Tools of the trade
The right brushes make all the difference when it comes to a pro application of shadow. The bare minimum you’ll need in your brush stash is a flatter shader brush with densely-packed bristles to pack shadow onto the lids (we love the NYX Professional Makeup Pro Brush Collection Shading Brush)and a softer, fluffier blending brush that can fit into your eye creases easily and diffuse any harsh lines, like the NYX Professional Makeup Pro Brush Collection Blending Brush). We’d recommend keeping a second blending brush handy if you are layering colours or creating a smoky eye, but in a pinch you can wipe your blending brush on a clean facecloth to remove excess shadow in-between different shades.
Blend, blend, blend!
If you take only one thing away from this article, let it be the importance of blending. Blend until your hand cramps, blend until the cows come home – there’s no such thing as over-blended eyes but under-blended ones definitely exist, and they happen to look like you’ve been socked in the face. This is exactly what your blending brush is for – swirl it in your deepest shadow and place it in the crease of your eye, using back-and-forth, windscreen-wiper-like motions to blend. Take your time here and then follow with a second, clean blending brush (or your initial one cleaned off) to buff away any harsh edges.
To pack an extra punch and ensure your shadows last all day, layer a cream shadow underneath a powder formula. Not only will this trick intensify the colour, but a cream formula adheres better to the lids. Alternatively, try an eyeshadow primer like Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion for extra staying power. Another trick for more vivid colour payoff? Wet your flat shader brush before you apply eyeshadow.