Watch and Learn

Eyeshadow Step by Step – How to do it right!


OK so you can have all the best products on the market, but if you don’t know what to do with them, then you’re wasting your time. So let’s put your money where your eyes are and get the basics down….How to apply your eyeshadow step by step.

It’s very simple, with just a little practice and some patience. You don’t have to be a make-up artist to achieve even the most professional of looks. So if your goal today is just to be able to apply you’re prized eyeshadow collection in a manner that does not leave you looking like Tammy Faye Baker, you are in the right place. NO offense to Tammy! Because let’s be honest, she liked what she saw and she rocked her look with confidence.


Eyeshadow Needs

Let’s get to it. Don’t be afraid……… It’s a safe place.

What You Need to Have

Before we go any further with our Eyeshadow step by step tutorial, let’s make sure we have what we need to do this thing right. Contrary to popular belief, you need more than just any ole brush. As a matter of fact, having the right brushes, as well as the other essentials listed below, can make the difference between your looking like your two year old gave you a paint job while you were asleep, and someone asking you if you had a professional makeup artist do it.




So stay with me on this. You will need….

  • Eyeshadow primer (A.K.A base, foundation, or concealer)
  • Small flat tipped brush for application precision
  • medium-sized fluffy brush for blending
  • Make-up removing wipes or micellar water
  • A light colored eyeshadow (almost flesh colored but slightly shimmery)
  • A darker, neutral color (darker….not too dark)
  • A dark color, or a bright color (depending on how far you want to go) – Optional
  • A good eyeliner
  • Mascara – again, a good one

Keep in Mind

The chances of you getting this right on the first try is slim to none. But don’t think of it as a challenge. This is a new fun part of your morning routine that will give you the boost you want when you look in the mirror.

So be patient with yourself and don’t through your hands up in the air if you don’t get it perfect the first time. You’ll get it! So before you give away all of your eyeshadows and accessories, give it another go or 2 or 5. You’ll be glad that you did.

Eyeshadow Step by Step  1, 2, 3……

  1. Start with a clean face (no old make-up residue)
  2. Apply your base. You can use whatever brush came with it, but my finger works best for me. Apply it from your eyelash line up to the line of your eyebrow. (We will discuss the all important eyebrow issue in another post. I hope you didn’t think you were getting away with them o’naturale).
  3. Take your flat tipped brush and dampen it with water. Then dry it with a paper towel or a regular towel. You don’t want it dripping. Just moistened.
  4. Dip that brush into your light slightly shimmery colored eyeshadow. (tap off the excess)
  5. Gently brush this color from your eyelash line upwards toward the base of your eyebrow. (basically everywhere you applied your base)
  6. Take that same brush, clean it off, and dip it in your darker color (Don’t forget to tap off the excess)
  7. Apply this darker color to your Lid Only! Don’t go past the crease of your eyelid.
  8. Take your fluffy brush and blend the darker color in a circular motion with your base color. (you want it to look as if the darker color is fading into the lighter color so that there is not an obvious line between the two.)


If you feel like you have taken about all you can of this process, you can stop here. It’s OK. Every look does not require that you put layer upon layer of colors. If these two colors are all you are ready for today, skip down to step 11.

You can also replace this darker color with a vibrant color of your choice instead of a darker color. If you’re still with me, continue at step 9. Whatever you choose is totally fine. This is all about you becoming the Boss of your own Beauty.


9. Take your third, dark color and apply it to your lower lid from your lash line slightly upwards with your small dampened brush. (Do not bring this color all the way to the crease. Only bring it about a third of the way up.)

10. Take your fluffy brush and blend the dark in a circular motion with your slightly lighter color that is just above it with the same concept we learned in step 8.

11. Apply your Eyeliner to both your upper and lower lid. (if there is a hard edge i.e it looks like a big black or dark brown line on your eyes, clean off your small brush and with a left to right motion, blend the liner in with your dark color.)

