”


“Agreed – glitter doesn’t have to be full-on and overly theatrical,” continues Jess. “Use a swipe of your finger for a subtle finish, or, if you want a more blown-out effect, use a fluffy brush to disperse the glitter over your lid. If you want to go even further, apply your glitter over top of something it will stick to – like the NARS Eyeshadow Primer, or a cream shadow.”


“To keep your glitter eyeshadow looking chic, stick to neutral tones that catch the light,” finishes Jess. “Try the bronze glitter in Charlotte Tilbury’s Bella Sofia Palette on a brown or hazel eye. Hourglass also has some beautiful, natural shades that very gently enhance your natural eye colour without looking too heavy – ‘Rapture’ looks great on both blue and green eyes. Another palette from Charlotte Tilbury is the ‘Palette of Pops’. These contain four, easy-to-use glitter shades which can be used alone for a glossy sheen, or as toppers to really enhance a look. They add effortless glamour and are so straightforward – you can’t really go too far wrong.”

Powder Shadows


“If you want to add definition and contour to your eye shape, powders are best,” continues Levi. “They are great for playing with – or accentuating – the appearance of your eye shape and they’re also well-loved for their versatility, as powders are capable of suiting so many different needs and wants.” 


“If your blending skills aren’t up to scratch, use your face powder on an eyeshadow brush to buff and blend away any harsh lines,” adds Levi. “The key to powders is to blend and blend again. The blurring effect of a face powder does exactly the same on your eyelids, creating a smooth, flawless finish. Use two brushes when you apply powders – a fluffy brush and a denser, flatter, smudger brush. My favourites are MAC’s 217S Blending Brush and the Eye Shader Brush in 239S. It’s a myth that you need lots of brushes to create an eyeshadow look – it’s about technique, not tools. On that note, hold your brush handle loosely as you apply powders. This will give you a softer blend, whereas holding your brush towards the tip – like a pen – will give you precision. Apply small amounts and build from there.”


“If your eyes are hooded and you want to use powders, an eyeshadow primer is key,” says Levi. “NARS’ Eyeshadow Primer is the best, as it works to absorb excess oil on the lids for a look that will stay all day. As for products, The Urban Decay Naked Palettes are brilliant. They’re versatile and blend like a dream, which is what you want – especially for hooded eyes.” 


“This goes for all textures but knowing what suits your eye colour is the key to good results,” adds Levi. “Colours that contrast with your eye shade are good – it’s the easiest way to make them stand out. With that in mind, warm coppers and orange tones are beautiful on blue eyes, while amber, golds and greens work well on hazel eyes. Finally, try purple and burgundy if you have deep brown eyes and rose gold or pink if you have green eyes.”


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