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How to Apply Eye Makeup in Just 8 Steps


Young woman applying eye make-up
Dimitri Otis/Digital Vision/Getty Images

I get compliments all the time on my evening eye makeup. My secrets to a great eye lie in eyeshadow primer (a must for anyone with greasy eyelids!), a pricey eyeshadow (drugstore brands just don't give you a rich enough pigment in my opinion. I am into Christian Dior at the moment), putting just a dab of light cream in the inside corner of my eye and heating up my eyelash curler with a blowdryer for a couple seconds so the curl is "set" better.

The directions below are full of these tips and more. It really only takes 8 steps to gorgeous eye makeup.

For tips on evening makeup, see my article How to Make Up Eyes & Face for Evening.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 10 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Prep your eyes with concealer Concealer can be used to cover up under-eye circles or just the bluish discoloration just under your inner eye. To cover dark undereye circles, 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. Pat, never rub with your ring finger (this finger tends to have the softest pad) until the concealer disappears.
  2. Apply eyeshadow primer to your lid Eyeshadow primer is the secret to keeping your shadow in place for hours. If your eyeshadow ends up a greasy pool in your crease, you should invest in a good eyeshadow primer. Eye base will keep shadow in place through workouts, torrential rains and even a night's sleep.
  3. Follow with eyeliner You can use liquid liners or an eye pencil, but I prefer to use dark eyeshadows as eyeliners. Wet a slanted brush, then dip in a dark eyeshadow. Line eyes as close to the upper lashes as possible from the inner corner to the outer corner. Follow with liner on bottom eyes, but only line from the middle of the eye out. Smudge the bottom line with a Q-tip 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, instead you want to blend it so it's "smudge-y." Check out my article, How to Apply Eyeliner for may more eyeshadow options.
  4. Apply eyeshadow. It's great to use a three-toned shadow and build from lids to brow (see How to apply eyeshadow). Allowing them to blend into each other like a rainbow is gorgeous, according to celebrity makeup artist Mally Roncal. Start with a light color that almost matches your lid. Sweep the color across the lid and up to your browbone. Follow with a medium color across your lid only. Build on this with a darker color in the crease. Blend the colors well.
  5. Brighten your eyes with a highlighter This step involves only the inside part of the eye. Putting a bit of your lightest eyeshadow in the inner corner of your eye will brighten it significantly (this is the makeup artist's secret and I use this trick all the time). I usually dab a finger into my lightest eyeshadow and then I press it into the inner corner of my eye where the upper lid meets the bottom lid. This totally makes eyes "pop."
  6. Highlight your brow Take the same light eyeshadow and dab it on your browbone, concentrating on your mid-brow outward. Blend with your finger. I like to use Yves Saint Laurent's Touche Eclat just below my brow and just above it, but a super light shadow will do you.
  7. Curl 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. Test curler before applying to lashes because you could burn yourself.
  8. Apply mascara 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. See How to apply mascara for step-by-step instruction and extra tips.


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