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Have you ever removed and redone your eye shadow over and over again until you got it looking just right? Eye shadow is right up there with winged eyeliner as one of the most difficult makeup skills to master—and it’s the worst feeling when you can’t get your eye makeup to look how you want it to. Thankfully, we have a few ideas that could make things a little easier. Hack your way to beautiful eye makeup with the 10 tips below.
If you want your eye shadow to stay in place, the using a primer first is a good bet. Apply a thin (less is more) layer of eye shadow primer to your eyelids and the skin underneath your brows. This can help prevent your shadow from smearing or budging throughout the day.
No one is saying learning to apply eye shadow is easy, but it can be a lot easier if you pick the right product. The best basic for a beginner is a neutral quad. Quads are typically designed so that each shadow has a purpose, cutting down on the guess work. There should be shades for your lid, crease, liner, and highlight. For a complete look, swipe the lid shade on before highlighting with the lightest shade under your brows and around your tear ducts. Follow highlighting by contouring with the crease color, blending in to create depth. Finish by smudging the darkest shade along your lash line for definition. Try the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Quads, available in 15 obsession-worthy color families. Just peep the back of the palette to learn exactly where to place each shade.
You can wear cream and powder shadows on their own or try layering them one over the other. Start with a cream shadow, then add a powder in a coordinating color on top.
If your shadows need a little more oomph, all it takes to get them there is a white pencil eyeliner. Layering a color over a white base acts as an instant enhancer. Just color your lid in completely white and add a shadow on top. Then, bam—pumped up pigment.
It’s time for a dip in the water. No, not for you—for your eye shadow brushes! Get your brush a damp before using it to pick up shadow. This can make your shadow hue look bolder. Attempt this technique with a metallic shadow for a fun foiled look.
A good rule of thumb for eye shadow is to blend…then blend some more. A little extra blending can hide all sorts of shadow goofs to create a seamless eye look. For colors that just won’t blend together, use this hue-centric hack. Work a clean blending brush into a matte brown shadow, being careful not to get too much product. With the brush, make windshield wiper motions where you want to blend. The bit of brown can help achieve a more gradual fading effect.
For looks that require harsh lines and crisp edges, tape is the only extra tool you need. Using clear tape, place a piece on the back of your hand to lessen how sticky it is. You want the tape to stick to your skin but not tug too much. Then, reposition the tape where you want to make your line. Try angling it from the outer corner of your eye to the end of your brow for a fun winged-out look. Just apply your shadow with the tape in place, then pull away to reveal your sharp shape.
Instead of relying on eye shadow alone to get the perfect smoky eye, use liner too. After applying shadow to your lid, grab a creamy liner in a dark shade, like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Silkissime Eyeliner in Black. Instead of struggling to create the perfect outer V-shape, use your liner to draw a simple hashtag. Blend out—using your finger will work—for instant smokiness.
While you can help limit fallout by tapping excess product off your brushes, sometimes that isn’t enough to save your poor under-eye area. When working with dark shades or other shadows particularly prone to fallout, place tissues under your eyes as a makeshift shield. You may look slightly silly, but your fresh concealer won’t be decimated by loose pigment.