How to Apply Eyeshadow

By Ellie Child - 2 years ago | Updated
eyeshadow on newspapar

Until very recently, I didn’t dare branch outside of my classic bronzed smoky eye – it’s all I’ve known since I was the tender age of 16. However, a late night session of browsing YouTube makeup tutorials taught me just how many styles there are when it comes to eyeshadow application.

With drag queens dominating the scene with their inventive and applaudable makeup skills (seriously, how does anyone even cut a crease that sharp?), men and women alike are stepping up their beauty game in an attempt to achieve bigger and better looks.

But if, like me, you’re feeling a little uninspired with your current style, give our little guide a scan over and discover the many ways of how to apply eyeshadow, all with a little help from some of the best YouTube beauty gurus.

1. Smokey Eye Tutorial

Let’s start off with a staple look: the much-loved smoky eye. The trick with this is to blend, blend, blend – and nobody does that better than Lisa Eldridge. Give her super quick video a watch to accomplish the perfect smoky eye in seconds. Ideally, you should be using darker hues to create an impactful finish: think emerald greens, pigmented bronzes and shady blacks.

Morphe 9w Smoke & Shadow Artistry Palette

Morphe 9w Smoke & Shadow Artistry Palette

£9.88 £13.00 (24% off)

Building up a smoky eye has never been easier with this ‘does it all’ eyeshadow palette. Ideal for creating a show-stopping look, this palette boasts a range of dark and smoky hues to nail this sultry style.

2. Cat Eye Tutorial

Beauty guru Brianna Fox has really stolen the show when it comes to creating the perfect eyeshadow cat eye. This softer rendition of the bold cat eye uses eyeshadow and a whole lotta blending to create a subtle eye-defining look. Get your hands on a brown-toned palette, ASAP.

delilah Colour Intense Eyeshadow Palette

delilah Colour Intense Eyeshadow Palette


Ideal for recreating this look, the delilah Colour Intense Eyeshadow Palette creates a matte base that easily blends out. Better still, it comes in a variety of light to dark toned shades, meaning you’re in charge of the intensity.

3. Cut Crease Tutorial

When YouTuber Michael Finch speaks, we listen. Here, Michael teaches the masses how to perform the much-feared cut crease look. Ideal for that girls’ night out, a strong cut crease can command the attention of others, giving you eyes to remember. It works by defining your eye socket, leaving you with a dramatic, eye-brightening finish.

Milani Conceal & Perfect Long Wear Concealer - Light Nude

Milani Conceal & Perfect Long Wear Concealer

£11.87 £13.96 (15% off)

Easily achieve that lighter base with this high coverage concealer from Milani. Its brush head allows for super easy application and prime definition – meaning minimal makeup mishaps.

4. Halo Tutorial

Wanting to channel your inner angel? Summon her with this angelic eyeshadow look for dazzlingly bright eyes. Here, An Knook goes IN with the bright pigments for a very dramatic look, but obviously this can be customised with more muted colours for those of you that aren’t quite ready to make the plunge.

Bellamianta Magma Fusion Eyeshadow Pot

Bellamianta Magma Fusion Eyeshadow Pot

£7.50 £15.00 (50% off)

To achieve that mystical glow, try using the lighter shades of the Magma Fusion range. These cream eyeshadow pots pop with pure light reflecting particles to seriously define that halo effect.

5. Gradient Tutorial

Okay, so this one is pretty similar to the original smoky eye but with a softer, more gradual approach. Basically, you start with a lighter colour on the inner corner and blend out to a darker, more pigmented colour. But no one explains this better than beauty YouTuber Angela Bright, who puts a bright and fun twist on the look.

Morphe X Nyane Fierce Fairytale Artistry Palette

Morphe X Nyane Fierce Fairytale Artistry Palette

£26.55 £29.00 (9% off)

If you don't already own this cult-status palette then this can be your excuse to upgrade your kit. Containing a mix of matte and shimmer shades, the palette allows for the perfect gradient eyeshadow that can be worn neutral for a day look or vamped up for a night out on the town.

6. Matte Tutorial

Sure, this may sound like a plain 'n' simple technique, but mastering the art of fine blending is required to make this style look professional (and not like you've just randomly swatched an eyeshadow shade on your top lid). Luckily, our pal Jackie Aina is here to show us just how it's done. This one will go down especially well with those obsessed with that renowned 'Barbie pink' colour.

NARS Cosmetics Single Eyeshadow - Fatale

NARS Cosmetics Single Eyeshadow


Of course we had to feature a NARS eyeshadow in here somewhere - the brand is synonymous with professionalism! This small, single eyeshadow is the perfect shade of pink to recreate Jackie Aina's matte look.

7. Glitter Tutorial

We've featured an all-matte look, so now it's time to visit the other end of the spectrum. That's right, it's time to get creative with some chunky glitter. Sure, you could use a basic pressed shimmer shade to achieve a glitzy eye...or you could get a little messy with some loose glitter pigments. Katie Michaelis, take it away girl.

