The Definitive Guide on How To Apply Eyeshadow
The Definitive Guide on How To Apply Eyeshadow

The Definitive Guide on How To Apply Eyeshadow

4 minutes read

Wondering how to apply eyeshadow like a pro? From smoky eyes to cut creases, mastering a new eyeshadow look can be a real challenge – even for those with years of experience. Beauty Daily spoke to celebrity makeup artist Lan Nguyen-Grealis to get her top tips on how to perfect eyeshadow once and for all. Read on for your ultimate eyeshadow guide. 


AI Eyeshadow Illustration of model make-up

Applying Eyeshadow  

Before you start, there are a few things you’ll need. While it’s best to have a steady hand for more detailed looks, it’s not essential. There are looks that you can create without one – and a range of tools that can help you. For example, you can buy eyeshadow ‘shields’ that you can place on your undereye to create a sharper, sleeker finish – mess-free. The Real Techniques Eye Shadow Perfecting Kit, £9.99, contains reusable shields and reusable swabs that can be used to clean up any line work or sharpen any smudged edges.  

How to Put on Eyeshadow  

The Classic Smoky Eye 

One of the most popular go-to eyeshadow looks is a smoky eye, as you can create one in a range of colours and intensity to suit your eye colour and shape best. Here’s our smoky eyeshadow tutorial. 

Use a kohl pencil 

“The most simple and quick way to create a smoky eye is to use a kohl pencil along the upper lash line and blend it upwards into the eye socket before softening the edges with a blending brush,” says Nguyen-Grealis.  

TRY: Clarins Crayon Khôl, £19.50

Beauty Pie Pro Eyeshadow Blending Brush, £30 

crayon khol

Build up colour 

“After you’ve applied your base kohl colour to your lid, build up the colour with the same pencil until you achieve the desired depth of colour,” she adds. “The secret is to follow the natural eye shape, and if you require a lift, slightly blend past the socket line to open the look. Adding a contrasting eyeshadow or a shade lighter on the edge with a blending brush can help with the blend.” 

Add dimension 

“Apply a similar coloured shadow on top of the kohl liner to set it in place, as well as to add more intensity and hold to the shadow,” Nguyen-Grealis recommends. Repeat this step until you are happy with the boldness of your look. You can also add a subtle shimmer or glitter over the centre of the eyelids to add extra shape. 

TRY: Clarins Velvet Shadow, £20, and Ilia Beauty The Necessary Eyeshadow Palette, £37

eyeshadow quad

Work on your undereye 

Now, it’s time to focus on your undereye. “Use the same kohl pencil lightly along the lower lash line, before smudging it out with your blending brush. This will open the eyes and create an extra-smouldering vibe.” 

Add liner 

It’s liner time! To finish, smudge a dark eyeliner in your waterlines into the lashes. Then, use plenty of mascara to tie everything together.   

Cut Crease Eyeshadow 

Want to know how to apply eyeshadow to hooded eyes? The cut crease is the perfect playful eyeshadow look for which any colour will work. “It’s all about the application and shape that it creates,” says Nguyen-Grealis. “Think the late ’80s or supermodel pin-up era.” 

Add a wash of colour 

“Add a light wash of colour all over the eyelid before applying a darker colour, specifically into the eye socket. This will frame the eye, especially on the outer edge, and it should be a clear, bold line that enhances the sockets,” Lan says. 

TRY: Clarins Ombre 4-Colour Eyeshadow Palette, £36 

eyeshadow quad


Lan recommends following your lash line before blending upwards towards your brow to achieve the perfect angle. “Follow your upper lash line to the halfway point, then blend the liner up at a 45-degree angle into the outer sockets, a bit like a ‘V’ shape. This will create a ‘lifted’ illusion,” Nguyen-Grealis explains.  

Apply liner  

Follow up with a liquid liner to add further definition. “The under-eye should also have a darker shade on the outer corner, which joins to the top,” she adds: “This will tie everything in nicely – and don’t forget to follow up with mascara to finish.” 

Eyeshadow Tips  

Tap away excess shadow 

The best way to avoid smudging and fall out? Use less product and layer it up. Make sure to tap excess product off your brush before application. 

Use a primer 

To prevent creasing, Lan recommends using a cream base primer or a neutral shade under your eyeshadow to help stop creasing and increase staying power. 

Carry a cotton bud 

If in doubt, carry a cotton bud! This is the easiest solution for touch-ups on the go or a midday makeup refresh. 

Lighten up on colour 

If your eyeshadow becomes too heavy, try applying a lighter colour to the inner corners and centre areas of the eyelids. This will create an instantly lifted and much lighter effect. 

Powder is your best friend 

“Add a dusting of translucent powder underneath the eye,” says Lan. “This will catch any product fallout and means it can simply be swiped away. For oily eyelids, a good dusting of powder over the eyelid will keep product in place and avoid smudging.” 

Next Read: How to Get Glowing Skin Now

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