12. Please apply your Mascara. Do NOT skip this step. Some people do. But there is nothing worse than seeing all of that beautiful eye artwork overshadowed by some dull dusty eyelashes. The Horror! You have come this far, don’t stop now. This is the last step! So push through.

13. Ahhhhh…….manifique!

Troubleshooting – Something is Not Right

OK, so how did you do? Ran into a few bumps in the eyeshadow road? Probably so. But wasn’t it fun! With a little practice, you will be unstoppable! Here are just a few more tips that will help you perfect your techniques.

  • If your eyeshadow is creasing or is not adhering to your eyes well; You have probably broken the cardinal cheap vs. inexpensive rule in buying either your eyeshadows or the base.  So try a different base first and see if that solves the problem before you blame the eyeshadow.
  • Later in the day, your eyes are irritated. It’s probably another base problem. One of the things your base does is keep your eyeshadow in place so that it does not end up places that you don’t want it, like IN your eye. So try a better base.
  • Blending and blending and blending and getting nowhere? This could be another base issue, but more than likely you just need to apply a little more pressure with your brush and take a little more time. You can’t rush perfection.
  • Don’t know what colors to use? Try a dual or tricolor eyeshadow color palette. These are awesome because of course they take all the guess work out of picking the 2 or 3 shades you should use.
  • Have eyeshadow, somewhere other than your eyes???? Whip out those makeup removing wipes or your micellar water and just tidy up a bit. No worries. Happens to me all of the time.

Work It!

I hope this “Eyeshadow Step by Step” tutorial helped you gain a little more confidence. Now it’s your turn! You can do it. Gather your supplies and put on your patience hat. Play around with these steps until you have fine-tuned your technique. Get out of your comfort zone. Practice with different shades, brushes, and brands until you find “Your” slaying tools. They are different for each woman. And if you like, we love it!

You are the Boss.


  1. Great and informative website Keisha. I’ll have to share this with my wife because she has been trying to get her make-up just the way she wanted.

    1. admin says:

      Thanks so much! Send her on over!

  2. Michel says:

    Thank you for these great tips on applying eye makeup. I have only recently started using a base coat for my lids and it definitely makes the world of difference to how your powder sits on your eyes and it also lasts much longer than applying the powder without a base.

    Lately, I have stopped using the eyeliner during the day and only use when I go out at night. I prefer the fresher look in the day, especially when it is hot and I sweat a lot, there is nothing worse than looking like a panda bear halfway through the day. I suppose a waterproof eyeliner should also solve this problem.

    1. admin says:

      You are absolutely right Michel! a good waterproof liner will do the trick. Not wearing eyeliner with eyeshadow is not the end of the world but wearing it completely changes your look. That’s why you wear it on a night out because you know it makes a difference. Revlon and Cover Girl make good, reasonably prices eyeliners that are waterproof. And even if you have a different preference in liners, if you apply a good primer before you apply your eyeshadow and eyeshadow, your eyeliner will stay put as well if you apply the primer all the way down to your eyelash line. Give it a try and come back and tell me how it works out for you. I would love your feedback! We girls have to stick together and share all of our tricks of the trade so we all look good! 

  3. Katya says:

    Keisha, I have a troubleshooting question. I would love, absolutely love to wear eye shadow and I tried it before but something isn’t right. I figured out, and my beauty studio lady as well that my eyelids differ. It’s weird I know but my left eyelid is lower, closer to my lashes than my right one. This is because of injury in my childhood and theres nothing I can do about it.

    Do you have any suggestion how I could make an eye shadow work for me? Is there maybe some other make-up that you recommend?

    Thank you,


    1. admin says:

      Hey Katya! We can make something work for sure. One thing I want to tell you from the bottom of my heart is that there are no humans that exist with completely symmetrical anythings, including eyelids, eyes etc. So there are always tricks that can make us feel better about that fact. 