Illamasqua Iconic Chromes

Illamasqua Iconic Chromes


Getting that unparalleled shine has never been so easy with this little pot of gold dust by your side. With a range of different colours to choose from, you can really dress up any eyeshadow look or add it to your cut crease for that extra wow-factor.

8. Graphic Eye Tutorial

You're going to need a really steady hand for this one...(and patience, lots and lots of patience). If you're ready to step up your eyeshadow game, why not introduce some liners or wet brushes into the mix to really set your style apart?

Sleek MakeUP Lucid Dreams Eyeshadow Palette

Sleek MakeUP Lucid Dreams Eyeshadow Palette

£12.95 £12.99 (1% off)

This iconic palette is an absolute essential for all eyeshadow enthusiasts. With over 18 shades to mix and match, you too can play around and create that 'blue skies' look that Nikki so effortlessly created. Happy blending!

9. Liquid Eyeshadow Tutorial

For those of you that are unfamiliar with liquid eyeshadows, don't worry, it's actually way easier than applying traditional powders. You'll still need a fluffy blending brush, but your fingertip can also work for a super-easy application. We'll let Kalei Lagunero explain the rest.

Stila Shimmer & Glow Eyeshadow - Smoky Quartz

Stila Shimmer & Glow Eyeshadow

£18.92 £25.22 (25% off)

Calling lovers of all things glitter: this one's for you. This cult-followed formulation is the go-to liquid eyeshadow for beauty fanatics everywhere due to its high pigmentation and flawless application.

Now you've nailed your eyeshadow, why not find out about the 9 Lengthening Mascaras that Actually Work?

Or, if you're still having fun, take a look at our ultimate guide to eyeshadow and carry on reading below for our go-to FAQ section on eyeshadow palettes.

Eyeshadow Palettes FAQs

What eyeshadow palettes are best for my eye colour?

When searching for the best eyeshadow palettes for your eye colour, remember it's important to have fun experimenting with different shades to see which suit your skin tone and your personal style. We recommend blue eyes try orange hues with anything gold to make your light eyes pop. For brown eyes, we recommend purple tones with teal and copper accents for something fun and flirty. And for hazel eyes why not try washes of greens and plums to make your peepers stand out?

Here at Cosmetify, we have a range of some of the best eyeshadow palettes for every eye colour. Take a look at must-have palettes from the best in the biz, including Lime Crime, Too Faced, Morphe and more.

What are the best eyeshadow palettes for beginners?

When you're testing the waters with eyeshadow palettes it can be a daunting prospect with so many beautiful ones to choose from. For the ultimate beginneer though, we recommend going for eyeshadow palettes with fewer shade options as these are a basically a cheat sheet to easy, full eye looks. Sometimes too much choice can be off putting, so stick to palettes with a colour theme and simply mix and match all the shades to get a quick, glamourous makeup look.

Popular choices come from leading brand like Charlotte Tilbury, Urban Decay, Clinique and Huda Beauty. These brands offer palettes with four, six and eight colours which all complement one another. When you're ready and feel more confident step up your beauty game with larger palettes.

Where can I get the right nude eyeshadow palette for my skin tone?

Take a look through our extensive collection here at Cosmetify to find the perfect palette for your skin tone. With a range to choose from, there's a nude eyeshadow palette to suit every complexion and every eye colour. Simple use our handy drop-down filters to refine your search by colour, coverage, finish and brand. Browse through popular choices, such as Anastasia Beverly Hills, Morphe, Makeup Obsession and Natasha Denona.

Finding the right palette for your skin tone is all about testing out new, fun products and seeing which fit your style. Sometimes it takes some buffing and blending to find the best nude tones for you.

Is it safe to use glitter eyeshadow palettes?

Glitter eyeshadow palettes use cosmetic grade glitter, which is safe to use on your eyelids. This is different to craft glitter or glitter made specially for your body. If you have extra sensitive peepers look out for ophthalmologist tested beauty products. Also keep an eye out for dermatologically tested or hypoallergenic formulas, as these are all meant to keep your skin and your eyes free from irritations. Be sure to always patch test new products as well if you suffer from sensitive skin.

To avoid any problems be sure to always remove all eyeshadows and glitters with a sensitive eye makeup remover that doesn't pull or tug at the precious skin in the eye contour area.

Are you allowed to bring eyeshadow palettes on a plane?

Obviously, we recommend checking with individual airlines, but as long as your eyeshadow palettes are powder you should be fine. However, if they are either a liquid or gel they must be 100ml or less and be in a clear plastic bag to take through your security check in.

Before heading on any flight always check what you can or cannot take as you don't want to have to leave your precious makeup bag behind at the airport. At Cosmetify, we love finding the the best travel-sized and mini goodies to take on our holidays.

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Ellie Child

Written by Ellie Child

With five years’ experience under her belt, Ellie has worked alongside a range of highly regarded makeup artists, giving her a real insight into what consumers should be spending their money on.

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