I tend to use words and phrases commonly found in the makeup (blogging) world. While there are better sources to define them, here’s what I know:
Cat Eyeliner (also known as Winged Liner)
Easy to do, difficult to master. Amy Winehouse’s trademark look was an oversized version of the cat eyeline. The line should be pointing to the eyebrows’ tips, or naturally follow the line made by your lower lash line.
The skin fold where your eyeball meets your skull.
Inner Third of Eyelid
Normally lines up to the area between your tear duct (the area closest to your nose) and your pupils.
The areas around your eyeballs where your eyelashes grow. Upper lash line is where most people put eyeliner. The lower lash line is where most people don’t put anything.
I use this most often when I’m mixing colors together. Like painting there’s a base color and a top color. Sometimes I just smudge them all to make a more uniform mixed color.
Eyelid shape which does not have an eye crease. Many Asians have monolids, but this genetic trait could be seen in other ethnicities.
Take your finger (or your brush if you fear germs) and rub color(s) on the area you desire. Just like finger painting but in a smaller palette.
Line your eyes only on your upper lash lines, or get as close as possible to them. The result is your eye shape should open up, versus the standard cat eye which can close your eye shape. New York Magazine’s The Cut has a detailed GIF tutorial on how to do it.
Eye Shadow Primer
Eye shadow primers aren’t necessary. Some eye shadow formulas do last as long as they claim in their advertisements without any extra help. However if you want a color to pop on your eyelid or to last for an extended period of time then primers are your savior. If, like me, you find your eye shadow “fades” or sinks into your eyelids’ creases/folds eye shadow primers are a godsend. Primers can also make weakly colored eye shadow more vibrant and last longer. Usually you need a thin layer on your eyelids and a minute for the formula to set.
Figure out if your eyelids are oily or dry before you try eyelid primer. Oily eyelids tend to be shiny at the end of the day. Dry eyelids have an ashy, discolored texture that is usually seen on elbows, knees, and other areas prone to dry skin by the end of the day. Don’t have either of these issues? Get some primer anyway to keep your eye look intact all day.
How is eyeshadow primer different from under eye concealer?
Eyeshadow primer is mainly for your eyelids and areas where you would put eyeshadow. Under eye concealer is really meant for dark areas under your eye. In an emergency concealer may work as an eyeshadow primer but it may not have the same staying power. On top of that the ingredients in one product may not suit the areas meant for another. I wouldn’t want you to get an allergic reaction from swapping eye makeup areas either. Eye muscle tissue can be incredibly sensitive.
Loose, Cream, Pressed, which one do I use?
Eye shadow is available in different formats for your comfort. Each one has its own benefits and drawbacks.
Texture can resemble ice cream or lip balm upon touch. Normally housed in glass or thick plastic jars with screw top lids to combat drying. Can dry out if exposed to air too long. Easily converts to eyeliner because of its texture.
Loose Eye Shadow
Texture resembles powder or dust. Normally housed in small jars with sifters to stop spills. Powder spills can still happen. Tends to be the most pigmented of the three formats, so use in small quantities.
Pressed Eye Shadow
Most common eye shadow form. Powder is hand or mechanically pressed into tins or other molds, which resembles watercolor paint pans. If dropped the eye shadow can shatter. (The eye shadow itself can be saved by converting it into loose eye shadow.) Has the widest variance in pigmentation and quality of the three forms.
How Many Eye Shadow Brushes Do I Need?
Brushes don’t always have to be for their intended use, but it does make their main purpose easy. If you are just starting your makeup adventures, you are fine with 5.
Might have rounded edges (like the letter C) or will be square (like a paintbrush). Great for things that need all over lid application.
It resembles a standard round barrel powder brush but shrunk down to fit your eyes. Great for softening hard edges or distributing a large amount of color in a broad stroke
Usually pointed or tapered to fit into your eye crease.
A little meatier than a liner brush (below). A detail brush could be shaped like a fine point pen or resemble the skinny sister to a crease brush. Keep for finer lines like dotting or highlighting the tear duct or brow bone. Also good for when you want to remove small smudges or errors.
Should resemble a small flat brush with an angled edge. As the name suggests it’s great for sharp lines. Scared of liquid eyeliner or eyeliners in general? Liner brushes are a great introduction to lining your eyes.
A variation of the liner brush that has a straight edge. It should resemble a flat paint brush. Rather than dragging color line with a liner brush, you dab (or “push”) the color onto your eyelid one small section at a time. Great for tightlining or if you blink a lot when you put on eyeliner.
Full disclosure I have at least two of each brush type listed above. That way if I clean one brush I can use the other if I need to quickly change my makeup for another event.
Makeup brushes should feel good on your skin. Eyeshadow brushes go around sensitive body parts so make sure you don’t have an allergic reaction when you use it. If you’re testing a new brush in a store test it on the inner fold of your elbow, your wrist, or if possible on the area it’s going to apply makeup. The brush should be soft and relatively pleasant against your skin. The brush should do it’s job: Pick up your makeup and put it on your skin. The brush bristles should not be ‘eating’ all of the makeup you put down.