How To Wear Eyeshadow (Part 1)

First posted on April 12 2013 on my LJ. 

I wrote this because I had a few friends saying that they still didn’t know how to wear eyeshadow. 

Part 1 will be about the basics on eye shadow.
In Part 2 I will show how to put eye shadow on, step by step.

Warning: Long long post ahead. I have also added many pictures.

How to wear eye shadow:

Most basic eye shadow palettes have four main colours.


1) Base colour (sometimes called the highlight)
2) Lid colour
3) Crease colour
4) Liner

The lightest colour is called either the base colour or the highlight colour. When used as a base, this is patted all over the lid of the eye, from the socket to the brow bone. It can also be used in the inner corner of the eye in order to highlight the area and brighten the eye.

The lid colour is (obviously) what’s placed on the lid. You can use your ring finger and pat around your lip, stopping when you can feel where there’s bone. That’s the lid area, the above is the brow bone.

The crease colour is meant to go into the crease of the eye, in order to contour the eye a little and give it more depth, rather than using just a flat colour. It’s usually just a shade darker than the lid colour.

The crease area is the area that delineates the brow bone and the eyelid, or the contour of the eye socket. This is the part that frustrated me when I first started out with makeup. Most makeup videos and tutorials up online are meant for Caucasians. The thing is, the typical Asian eye (here I’m mostly talking about Mongloids, Indians have eye structures pretty similar to Caucasions) has a completely different structure from the Caucasion eye (I’m generalizing, but will continue to do so for the rest of the post.) The double eyelid for Caucasions tend to coincide with the crease. So whenever the tutorials say that they’re placing the shadow in the crease, they really mean they’re doing it at the eye socket, and not the double eyelid.

Asian don’t usually have distinct double eyelids and there are lots of people who have monolids instead. There’s some science to this; we have thicker eyelids, and more fatty tissue under our eye or something like that. Also, those with double eyelids may not have the line at the crease. I have double eyelids, and whenever I tried applying eye shadow in the double eyelid, guess what? The colour just disappears into the lid whenever I opened my eye.

So the darker eye shadow goes into the contour of the eye, not where the lid is.

(Anyway if you’re interested in reading up more about this, check out for more info.)


Here I’ve taken an eye pencil to draw where the lines are. The line on top is where my crease is, the line at the bottom is where my double eyelid is.


The crease eye shadow should be applied in the area above – that’s the ‘V’ shape I’m always talking about.

The darkest eye shadow is meant to line the lash line (both upper or lower, whichever desired.

Note: You don’t need to use all four kinds of eyeshadow all the time. When I’m doing my makeup in a hurry, or when travelling, I don’t usually use brushes and just use my fingers. I also use two eye shadows rather than four, then finish off with eyeliner. In fact, I rarely ever use a highlighter, except for formal occasions for the glitzy dinner kind of look. 

Eye primers

These are used as bases whole of the eye. Think of them as glue, which help to make the eye shadow last a lot longer without fading, and because of their tacky appearance, they can usually hold on to more product. This means that the eye shadow colour tends to look deeper and more intense with the help of a primer.

Most eye primers today come in different shades of beige or brown as well, which is fantastic. The thing people forget about the eyelid is that it often has different undertones of its own, whether cool or warm. So eye primers also work like foundation, which neutralize the skin of the eyelid.

Urban Decay’s Primer Potion is a huge favourite amongst most people. I use the MAC Prep + Prime Eye in light. I can’t compare it with the UD one, but I’ll say this has worked pretty well on me. It’ll crease if you use too much of the product though. Also, I sometimes use it as a concealer for my dark circles.

Note: I always allow the primer to sit on my face for between five to ten minutes, allowing the product to get absorbed into the skin before patting on eyeshadow. This prevents any excess product from creasing. The same goes for moisturizers and face primers, as well as lip balms. Always allow the first product five to ten minutes to get absorbed into the skin, before applying anything else. Otherwise the makeup will all slide on top of one another and get oily fast.

Another tip – don’t use more than one priming product. If you’ve used a primer, don’t bother with a cream eyeshadow, and then another layer of powder. And don’t have put on moisturizer, primer and then foundation, the whole thing will probably give you pimples, and all the products won’t get absorbed into the skin. Primers act very much like moisturizers as it is, so don’t bother with both. 

MAC Prep + Prime (Light)

Cream eye shadows

These are good to use when in a hurry. I sometimes just pat a neutral cream eye shadow all over the lid when I don’t have time to do anything, and it looks like I’ve actually put some effort in my makeup.

Most cream eye shadows can double as eye primers as well. They help in intensifying the colour of the eyeshadow that’s patted on top of them.

I own three cream shadows at the moment. From MAC Paintpots, I have Bare Study and Rubenesque. Bare Study is a shimmery light beige with a golden sheen. I use this as my primer and base most of the time, the beige is a fairly close to my skin colour and tone. (ie. Not too warm or cool.)

MAC Paint Pot Bare Study

Rubensque is a described on the MAC website as ‘Golden peach with gold pearl’ which is a fairly accurate description. It comes off as warm peach on me with a frosty golden shimmer. I use this as a base when I’m applying makeup for people with warmer skin tones, or when I’m going for warmer makeup looks, with lots of browns.

MAC Paint Pot Rubensque

I also have Maybelline’s 24 Hour Colour Tattoo in Fierce & Tangy. I blogged about this just a few days ago, see It’s a lovely bright orange.

Maybelline 24 Hour Colour Tattoo Fierce & Tangy

Choosing the right colours

It took me a long time to appreciate using light colours rather than dark ones. Because of my pale skin, light eye shadows tend to disappear into my skin and I avoided that, sticking to darker colours instead. As a result, my makeup ended up looking smoky (if I got it right and even then I don’t always want it smoky) or smudgy and dirty looking if I got it wrong.

The following are photos of what I would use as lid colours, and what I would use as contour colours. Obviously this varies from individual to individual, based on your tastes and skin tone.


Urban Decay Broken – soft pale beige that almost blends into my skin, but gives it a wonderfully glowy effect. (As seen in )
Urban Decay Illusion – champagne with a golden sheen. Again, barely visible on my skin unless I use a primer and pile up on the product, but gives a warmer glow than Broken.
Urban Decay Beware – warm caramel brown. I sometimes also use this as a contour colour, depending on how light the base is.



Urban Decay West – deep red-toned brown.
Urban Decay Tornado – rich purple with red undertones.
Urban Decay South – taupe with a frosted finish.
Part 2:
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2 Responses to How To Wear Eyeshadow (Part 1)

  1. Must Have Boxes says:

    Great eye shadow tutorial. Thanks for sharing.

    – KW

  2. Pingback: Natural Makeup Part I: The ingredients to natural makeup | natzisstash

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