Weekly Q&A: How To Apply Eyeshadow

The weekly Q&A section is finally back and this week, Yael wanted to learn more about the different ways to apply eyeshadows:

“I want to try a different way of applying eyeshadows but have no idea how! I keep using a light color up to above the crease with something dark on the lid. Any suggestions?”

Answer: Of course there are many other ways to apply eyeshadows! The key is to experiment and find out what works for your eye shape. I will start a series of posts on this topic but first, let us look at three of the most common ways.

* A wash of color. This is definitely the fastest, easiest and most fool-proof way. It is perfect for beginners and teens and works best with light, shimmery colors.



Start by applying a sheer wash of eyeshadow from the lash line to the brow bone. Since you are using one color, don’t worry too much about blending. Finish with liner and extra coats of mascara.

* Light color on the eyelid + Dark color on the crease. By placing a darker color on the crease, you are creating the illusion of depth, which is what most of us are trying to achieve half of the time. This method works on anyone except those with extremely deep-set eyes (it can make your eyes look further sunken in).



To create this look, apply any color you like on the eyelid. Starting from the outer corner of the eye, blend a darker color onto your crease in a windshield motion . Place a highlighting color beneath the brow bone to give your eyes that extra pop. Finish with liner and mascara.

* Light color blended past the crease + Dark color on the eyelid. This is the method you mentioned. It is very common in Asia and works extremely well for those without a crease.



Start by applying a light color from the lash line all the way to the brow bone. Pat a darker color onto the eyelid, depositing more color on the area that is closest to the lash line. Using a fluffy brush like MAC #217, soften the edge between the two colors. Blend and blend some more until you see a gradation and no harsh line. Apply liner and mascara to finish the look.

Stay tuned for more ways you can use to apply eyeshadow!

Got a question? Leave a comment and I will get to it asap!

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, Glamour.com, 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.

21 COMMENTS

  1. Great tips! I was wondering if you could maybe diagram exactly where points of the eyes are (i.e, eyelid, crease, inner corner, outer v, etc) and how we could apply color there and what colors might work. Or maybe some eyebrow tips (how to pluck for perfect eyebrows (yours are SO nice, how to shade in eyebrows, what eyebrows work, etc) I hope I’m not asking for too much! thank you very much for these tips! Have a good day!

  2. I was so anxious to hear back from you…and then i saw this! lol. Could you pls. tell me what colors/brands you used for the 3rd technique (the japanese smoky eye)

    off topic Q– i’m about to go crazy at yaby (hehe) and wanted to know how you compare it to coastal scents (the 88 palette)…let me know, i’m waiting your opinion before i click ‘Purchase’ :)

    ok…whenever u have the time i’m eagerly awaiting your other answers

  3. This is a great post! Can’t wait for the other posts on eyeshadow application!
    About the ‘wash of colour’ technique, you mentioned applying from the lash line to brow bone (top to bottom). How about sideways? Where to start and stop?
    Do you also pack on more colour on the lid and keep it washed out in other areas?
    Can it work with 2 or more colours too?
    Thanks Phyllis!

  4. Thanks Jess! For a wash of color, you can just apply on the entire upper lid area (inner corner to corner, lashline to brow bone).

    Normally, I would suggest that you do a sheer layer all over but if you want a bolder look, try patting the color on like I did in my Alexander McQueen FOTD (http://makeupforlife.net/wp-content/gallery/fotd/alexander-mcqueen-for-mac-inspired-turquoise-eye-makeup.jpg) or the look spotted at the Luella Spring 2010 show (http://makeupforlife.net/2009/09/runway-makeup-breakdown-luella-spring-2010-at-london-fashion-week.html).

  5. Hey

    these are awesome tips!

    I love the way the eyeliner has been applied in the pictures (thicker in the corners)

    I’ve become a pro at the smodgy black eyeliner but I always managed to mess up with brown. I’ve seen girls with almost a smokey brown eye but I always manage to make it look like my eyes are just dirty lol

    any tips?

  6. Fantastic Tutorials!

    I always wondered how to put eyeshadow properly.

    But I was wondering where do you get your color contacts?
    Because the green ones that you are wearing look superbly natural!

    Thanks. :)

  7. Hmnm..nice..well my favourite out of these would be a wash of colours..and you are right..it’s good for teens.. [i am a teen myself] ..you know it looks really odd when teens over do their eye makeup..and wear it every single day…i am talking about the over done one.. :/ Well i don’t like over done eye makeup personally.. so thanks alot for sharing this.. :)

  8. hi,

    these tutorials are very helpful.

    i also want to ask what if i have a wide space between my lid and brow bone? should there be a space without eyeshadow between the brow bone and crease? or do the colors have to meet?

    i also have hooded eyelids, what i do is to apply lid color all over the lid and a darker color for the contour / crease. upto where must i stop applying the lid color? is it upto where i feel my eye socket or just only upto the crease part(fold of my eye)? if this is the way to do it, it will only have a little color on the lid and a very wide space between the brow bone. is it okay to apply a bit higher upto the socket/bone and also apply the crease color in that area?

    hope this makes sense.

  9. Great colors used! I’m curious about the exact eye shadow brands/colors used in the third pic…the black shadow with the multicolored glitter. Could you give us a run down? Thanks :)

  10. hi,

    these tutorials are very helpful.

    i also want to ask what if i have a wide space between my lid and brow bone? should there be a space without eyeshadow between the brow bone and crease? or do the colors have to meet?

    i also have hooded eyelids, what i do is to apply lid color all over the lid and a darker color for the contour / crease. upto where must i stop applying the lid color? is it upto where i feel my eye socket or just only upto the crease part(fold of my eye)? if this is the way to do it, it will only have a little color on the lid and a very wide space between the brow bone. is it okay to apply a bit higher upto the socket/bone and also apply the crease color in that area?

    hope this makes sense.

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