How to Apply Eyeshadow Like a Pro

There are definitely times in life when you want to have a professional do your makeup, like before a special event or big photoshoot. But for everyday wear, it’s good to know how to apply makeup yourself to maximize your best features and draw attention from spots you’d rather minimize. Eyeshadow might sound easy to use, but there are specific rules if you want to get pro-level results. Here are some general guidelines.

The General Idea

Keep in mind what you’re trying to do as you apply your eyeshadow. The general rule is that light colors are used to draw attention to areas, while dark colors help areas recede and become less noticeable. You’ll usually be wanting to apply darker colors to more prominent areas of the eyelid and lighter colors to areas that are more shallow.

Gather Your Brushes

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the tiny brush that comes in your cheap eyeshadow palette is all you need. To get a professional look, you need the right tools. Here are the best brushes for a complete eyeshadow application:

  • All-over shader brush: This brush has a wide, stiff head so it can easily apply large quantities of color.
  • Pencil brush: This brush has a fine tip that’s perfect for adding color in the crease of the eyelid in a more precise line than is possible with a wider brush.
  • Dome brush: Named for its dome-like shape, this brush is generally used for blending and feathering out color.

The Procedure

For a simple two-color design, start with a lighter neutral color and use the shader brush to apply from the base of the lashes up to the brow line. Next, use your pencil brush to apply the darker shade in the crease. Blend the color up and toward the outer corner of the eye. If you want a softer look, a dome brush (without any color on it) is perfect for blending the colors together seamlessly.

If you want to use more colors than two, try using your pencil brush to add a darker shade for a more dramatic contour in the crease. You can also add a pop of color on the top outside corner of the lid only.

Tips and Tricks

  • Always apply less color to your brush than you think you need. It’s a lot easier to add more color than it is to remove it.
  • Not sure what type of eyeshadows to get? Matte powder is always a safe bet. Other types of shadow can require advanced expertise to get right.
  • If you really want your eyeshadow to look great and last, prime your lids first with primer or foundation.