A Makeup Artist Explains How to Blend Eye Shadow Perfectly Every Time

Updated 06/06/19
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Eye shadow is one of the most common makeup products we use, right up there with our favorite lipstick and mascara. That doesn't mean, however, that we've mastered the application process. Far from it. With so many formulations, colors, and textures, it's easy to feel a little overwhelmed when trying to achieve the perfect result. Blending simply isn't as easy as it sounds.

The good news is that a professional-level blend can be yours if you just know the right tips and tricks (and that goes for whatever application technique you prefer, whether that be by brush, sponge, or even just your fingers). Keep scrolling to see tips for applying and blending eye shadow in a perfectly diffused manner. Blending might not be as easy as it sounds, but it's definitely not as hard as you think.

Applying Eyeshadow With Your Fingers

Fingers work best when you’re working with cream textures, as the warmth from your skin helps cream become more malleable, making it easier to blend on skin. You can use any kind of cream that you want on your eyelids, whether it’s a true eye shadow, a cream blush, or something similar.

Always be sure to start this process with clean hands so you don’t spread any germs or dirt to the eye area. If you’re cream eye shadow comes in a jar or palette, just tap it on in a light motion across the lid with your finger until it looks soft around the edges. If it comes with a doe foot applicator, you can directly apply the shadow to the lid with the applicator and then follow up by blending with your finger. Avoid rubbing or pulling the skin around the eye, as it’s more delicate than the skin on your face.

If you want to use a sparkly cream eye shadow, be sure to tap lightly to ensure the glitter stays in place.

Glossier LidStar $18
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Butter London Glazen Eye Gloss $24
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Almay Velvet Foil Cream Shadow $8
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Applying Eyeshadow With a Brush

Using makeup brushes can be intimidating at first, but they really give amazing results when you become confident in the process. Every eye shadow brush is designed specifically to help you blend makeup to perfection, leaving little room for error. The key here is to blend shadow over and over until it looks smooth and diffused. It takes practice to learn the motion of blending, but you’ll love the results when done right.

If you're using a contoured eye brush, blend shadow in the crease using a circular motion until you like what you see. The contoured part of the brush fits perfectly into the hollows of your crease. If you’re wanting to apply eye shadow to the eyelid, using a flat brush so that you can pack the shadow in order to build color. Always remember, you can never blend too much, so when in doubt, blend a little more than you normally would for best results.

You also might be asking yourself, how many eye shadow brushes do you really need? You can get by with two to three brushes as long as you have one to apply your base shadow colors, one to contour with, and then a third to use for eyeliner or blending shadow around the eye and close to the waterline. Over time you might build a collection of brushes that you love, but it doesn’t take much to get started.

Urban Decay Medium Eyeshadow Brush $24
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Morphe M433 Pro Firm Blending Fluff Brush $7
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Nars #43 Wide Contour Eyeshadow Brush $32
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Applying Eyeshadow With a Sponge Tip

You’ve seen them before—those tiny sponge tip applicators in your newly purchased eyeshadow compact—but do they really work? Sponge tip applicators are actually wildly successful when applying shadow, as they pack a pretty tight punch when it comes to pigment. If you want precise control over where your eye shadow goes, the sponge applicators are small enough to fit on and around the lid to blend color perfectly. Always keep some on hand in your makeup bag for touch-ups.

Face Stockholm Small Sponge Applicator $8
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Ulta Dual Tipped Foam Applicators $5
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Surratt Beauty Artistique Brush Applicator $28
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Next, read up on the best subtle false lashes for when you want a little drama (but not a lot).

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