      Complexity in colors, blending, and eyeliner create an illusion that will camouflage imperfections. The more shades that you use, and the more blending you do of your chosen colors, the better. I would use a minimum of three shades. A light shimmery color to cover the entire lids. Then, when you apply the first darker shade, apply them proportionate to the shape and size of each lid independently. So at this point, you will not attempt to balance the scales so to speak. Don’t worry about trying to make each eye even just yet. Blend your darker color as if the opposite eye does not exist. Then do the opposite eye using the same method. Then apply your third darker color. Same concept. When we get to applying the eyeliner is where we will even things out.

      Remember that we do not want a hard obvious black line on each eye. So don’t be concerned about what I am about to say. Make a slightly thicker eyeliner line on the right eye than the left one. Then blend that liner in with your darkest shade until they appear as even as you are comfortable. After that, highlight. Take a golden or silver color eyeshadow, with a very flat tipped brush, and apply it to the inner corners of both eyes on the top lid. This will open up your eyes and take the attention off any asymmetry. 

      Try this and see how it works for you. If you get stuck, or it didn’t work like you wanted it to, please let me know. I want you to maintain your love for make up and eyeshadow and feel good about yourself. So I will give you some more suggestions to try if this one doesn’t work. But I think it will make a huge difference. Don’t forget, we are often more critical of ourselves than other are. You’re beautiful. Wear your eyeshadow and wear it proud!

  4. MissusB says:

    A good eyeshadow really makes an impression. I agree that it doesn’t have to be tons of layers because sometimes it will just really make your eyelids look muddy. I always admire women who can really put the colors together and well blended. My favorite shade is the neutral brown because it just looks professional. Sometimes I can pull it off, sometimes it just wouldn’t work out for me. I guess it’s because I always skip the eye primer. I recently learn a trick that after putting an eye primer, you must also apply a bit of amount of loose powder to really make the eye canvass smoother. I also tend to skip putting mascara especially when i’m in a hurry because I’m so impatient in waiting for it to get dry. Never realized, it’s not complimenting my eye make up. Thanks for all the useful tips!

    1. admin says:

      I know right! We are all busy and want to look good without taking hours to do it. But complicated is not always needed to get the look you want in a dash. We can actually get away with one shimmery shade, a good liner, and mascara and go. Takes 5 minutes when you get the hang of it. That’s my go to look when I’m in a rush. Thanks for the feedback! I really appreciate it. And I stand by primer. A decent primer can make the cheapest eye makeup work wonders. Work it! 

  5. Riaz Shah says:

    I didn’t know the base plays a huge role in applying the eyeshadow! I’m learning a bit on eyeshadows and makeups for video production and I’m pretty curious, what would happen if we do not have the primer base and we skip straight to the eyeshadow brushing part? Will it get into the eye

    1. admin says:

      Hey Riaz! Good question. Couple of things to consider. If you use even the highest quality eyeshadow, without a base, it will get into the eyes eventually. It will also crease from blinking and the natural oils in the skin of the eyelid. Using a base will also help the eyeshadow show up better, especially on camera, by boosting the pigmentation of the eyeshadow, giving you the best visibility possible both on and off camera. The eyeshadow will not blend as well without a base either. So when you take into account these things, and are trying to decide to prime or not to prime (that is the question….lol I could not help myself), that creasing, low pigmentation/visibility, and harsh lines between colors, and red irritated eyes are not what you will want to see on in production. This is especially true with all of the Big Screen HD TV’s out there. So give it a try and see the difference. I’ll be doing an article on picking the best primer soon. You my want to check it out when I post it this week. Any more questions…..ask away!

  6. Hi there Keisha, I think the way you laid your content out is great; very in detail, clever use of words where you would tell your readers that if they want to take a break to take all the information in, they can as it is quite a lot to process in one go. So I won’t even dispute any material you wrote down as it is excellent in my opinion.

    With regards to the website, I think it would be great if you widen the view of the page, as you don’t want colors to stick out on the side, as it gives the impression that the process of building your website was rushed, and that’s not a good look. The use of the widgets is good, such as the categories, the recent posts, etc., as you are making it convenient for the reader to find what they are looking for and it makes your content look even more professional.

