Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Ask Lydia: Eye Shadow

Lydia,

I am almost 30 years old and for the first time in my entire life I have splurged and bought myself good quality makeup that I adore! The problem is I feel like an idiot at home putting it on. What is the proper way to blend eye shadows to get a nice look without looking like your wearing a ton of make up (even if you are! ). Here is what I bought.

Signed,
28 and Green


Hi Greenie!

First, congrats on your grown up purchase. High quality make-up can make all the difference in the world. You'll find that compared to the cheap stuff, the eyeshadow you bought will feel better, the color will stay better, and you'll never want to go back to your old, cheap ways again.

Eyeshadow is such a great tool--it can make your eyes more defined, compliment their color, and really provide a dramatic difference. There are two ways of wearing it: subtly or dramatically. For everyday, you want to go with the subtle look. (I'll provide more info about a dramatic look in another post.)

Here's my advice:

  1. Throw away the stupid little foam applicators that may have come with your shadow. They simply don't work. Instead, opt for some nice brushes (if you don't have nice brushes yet, just use some cheapies--but be sure to invest down the road!)
  2. If you have applied any sort of eye cream or gel, wait a few minutes before putting on your shadow. If you don't you'll have slippage issues later. You may also want to apply a little foundation on your lids as a base.
  3. Take a moment before you start to shape your brows.
  4. I always apply my eyeliner first, but if you don't want to use eyeliner or if you want to do it later, that's fine. The purpose of eyeliner is to add definition and to make the eyes look bigger. If you do want to use a liner, you have two options:
    a) Use a pencil eyeliner and trace the top and bottom of the lid, being careful to blend as you go. You don't want to have raccoon eyes, so apply the liner lightly and focus on the outer areas of your eyes. Be sure to smudge the color into your lashline for a more natural look.
    b) Use the darkest shade of eyeshadow as liner. (This is how I do it!) Use an angled brush and dip it in the darkest shade in your palette. Carefully line the outer lids, again blending it into the lashline. You can just do the upper lids or do both the upper and lower. It depends on your time, your look, your make up application experience, etc.
  5. Apply your base color. Your base should be your lightest color and it should be applied over the entire lid, from the inner most part all the way up to the outer arch. You want to have a nice, even base of color to work with. Note: You don't want to go too light here...it still should look natural. You may want to experiment with some of the colors in your quad to see what looks best with your skin tone.
  6. Add depth and more color by brushing a darker color in the crease of your lid. I usually go just above my eyeliner and into the crease, sweeping in an outward manner. I rarely go up on the browbone at all. Your goal here is to add a little bit of shadowing to the crease and bottom of the upper lid while highlighting your browbone. You also want to avoid going too dark in the corners of your eyes--doing so may make you look like you've been in a fight or something.
  7. If you feel like you want more drama, add a third color into the mix. I never do this. For me, two colors are enough, but many women swear by the three color approach. You can add an even darker shade into the crease if you feel the need.
  8. If you haven't done so already, apply your eyeliner at this point.
  9. To finish things off, curl your lashes with an eyelash curler and top them with a coat of mascara.

Here are a few of my eyeshadow tips:

  • Never close your eyes when applying your shadow. Sure, you may want to do so in order to get more work space, but think about it. Do you ever go through life with an eye closed all day? You need to think about how your finished product is going to look to the world, so never completely close your lids when you're working.
  • Always blow off any excess powder from your brush before applying your make-up. Otherwise, you'll get little flecks of powder on your cheek.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Take a few minutes at home in the evening to work on your application skills. This way you can see what works, what color combos you like, etc.
  • Remember to blend! Keep things soft and as natural as possible.

Thanks for the question. I hope this gets you on the path of wearing shadow with confidence. Be sure to come back tomorrow--I'm going to be posting the results of my eye make-up remover test. How timely!

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