How to Blend Eye Shadow Like a Pro Makeup Artist
May I tell you a secret? I honestly believe that eye shadow palettes are simultaneously beautiful and terrifying at the same time. The countless types of matte and metallic shades look stunning, but the thought of getting a selection of them onto lids without looking like pool of mud can scare people away from them entirely. Without the right blending, the shadows could end up looking muddy, splotchy, patchy, or harsh. Cringe. The word "blending" in and of itself freaks some people out. Trust and believe that there's nothing to be afraid of. Unlike snakes, eye shadow doesn't have fangs.
You don't have to be giving celebrities perfectly diffused smoky eyes all day and all night to master the technique of blending. I swear blending is easier than it looks with these helpful tips. Before you do anything, though, don't do anything at all because your eye makeup should be applied before the rest of your makeup. Always say to do your eyes first to avoid fall-out from your eye shadows, but if you prefer to do your face first, you can use Shadow Shields to avoid this as well. OK, now that we have that out of the way, here are five steps to eye shadow blending.
1. Prime for success. If you're going to take the time out of your busy day to blend your shadow to perfection, you might as well smooth some eye shadow primer onto your lids to keep everything in place. Keep it closer to the lash line and fade it as you go upward so that there is more flexibility to blend in the crease area. Then let it dry for at least 10 seconds before moving on to the main event. Need a primer rec? Urban Decay's Eyeshadow Primer Potion is always a good choice.
Primer isn't required for pro blending, though. Instead, you may use the technique of tapping leftover foundation or concealer onto lids to give the shadows some grip.
2. Pick your tools. Flawless eye shadow blending is all about brushes. You have to have the right tools for the job. You can never have enough blending brushes, but two is good to start with. The key is to keep both of these clean. Don't dip these into your eye shadow pans. Instead, use a denser brush like the Best of Beauty Award–winning E.L.F. Beautifully Precise Eyeshadow Brush No. 201 to lay down pigments before blending.
3. Start light. First, taking the brush with densely packed bristles, you want to apply the lightest shade you plan to use on the inner half of your lids; then you can add darker shades of the same hue as you move toward the outer corners. (Copious amounts of blending will happen in between. I'll touch on that in a second.) Using the light as a transition color, you can add dimension as you go with the darker colors and tones and blend, blend, blend.
Also, try using the same bronzer or blush that you dust onto your cheeks as one of your shadow shades. It creates a cohesive and natural look. Or you can choose to use just one shade all over lids, making sure to diffuse the edges of the shadow with some blending.
4. Put it all into motion.
After you apply your darkest shade to the outer half of your lids, you'll want to use a different blending technique. Swirling your second clean blending brush in small circles along the outer corners, running the brush in a V shape along your creases and top lash lines.
Pro tip on how to hold your brush while doing all this: think of your brush like a pen. The closer your fingers are to the brush hairs, the harder the application will be. Relax — move your fingers further up the brush and make gentle sweeping motions, especially when working with darker colors.
5. Clean up mistakes.
Now that everything is seamlessly blended, you might notice that you got a little carried away and pulled the shadow out too far from the outer corners or have created a weird-looking shape. Touch up edges and buff away these mistakes with a damp Beautyblender or Q-Tip.
Use translucent powder like a magic eraser. "f you feel you've overblended the crease and the shadow is now 'too big,' use a clean fluffy brush (yes, another one) and some translucent powder to take down that top edge of shadow.
A note on creams:
Although most of the tips above apply to both powder and cream eye shadows, the latter is a bit more foolproof. You can blend cream shadows in a couple more ways, including with your fingers. Start off by tapping on creams with a fingertip or a fluffy brush. Then take a clean blending brush and gently buffs the shadow and softens any harsh lines or edges. Don't want to use a brush at all? You can also use your finger, gently rubbing it back and forth over your lid like you would with a brush says.
See, blending can be easy. You just need to give it the time and effort it deserves. It will become second nature before you know it.
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