Great eye makeup application always made me feel like I had captured lighting in a bottle — I was thrilled when I did it, but could absolutely never guarantee I'd be able to replicate the results ever again. It's why I devoted time to some eye makeup hacks, tips, and tricks, and why I can now feel confident that I'm going to feel good about my eye makeup when I actually put the time into doing it.
And I know, I know — eye makeup isn't the biggest deal in the world and it's not something actually worth stressing about in the scheme of things, but like I always say: If you're going to do something because it makes you feel nice (like applying makeup), then why not make sure it actually makes you feel nice, as opposed to disappointed or frustrated. I can't tell you how many times I've spent time excitedly applying makeup before an event or night out, only to wipe it all off in an exasperated rush before actually leaving because it just didn't look anything like what I wanted.
Eye makeup just always seemed like one of the hardest thing to do really well to me, and often seemed really complicated when I watched or read application-tutorials. If this is sounding at all familiar, here are seven basic hacks that will help improve your eye makeup game a ton.
1. Definitely Use A Primer
Urban Decay Eye Shadow Primer, $12, Sephora.com
Makeup artists and founders of the makeup site Pixiwoo Sam and Chapman stressed the importance of primer in a flawless, non-cakey, and long-lasting eye makeup look. And I can personally vouch for this one; primer was always one of those seemingly "advanced" makeup products that kind of intimidated me, so I ignored it altogether. However, after receiving some primer in a gift basket a few years ago, I realized I had been terribly, terribly wrong. It made my eye shadow go on super smooth and helped make sure it didn't crease at all. Plus, I touch my face and rub my eyes a lot, so it went a long way in preventing smudging.
2. Apply A Beige Base
Lancome Aquatique Water Proof Eyecolor Base, $26.50, UltaBeauty.com
In a piece for Women's Health, makeup artist Matthew Waitesmith said to apply a beige eye shadow before applying the color you actually want to show off, as it will make the shade appear truer to the color in the pan. He also noted that beige is better than a stark white base, as while "the results will certainly pop [...] it will likely look artificial."
3. Understand Your Eye Shape
According to Smashbox head makeup artist Lori Taylor Davis, the shape of your eye should determine the way you wear your eye makeup just as much as your body shape would determine the kinds of clothes you might wear — it's definitely not a one-size fits all application process. The above super helpful video will walk you through how to find your eye shape, and then you can learn about which makeup styles specifically suit your eye shape from there.
4. Create A Stencil For Your Eyeliner
In a piece on proper eye makeup application for Marie Claire, Rai Morris, author of Beautiful Eyes: The Ultimate Eye Makeup Guide, said to resist the temptation to pull the skin around your eyes taut when applying eye liner, as when you let go the line will only appear distorted. Instead, she recommended applying a piece of scotch tape to your partially-closed lid (you should make it less sticky and harsh by first sticking it to your arm), and use the line to guide you when attempting cat eyes or a more dramatic winged look.
5. Blend It Out
According to the ladies at Pixiwoo, knowing how to properly blend your eye makeup is one of the biggest game-changers out there in terms of making it look polished and giving you a "professional" effect. See the above tutorial from Sam Chapman on the most important blending techniques.
6. Use Oil Blotting Strips And Set With Powder
Maybelline Facestudio Master Fix Setting and Perfecting Powder, $8.99, Drugstore.com
Morris also noted that your eyelids are the oiliest part of your face, which is why eye makeup smudges so incredibly easily. She recommended using blotting strips before applying any makeup to soak up any excess oils, and then finishing the whole process with a translucent finishing powder to set the look for the whole day. And extra tip: finishing powder is also awesome for setting undereye concealer if you notice that yours gets cakey.
7. Q-Tip Cleanup
Q-Tips Cotton Swabs 500 ct, $2.99, Target.com
This is a personal tip that I picked up somewhere along the road that has made me way less stressed when applying eye makeup — specifically mascara. I used to get incredibly frustrated when I would screw up my mascara and get it around my eyes, thinking I basically had to do the whole eye over. However, instead of trying to rub it off while it's still wet, simply wait a few minutes for it to dry and then rub it off with a Q-tip. This will prevent you from smudging it further in the removal process.
Awesome eye-makeup application shouldn't feel intimidating, or like it's only for those "makeup pros" you see parading around YouTube. Just be sure you have a few staples, like primer and finishing powder, and work on practicing a technique or two, and you'll soon be super impressed with yourself.