I’ve been asked a lot about how to blend eye shadows, so I came up with some cheats for blending! These are tips that I’ve picked up after lots and lots of practice. So in addition to practicing, you can try these tricks to see if they help you.
Image: Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image: nixxphotography / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
1. After you apply your eye shadow primer, apply a sheer eye shadow with subtle shimmer/glow, such as a sheer iridescent like Fyrinnae Crimson Ghost.
So for example, if I thought I would have trouble with blending a matte orange and a gold, before I applied either shade, I’d apply a sheer white with gold iridescence right where that seam (i.e. where the two colors would meet) would be. Then I’d apply the matte, then I’d apply the metallic. Then I’d blend. 99% of the time I’m blending with the MAC 224.
2. You can also try by applying a buttery matte shade that matches your skintone. Lorac’s baked matte satin in Posh works well on me. Sugarpill Tako works well too. I take a big fluffy brush and apply it very lightly where I know my browbone/crease colors will meet. It’s like it gives the other colors more slip.
3. You can try blending just one direction. In this case, I tend to blend inward and upward. Then apply more color if I think it’s necessary. Yes, it takes longer to blend this way, but it seems to work better. I tend to use the MAC 224 brush for this, or my Urban Decay blending brush.
4. For hooded eyes, applying the shimmer/metallic to the lid and the matte/satin to the crease works pretty well. I’ve mentioned that I enjoy mixing finishes before. I really like how it looks to have a glitter or metallic shade on the lid, a matte/satin in the crease and a pearl on the browbone. I love the glow that some pearl shades give off. I tend to use either the ecoTools highlighter brush or the ecoTools smudge brush for the browbone and blending the browbone and upper crease together.
Some of the best mattes that I have for blending are the MAC Matte2 formula. I really really love this formula. The Sugarpill pressed mattes are great, as are Silk Naturals suedes.
5. If you need to go darker, you can blend along the color seam with a good buttery black matte, or another shade that you feel will be complimentary with the two shades. I really like the results from using a fiber optic pointed crease brush for the seams.
6. Another way I cheat is if I don’ t put the sheer down before the metallic or glittery lid and matte crease, I’ll put the sheer at the seam and blend with it, to ease the transition. I do this at the upper crease/browbone too. Again, the ecoTools smudge brush is great for blending the seam line between the browbone and crease color. That’s my trick for keeping the colors separate, but blended, without going muddy.
What are some of your tricks for blending? What are your favorite tools for blending?
I concur with putting a shadow down after primer. Also, slowly build color if you’re new with blending, especially with darker shades. It’s much easier to add more than to take color away!
I agree JT! Building up with a fiber optic brush is really good.
great tips i have learned so far ..
Glad you like them, Jeeya!
Thanks for the tips! I’m still trying to figure things out. Sometimes I think my problem is that I’m not using the right brushes!
Peach, the brushes definitely make a difference. Try the Real Techniques brushes by the pixiwoo ladies.
I actually never learned how to blend. People constantly told me that I’m good at it, though. >_>
These are really useful tricks, though!
Yay glad you like them Rebecca!
I use a really good quality blending brush like Shu Uemura 8HR or Shu Uemura Kolinsky 5R for a more precise blending. A good brush can make or break blending e/s. I also build color gradually instead of piling on colors and blending afterwards and I think that’s the most common mistake in blending. You only need very little amount to work with as long as you apply product correctly.
I agree, building color up gradually really helps
MAC 224 is my favourite for blending. I love it and rarely use anything else. I build and add gradually. I also love the MAC 227 for blending between the crease and the browbone and cleaning up the edges of the shadow on the outside of the eyes, it really takes the work out of it
Yay! I’ve had my 224 for close to 10 years, I think. It’s awesome.
I think my newbie-ness is showing. Everything you just said….it was like a different language LOL I understood the parts of the eyelid area (thanks to you) but the rest….nope. I’m hopeless! LOL
That’s ok! I’ll try to do something to help explain it better.
