How to Apply Eyeshadow : The basics

E.L.F Eyeshadow Trio in Neutral

E.L.F Eyeshadow Trio in Neutral

The eyes are the windows to the soul, and the lids are the curtains that frame it. Eyeshadows are often the most creative and integral part of many makeup routines. With hundreds of colors and shades to choose from, it’s one of the few areas of your face that provide a splash of color to your everyday look without looking like you’re attending a halloween party. Learning how to apply eyeshadow is a skill that must be honed by learning the basics.

Essentially, you only need a 3-color eyeshadow palette for simple, everyday looks–a light shade, medium shade, and dark shade. Many brands release eyeshadow palettes in 3 or more colors, so you don’t have to worry about choosing a color palette when you first start.

The light shade will be used as a highlighter, particularly in the brow bone and the inner corner of the eye. You can use white, off-white or a lighter shade than your medium shade.

The medium shade will serve as the base color for the palette.

The dark shade will allow you to contour the edges and creases of your eyes.


How to apply eyeshadow.

BASE. Apply your foundation and base make up first (How to Apply Makeup: Foundation). Make sure to even out the color of your lids so you’ll have a blank canvas to paint on later.

PRIME. Prime your lids with eyeshadow primer. Primer helps keep your eyeshadow on, eases the application, and makes the colors more vibrant.

Urban Decay Primer Potion is one of the best primers i’ve used. It keeps my eyeshadow on the whole day and the colors come out beautifully.


How to apply eyeshadow

1. BLUE. First apply the medium shade into the area encircled by the blue lines. This sets the base color and tone for your overall look. Use your fingers or a blending brush to smoothen out the edges so that there are no harsh lines. DO NOT blend it all the way to your browbone.

2. PINK. Apply the dark shade to the outer corner of your upper lid. Blend it so that it takes 1/4-1/3 your eye on the outer edge. Carefully bring the color up along your crease. Soften up the lines on the outer edge and where the colors meet.

Apply a light coat of your dark shadow to your bottom lid, close to the lash line

It’s good to start light and slowly build up the color. It’s easier to add color than it is to remove it.

3. ORANGE. Time to highlight your eyes! Take the light color and brush it against your brow bone then blend. Apply some on the inner corners of your eyes and a little on your lower lid to brighten them up and make them appear larger. Blend any harsh lines away.

If your light shade is shimmery, you can also apply it to the middle of your eyelid for a more eye-catching look. Look straight ahead, then apply the light shimmer color right above the area your iris is. Blend.


If you’ve noticed, they key to great eye makeup is blending and practice! Take some of your off days to practice different looks so you can find which you like best and invest in a blending brush. Blending brushes allow you to have more control over how the eyeshadow will blend.


That’s it! I hope you can use my how to apply eyeshadow diagram to help you create beautiful looks from your eyeshadow palettes. Remember that these are just the basics to help you learn to apply eyeshadow. Be creative and explore the many different ways to create new and exciting looks for yourself!

4 Responses to “How to Apply Eyeshadow : The basics”

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  1. Kara says:

    Just curious if you had any clue as to the names of these shadows. I had the trio at one point and can’t seem to find it and as far as I know, they no longer sell it, so I was hoping to buy them single.

    • Sofia Hu says:

      Hi! I’m not very sure of the tints, but from comparing the images of the Single Eyeshadows on the E.L.F. site, the light color is sand dollar, the medium color looks close to Wild Wheat and the dark one looks more like Saddle :)

      To be sure, you can buy their Beauty Book in Neutral for $5.00 since it has similar colors + more so you can play around with your looks.

      If that’s too much, I’d suggest getting their Essentials Duo Eyeshadow in Butter Pecan ($1.00) or Essentials Brightening Color in Butternut for other nice neutral colors.

  2. Tania says:

    This helped me a lot and i went out and came back home with a lot of great comments thank you so much whoever made this website great keep it up ;P

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