Eyeshadow 101: The Basics

Learning how to perfect an eyeshadow look takes a LOT of practice. I’ve been teaching myself how to do different eye looks for years, and I continue to learn new techniques and tricks when doing my makeup, even now! It took lots of trial-and-error, trying new brushes, and watching hundreds of tutorials to get to the point that I’m at now. I know that there are some people who haven’t practiced applying eyeshadow too much, so I want to explain what I’ve learned about eyeshadow application.

First, you have to find a few colors that suit your skin tone and compliment your eyes. When I’m throwing on my normal, everyday eyeshadow, I tend to lean more towards warm-toned browns. I have pink undertones in my skin and green eyes, so warm colors compliment me very well. As you can probably tell by my previous posts, I’m a huge fan of Morphe and ColourPop, which are two affordable online brands. They’re known for their eyeshadow palettes and I would definitely recommend both of them to everyone! The Jaclyn Hill palette from Morphe has a lot of different colors and would suit just about anyone, so if you’re just starting out, I would highly recommend this one!


Once you have a palette that you like, you have to get a few key brushes. If I could only choose a handful brushes to use everyday, I would go for a big fluffy brush, a smaller blending brush, a pencil brush, a dense flat-top brush, and a shader brush. I’ll include a picture of these brushes right here so you get a better idea of what I’m talking about.

Big Fluffy Brush

So to start out, I always prime my eyes with concealer. I’ve found that I like using a concealer rather than an eyeshadow primer because it cancels out any discoloration in my eyelids. Then I set it with a translucent powder to finish off the base. Starting on the eyeshadow, I take a big fluffy brush and start blending a very light shade into and above my crease. This makes blending darker shadows a lot easier, and gives your eye a gradient affect.

Once I have that color down, I take a smaller blending brush with a slightly darker eyeshadow and start blending that into my crease, right below the transition color. Your crease is where your eye caves in, for lack of a better description, and it separates your eyelid from your brow bone. I also like to pack the color onto my outer corner so I have a slight cat-eye effect on my eyes. Then I go back in with my big fluffy brush to blend the two colors together.

If you want to darken up your eye even more, which is totally optional, I recommend using a pencil brush. Applying dark shadows can get messy if you’re not careful, so I always go for a small brush then blend it out later. Taking the pencil brush and your darker shadow, you’re going to want to draw a thin line into your crease. I don’t normally bring this color in too far because I like the inner corner of my eye to be brighter, so I’d say stop about ¾ of the way in. Remember to put a little bit of this onto your outer corner so that all the colors on your eye are balanced! Once this color is applied, go back in with your smaller blending brush first, then blend again using the big fluffy brush.

Another step that’s optional is placing eyeshadow on your lower lash line. I like doing this because it balances out my eye look, but if you want to stop with the lid, that’s completely up to you! I always take the two shades I started with, the transition color and the middle color, on a dense flat-top brush. I don’t want my lower lash line to be quite as smokey as the lid was, so I really want to focus the color right along my lash line. I just take the two colors and run them underneath my lash line, stopping about ¾ of the way in. If I did use a darker shade to deepen up the crease on top, then I use the pencil brush again to place that color on the outer half of my lower lash line. Always make sure to go in with previous brushes to blend, and remember to connect the shadows on the lower lash line with the outer corner of your lid.


Once I have all the matte shadows done and looking the way I want them to, I like to go in with a shimmer to brighten up my lid. You can either take a shimmer on your finger or on a shader brush (I normally just use my finger, but it’s up to you!), then put it on the inner ½ of your lid. I also put a little onto the innermost part of my lower lash line to balance out the entire look. To finish the look off, I’ll usually take a very light shimmer and put it on my inner corner and brow bone.


I know this was a lot of steps and a very long description of how I do my eyeshadow, but I hope this helped you understand the steps that go into creating an eye look! This is one of the techniques that I’ve perfected throughout my years of practicing eye makeup, and it’s so easy once you’ve done it a few times! Keep in mind that everyone’s eyes are different, so different sized brushes and colors will all depend on who you are and what compliments you!

If there’s any other type of post/tutorial that you’d like to see from me, please let me know! I really enjoyed writing this post, and I hope you’re as excited as I am to sit down and play with some makeup!


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