How to Apply Eyeshadow: A Refresher Course (Plus, Top Products to Try!)

by | Updated: December 21st, 2021 | Read time: 3 minutes

Want to make your peepers pop? We’ve got you—and the windows to your soul–completely covered! Take a look (see what we did there?) at this primer on one of the most impactful tools in any beauty regimen: eyeshadow.

Concept of How to Apply Eyeshadow Represented by Colorful Palette and Eye Makeup Brush |

Types of eyeshadow and finishes 

Following are some common varieties of eyeshadow:

  • Pressed eyeshadow. Perhaps the most common type, pressed eyeshadow blends easily and neatly.
  • Loose eyeshadow. This type of shadow typically contains the most pigment. However, it can be slightly trickier/messier to work with than pressed shadow.
  • Cream eyeshadow. This eyeshadow type is ideal as a base coat or for those seeking simple, single-shade coverage.
  • Liquid eyeshadow. Slightly thinner than cream shadow, quick-drying liquid eyeshadow typically glides on smoother than the powder variety.

Eyeshadow is also available in several finishes:

  • Matte eyeshadow. As its name implies, matte shadow has a flat color. Its intensity can range from sheer to highly pigmented.
  • Satin eyeshadow. Much like satin, for which it’s named, this subtle shadow finish features a slight sheen.
  • Shimmer eyeshadow. This soft, blendable eyeshadow finish contains fine glitter, which gives eyes a shimmery appearance.
  • Glitter eyeshadow. Although the amount of glitter can vary, this finish contains more glitter than the shimmer variety, for a vibrant, showstopping effect.
  • Metallic eyeshadow. This eyeshadow finish is similar to shimmer shadow in performance, but it has a shiny, metallic appearance instead of a sparkly one.

How to apply eyeshadow

Following are some quick tips for applying eyeshadow:

  • Different shades of shadow can be applied to your eyelid, crease, brow bone and the corner of your eye. A basic guideline: apply the lightest shade to your brow bone, the second lightest shade to your eyelid, the next lightest shade to your crease and the darkest shade to the outer corner of your eye. For further instruction, check out one of the many tutorials available online.
  • Use the proper tools. While your fingers can work in a pinch, consider investing in an angled brush, a basic brush, a blending brush and a crease brush.
  • Prime your lids to help increase your shadow’s staying powder and prevent creasing.
  • Apply using small dabbing and patting motions for a more even, pigmented layer of shadow.
  • Choose shadow shades that enhance your eyes:
    • Blue eyes: think silvers and grays
    • Brown eyes: try bronze, green, blue and purple shades
    • Green or hazel eyes: consider using neutral pinks and taupes
    • Gray eyes: go for icy blue and silver shades
  • There really are no set rules, so have fun and experiment with techniques, types, shades and finishes that appeal to you!

5 natural eyeshadows to try 

High-quality eyeshadows glide on evenly, are easy to blend and last through the day without irritating your eyes and surrounding skin. Check out some of our favorite product picks:

Gabriel Eyeshadow in Dove

This easy-to-blend matte shadow glides on “smoothly and evenly for rich, long-lasting color that will not crease or fade.” It features a complimentary mix of warm and cool tones!

Gabriel Eyeshadow Dove |

Honeybee Gardens PowderColors Stackable Mineral Color in Chai

Whether you’re seeking a natural look of a glamorous one, this creamy coffee-colored shadow is the perfect pick! Ideal for those with sensitive skin, it boasts “a blend of pure, uncoated mineral pigments and oxidized mica, free from unnecessary fillers and preservatives.”

Honeybee Gardens PowderColors Stackable Mineral Color Chai |

Honeybee Gardens Refillable Eye Shadow Palette in Nude Renaissance

 This gluten-, paraben- and cruelty-free palette features six “expertly crafted neutral shades that go beyond beige to compliment any skin tone effortlessly.” Plus, the reusable, magnetic pan makes it easy to replace your favorite colors!

Honeybee Gardens Eye Shadow Palette Nude Renaissance Refillable |

Mineral Fusion Eye Shadow Trio in Jaded

This hypoallergenic, mineral-based eyeshadow palette boasts soothing botanicals and age-defying antioxidants. Its “color-coordinated trio of richly pigmented crease-resistant shades” can be applied individually or used together to enhance your eyes.

Mineral Fusion Eye Shadow Trio Jaded |

Ecco Bella FlowerColor Natural Eyeshadow Refill in Sapphire

This must-try shadow is enriched with flower wax, which prevents “moisture from migrating from the skin, helping colors to glide on smooth and stay true throughout the day.” Plus, it’s a great choice for a dramatic, smoky evening look!

Ecco Bella FlowerColor Natural Eyeshadow Refill Sapphire |