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Home » How to Apply Eyeshadow (Fox Eye, Classic, and Highlight)

How to Apply Eyeshadow (Fox Eye, Classic, and Highlight)

You can easily sweep a pop of color across your lids, but is that the right way to apply eyeshadow? There is more to just painting on a color you like; there are different factors to consider, such as the shape of your eye and the brush you should use.

We’re going to help you achieve that flawless look by giving you a few tips, from what makeup brushes you should use to use to the technique required for perfect eyeshadow.

Makeup Brushes

Makeup brushes

Let’s start by talking about the makeup brushes you should invest in. Some people do great work with their fingers, but for sanitary reasons and effects, we suggest some good makeup brushes.

Look for soft brushes; synthetic brushes work very well. You may also have seen brush sets ready for purchase because a good eyeshadow dusting can’t be done with only one brush.

To achieve a professional look worthy of an approving nod from an MUA, you need contour and shading brushes, and more. If you already have the right brushes, then let’s dive right into the application.

How to Apply Eyeshadow Step-by-Step

1. Priming

Make-up artist applying bright base color eyeshadow on model's eye and holding a shell with eyeshadow on background, close up

Before you even think about the beautiful hues to use, you need to get your lid ready for application. You do this by priming your eyelid. A primer helps your eyeshadow stay on, and hopefully, it will reduce the chances of crease lines appearing.

You can prime with a makeup brush, a Q-tip, or your finger if you wish, since there isn’t any shading involved.

Sweep the primer across your entire lid. After this step, you will notice a big difference at the end of the day. Your eye makeup will still look fresh, even in humid and wet temperatures.

2. Base Color

Close up of the eyeshadow palette

Why do even the most basic eyeshadow palettes come with so many colors? Eyeshadows are meant to be blended, and your eyelid serves as a blank canvas. To start, you need to choose a neutral color (shades of beige to brown) across your lid.

Depending on your skin tone, you may end up with a lighter or darker shade. For nighttime looks – and for a more obvious effect – you can go for a darker shade. Try not to opt for a base shade that has shimmer. Go for a mattifying shade to reduce the glossy look.

This step is important because applying a neutral base will help even out uneven skin tones and spots. You will also find your eyeshadow will be easier to mix and blend. Use a medium shadow brush for this step (or your finger if you prefer).

3. Go from Dark to Light

Make-up artist putting eye shadow on an African woman. in a beauty center.. Beauty and Aesthetic concepts.

The next step is the color. To create contour and a dimensional effect, we suggest applying a darker color to the crease part of your eyelid. Use a crease brush for this, as your finger will definitely not be thin enough to create this effect.

The eyeshadow should also taper as you go towards the inner corner of your eye and get thicker as you extend it out. Choose the color that is the darkest or second darkest (depending on the effect you want to go for) in the family of shades you want to use.

This step adds more definition and layers to your shading and eyeshadow blending.

4. Highlight

Makeup Artist applies Eye Shadow. Beautiful Woman Face. Perfect Makeup. Make-up detail. Beauty Girl with Perfect Skin. Nails and Manicure. Eye Shadow Palette

This is where you use a lighter color and add it to your overall look. The hue you choose should complement your crease color (unless you’re going for costume makeup, special events, etc.). We would recommend going with the lightest or second lightest in your palette (shimmery shades can be used here).

Apply it above your crease with some parts of it blending into the darker crease color. Use an eyeshadow blending brush as blending is one of the most important techniques when it comes to eyeshadow application.

Two colors are generally enough, but some love the blending effect and want to go for a more seamless ombre gradient. You can add another color (even lighter) on top of this shade. If you plan on using three colors, then we would suggest the one you use for the second color isn’t the lightest but a mid-range shade.

5. Rimming Your Lash Line

Makeup Artist Applies Eye shadow. Beautiful Woman Face. Perfect Makeup. Makeup detail. Beauty girl with Perfect skin. Nails and Manicure

You don’t need to do this step, but it will enhance your eyes and give your lashes a fuller look.

Use a harder, short-bristled brush and the darkest shade of eyeshadow. Line your eyes along the lash line on the top and bottom of your eye. This is similar to what you would do with eyeliner.

You can choose to only line the top or the bottom, depending on what you’re going for.

White eyeliner on the waterline can really open up your eyes; you can try it with eyeshadow as well.

6. Highlighting Your Brow

Beautiful brunette woman paints the eyebrows. Beautiful woman face. Makeup detail. Beauty girl with perfect skin

This is also a step you don’t necessarily need to do, but it will lift your eyes if you add a shimmery shadow to your brow bone (located under your eyebrow).

7. The Corners

Makeup Artist applies Eye Shadow. Beautiful Woman Face. Perfect Makeup. Make-up detail. Beauty Girl with Perfect Skin. Nails and Manicure. Eye Shadow Palette

To really open up your eyes and give your peepers a brighter look, highlight the inside corners of your eyes with light shade. This can be shimmery and add to the effect. It can really give you a brighter complexion and is a great trick if you’re especially tired or would like to impress.

You should use your pinky for this, as there is more control over the force and amount of eyeshadow applied.


As you can see, you don’t need a whole makeup box full of brushes to achieve the perfect look. Just 2-3 and your trusted finger together are capable of producing a wide range of dramatic, simple, or everyday looks.

Now that you know the basic techniques and what area to apply certain shades of shadows, feel free to play around with different color combinations to create your own unique looks for different occasions. Just remember to prime your eyelid well and blend the colors evenly.

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