Someone requested me on formspring to do an entry on basic eye-shadow brushes, but I thought why not take it to the next level and share with you girls what I have learned over the years about how to spot a good eye shadow, and how to apply it for the best effect. I am no expert here… This is mostly based on my personal experience.
IMHO, basic makeup does not need eye-shadow. Simply, because it takes some time and investment before a girl figures out what works for her. And buying a good quality eye-shadow can be super tricky! So before you make the purchase, always swatch the shadow and assess it based on following qualities:
- Dry – dry, hard eye-shadows will apply lightly and can be hard to build up. Most matte shadows have a dry, hard and powdery texture. It might be frustrating for a beginner. Example: M.A.C. matte series.
- Soft/Creamy – the softer the eye-shadow, the easier it is to apply. But at same time, the softer and creamier – it’s more likely to crease (move to the crease lines on you eye). They are easy to apply lightly, or build up to an opaque state. Example: M.A.C. Frost series.
- Liquid – eye-shadows in this form are hard blend out or mix, and come in a variety of converge: from super light, to extra opaque. But they usually have good durability and don’t crease much. Example: Maybelline Liquid Eyes Eye shadow.
- Matte – although makeup with matte finish is “in” right now, matte eye-shadows are not easy to work with. They tend to apply patchy, and so might not be a good choice for beginners.
- Satin/Velvet – a non intense sheen, not sparky. It’s almost matte, but with a softer finish. They are good choice for beginners, trying to achieve an elegant, every-day look. I do not know many eye-shadows of this quality, but I guess L’Oreal’s ColorAppeal TrioPro pallets were very close to this.
- Frosty/Pearly – such shadows have a strong sheen, that is not sparky. I think they tend to look elegant, and bring light to the eyes. Example: Too Face Insurance Policy eye-shadow collection.
- Shimmery – shimmery shadows have added bits of glitter, that add a bit of sparkle. Example: Maybelline Expertwear series, or Majolica Majorca quads.
- Glittery – the more glitter in the product, the more likely it will fall-out and “travel” around your face. As much as they look lovely in the pan, it’s best to avoid buying glittery eye-shadows. Example: M.A.C. “Back to Black” eye-shadow series, and most Urban Decay eye-shadows (added by Sarah)
- Low pigmentation – if you swipe your finger against the shadow few times, and the color intensity is bleak and hard to build up, then the product is to be considered as low in pigment. Such shadows apply lightly, and can be a good choice if you are afraid of “overdoing” your makeup.
- Medium pigmentation – if every time you swipe the shadow, the color intensity builds up, that is medium pigmentation. Such shadows can be blended out easily, and turned into every-day or evening looks.
- High pigmentation – if upon first touch the product gives you intense color, matching how it presents itself in the pan, that’s good sign that the producer did not skimp on pigment. However, as much as such eye-shadows have great “night-out makeup” appeal, they might be hard to convert into more subtle, every-day looks.
When it comes to texture, finish and pigmentation, all mixes are available. In example Za “Dramatic Eye” pallets are dry in texture, with a shimmery finish, and medium pigmentation. The worst combination is dry, hard texture with glittery finish – almost a 100% guarantee of fall-out. Best to look for a soft, bit dry texture, with a satin or shimmery finish, and medium pigmentation.
Good buys for a novice:
- Eye Shadow Insurance Policy Shadow collection – the pallet of 6 colors will let you test out many looks, and comes with a primer.
- M.A.C. – Veluxe Pearl and Frost eye-shadows
How to apply eye-shadows cheat-sheet:
Primers: there is a variety of primers available out there, but there are two that have captured the hearts of thousands of women – the Urban Decay Primer Potion, and Too Faced Shadow Insurance. I use the second one, and I am very satisfied with it. However, for oily lids, UD Primer Potion will probably work better.
Brushes: for basic makeup you will need two brushes – a flat eye-shadow brush, and a blending brush. I strongly recommend you get them at The Body Shop, as they have good quality and price (each costs about 20 SGD). It’s also a good idea to get a slanted brush for lining the eye, but it’s not necessary.
If you have any additional tips or bits of know-how, do share!