These 15 Simple Eye Shadow Looks Are Anything but Boring

Updated 11/24/19

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 eyeliner, 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 you're 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. 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.

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 eye shadow. Henney used ColourPop Give It to Me Straight Palette ($13) in the shades Up Front and Truth Hurts. To see all the other products she used, be sure to check out the full YouTube tutorial.

Woman with yellow eyeshadow
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For this standout spring look, take a small precise brush and dip it in an opaque neon yellow eye shadow. 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 it. 

Or do as celeb makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes does, and trace your upper lash line with a vibrant liner after you've dusted on a neutral color across the lid. It's probably the quickest approach to achieving a subtle pop of color. We love the Ultra Violet color she's wearing (it is, after all, 2018's color of the year).

Three words: pink glossy lids. Katie Jane Hughes shows us how a pink-and-red color combo is done. Simply apply a soft pink shade to the top lid and blend out. To amp it up a little more, apply a gloss, like Milk Makeup Face Gloss, over the top. We love glossy eye shadow (if you do too, head to her Instagram where you'll see a ton of different glossy eye iterations). Our new motto: When in doubt, add gloss.

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 on every Saturday night from now until the end of time. (If you're a fan of this look, then don't miss the sunset eyes tutorial that the pair filmed for us a couple of months back.)

This blazing look was created by Robin Black, the makeup expert behind Beauty Is Boring. She used Tom Ford Cheek Color in Flush with a smidge of the same product in the shade Wicked on top. We love using blush as eye shadow. 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 courtesy of Robin Black and Beauty Is Boring: Dreamy. The diffused peach and matching rosy lip are equal parts beachy and elegant.

For those of us who prefer minimalist eye makeup, take inspiration from makeup artist Celine Bernaerts. All it takes is a single curved line of color across the lid. 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 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 it requires is a lovely peach eye shadow and some expert placement. (Oh, and some highlighter to replicate that radiant complexion.)

Here's another monochromatic eye look, this time courtesy of international makeup artist @Nikki_Makeup. We replicated it by patting on a pigmented pastel lavender and blending it out in a circular motion. Then, we applied a shimmery silver in the center using the ring finger. It resulted in a standout, dimensional look. (By the way, the shadow used in this picture is from the Natasha Denona Tropic Palette). 

Cat-eye look
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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 Detail + Define Duo Pack. Simply place the stencil against your eye and fill in with liner. After you take it away, it will look clean and professional.

Soft and smoky eye makeup
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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 and then smudge out and up with a brush. We like Maybelline Master Kajal Eyeliner, $9).

Bright blue shimmer eye shadow
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For striking impact, take an opaque bright cream formula and smooth it across the lid. Honestly, 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. Easy and impactful, right?

White liner
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Sometimes perfect eye makeup only takes one product to accomplish, and that certainly rings true for this look. Simply outline your eyes with liner, but instead of using a traditional black, opt for an unexpected white liner. Swipe on mascara and you'll be set.

Upside-down eye liner look
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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.

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