Your eyes are the first feature people notice when meeting you. They are the “windows to your soul” so the right shades, textures and application of eye shadow is incredibly important. Eyes are also highly individual and this is why picking a color that you saw in a magazine and layering it all over your lids is not recommended. The trick is to pick shadows that complement your eye color and determine the technique that suit your eye shape best. Do you have deep-set, hooded or small eyes? Once you know what your eye shape is you can trial different techniques to see what your eye shape can handle.
THE RIGHT COLOR
To emphasize our eyes there are individual colors or color families that we can wear to enhance and harmonize our natural eye color. For example, shadows with bronze tones work beautifully with blue eyes and those with plum tones flatter green eyes. Generally, it’s recommended to choose shadows that are a few shades darker than your eye color because lighter shades can often look frosty but this doesn’t mean that you need to avoid wearing a certain shade altogether. Sometimes the occasion or trend calls for an electric neon, glossy pastel or metallic eye look. By applying bold or shimmering shadows subtly and sparingly so that they are not competing with the rest of your makeup, captivating looks can be created.
When it comes to choosing your eye shadow formula, it really comes down to personal preference and whatever your lids can handle. For example, if you have oily lids you are best to stay away from creamy shadows. Also loose powders tend to irritate contact lens wearers or those with sensitive eyes.
• Pressed Powders – These are the most popular because they are hassle free, easy to apply and store well in compacts and palettes. Some formulas can also be applied by wetting your shadow brush before picking up powder to intensify color.
• Cream Shadows – Mostly packaged in pots or sticks and impart a dewy sheen to your lids, which makes them work well as highlighters (see Highlighters/Enhancers below). They do have a tendency to crease especially on oily lids so eye primers should be used before eye makeup application.
• Loose Powders – Usually come in a variety of pots and made up of tiny jeweled loose pigments. They tend to be extremely messy to work with, not travel friendly and known to leave massive shadow fallout.
TEXTURES AND EFFECTS
You may want to create a shimmering smoky eye for an evening out or wear a more natural matte look at the office during the day. Fortunately there are eye shadows with different textures to create any desired look. There are highlighters, mattes, poppers, metallics and so much more to choose from.
• Highlighters / Enhancers – These eye shadows are mostly made up of colors that highlight or reflect your own natural eye color. They are designed to brighten and open up your eyes. Perfect for highlighting your brow bone or inner corners of your eyes.
• Intensifiers / Poppers -They are predominantly made up of colors that are the opposite pigments to your eye color. Poppers provide maximum contrast to really brighten and illuminate your natural eye color.
• Metallics -These high-shine reflective shades can be warm, cool or neutral and a little goes a long way. While metallic shades look fabulous they will also draw maximum attention to wherever they are applied (many highlighters are metallics), including highlighting any flaws or fine lines.
• Accents - Used on either the upper or lower eye areas, accents are deep, vivid or bright colors. They are best applied sparingly in small areas such as applying in a fine line very close to the lash line or at a corner accent on the inner and/or outer corners, for extra impact. Think of these as 'accessory' shades, just like a great pair of shoes, handbag or earrings to complete a look.
• Neutrals – These shadow shades are made up of varying combinations of the three primary colors -- red, blue and yellow. Warmer browns containing more yellow pigments are suited to warmer brown, green and hazel eyes. Cooler browns containing more blue pigments best suit deep brown, blue, cool green and cool hazel eyes. Neutrals are universal and can be worn by anyone, any time, for a natural or sophisticated look depending on how it’s applied.
• Mattes – Perfect for when you’re using strongly pigmented colors like blues and greens. Mattes keep the look more classic and understated.
Behind all amazing makeup look is a set of makeup brushes. Even if you’re not a makeup professional, to apply shadow correctly you should invest in a three important eye brushes.
• Shadow Brush –This brush usually has flat bristles to apply your lightest or base shade all over your lid.
• Blending Brush – Softer bristles that are used to blend out edges and different shades seamlessly together for a professional finish.
• Angled Shadow Brush – Angled, slightly stiffer bristles to apply liner or precision shadow color along the lash line.
Always use an eye primer before eye makeup application. Allow primer to completely dry especially if you are applying loose powders, which will clump if your primer is not dry. Below is a basic guide on how to apply your eye shadow shades.
1. Lightest/ Base Shade - Apply a little at a time using the eye shadow brush right across lid and up to the brow bone in “windshield wiper” motion until color covers entire space evenly.
2. Medium Shade - Now with eyes open, look directly into the mirror so you can see where your natural eyelid crease is or the indent that hugs the top half of your eyeball. Sweep a small amount of the medium shade along the natural crease of your lid (you can come back with more shadow later, if required). Blend shade in same “windshield wiper” motion, lifting brush as little as possible over this area so you gradually draw a half circle or moon shape.
3. Blend Sockets - With a blending brush, blend the sockets. This step is the most important part to determine whether your eye makeup will look good or not. Keep blending until there are no hard lines and definition.
4. Dark Shade – Using your angled brush wet or dry apply a thin line of the dark shade along top and bottom lash line. An alternative look that works beautifully with a contoured eye is to use a gel liner.