How Do Eyeshadows Work?


If I had a nickel for every time somebody asked me that…well, I’d be a millionaire. Okay, that might be a wee bit of exaggeration, but you get the idea.

It’s not surprising though, you know that someone might not really know what to do with eyeshadow. I mean what sorcery is this and what are all these brushes for and what goes where and how much and oh my God, why doesn’t thing come with a darned manual?!

Yep, that was me in high school. It was pretty intense, you guys.

How do eyeshadows work?
How do eyeshadows work?

It got me thinking. If only someone had explained it to me like I was five back then I probably would never have embarrassed myself on numerous occasions (yes, numerous. Get over it) and I would never have lost sleep over it.

So to keep you from losing sleep over eyeshadow, I’m going to explain it to you like you’re five.

First: Knowing what shade to buy

How are you going to know how to apply eyeshadow if you don’t even know what to buy in the first place? So I’m going to first tell you to make sure you start by buying a brown or nude palette for day wear. Earthy tones make the best shades for day wear. For night wear, pick a color palette that best suits your complexion and eye color. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of actually buying several color palettes, buy the ELF Studio Endless Eyes Pro Eyeshadow palette. It has a hundred shades that will do you good for a while.

Second: The brush dilemma

How can there be so many brushes for MAKE-UP?! When I first started, I couldn’t get over the abundance of make-up brushes. They all looked the same and felt the same and so it was safe to assume I was stumped. You’re going to take some time to get a hang of eyeshadow, but for now buy yourself an eyeshadow brush set and start getting familiarized with the different kinds of brushes from elf there are.

Third: Prepping the eye

You prep your eye by:

    • Applying three dots of concealer below your eyes to cover dark circles. Blend this into your skin by patting the skin with your ring finger.
    • Have you wondered what keeps eyeshadow in place? It’s primer! Women complain about how their eyeshadow doesn’t last or how it smudges, but what they don’t realize is it’s not the eyeshadow at fault; it’s the lack of eyeshadow primer. If you don’t have primer, go right out and buy one! But don’t apply eyeshadow without actually buying it.

Fourth: Applying the eyeshadow!

Okay, here’s where you might think it starts to get tricky, but I’m going to simplify it for you. I’ll break it down in 4 simple steps and you’ll be like whoa! That was easy!

  • First pick mid-tone shade. This is usually one shade darker than your lightest eyeshadow shade. Use a flat brush to pat this color onto your lid. You want to start from the corner of your eye along your lash line to your crease. Try not to go past your crease and don’t extend the shadow upwards from the corner of your eye.
  • Then pick a dark shade and brush it onto your lid with a dome brush. You want to start at about two-thirds of your lid and brush it against the skin where the bone hits your crease. Blend the two shades to look as natural as possible.
  • Pick the lightest shade as your highlighter. Use a swift flat brush to brush this shade on the skin right along the arch of your eyebrows.
  • Then dip your pinkie into the lightest color and press into the inside corner of your eye. This really makes your eyes pop and really makes your eyes look bright and alert.

There you have it. The most basic guide to applying three-shade eyeshadow. You will experiment and get better at is as you go, but for someone who’s just starting out, this should do just fine. And kids, that’s how it’s done!

Evelyn K. Walker is an incredibly upbeat and fun loving makeup artist who loves all things beauty & style related. She started working her way up the ladder on her own working straight from home at a very young age. Today, at 27 Evelyn still works from home but has developed a commendable clientele for herself. She focuses on perfection in all aspects, whether it be beauty regimes, makeup, personal style & fashion. She loves to write as a hobby and guest blogs for others whenever she gets the time and has something epic to write about. With her insatiable talent to keep up with all things new and glamorous, the sky is the limit for this young entrepreneur.