How to Apply Eyeshadow Without Looking Like a Crazy Hooker

Hi, it's me again. Today we're going to talk about how to wear eyeshadow without looking like a crazy hooker in 5 steps. Specifically, you will learn how to do eyeshadow that is flattering every time on any eye shape whether it's subtle or dramatic and even if you think you are terrible at makeup. Seriously! First, I have to give credit to my genius idol/mentor Rae Morris for teaching me this method. Artists can be stingy with their trade secrets--Rae couldn't be more opposite. When I've worked with her I feel like she spends more time teaching me than I spend helping her, that's bananas in this industry. Anyway, let's get started!

How to Apply Eyeshadow Without Looking Like a Crazy Hooker:

If you really want to learn how to apply your makeup like a red carpet artist (which you CAN do by the way) you need to ask yourself a question. "Why am I doing this to my face? What is this step/technique supposed to do and how is it going to do it?" That was three questions, but basically you're asking "why?" 

Don't worry, I'm not a mean teacher, I'm going to tell you the answer. But I want you to get into that mindset for every step of your makeup. In the case of eyeshadow, we are putting it on to do 3 things: Lift the eyes like a sexy cat woman, define the eyes because eyeballs are pretty, and contour them to look youthful and lifted. 

Here is the first look--I'm also going to show (not step by step) a subtle look utilizing the techniques outlined below.

Let's be real, my eyeballs look foxy. 

Let's be real, my eyeballs look foxy. 

First I did one eye, so that you could see the difference, and also have a reference throughout the process of how things will come together.

Step 1. Prime the Eye.

You can use a primer if you have oily lids that crease heavily but otherwise, just apply a light layer of foundation to even out the skin tone, blot out any creases that form, then dust a translucent powder all over the lid anywhere eyeshadow could possibly go. Your lid should feel velvety soft. Prepping the eyes this way makes blending a friggin breeze. (powder blends with powder remember?)

Notice how much more lifted the finished eye appears?

Notice how much more lifted the finished eye appears?

Step 2. Set Your Parameters.

This method works for everyone's eye shape because it is based off of your face's geometry (I hope I didn't just scare half of you away with the word geometry.) I need you to have a little faith for a minute while this unfolds, because I promise it will all come together and make sense and everyone will be so happy! First, If you want your eyes to appear larger do this optical illusion, find the lowest point of your lower lash line, and apply your eyeshadow outward to the outer corner of the eye, but don't just follow the lash line, go almost straight out from the lowest point of the eye so that the shadow thickens as it goes like I've shown in the photo below. When you follow the lash line exactly, without thickening as you go, you're saying, "Hey everyone here is where my eye is, I've outlined it for you. It's exactly this big." But when you go straight out from the lowest point, like in the photo, you're saying, "Hey everyone, my eye is in this sort of area and I've disguised where it begins and ends to trick your brain into thinking it takes up a larger space." Probably don't say that though. Now, if you have narrow set eyes and want to make them appear more balanced, or normal eyes and want to look like extra cat woman (use caution if you have very wide set eyes) take that eyeshadow out past the outer corner of your eye a little bit, as I've done in the photo below. That multiple millimeter action is going to dictate the whole shape of your shadow! 

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TIP: Use good eyeshadow. It doesn't have to be expensive to be good, just soft and pigmented, lately I am LOOOVVVIIINGNGGG The Loreal La Palette Nude 1

Step 3. Define Your Eye.

With your eyes open looking straight forward, find the highest point of your upper lash line. And then, with your eyes open, take your eyeshadow, and apply it straight out to the outer corner of your eye, brushing right over that flap of skin crease we all love to hate. How far? Take it out to meet the angle of the corner of your nose to the corner of your eye. Remember that multiple millimeter cheat we did on the lower lash line a moment ago? Well when you did that, you said, "Actual corner of my eye, you are no longer the corner of my eye, I've decided it's where this eye shadow ends and that's that! Jeez!" You should probably be nicer to the corner of your eye. Anyway, just follow the dotted lines in the photo below and look at my shadow placement. What we've done is create a sort of triangle pointed out from the highest point of the eye. Why? Because if we keep our eyeshadow level with the highest point of the eye or above (as you can see here I went a little above the line for a more dramatic eyeshadow look) then we are LIFTING the shape of the eye. If you don't pay attention and just apply your eyeshadow with your eyes closed in that sort of circular c shape in the crease like we're so often told to do, you're most likely drooping and aging your eye shape because 1. when you open your eye, much of what you applied in your crease gets folded up and does a vanishing act, leaving a very low and darkened space in the crease area, which makes the brow bone area look very puffy and prominent (which happens with age anyway, we don't need to assist the process) and 2. the shape of the shadow follows your natural crease on that downward angle so everything droops.