Thanks so much for this! I’m still working on my blending skills and these are some new techniques I need to try and see if they work better for me!
You’re quite welcome, Amanda!
I use the Real Techniques Deluxe Crease Brush as my blending brush as well as WnW Brulee (buttery matte shade that matches my skin tone) to blend out my crease shades. They both work beautifully for me as a novice blender. lol
I would love to try the MAC 224 but it’s a bit out of my price range at the moment!
Thank you for sharing Erin! The Real Techniques brushes are great!
I don’t know what I’m doing most of the time with eyeshadow. Thanks so much for the tips! Your eye looks always look great, so these tips will come in handy for me
Glad you like them Eight!
These are really great tips! I definitely want to mix finishes now – I hadn’t thought to do that before. And I’m going to look into getting some good eyeshadow brushes (especially for blending!) – I have an assortment of e.l.f.’s brushes right now and I don’t think most of them are the correct size for me.
There are heaps of great tips here! Thanks.
You’re welcome Olgie!
Def putting down a light or skin coloured shadow first is important, powder does move (slip as you say) better over powder. One of the first things they taught us at make up college
Woot! Good to know, Lycanthropica!
Great tips! I like to put a base shadow down, too. But I apply it just below my crease up almost to my browbone. That way, the crease color can be built up if needed (I tend to have a heavy hand) and the entire transition area is prepped.
I don’t apply a base color to the lid because I want that color to stick directly to the primer and pop.
Really enjoyed this post & all the comments!
Nod, I tend to not do a base color on the lid, but I definitely like it for my upper crease/browbone, because of my eye shape.
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The thing that helps me the most with blending is using the right brush. I love the MAC 217, but it’s a it large for my eyes. I think my eyes are weirdly shaped, because I think concentrating darker crease colors looks best near the bridge of my nose, not the outer corner. But I’ve tried an angled crease brush to blend at the outer corner and it works really well and the MAC 226 is small and pointed enough for my inner eye area.
I agree, the right brushes really help! And it may be your eyes are shaped differently. I used to never get my crease color to show up because of my eye shape, which is why I’m trying to learn the best ways to flatter my shape
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Thanks for the great tips. Esp. #4, this I will try tomorrow. Would love to see some pictures too.
Thanks so much for the tips! I still find blending a bit tricky sometimes, so I will definitely try some of these.
You’re welcome Samantha!
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Finally someone that gives credit to the Urban Decay brushes! I never purchased the MAC 224. I LOVE my UD Crease Brush (looks similar to any blending brush). For me it fits perfectly in the crease area. I also use the UD Pencil Blending Brush (love this one too). Other brushes I use for blending are a Sonia Kashuk rounded pencil blending brush, the black one that has the weird curves (not sure the name, but its like a bigger version of the UD 24/7 pencil blending brush). I use this to blend out hard lines, esp to blend out the crease line, or blend together my brow highlight color with crease color.
Its really about what works for you and your eye shape. I have about 4 different brushes I use now to blend, sometimes 5. I use different ones depending on the look I’m going for. Sometimes I want a subtle look for that I would use a MAC 217. If I want harsher I use the UD 24/7. I use the MAC pencil brush the help perfect the shape, or to add dimension in the outer v/corner area. The Sonia Kashuk is a great synthetic and stiff and helps to blend out lines. Its my “finishing” brush.
I am still new to this myself. I’ve only really been into makeup this past year.
One last note, recently I had a problem with my eye color. I don’t know if my indie mineral primer (which I was loving) just expired, or what happened with it. My color didn’t look right, it was splotchy. I was feeling bad about my skills. I went back to my urban decay primer potion (eden since it doesn’t have parabens) and my shadow looked impeccable. There are many things that can affect the way your makeup looks.
DON’T feel discouraged. Try again, keep experimenting, have fun, find what works for you!
I have 2 of the UD crease brush and I do like it, but I almost always still reach for the 224 to blend after I apply crease color.
I totally agree with you that brushes make a big difference
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