How To: Apply Eyeshadow

In relation to the Q&A on the different ways to apply eyeshadow, here are some more of my favorites.

* Light color on the inner half of the eyelid + Dark color on the outer half. This is a very common way to open up the eyes. It is also the most beneficial for those with close-set eyes, especially when the darkest color is applied at the very outer corner.

Start by applying a light color on the inner half of the eyelid and a darker color on the outer half. Using a fluffy brush like MAC #217, blend where the two colors meet until there is a gradation. Remember to blend in one direction to avoid a muddy look. I always blend the lighter color onto the darker one so in this case, you will be blending outwards. Finish with liner and mascara.

* Dark color on the inner half of the eyelid + Light color on the outer half. This is the exact opposite of the above. It will draw the eyes closer together so if your eyes are relatively wide apart, this is the best method for you.

Start by applying a dark color on the inner half of the eyelid and a light color on the outer half. Using a fluffy brush like MAC #217, blend where the two colors meet in an inward motion until there is a gradation. Finish with liner and mascara.

More Q&A!

Question: Do I always have to do half and half?
Answer: Of course not! Depending on your eye shape and the look you are going for, you can put the lighter color only in the inner corner with the darker color all the way to the outer corner, vice versa. Just make sure the colors are well blended so there is a gradation.

Question: Can I use more than 2 colors?
Answer: Sure! It may take a bit of practice to blend everything together but feel free to use as many colors as you want! Below is a look I did with 3 colors:

Stay tuned for more!

Missed the original Q&A? Read about it here.

* Please note that these are just some of the many ways you can apply eyeshadows. As I always say, there are no set rules when it comes to makeup. Just experiment with different methods, colors and textures to find out what works best for you.

Phyllis Li is the Founder and Editor-in-chief of Makeup For Life, one of the top 50 beauty blogs that focuses on celebrity makeup breakdowns, product reviews, makeup tutorials and all things beauty. Having lived and traveled in North America, Europe and Asia, she was exposed to different techniques and products at an early age and hopes to put a global perspective towards beauty. Phyllis won the Best Content Award by Total Beauty in 2008 and has been featured in various publications and websites including ELLE,, Yahoo Shine!, AOL Stylelist, Nylon Korea, VOGUE China, Ming Pao Daily (Canada) and Shanghai Weekly. In 2010, she was appointed one of the nine Real Women Ambassadors in the United States to take part in the Latisse® Wishes Challenge, working with Hollywood celebrity Kathy Ireland and raised over $400,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant wishes for approximately 54 children. In 2012, she teamed up with luxury skincare brand TATCHA and released a limited-edition 3-Piece Set of her favorite beauty products. Phyllis currently lives in Chicago, US. She is a regular contributor to Shanghai Daily's StyleHai Magazine and a member of the Glam Beauty Network.


  1. i have a habit of using lighter colours in the inner corners and gradually going darker in the outer corners, but one of these days I will try out a dark to light look.

  2. This post (and your previous post regarding eyeshadow application) is so helpful. Thanks! I’m still struggling with my eyeshadow application. I can’t seem to get it right.

  3. I just wanted to say that the way you apply your makeup is so gorgeous and helpful. I live in Lebanon, and the makeup here is too drastic for my taste. Could you post step by step pics on how you do the makeup?

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