5 Tips to Step Up Your Eye Makeup Game

April 24th, 2013 By  |  18 Comments   

One thing I love about makeup is that there’s always something new to learn, especially when it comes to eye makeup.

Chatting with makeup artists and sales associates at counters, I feel like a makeup miner excavating new nuggets of gold, and every little pearl of wisdom further demystifies the art.

Whether you’re a beginner experimenting with eye makeup for the first time or a master of smokey eyes trying to perfect your technique, the following five tips may help step up your eye makeup game.

1. Check your lift

Here’s a tip to help you create the look of lifted, well-rested eyes — so useful after a night of tossing and turning (blast you insomnia!).

After applying concealer to your under-eye area, take the remaining product on your concealer brush, and run the brush head along the outer corners of your eyeshadow, following your natural lower lash line.

It cleans up the edges of your shadow, creating an illusion of elevated (read: less tired) eyes.

2. Try a bit o’ bronzer

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Give Me Sun (one of my favorite bronzers) and a MAC 217 Blending Brush

This is my favorite way to jazz up any eye look (but it works extra great with smokey eyes).

Load a fluffy, domed eye brush (I like the MAC 217) with your favorite bronzer, and sweep the brush head along the outermost edges of the eye shadow on your lids to blur the edges and deepen your look.

Oh, if you never wear bronzer and don’t have any around, you can also use blush.

3. Powder up!

Two of my tools for seamless blending: the Chanel’s Poudre Universelle Libre Natural Finish Loose Powder and a MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush

If you often struggle with blending, try dusting your lids with a layer of face powder first (or an eye shadow in a shade similar to your skin tone) before applying your main eye shadow.

The powder acts like a smoothing buffer for any eye shadows applied on top of it and makes it that much easier to build and buff those seamless gradients that transition from one shade to the next.

4. Snap a quick pic

Sometimes the quickest way to check how evenly I’ve applied my eyeshadow or liner is to take a snapshot with my camera phone.

It sounds silly, I know, but it works! For some reason, when I see my makeup in a pic (as opposed to just seeing it in a mirror), it’s easier to tell if one eye’s darker than the other, or if my shadow or liner are uneven, or if I need to tweak anything else to finish my eye look.

This one really comes in handy when I’m doing bold eye looks with bright colors, lots of complicated blending or winged-out liner.

5. Press on!

Ever notice how after you load your eye brush with shadow, and tap it against something to remove the excess, the shadow clings to some parts of the brush head more than others?

To distribute eye shadow more evenly across your brush head, take your loaded brush, and press it gently into your palm.

It distributes the product into and around the bristles better, so that when you bring the brush to your lids, your shadow applies more evenly.

It makes blending easier and saves time. I absolutely love this tip! I picked it up from an awesome Bobbi Brown makeup artist recently, and now I use it all the time.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


18 Comments + Add Comment

  • Your tips are amazing, Karen! Simply ingenious. Powdering up definitely helps to blend and taking a picture can pinpoint some mistakes that are difficult to spot in the mirror (ugh, I’ve had that happen on one embarrassing occasion…)

    • Hi Julia,

      Thank you! I’m glad you liked the post. Are you an eye makeup kinda girl? I love, LOVE it. It’s probably my fave part about makeup.

  • I definitely have to try that bronzer trick! I’m not an avid bronzer user but I do have some lying around. Can’t wait to see what magic it does!

    • Hi Sunny,

      It’s great, especially with brights. Try it with a green or blue on your lids. :)

  • Very helpful tips. And you look just gorgeous.

    • Hi KPrice,

      Thank you, friend! :) I’m glad you found these tips helpful. Thanks for popping over and leaving comment; I appreciate it. Enjoy the rest of your day!

  • These are all great tips! I’m looking forward to trying the bronzer tip!!

    • Hi Tiffany,

      Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed them. I hope that they’re helpful! The bronzer tip is one I use all the time. :)

  • Hi Karen!

    Thanks for the tips. I’ll put that concealer trick into action tomorrow!

    You look glorious in these pics – - – as usual!

    • Hi Kathy,

      You’re welcome. The concealer trick — I use it all the time! What’s really cool is that you can vary the angles to suit how lifted you want your eyes to look. :)

  • Love the concealer lift trick! I’m going to give that a try tomorrow! And the pressing of the brush into your palm is a great tip! Thanks for giving me 2 new additions to add to my bag o’ tricks! I used to hardly ever wear eyeshadow but I would smoosh the blush brush and sweep it into my crease after applying blush to my cheeks for a quick cheat of very natural looking color!

  • Thanks for the great tips! These were all new to me. I think the lifted eye concealer trick will be especially useful to me.

  • I never thought of doing some of this stuff. Thanks for the tips!

  • Great tips, Karen! I especially like the phone pic. After seeing pictures of me, taken by others, and thinking that my makeup wasn’t quite even, you’d think I would have realized that *I* should take the picture before leaving the house. :)

  • I really like the concealer trick to clean up the eyeshadow line.

  • Great tips, Karen! I still haven’t tried eye shadow. :( I’m too scared! You make it seem so easy :) One day….I will sit in a department store make up chair, and let the make up pro’s have their way with my eye lids, while schooling me.

  • I am once again, a major eye shadow girl, after being away from it for many years. I LOVE these tips, thank you so much for sharing!

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