Now that I’ve covered the so-called “boring” makeup products i.e. your base products, I’m moving on to something a little more interesting. This particular product represents my personal favourite form of make-up self expression – Eye Shadow.
I’m not going to get into application technique here; YouTube is a far better place for that. Instead, I’m going to run through the most common types of eye shadow and how to make them work for you.
When most of us think about eye shadow we probably picture pressed powder, either individually or in a palette of 2 of more colours;
A variation on these traditional forms of eye shadows are;
Baked shadows, as the name suggests start as a cream product, and are been baked during manufacturing. Baked shadows offer a huge difference in colour from dry to wet;
The dry shadow on the left is lighter and sheerer whereas the shadow on the right is applied wet and has a more impressive colour payoff and metallic finish. There are many ways to use shadows wet. I personally use a fresh baby wipe and wet my brush before using it just to dampen it but no more, I then use my brush as normal.
Editors note: be very careful when using your eyeshadows wet. Baked shadows and mineral shadows are usually ok, but standard pressed eyeshadows can be ruined with a wet brush.
For those of you who feel you ‘can’t blend to save your life’ there are shadows designed to help with that too. These shadows come with the colours already together and try to simulate a blended effect when you swirl your brush over the whole surface.
Moving on from pressed shadows, another popular option is loose shadows/pigments;
Loose pigments are notoriously difficult to work with as they tend to cause a lot of fall out (you know, when your shadow ends up under your eye, not on your eye lid, it happens to all of us). Using a good primer can help prevent this from happening through the day. During application, try to avoid picking up too much product – dip the tip of your brush in the pigment and then give it a light tap on the side of the container or the lid. This simple action will knock off any loose product. Another tip with pigments is to place the shadow where you want it with a dabbing type action rather than a swiping motion.
Somewhere in between the pressed and loose formulation, there is a new type of eyeshadow.The shadow below is from L’Oreal and is what I can only think to describe as a hydrid between loose and pressed shadows;
You can see this lacks the smoothness of a pressed shadow but also the messiness of a loose pigment, giving the best of both worlds, less fall out AND more colour pay off.
Beyond the ‘dry’ shadow formulas is a growing selection of ‘wet’ shadows. These offer a great base for striking looks where a little colour as well as the ‘stickiness’ can act as a good base. Examples of these are:
Cream shadows, either in tubes or palettes;
These products can be applied using whatever method you prefer, brushes, applicators or even good old fingers.
Cream shadows can also come in pencil form, like NYX Jumbo Eye Pencils.
Personally I’m not a fan of cream or pencil shadows on their own as I find it feely sticky on my lids. Having said that, I have friends who can’t even understand what I mean by this and swear by them for staying ability.
As with most things in makeup, eyeshadows are personal preference and the only way to figure out your favourite is to experiment. The most important tip I can give is; prime, prime, prime. If you don’t know why, you can find out here.
In terms of application, I’ve seen spectacular makeup applied using fingers and cotton buds, and I’ve seen many makeup fails using the best brushes money can buy. At the end of the day, practice, patience and confidence are the most important factors to a beautiful eyeshadow look.