Put A Lid On It: Eyeshadow Basics
No matter what challenges you’ve had with eyeshadows, whether it’s sensitivity, creasing, or smudging, there is an eyeshadow out there for you! Technology has changed makeup greatly eyeshadow included.
Many eyeshadows now even contain antioxidants – such as the anti-aging vitamins A, C, and E – and calming ingredients, such as green tea. And the color choices are endless – which can be a problem. Between endless color options, textures, and brands, there’s a lot to think about when choosing an eyeshadow.
Product Guide: Eyeshadow Primers
Primers contain silicones and polymers that help eyeshadow stay in place. They are great if your eyeshadows have a tendency to crease and smudge or if you have very oily eyelids. Allow eye cream to dry before applying eyeshadow primer and apply it to bare skin (instead of foundation) for the best results. If your challenge is discoloration, such as veiny eyelids, stick with foundation and powder to prime the eyelids.
Cream-to-powder eyeshadows start out as an easy-to-blend cream and set as a lighter powder, making them great for a sheer application. Less prone to creasing than creams, these shadows are great for people who have oily lids but want the richer color of a cream shadow. Apply a powder shadow on top for even longer staying power!
Gel shadows are the newest technology of all the shadows. They can be used as liner or eyeshadow, come in more intense colors, and are great for highly dramatic looks. For best results, work with clean skin (no base, including foundation, or concealer or primer on the lids). Gel shadows are also great options if you have a lot of veins on the lid that must be covered. Avoid mixing powder eyeshadows with gels. Work fast with gel shadows, as once they set, the color doesn’t move. Use with synthetic brushes or your ring finger and blend well for a more subdued look.
Pressed shadows are the best for layering colors, and come in a dazzling array of colors and textures, from sheer shimmers to opaque matte black. There are even ones that contain green tea extracts and antioxidants. I prefer finely milled shadows that are silky and soft in texture. Avoid chalky textures that produce an uneven blend and can emphasize fine lines – the keyword to avoid on an ingredient list is “calcium carbonate”.
Stick eyeshadow is cream shadows in stick form, but some do have a tendency to be a little denser in texture because of the way they are molded into shape. They seem to last longer than regular pot shadows (cream shadows usually found in small glass jars). Stick shadows are also great because they can be applied very quickly and without brushes. Great for makeup on the go!
Cream shadows are found in several types of packaging nowadays, from tubes to wands, to pots. All produce great creamy looks, from sheer to opaque. The challenge with cream shadows is that they tend to smear and melt, often creasing on eyelids almost as soon as they are applied. Use sheerer colors to minimize the look of creasing, and avoid creams with to much shimmer, which will highlight fine lines. You may have to test a few before finding your perfect match. In drugstores, look for a keyword such as “creaseless” and great return policy (if needed), or go to your local makeup stores and test them out!
Loose eyeshadows usually come in small jars and can be a little messy for the novice but offer a very precise application of color. They don’t contain any binding agents, so they tend to be very light in texture. It’s easy to inadvertently apply more color than intended with this type of eyeshadow. For a more delicate look, use a small brush to apply highlighter loose shadow in white, opal, or gold to the inner corner of the eyes to open and brighten them. Then use a large brush and shake off excess powder for a beautifully soft application of pinks, golds, mauves, or pale purples.
The mineral craze has created some die-hard fans, who swear by its apparent skin-improving qualities. Minerals powders only contain minerals, which means they don’t contain any fancy extra ingredients and are limited in color. If you have challenges with blending, apply mineral shadows on a tissue or the back of your hand using an eyeshadow brush first before applying to eyelids. To make the shadow last, add an eye primer to your eyelids first.
Pure pigments come in loose shadow form and are very intense colors. All colors will most likely look their most vibrant in this form. They contain very few ingredients other than pigment, so they deliver more intense colors than other eyeshadows. They’re best for a fun evening out, try wetting a shadow brush with water before applying to make the color even more intense. Try dark colors, such as brick, greens, and purples, or light colors, such as melon, gold, silver, or bronze, for added drama. Create a more natural look by using a small amount of one shade and adding gradually to build to the desired effect. Remember, a little goes a long way!