In the age of Instagram, it's easy to get intimidated and overwhelmed at the prospect of creating your own eye makeup look. It seems like every tutorial we see involves complicated blending, impeccable cat-eye liner, or fussy cut creases. While these looks are beautiful and inspiring in their own right, we usually want to take inspiration from something simpler. After all, we don't know what your weekday mornings are like, but ours are too rushed to sit in front of the mirror perfecting our eye makeup for 15 minutes. In fact, we're lucky if we have 15 minutes to get ready in total. (Maybe it's just us, but coffee always comes first.)
But just because an eye makeup look is simple doesn't mean it has to be boring—we still crave color and fun. That's why we combed Instagram for eye makeup looks that don't fit the norm—the looks that are easier to replicate yet just as impactful as their more complicated counterparts.
Keep reading for 15 simple eyeshadow looks that even beginners can master.
Let's start with this super-wearable look, which comes courtesy of celebrity makeup artist Tobi Henney.
- To replicate these pretty orange eyes, reach for a creamsicle-colored eyeshadow. Henney used ColourPop's Give It to Me Straight Palette in the shades Up Front and Truth Hurts. While that palette is no longer available, the brand's Blush Crush Palette ($14) offers similar shades.
- Finish by curling lashes and applying waterproof mascara.
- A simple sheer gloss on lips adds the perfect counterpoint.
For this standout spring look, a swipe of vibrant yellow shadow is nearly all you need.
- Take a small precise brush and dip it in an opaque neon yellow eyeshadow, then apply it all over the lid.
- It doesn't have to be perfect (when you're done creating the shape, clean it up with a cotton swab and makeup remover). We love the vibrancy of this shade.
Do as celeb makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes does, and try a subtle line of shocking blue on the upper lashes.
- Trace your upper lash line with a vibrant liner after you've dusted on a neutral color across the lid.
- This is probably the quickest approach to achieving a subtle pop of color. We love the ultraviolet color she's wearing, which is bold and sophisticated. Try the Juvia's Place The Violets Eyeshadow Palette ($15) and use a thin brush to line the eyes.
Our new motto: When in doubt, add gloss. It instantly transforms simple, basic makeup into a runway-worthy look.
- To achieve a look like this, first, apply your eyeshadow as normal.
- Then, to amp it up a little more, apply a gloss like INC.redible's You Glow Girl Irridescent Jelly ($12) over the top.
Modern Powder Blue
To follow in the spirit of boldness, try a modern interpretation of '80s powder blue eye shadow like this one Henney did on Bambi Northwood Blyth. It's a simple application process but a major standout look—one we will be wearing every Saturday night from now until the end of time.
- For this look, apply a vibrant blue shadow around the lids and blur out with a shadow brush.
- Curl the lashes and apply mascara.
This blazing look was created by Robin Black, the makeup expert behind Beauty Is Boring.
- Black used Tom Ford's Shade & Illuminate Blush Duo in Explicit Flush ($95) in lieu of eyeshadow for this look.
- We love using blush as eyeshadow. It usually offers amazing color payoff and saves us from spending extra money on palettes.
There's only one word to use when describing this soft monochromatic look also by Black: Dreamy. The diffused peach and matching rosy lip are equal parts beachy and elegant.
- Apply peach eyeshadow on the upper lid and on the outer corners of the eyes and blur with a brush.
For those of us who prefer minimalist eye makeup, take inspiration from makeup artist Celine Bernaerts.
- All this look requires is a single curved line of color across the crease, plus a bit of gold shadow blended across the entire lid. If you have a few extra minutes, feel free to add a bit of winged liner.
- While it may take some time to match both lines on either lid, it's a quick application process, and cotton swabs and makeup remover can majorly help.
We're also partial to this sunset-orange eye makeup from professional hair and makeup artist Gabby Webb. It's proof that chic eye makeup doesn't require complicated layering or blending.
- In this case, all this look requires is a lovely peach eyeshadow and some expert placement. (Oh, and some highlighter to replicate that radiant complexion.)
We're all about monochromatic eye makeup looks, especially when they involve eye-catching lavender.
- Replicate this look by patting on a pigmented pastel lavender and blending it out in a circular motion.
- Next, apply a shimmery silver in the center using the ring finger.
We know what you're thinking. How on earth is this cat-eye considered simple? It is if you have the right tools—namely a cat-eye stencil like the Real Techniques Eye Shade & Blend Eye Makeup Brush Trio Set ($9).
- Simply place the stencil against your eye and fill in with liner. After you take it away, it will look clean and professional.
- You also might consider using an unassuming liner or pigmented shadow color, like the eggplant hue pictured above.
Soft and Smoky Neutrals
If soft and smoky neutrals are more your thing, take inspiration from this beautifully blended masterpiece.
- Smudge a kohl liner along your top lash line, then smudge out and up with a brush. We like Maybelline's Master Kajal Eyeliner ($10).
Bright and Creamy
Bold, beautiful, and strikingly easy, this look keeps all the emphasis on the lids, with the rest of the face relatively bare.
- For striking impact, take an opaque bright cream formula and smooth it across the lid.
- We like using our fingers best for these kinds of shadows, since the finish isn't compromised by fine brush bristles. It doesn't require any blending (and not much shaping, either): All it does is make your eyes pop. It's so easy and impactful, right?
Sometimes perfect eye makeup only takes one product to accomplish, and that certainly rings true for this look.
- Simply add a flick of white liner toward your inner corner and another one along the outer edge of your eye for an architectural vibe.
One of our favorite ways to create a simple yet impactful eye makeup look is by applying eyeliner only to the lower lash line. This so-called upside-down eyeliner has been made trendy by a number of celebs like Shay Mitchell, Olivia Munn, and more.
- Apply a dark liner on only the bottom lash line.
- Using a dark shadow (we like the mauve pictured here), apply with an eyeshadow brush below the lower lash line and smudge out.