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Eyeshadow Techniques

by Makeda

I must admit that I don't wear eyeshadow everyday. I have a two-year-old and when I'm getting ready in the morning, I rarely have time to do a full face of make-up. I usually do what's necessary (in my case, concealer and powder, blush and lipgloss/lipstick) - I advise you all to find your "necessaries" - it really helps cut down on time when you don't have much to spare. Anyway, back to eyeshadow!

One's eyeshadow techniques can be simple or complicated, neutral and pretty or bright and dramatic. They can range from a single color of shadow (called a "wash" of color), up to four shadows at a time, or even more. There are several different types of eyeshadow options, but the most widely used are powders (pressed and loose, like MAC's pigments), cream-to-powders and creams. I prefer powders - cream and cream-to-powder shadows can be pretty, but difficult to apply with any precision and tend to crease easily. If you'd like to use a cream or cream-to-powder shadow, but would like it to have staying power, I would suggest you apply it first, as a base, and then layer a similarly-colored powder shadow over it. (A rule I learned in make-up school: "Apply all creams first - then powders.")

Though some suggest that shadows, especially creams, can be applied with one's fingers, I would suggest you always use an appropriate brush. For powders, a large, fluffy brush is appropriate - a flat one for applying to the lid, a pointier one for applying shadow to the crease. For creams or cream-to-powders, a less flexible brush, like one used to apply concealer, is better. Oh, and never, NEVER, use those little sponge-tipped applicator thingiest that come with the shadows. They suck - they apply the color in streaks and drag across your lids, which is bad - you don't need help creating wrinkles. When applying your shadow, wipe the flat side of the brush across the shadow, tap the excess powder from the brush and apply in long, even strokes. The size of your brush should match the size of the lid on which you're applying color. If you have a large eyelid area, you should use a wider brush, a smaller eyelid requires a smaller brush.

One color design: This design is the one known as the "wash" of color. It means that you apply a thin layer of soft color over the complete eye area, from lashes to brows. When applying a wash of color, take care not to leave any hard lines. It's nice to fade the color out as you move toward the brows.

Two color design: This is a common choice for many women and with good reason: it's quite easy to do and leaves you looking polished and natural. Start by choosing two shadows in the same color family, for instance, a deep chocolate brown and a lighter, taupe-y shade. You can choose to apply the lighter color on the lid and the darker color in the crease and up into the brow or vice-versa. I generally choose to put the darker color on the lid and up into the crease and then use the lighter color as a highlight under the brow. Another good option is to apply the lighter color over the entire eye area and then use the darker color in the crease. If you're a beginner at using eye shadow and want to make this easiest on yourself, I advise that you choose a very neutral color - pick two shades of brown, gray or even a plum.

Once you have the simplest designs down pat - the "wash" of color and the sophisticated two color design, you can "graduate" to three, four, or even more colors. That's when you get to have lots of fun!

Remember that soft, muted neutral colors (browns, grays, plums) give you the best chances of achieving a polished, sophisticated look. When using more than one color, make sure you use more than one brush for application - a flat one for applying to the lid and a pointier one for the crease. Before applying the colors, make sure you've put on a thin layer of concealer, foundation or powder, to give it something to "stick" to. And, of course, there are a few "don'ts". Don't wear too many colors - they can be way "too much" and look confusing, rather than attractive. Don't leave any hard edges - always blend well - there should be no stripes of color. Do not wear shiny eyeshadows - those that contain any glitter - if you have wrinkles around your eyes because glittery shadows exaggerate those lines.

Try these simple tips for achieving a lovely, soft daytime look. In the future, we'll talk about more dramatic options. Above all else - have fun ... it's just make-up!

Perfume-scented hugs and lipstick kisses,