    So with that being said, well done Keisha, you did a wonderful job!

    1. I aggree! I am going to see what I can do about the colors on the side. But I think that is a theme issue. I truly appreciate the feedback! You rock!

  7. Thank you Keisha for the information because I am completely clueless when it comes to make-upology. I just asked my fiance to read your article and it saved from an even of “how does this look” and “what do you think about this”. You are a Saint!

    1. I’m so glad you found the information helpful! Work it girl. You can do it!

  8. I am glad I ran across this. It is such an easy to follow step by step. I have a couple of friends I want to share this with. Its very informative and thanks for sharing. Great website by the way.

    1. Yes please feel free to share! Thanks for the compliment.

  9. Keisha,
    I have never been given any advice on how to apply eye makeup before. This article is awesome. I will start following your directions first thing tomorrow morning. Just curious, if I were to skip the eye shadow primer, would I be missing the best part? Also, I have been using a lash building primer to help my eyelashes grow. Do you recommend these types of products? When I apply liner to my top and bottom lids I feel overdone. If I were to apply it in one place and not the other, which do you suggest. Thanks for all your wonderful info and tips!

    1. I’m glad that you found this article helpful Michelle! To answer your question, you don’t “HAVE” use a primer. But if you skip that step, yes you are missing the best part. This is one of those things where you don’t know what you are missing until you have it. Many women go about their lives never using a primer and don’t think anything of it. However, they are missing out. Primer will make a distinct difference. I challenge you to get some, try it, and come back and tell me what you think!

      As far as liner is concerned. That is a “too each her own” thing. I almost always apply liner to my top and bottom lids. But sometimes on my lazy days (hmmmm I may have more of those than I am willing to admit lol) I only apply it to the top. No harm done. So if you feel like you are over done then just use it on the top lid. You can also use it from the outer corner of your lower lid, but only midway the eye. That is a popular look. But remember that at the end of the day, you are the boss. You have to feel comfortable in your own skin. I challenge women to experiment with their look, but once you have tried and tested it, if you don’t like it, don’t do it. Keep in touch, and let me know how things work out for you. I want to know!

  10. Madysen Wilcox says:

    This post is GOLD! I love makeup and I love getting all dolled up for a night out, but I had no idea I was using the wrong brush, haha you would probably cringe after seeing my eye shadow routine You have so many great tips and tricks that I cant wait to try! Cant wait to get all glammed up, thanks so much for this post. it was not only helpful but so fun to read!

    1. Thanks so much Madysen! I’m glad you found it helpful and fun. There will be more to come!

  11. Krystyn Silva says:

    I am still learning how to do my makeup and your advice has helped so much! Seriously.. I gave up on brushes for eyeshadow and have just been wiping it on with my fingers! #helpme

    I’ve also never used primer before, it will be interesting but I trust you and I’m gonna give it a shot! Thanks for such a well written and descriptive post about how to apply eyeshadow, I have definitely been doing it wrong all of this time.. but it is never too late to learn 🙂 

    1. Keisha says:

      You are right about that! It is never to late to learn. And learning and experimenting can be fun! And brushes are great but if you are more comfortable with using your fingers, cream eyeshadows are perfect for that. You still will need to keep at least one fluffy little brush handy for blending your colors. And the primer will definitely help! I am curious as to how it turns out for you when you try it out. Come back and let us know how it went!

  12. Kate says:

    Thanks for the great step-by-step! Super informative and clear (and I actually love the list of recommended products at the bottom for us newbies). 

    How does it work if your bright color is lighter than the dark flesh tone? For example, if I wanted to use a pale blue or even a white. Do you have any tips on making sure that the brightness of the color doesn’t get dragged down by the layering?

    1. Keisha says:

      You are so very welcome! And to answer your question, you can use pretty much any combination of colors. The key is making sure that you gently tap your brush to knock off any excess product so that you have more control over where the colors go, and how far, when blending. Think of it like cooking. You add a little salt at first. Then taste it. If it needs more salt you can always add a little more until it is perfect. But if you put too much, it’s ruined and you have to start all over. So take your time. Darker tones are meant to, and actually blend quite well with bright colors. You just have to be able to control the distribution of the colors when applying and blending, which may take a little practice but I know you can do it! 

