9 Unexpected Ways To Wear Metallic Eyeshadow

Prepare to turn heads.

Originally Published: 
How to wear metallic eyeshadow, according to top makeup artists.
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From floating eyeliner to neon pink pigment, so many beauty trends have been all about the eyes lately. Another one to consider? Turn to metallic eyeshadow and all its lustrous glory to have your eyes take center stage. When you want to lean into molten-esque shimmer, all it takes are a few swipes of the heavily-pigmented stuff to take your eye makeup to the next level.

Whether you go for a glossy finish or the always-classic smoky eye, the options of metallic makeup looks are near endless and fabulously versatile — more so than you might think. Keep it cool with silvers or warm up your lids with a bronze shadow; channel the ’70s with a slew of funky colors or deliver an otherworldly vibe with a bold monochromatic look. Simply grab a palette and get creative. With the premiere of Euphoria season two just around the corner, there’s no better time to experiment with shimmer.

For some inspiration, Bustle called on a cohort of makeup artists for all of their metallic eyeshadow tips, tricks, and must-have products, including Priscilla Ono, global makeup artist for Fenty Beauty; Allan Avendaño, who counts Vanessa Hudgens and Addison Rae as clients; Hayley Kassel, who works with Normani; and London-based artist Joy Adenuga. Keep scrolling for some head-turning metallic makeup ideas you’ll want to try ASAP.


Color Clashing

Adenuga says she loves finding inspiration for eye makeup looks by having bright palettes on display. This look features a gorgeous contrast between the gold and green lids and the royal blue shade along the bottom waterline.

For this, she used the OPV Beauty Rainbow Splash and Bloom palettes. Pro tip: “For the colors to pop, I use P.Louise paints as a base before applying the eyeshadows,” she tells Bustle.



Makeup artist Maya Lewis shares a monochromatic take on metallic lids, which you can do with any vibrant color you like. Her tip is to use your fingers when working with rich shades. “These pigments tend to get lost on makeup brushes, so by smudging the pigments on the eyelids, you can get a better application and they work better with our skin’s natural oils,” Lewis explains. For this aquamarine blue, she used metallics from vegan brand Violet Voss.


Glittery Green

Ono is all about a “showstopping” pop of color on the eyes, which this green shadow definitely accomplishes. To create this look, she uses a lighter shade on the lids and a darker color in the crease. The vibrant earthy colors are from the Fenty Beauty Snap Shadows Mix & Match palette in Money. It’s currently sold out on the Fenty site, but you can achieve a similar look with any green-toned shadow palette like the Just My Luck one from ColourPop.



Metallics can also be glossy, and it’s a finish Kassel is a big fan of. “A wet look on the eyes is so versatile,” she tells Bustle. “It can add a more editorial feel to a no-makeup-makeup look, or easily add to an already heavy eye look for a completely different feel.”

For this look, Kassel used the Danessa Myricks Twin Flames Multi-Chrome Liquid Shadow to get that initial metallic finish, and then she layered the brand’s Colorfix 24-Hour Color Glaze in Crystal for the gloss.


Soft & Subtle

Avendaño proves you can wear a subtle metallic look with lighter shades. He used the Pat McGrath Mothership III: Subversive palette for this glam on Kerry Washington — specifically, the Astral Ghost Orchid, Night Creature, and Blitz Amethyst shades.

He begins by applying lighter shades to the inner corners and centers of the lids, then blended to deeper shades towards the outer corners. To finish it off, he says he uses Neutrogena’s Smokey Kohl Eyeliner in Rich Plum to deepen the upper and lower lash line and the outer corners of the eyes.



For a cool take on a classic, add bronze, penny, copper, or gold to add luster to brown or earth tones. “When that metallic finish catches the light, it is so striking,” Kassel tells Bustle. For this look, she used the Christian Louboutin Beauty Abracadabra La Palette in Bronze Eloise and Rouge Follies.


Silvery Sheen

Makeup artist Maria Vez says she was inspired by the mercury element when creating this futuristic eyeshadow look. For the uber-shiny finish, Vez adds MAC Cosmetics Loose Pigment Powder in Silver Fog to the MAC Water Base Mixing Medium on a flat pallet and then applies it to the eyelids with a flat brush.



You can rock a smoky eye with metallic hues. “To go smoky, I always start with a black or dark brown cream eyeshadow or eye pencil as a base,” Adenuga tells Bustle, noting she’s a fan of the No7 Perfect Shade & Define Pencil for long-lasting wear. Try the Anastasia Beverly Hills Eye Shadow Single in Metal to copy the look.


Graphic & Bold

Freelance makeup artist Cori Burnett took inspo from the ’80s for this metallic glam. “I really wanted to create a modern, sleeker version of the strong eyeshadows and power blushes from the ’80s — think Annie Lennox but with a more sophisticated twist,” she tells Bustle. All you need are a few products to recreate it.

When working with metallics, Burnett says it’s best to start with a creamy base. She uses the KIKO Long Lasting Eyeshadow in Anthracite for the dark and dramatic winged-shaped outer portion of this look, then uses her fingers to press a gold cream shadow, like MAC Cosmetics Born to Beam Paint Pot, onto the center lids. Finish with a generous application of mascara — such as the Milk Makeup KUSH High Volumizing Mascara — and you’re golden.

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