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It’s an age-old question—a la the chicken and the egg. Which is supposed to come first: eyeliner or eye shadow? There is a certain level of creativity you can apply to makeup, meaning there are no hard and fast rules that designate when to use your products. (The same can’t be said for skin care products like eye cream and dark spot corrector, however, so read our guide to layering.) Still, there are guidelines you may find it helpful to follow. When it comes to eye shadows and eyeliners, it’s best to start with eye shadow, then move on to your eyeliner. The reasoning is pretty simple, and will likely have you wondering how you’ve never realized it before.
Here are the deets: Applying eyeliner before eye shadow can often end up with your eyeliner becoming (literally) overshadowed, with powdery eye shadow covering up and softening the effects of your eyeliner. Unless that’s really the makeup look you’re going for, you’ll want to use eye shadows first, then eyeliner. That way, both can remain sharp and crisp—no muddled makeup here. Keep reading for more on the best way to apply eye shadow and eyeliner.
You now know to follow eye shadow with eyeliner, but it’s fair if all your questions haven’t been answered. In fact, we’re prepared for that. Here’s the breakdown of exactly how and when to apply each of your eye makeup products.
Step 1: Prime lids. Before you even break out your eye shadow or eyeliner, there’s something else to do. Primer should always be used at the beginning of your makeup routine—assuming you want your look to go on smoothly and wear evenly. (See the Top 4 Reasons to Use an Eye Shadow Primer.) Smooth a small amount of primer over your lids, blending it up to your brow bone. Now, you’re prepped for adding more eye makeup.
Step 2: Use eye shadow. For a style that’s basically effortless—but looks anything but—try applying a light, shimmery eye shadow shade, such as the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Monos Eyeshadow in Little Beige Dress, to your lid, a medium-toned shadow, like the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Monos Eyeshadow in Café Au Lait, to your crease, and smudging a darker shade, like the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Monos Eyeshadow in Quartz Fume, along your lash line.
Step 3: Add eyeliner. Time to line! Using a liquid eyeliner, such as the L’Oréal Paris Infallible The Super Slim Liquid Eyeliner, line along your eyelid. Keep it thin for a subtle look or go thick and add a flick for something a little fiercer. If you aren’t sure exactly how, check out our article, How to Achieve Your Sharpest Winged Eyeliner Look.
Step 4: Tightline. If you haven’t had your eyeliner fix just yet, there’s no reason you can’t use more. Instead of going for something obvious, tightline your eyes to create an “invisible” eyeliner effect. Pull up ever so gently on your eyelid to reveal the space just below your lashes and fill in with a smooth pencil eyeliner, like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Last Liner in Nude. Your lashes will instantly look darker and fuller, which is a pretty sweet trick.
Step 5: Curl lashes. Mascara can work many a miracle, but if you want more curl, try using a lash curler. Hold the curler up to your eye and while your eye is open, open it. Place your lashes between the clamps, getting as close to the base of your lashes as you can without pinching your eyelid. Close the clamp on your eyelashes and hold it for a few seconds. After you release, walk the eyelash curler out and repeat once in the middle of your lashes and once at the tips for a complete curl.
Step 6: Apply mascara. Come on, no makeup look is finished without a coat (or two) of mascara. Opt for a mascara that offers both volume and length, like the L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Washable Mascara, then sweep the brush through your lashes from root to tip. Wiggle the brush as you go to fully coat and lift lashes.
There you go: a finished eye makeup look!
Need more reading material—or just more makeup help? Let us help you with both. Check out our 8 Makeup Tips to Use Before Taking Your Next Selfie.