  13. conweezy31 says:

    Hello Keisha,  just wanted to say I love the step by step process for eye shadow. The fact that you don’t have to go and buy the expensive stuff but you can still get great products at a cheaper price. This will definitely save me money if my wife sends me on a makeup pick up lol. Thanks again for the information.

    1. Keisha says:

      I’m glad you have gotten to have a birds eye view of what we ladies go through to be beautiful. And like you said, everything does not have to be expensive. Many women have a budget and can’t always splurge on the high priced stuff. But they want to feel pretty too. It’s all possible with the right resources and a little know how. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Stepho says:

    Okay! This is an exceptional post and I surely found it helpful. Right from time, I have always have a flare for fashion and make up and I just enrolled for a course to learn how to become a make-up artist. Though the training is going on pretty well, I just wish to master the eye-shadow application because I couldn’t get it well during the last class. Well, my sister has been my practising model and I will surely try out this step by step process I have learnt through this post and hopefully, I get it all right. Thanks for the post.

    1. Keisha says:

      Thanks and you are so welcome! Please come back and let me know how your next session turned out!

  15. Yay! Just the article I needed. I am decent at putting on my eyeshadow but I rarely use the third color. I always want to, but it never comes out the way I want it. I love the advice of dipping the brush in a bit of water. I can’t wait to try that and see if I like the way it looks. Would u be able to post a picture of where to put the third color? I feel like I can never get it in just the right spot. Thanks for the information!

    1. I sure will Ashley! Thanks

  16. Lisa says:

    Thanks daughter I really enjoyed reading on how to apply eyeshadow. I’m going too try it and get the things I need from you

    1. Thanks! I hope to hear from you again soon mom!

  17. I love using primer on my eyes it really helps for it last throughout the day, especially on hot days. It is such an easy to follow step by step guide you have created. Thank you so much I will bookmark it on my daughter’s tablet for her too.

    1. Thanks so much!

  18. I am mixed chinese-african-indian. People tend to say I look Thai or Philipine. I find it quite difficult to get an easy and quick eye shadow routine. I think I have what people call “monolid” and I don’t always know how to put on the eye shadow. So most of the time I put something very discreet. But sometimes I would like something more… glamourous. Do you have any advice for asian eye shaped, monolid (if that makes sense) ? I have looked on youtube before and there are plenty of them but I never seem to obtain a satisfying result.

    1. Hey Connie! I have your back girl. Let’s try a few things here to start. Primer is a must to get the colors you apply to stay put and to keep your mascara from running away. You will also need a eyelash primer. This is going to help you achieve more volume to your lashes which will make a huge difference in the appearance of your eyeshadow. If you are brave, false eyelashes are even better. Also make sure that you arch your eyebrows. This will make all the difference as they set the framework for your face. As far as the actual application of the eyeshadow, this is actually going to be the easiest part. Trust me. There are many methods I will share with you as well as all of our mono lid ladies in a detailed post coming soon. But for starters try this. Pick any color you want. Let’s say a pretty purple. After priming, apply this color from your lash line upwards to about an inch (give or take a little depending on the distance of your eyebrows from your lashes) below your eyebrows. Then apply a black or dark brown liner to your upper lid using a eyeliner pencil. Take a thin, tightly compacted brush, and blend that dark liner into the purple until flows gradiently into your color shadow. Then take a little gold or silver shimmer shadow and apply that to the inner corners of your upper and lower lid. You can also put eyeliner on your lower lid. Try this out and let me know how it turns out for you.

  19. Jasmine says:

    Very informative will be using the step by step instructions as I try my hand at experimenting with eyeshadows. Also thank you for the links makes knowing what to purchase so much easier.

    1. Anytime Jasmine!

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