If you’ve ever opened up a beautifully packaged eyeshadow palette, bursting with a bevy of colors to choose from, and asked yourself, “uh, now what?” you are not alone. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the possibilities, and end up sticking with what you know (raise your hand if you have one color used to the bottom and the other ones untouched). To help us stretch outside of our eyeshadow comfort zone, we asked professional makeup artist Elle Leary to break down which shadows to use, and where to apply them.
First, locate the lightest shadow on your palette. “Light colors are used to highlight. So they go under the brow bone and corner of the eye,” Leary says. “The medium shade is used to blend the colors together and map out the shape you want. Then the darkest colors are used for depth, in the crease & around the lash lines,” Leary suggests.
When determining which shape you’d like to create with your shadow, remember light is drawn to lighter pigments, and darker colors will add drama and dimension. If you’d like to alter the appearance of close-set eyes, draw attention to the outer half of your lid with darker shadow. For deep-set eyes, try blending your medium color on the majority of your lid, leaving your darkest hue to only the outer creases. This will draw more light to your lid and open up your eyes.
Now that you know what goes where, how do you apply? “The best brush to use for blending all of these colors together is a tapered fluffy brush. The bigger and fluffier the brush, the more blending you are going to be able to do. Next you’ll need to pull out a different brush to contour. “When you want to really deposit color you will use a dense, short brush,” Leary says.