Applying Eye Makeup: Ideas and Techniques

Learn How To Apply Eye Shadow, Eyeliner and Mascara

Closeup of woman applying eyeshadow

A simple application of eye make-up can add interest to your appearance in an instant. Depending on the look you are going for, the right eye makeup application can give you a look of natural beauty or that of a Hollywood star. It does not take cosmetic expert skills to get great-looking eyes.

Eye makeup techniques can be learned, so I have put together some application tips to help you. The list of suggestions below will help you achieve whatever look you prefer.

  1. Invest in a few good eye shadow brushes for applying makeup. The ones I find that are best to work with are angled or blunt-ended soft brushes. A small tipped brush makes eyeliner application a breeze. It is never a good idea to use your finger to apply eye shadow; this will make for an uneven, sloppy application. Another good tool to have is an eyelash curler. Some companies sell them for twenty bucks. I personally have no complaints with one I bought at the dollar store. Another tool you need is an eyelash/eyebrow brush.
  2. Women need to learn how to apply eye shadow properly. First, choose colors that highlight your eye color, not overwhelm it. Just because you have blue eyes does not mean you need to wear blue eye shadow. In my opinion, the best eye shadow you can buy is a kit of anywhere from two to five colors. It is also a good idea to buy the kits that have three colors that go from light to medium to dark. If you do not know what colors to start with, I suggest a variety of light, medium, and dark brown and a shade or two of pink. These colors will look good on anybody because they are more on the natural side. For mascara and eyeliner colors, the motto is "the darker you are, the darker the color you need." For fair blondes, a soft brown looks good. For olive skin and dark hair or African-Americans, black will work great for you.
  3. The first thing you need to do before applying eye makeup, more specifically eye shadow, is to prime the lids. This can be done easily by applying foundation or loose powder to the lid. After you have primed the lid, you will need a light color, medium color, and dark color all in the same hue. The light color will be your highlighter. Apply this under the eyebrow and along your eyebrow's natural curve. So apply the light color from where your eyebrow begins (unless you have a unibrow) to where your eyebrow ends or tails off. This will open up and brighten the eye. The next color you will use is the medium color. Brush this shade on your lid, not going too far outside the eye area. The last color to use is your dark color. Apply this color in the crease of your eye. This gives the eye a hint of drama.
  4. Now lightly blend the eye shadow so that there are no harsh lines. You do not want it to look like you have just placed three different colors on your eyes. You want it to flow.
  5. Curl the lashes. I do not suggest curling them every day, just days you want to look extra special. Too-frequent curling can damage your delicate eyelashes and they will break off easily if there is pressure applied. Sweep mascara in an upward, slanted motion. While still damp, brush out any clumps. Let dry, and apply another layer, if so desired.
  6. One of the most misused eye makeup is eyeliner and so it deserves makeup tips of its own. There are two types of eyeliner, wet and dry. Wet eyeliners tend to give a darker, more dramatic look. Dry eyeliners are softer and better for creating a smoky look. If you bought eyeliner that is a pencil or stick, draw around the rim of the eyes in a straight line. Soften the harsh line by running a Q-tip along the line. If you did not purchase a pencil or stick eyeliner, use your small, pointed brush to apply the eyeliner around the rims of your eyes. Brown or black eye shadow can be easily used as an eyeliner. You can dip your brush in petroleum jelly or water for a more dramatic color.
  7. It might take a couple of tries to apply eye makeup and achieve your perfect look. If you need more ideas and help, you can visit any make up counter in the mall for some free advice on makeup tricks.


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