How to Apply Eye Makeup in Just 8 Steps

From Eyeshadow to Mascara, the Secrets to Beautiful Eyes

Woman applying eye makeup
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When it comes to making up your eyes, there are a few insider beauty tricks you can use to amp up your game. Apply your eye makeup using these tricks and, if you do it correctly, your eye makeup will last all day. 

The Secrets to All-Day Eyeshadow

Before we get into the step-by-step process, there are a couple secrets to eye makeup that lasts all day.

  1. Choose a quality eyeshadow primer. A good primer, such as Urban Decay's Eyeshadow Primer Potion, can make a world of difference. Use it as the base and your eyeshadow will stay put through rain, sweat, and even the heaviest of oil slicks produced by the skin.
  1. Choose a quality eyeshadow. There are simply too many eyeshadows out there that barely show up on the lid or, if they do, they seem to disappear within a couple hours. Once you find a great pigmented shadow, you are gold. Stick with it and then have fun exploring the various color palettes available.

Now, onto the fun! It really only takes eight steps to get absolutely gorgeous eye makeup.

Step 1: Apply Concealer to Your Dark Areas

Your goal with this first step is to even out the color of the skin around your eyes. This means applying concealer and dotting it with the pad of your finger or a concealer brush to the blue-ish, purple-y places around your eyes. If you have perfect, non-bluish skin, congratulate yourself and move on to the next step.

  1. Apply three dots of concealer under each eye. Start at the inner corner where skin tends to be darkest, then under the pupil, and the third on the outer edge.
  1. Pat (never rub) with your ring finger (this finger tends to have the softest pad) until the concealer disappears.

If you have dark, under-eye circles, you may need to go a step further and learn how to cover up undereye circles.

Step 2: Prime Those Lids

Just as you prime a wall before you paint, you can prime your face before you apply makeup.

This allows it to go on smoothly and makes it last longer. Eyeshadow primer is the secret to keeping your shadow in place for hours. It will keep the shadow looking great through workouts, torrential rains, a good cry, and even a night's sleep.

To apply the primer, simply put a dot on each lid and blend it in.

Step 3: Line the Eyes

If you're going for a casual, I'm-not-wearing-makeup daytime look, you can skip this step. But there is something to love about a nicely lined eye. Liners help your eyes pop and, if you blend correctly, it won't be obvious.

You can use liquid liners or an eye pencil, but many women prefer to use dark eyeshadows as eyeliners. To do this, wet a slanted brush then dip it in a dark eyeshadow.

Line your eyes as close to the upper lashes as possible from the inner corner to the outer corner. Follow with liner below your eyes. Smudge the bottom line with a cotton swab or your finger. You don't want a prominent line.

For a smokey eye, use a brush to pat in a dark eyeshadow along the upper lid and below the lid. You don't want a stark line, but you want to blend it so it gets a nice smudge.

Step 4: A Few Swipes of Eyeshadow

Eyeshadow is great because it covers up any veins in your lids and helps your eyes pop.

For daytime, you might find it best to use a basic light shadow on your lid and nothing else. A favorite eyeshadow is Stila's "Kitten" because it's discreet but it also gets plenty of compliments at the same time.

For a bit more drama, try a three-toned eyeshadow palette and build from the lids to brow. Celebrity makeup artist Mally Roncal says that you want to blend them into each other like a rainbow. 

  1. Start with a light color that almost matches your lid. Sweep the color across the lid and up to your brow bone.
  2. Follow with a medium color across your lid only.
  3. Build on this with a darker color in the crease.
  4. Blend the colors well.

Step 5: Highlight the Inner Eye

This step is a makeup artist's secret and a trick that you will use all the time once you see the results. It involves only the inside part of the eye.

Put a bit of your lightest eyeshadow in the inner corner of your eye and it will brighten it significantly. You can dab a finger into the lightest eyeshadow in your palette and then press it into the inner corner of your eye where the upper lid meets the bottom lid. This totally makes eyes "pop."

Step 6: Highlight Your Brow

Take the same light eyeshadow and dab it on your brow bone, concentrating on your mid-brow outward. Blend with your finger. You can also use something like Yves Saint Laurent's Touche Eclat just below and above the brow, but a super light shadow will do you.

Step 7: Curl Your Lashes

An eyelash curler will make even long lashes look more gorgeous. For added effect, you can heat the curler under a blowdryer for a couple seconds.

This simple trick can make your eyelashes look bigger, fuller, and they'll curl better. Simply blow a burst of hot air for no more than three seconds onto your eyelash curler before you curl your lashes. Make sure to test the metal on your arm before you clamp down so you don't burn your lid, though. 

Step 8: Apply Mascara

Finally, you'll finish off your look with a little mascara. Simply place the wand of your mascara brush at the bottom of lashes and wiggle back and forth. Follow with another few sweeps of the wand. Apply to bottom lashes as well.