How to Apply Eye Make-up

The eye makeup I wear most days is comprised of a bunch of shimmery neutral colors, and while there are a lot of steps involved, it’s actually a pretty quick routine. I’ve taken some pictures so I can take you through it step by step. (I had no idea taking pictures of your own eye would be so tricky!)

Here is my eye, no makeup. My lids are a bit hooded, (see how the skin rests on my eyelid so not a lot of lid is visible) so the makeup I place on my eyelid doesn’t show as much as it does on people with more lid space.

A close up shot of an eye wearing no make-up.

This is the Naked Palette by Urban Decay. It came with the brush and primer. You can pry it from my cold, dead fingers.

Urban Decay Naked Palette eye make-up collection.

I start eye makeup with an eyeshadow primer  unless I already put primer all over my face including my eyelids. This primer dried clear, but some of them are tinted.

After primer, I put a shimmery champagne or pale pink all over my eyelid and brow bone.

*  a note on color choice: The colors I use will look different on different skin tones, so you might prefer darker colors or colors with more yellow in them to suit your complexion.

I then use a highlight color. (for me a shimmery white, but if you have a lot of gold undertones or darker skin, a shimmery yellow or light gold would look nice)  I put the highlight under the arch of my eyebrow and in the inner corner of my eye. Putting a highlight in the inner corner makes my close set eyes look more evenly spaced and it makes me look more wide eyed and awake.

If you want to, you can mark the crease of your eyelid or just above the crease before coloring in the eyelid. This helps you make sure both eyes are even and if you’re creating a new crease, you can make sure you like how it looks before filling in the rest of your eyelid.

Add some medium neutral shades to your eyelid. I usually use two shimmery ones, using the lighter one on the inside half and the darker one on the outer half.

The next step is to create a V shape on the outer half of the eyelid with a dark color. If you want a more dramatic effect you can create the V in black or with a bright color.

Check and see how it looks with your eye open.

If you want to blend the colors more, take a small fluffy brush with no product on it and dust it over your lid. If you want to town down the colors, use a little translucent powder on the brush.

Finish off the look with some eyeliner and mascara. I like to line my lower water line with white to make my eyes look bigger and I use a gel liner with a slanted brush on the top.

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Brittany - 24 - NJ. I have a lot of feelings about horror movies, Batman, John Waters and trashy reality tv.

38 thoughts on “How to Apply Eye Make-up”

  1. I am enjoying these posts.

    It’s nice to see an eye make-up tutorial done on someone with partially hooded lids (my lids & eye shape are similar to your’s– I just have darker coloring) that isn’t a smoky eye or a cat eye (although I would love those too– they’re just too dramatic for work or a daytime look). <3

  2. Okay, this instructional description is probably the best I’ve ever read. You have great pics, you explain the whole “V” thing–which, in all of my tutorial readings, has never been mentioned–you talk about colors.

    Can you just do nothing but write tutorials all day and every day? That would be great, thanks! :)

    Henceforth, you are my go-to makeup expert.

  3. The greatest eyeliner I have ever used is the tightline blend by Laura Mercier.

    It can be tricky at first but this is a great opportunity to get a free makeup tutorial at the counter – they can show you just how to do it and it gets into the lash bed SO WELL. The thing costs $22 but mine will last about a year. So, it really works out. And the brush you use will last forever. I wash mine regularly and I have had it since 2005. Never lost a single bristle.

    There are days where I just sweep champagne on my lid and follow with liner. Done. Still very profesh and pulled together. (and I’m not saying you should do this but the liner stays on so well, you don’t necessarily have to reapply the next day if you don’t wash your face regularly. I’ll wake up the next day and the liner is exactly how it was the day before… I do not condone this, I’m just sayin’)

  4. This is brilliant and helpful. Awesome!

    Question: in your last makeup Q&A, you suggested the commonly-suggested colors of eyeshadow for people of various eye colors. I have blue eyes… and I hate brown shadow, and tire of bronze after a while. What other colors look good on these various eye colors besides the (very frequently) recommended ones you mentioned last time? I ask because every time I buy makeup, someone tells me to buy brown or bronze, and it looks boring and it’s not very fun. I want to mix it up! But I also want to look good.

    Really this is a question for anyone.

    1. I know this is supposed to be a no-no, but I saw a picture of a blue eyed woman wearing intense cobalt and navy eyeshadow and it looked stunning. Unfortunately, I can’t remember for the life of me where i saw the picture.

      I’ve seen shimmering grey and charcoal look quite beautiful on blue eyes as well.

        1. I don’t stick to any of the recommended color combinations because, well, because I don’t want to. Ultimately, to me, its always the tones of your skin color that is more important than the color of your eyes — that’s where the garish clashing comes in.

          I got the 24-7 eyeliner sample pack from Urban Decay on sale at Sephora for 20 bucks. 3 years later, I still haven’t run out of eyeliner, and the colors are awesome. You could start there. Or, like, Wet-N-Wild.

    2. I second the shimmering gray idea. Silver if you’re feeling daring. The first time my mother took me to a makeup counter that was what they did – silver lid with a bluish-gray liner – and I wore that for months. My eyes look brighter and bluer in pictures from around then.

    1. I’ve always took the V for granted — my mom taught me that was the way to put on eyeshadow when I was first learning how to put on makeup, and so I thought everyone knew! Now that I think about it, though, I think my mom worked at a makeup counter when she was younger, so that’s probably why the knowledge was passed on to me.

      It’s amazing what a V on your lid in a color just slightly darker than your skin will do, honestly. The shadowing effect makes pretty much every eye in the world look awesome.

  5. Great tutorial. I can never get that darker V to quite work for me, but I might have a go this weekend. I desperately want new brushes, which I think might be part of my problem, my brushes are rubbish.

    A lovely friend has sent me the Naked Palette from the States (to buy it in New Zealand I was looking at $115, which is $80-something US), but it hasn’t arrived yet! Come on respective postal services of the world, I want my makeup! Hopefully this time it hasn’t gone via Thailand, like my last package from the States did.

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