5 Minutes reading time
YouTube tutorials have their viewing times next to the links
You might not have thought that there’s so much to eyeshadow application, but this is barely the tip of the eyeshadow iceberg. If you take anything away from this post it should be: the importance of a quality blending brush (or two), blending, you don’t need a thousand palettes to create a classic look, and blending some more.
The Slice: Eyeshadow part 2- Tools, Tips and Tutorials:
In this slice I’m giving you the run down of some of my recommended brushes, tips for application and a light intro to some basic YouTube tutorials.
If you ever looked on any beauty section you would see an overwhelming array of brush types available, so I’m going to break it down to the three essential brush types that I started out with.
A Precision Shadow Brush
e.g. the MAC 239 Shader Brush– £21.00 from MAC, or plenty of alternatives here at Cult Beauty
I like a slightly domed, soft but densely packed bristle shadow brush like the above mostly for packing colour on to the lid. You can also use this type of brush forfor blending colour close to the lash lines with the edges, applying precision colour to the crease or outer V to later be blended out, or even for applying your concealer.
A Blending Brush
e.g. the NYX Blending Brush – £8.50 from Boots
Opening the door of shadow blending brushes is like entering makeup Narnia.If you want to look around to try and find the perfect blending brush for you then you can check out Cult Beauty or Beauty Bay where they have a ridiculously large selection of blending brushes of varying tapers, densities, shapes and sizes.
There’s a chance that you’ve seen the MAC 217 brush at least somewhere, but honestly I think that Real Techniques Base Shadow brush is so much softer and blends just as well, despite being slightly more tapered than the 217, and you can purchase at a fraction of the cost if you buy it in a set.
Blending brushes are so incredibly versatile that I would recommend buying two or three different blending brush types if your main eyeshadow aim is to create a blended shadow look, even if you only have a few varying shades. I use mine for either applying a light layer of shadow across the whole lid, blending various colours together from lid, crease to outer V, buffing out shadow under the lower lash line and even using a clean blending brush for buffing out pin pointed concealer.
A Smudge or Pencil Brush
e.g. the Zoeva Smudge Brush – £8.99 from Cult Beauty
e.g. the Sigma E30 Pencil Brush – £12.00 from Beauty Bay
Rather than have two separate sections for both type of brush, I’ve put them together because these brushes aren’t essentials, per se, but rather suggestions depending on the eye look you’re trying to perfect.
A smudge brush is perfect for creating depth to your smokey eye look and can really help apply and blend out shadow very closely to your upper or lower lash lines. The bristles are short and stiff, so it means more precision to your application and will pick up a heavier amount of product on the bristles. The ultimate brush if you are a fan of a well blended smokey eye. A clean smudge brush is also a good tool for nose contouring, but we’ll get to that in another post.
A pencil brush also allows precision, but almost like a smaller and more tapered version of a fluffy brush. Generally less densely packed than a smudge brush but more than a blending brush, and more pointed (hence the pencil name) than a fluffy blending brush. A pencil brush is great for even lighter blending of the lower lash line, applying colour to create a cut crease, or applying highlight to the inner corner of the eye with precision.
Need more advice?
Pinterest has an abundance of really useful infographics like this one, that break down the brush types and their uses.
Some tips I would suggest for great application:
Tap off the excess
As soon as you’ve got product on to your brush TAP IT OFF. Don’t blow it off (bacteria), tap the brush handle against a solid edge or lightly brush some product off on to the back of your hand, but ideally don’t apply yet unless you definitely know you’ve got the right amount of product on your brush. By tapping off the excess product you’re going to prevent fallout (y’know where you get the product on your cheek, then have to swipe it off and it’s stuck to your foundation and.. just no) and you’ll start your look with a nice, light amount.
Let the brush do the work!
Using a very light hand and holding your brush at the bottom third of the handle will allow you to let the brush take over and blend for you. If you’ve been struggling to blend out your shadow, just take a moment to think about how you’ve been holding your brush and if you let your hand control the motion, rather than letting your hand gently guide and direct the motion.
Hold your mirror at different angles
By looking into your mirror at different angles and heights whilst blending your shadow you will be inadvertently helping different bristles and areas of the brush to do the blending. Just remember to keep a light hand.
Blend. Blend. Keep blending.
Sometimes you’ll think you’re going to get a repetitive strain injury with how much your fingers keep working in the same “windscreen wiper” or small circular motions, but it will be worth it. Again, keep that hand light and let the brush do the work, because if you go too heavy with the brush you might notice sensitivity on your lid.
You can add, but you can’t take away
Well, you can take away and start again, but who really has the time? The best thing you can learn about applying a good eyeshadow look is the same as the tool technique: go lightly. This means you can build the shadow up slowly, and you will be blending at a much better standard than if you go in too heavily and try to blend too much too soon.
This infographic shows you four classic eye looks using no more than three to four shadows, and this shows you why drugstores have so many 3-5 shadow palettes available.
Eyeshadow tutorials on YouTube are just as vast as finding the perfect blending brush. I’ve selected two basics/beginner tutorials and one Dos and Don’ts that I quite like, but honestly you can find any type of eyeshadow tutorial on YouTube. If you have a specific palette that you love using, just search “X palette tutorial” and guaranteed there will be tutorials available. If you’re looking for a soft smokey eye, there are 766,000 results?!
How to Apply Eyeshadow Perfectly (Beginner Friendly Hacks) – 3 minutes watching time
A super quick introduction into well blended eyeshadow.
Beginner Eye Makeup Tips & Tricks – 4 minutes watching time
Another great beginners video which sums up absolutely everything in this post but in a video form.
Eyeshadow Do’s and Don’ts – 7 minutes watching time
A more glam eye look is created by the end of this video, so this is great if you’re more experienced with eyeshadows, but also shows some important Do’s and Don’ts for a beginner to be aware of.
Yes, there’s a lot to digest from this post to the last but I hope it was insightful if you are a beginner or even someone who was just looking for a technique update and reminder.
Let me know if you have any specific cravings for future eye look posts, and for now I’ll hopefully see you BROWsing my next post. (…get it?)