*Keep in mind that you don't need to keep your eyes open the entire time you apply the shadow in this defining structure. You need to have them open to see where to apply, but if it's difficult or awkward you can close your eye as you put on the shadow, just open your eye frequently to see the placement.

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Here you can see how it looks with your eye closed, because I applied it with my eye open, it looks crazy. That's okay!

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Step 4. Fill In & Blend

Now that we have our shape in place, it's time for the fun part. Take your eyeshadow and fill in that weirdness from applying with your eyes open, and then blend all the edges with a clean eyeshadow brush. And while you're at it, make like a Katelyn and leave. Wait, no, make like a Katelyn and add in a lighter shade around the edges of your shadow to form a nice gradient, like I did with this pretty matte taupe color.

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Notice how we're still keeping everything on that angle of corner of the nose to corner of the eye?

Notice how we're still keeping everything on that angle of corner of the nose to corner of the eye?

Step 5. Add Pretty Colors!

The hard part is over, you made it! Now we have lots of artistic license. For this look I chose to add a soft shimmery gold to my lid and lower inner corner because gold really brings out my captivating like the ocean blue/green peepers. I also added a VERY subtle and sheer dusting of the gold all around the perimeter of the shadow to make everything feel cohesive and blended, being mindful not to apply too much shimmer on the brow bone area, which would bring that area forward more and be counterproductive since I just spent all this time making it appear to have a nice youthful gradual contoured recession. I also added brown liner to the inner rim of my eye and a little on the top along the lash line and the bottom on the outer corner. Then I took a soft shimmery pinky highlight shade and applied it JUST along the eyebrow, literally, not all over the brow bone, just along the brow itself to make it pop, and on the inner corner of my eye. I curled my super sad lashes and applied some mascara, and woohoo! Pretty, lifted, cat woman eyeballs.

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Using the same principles and shapes, here is a more natural variation:

See how much lift and definition you can achieve with such a small amount of makeup when it's placed correctly!

See how much lift and definition you can achieve with such a small amount of makeup when it's placed correctly!

See if you can find the shapes we talked about in the step by step instructions in this more subtle version. Here I applied a taupe color in the defining shape from step 3. then added some brown shadow to the outer half of the upper and lower lash line, a little soft shimmery pink highlight to the lid and inner corner and mascara. It took all of 5 minutes. 

Tips & Recommendations for At-Home Execution:

  • Practice makes perfect, don't be surprised if it takes a few tries to get the hang of it. Put on some music you love and play the world's most fun and also sad game, alone grown-up dress up. 

  • The right tools make all the difference. Alone grown-up dress up will not be a fun game if you have terrible or no brushes with which to play. I'm not going to lie to you because I'm your friend, the best brushes are expensive. Rae Morris's collection are my favorite and they are straight from makeup heaven. However, there are good brushes that are cheap. Eco Tools make some, ELF makes some, Sonia Kashuk makes some. Look for eyeshadow brushes that are soft and have some shape, preferably that come to a rounded point. If you have smallish eyes like me, using a big shapeless shadow brush makes applying eyeshadow with any structure almost impossible. The EcoTools Eye Enhancing Duo Set is probably a good place to start, it's rounded brush is good for applying all over color and using clean to buff out and blend edges, and the flatter one can be used sideways to apply skinnier/more detailed shadow. The little end can apply detail colors like on the inner corners, and the angled bit can apply along the lash line or be used for brows.

  • You don't have to do everything in the order I did here. You can apply your lighter shadows first, or you can do the top lid shadow first and then go to the bottom lash line area, I just find this order is best for explanation.

The End.

If you have questions, you can always comment here, or ask me on twitter @KGallowayMakeup, Instagram KatelynRachelGalloway, or Facebook Katelyn R. Galloway. Let's all congratulate Ms. Savannah our winner from last week's giveaway! Thanks for subscribing and sharing! Enjoy your goodies!