The Reality of Eye Gloss: Is 2017's Biggest Trend Lying to Us All?

Updated 06/07/17
glossy eye - how to apply eyeshadow
Katie Jane Hughes

I was immediately taken with eye gloss as soon as it hit the mainstream airwaves. All of a sudden, it began showing up in every social media feed I scrolled through—from makeup artists to celebrities. I had to try it. It looked so special, cool, and yet, still casual. Publications all over deemed the look was the new thing.

I decided on an inspiration picture and took it to an artist who was doing my makeup look for an event I was attending. She shook her head and told me, "It's more trouble than it's worth." Apparently, eye gloss can get quite messy, especially if you're planning on wearing it for a night out. "It'll look great for the picture and then crease within seconds," she continued. I shrugged it off and chose a different eye shadow, though I still held out hope there was a way I could pull it off another time.

A few weeks later, I went to an event for the launch of a new makeup kit. It included super-pigmented eye shadows, shimmers, and yes, glossy eye gel. I was excited about finally trying the look on for size (and, perhaps, proving that first makeup artist wrong). Unfortunately, no such luck. The gloss looked so cool when first applied, but smudged and creased all over my eye by the time I made it to the office.

Still, I was confident it was me and not the product. I have noticed creases in my eye shadow and concealer before—though I just chalked it up to having a particularly crease-y lid. When I brought yet another glossy look to the next makeup artist, she told me the same thing. I realized the go-to trend of 2017 wasn't really all it was cracked up to be. That, more often than not, it was a look created for a picture or runway show only to be swiped off with the nearest makeup wipe minutes later. Is it all a scam?

To get to the bottom of it all, I reached out to one of my absolute favorite makeup artists to follow on Instagram (seriously, check out her gorgeous feed). Katie Jane Hughes, a makeup artist and bubbly Brit living in Brooklyn, was the reason I fell in love with the glossy eye to begin with. She had to have some answers. Below, she explains.

glossy eye - eye shadow
Katie Jane Hughes

"Eye gloss will crease, period. No matter what," Hughes states at the beginning of our call. But there are ways to make it work: "If you use too much or the wrong product, that's when it'll become a disaster," she says. Kelli J. Bartlett, Glamsquad's director of makeup artistry, adds, "Gloss textures never really 'dry down'—think of the difference between a liquid lipstick and your favorite lip gloss. One sets in place while the other remains wet, which makes the product move around."

"Choosing your product is like using a bargaining chip," Hughes says. "The thinner the product, the less sticky it is and the more comfortable it'll feel on your lid. But, it'll move faster. For that intense shine, you're going to want to use something thicker, and therefore stickier—but, it'll stay in place longer."

eyeshadow tutorial - glossy eye
Katie Jane Hughes

"The truth is," Hughes says, "a disheveled-looking gloss can be quite beautiful, as it takes on a shape of its own on every face. Just make sure your skin and the rest of your makeup looks elegant."

She sights MAC Clear Lip Glass ($16) as her favorite product, as it has the shiniest finish, and, in her experience, moves the least on your eyelid. I pressed on for her secret tips, I knew there had to be a few. "If you're putting it over eye shadow," she revealed, "always use a gloss with a thicker texture. Let it dry before applying the gloss (a little goes a long way). Tap it onto the middle of your lid, and swoosh it left to right and back and forth. And always apply your mascara first. To make sure it's dry, do a touch test. If the product doesn't transfer to your finger, you're good to go."

"Waterproof mascara is helpful," says Bartlett, "otherwise the gloss can mix with your lashes and cause smudging. I would also suggest applying with your fingers to really get that cool lived-in feel, but if you want a more precise application, utilize a synthetic fiber brush (like a lip brush) to hold the gloss in place."

mac clear lip glass - glossy eye
MAC Clear Lip Glass $16
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waterproof mascara - glossy eye
Eyeko Sport Waterproof Mascara $26
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