Basic Eye Shadow Overview

Eyeshadow that gets noticed.

For eyes that get noticed, give a little eye shadow a try.

Eye Shadow

Eye shadow is colorful makeup used to accentuate and draw attention to your eyes. It comes in powders, creams, gels and pencil form, and is available in nearly any color you can think of. You can use a single color, or blend two or three shades to give your eye makeup just the look you want.

When applying eye makeup, it's a good rule of thumb to go lighter during the daytime, and apply it a little heavier in the evening when the lighting is less intense.

Begin With Shadow Primer

Most of us realize how important a good foundation is for creating beautiful and lasting facial makeup, but how many of us realize that a good base is just as important for our eye shadow?

Eye shadow primer can extend the staying power of your eye makeup by forming a protective barrier against the oils and moisture that cause your shadow to crease and melt. Applying a small amount of primer base to your eyelids will help keep your shadow in place, and lessen the need for touch ups.

Choosing Your Colors

When choosing your shadow colors, select shades that compliment your natural eye color, rather than your clothing.

  • Brown eyes look their best with shades of coral, copper, beige, pink, and brown.
  • Blue or violet eyes are best set off with shades of blue, violet, gray, sliver, and kohl.
  • Green eyes look lovely with shades of coral, taupe, mossy green, gold, and brown.
  • Hazel eyes are a mix of brown with green and gold flecks, so you can use the same complimentary shades ideal for both brown and green eyes.

If you plan on using more than one color of shadow, be certain to select shades that compliment each other. Many powder shadow compacts are available in convenient sets that take the guesswork out of your selections.


Although there are many ways to apply eye shadow to create different effects, following these general application guidelines should provide nice results.

  • Use a light shade of shadow under the brow line.
  • Apply a complimentary medium shade to the main lid, and use your finger to blend where the two colors meet.
  • Then, apply a third darker complimentary color along the crease in the lids to add depth. Be sure to blend it in with your fingertip.


When it's time to remove your eye makeup, remember that you have to be gentle if you want to avoid stretching the delicate surrounding tissues. For best results, moisten a cotton ball or cleansing pad with some eye makeup cleanser or a little baby oil and gently wipe your lids and lashes until all traces have been removed. Both of these products have the side benefit of moisturizing the area, which can help to minimize the look of wrinkles.

Safety Concerns

Choose the right color

Your eyes are very delicate, so it's important to be aware of various eye makeup safety issues that can lead to injury or infection.

  • Glitter shadows can cause injury if they flake into your eyes. Small particles of glitter can scratch the surface of the eye and even become imbedded in the tissue, requiring removal by your physician.
  • Sharing eye makeup with a friend may also result in transferring infection-causing bacteria. Resist the urge and only use your own personal makeup.
  • Forego eye makeup refills. Your old cases and applicators may still harbor harmful bacteria, and you could be contaminating your fresh shadow by reusing these old items.
Basic Eye Shadow Overview