How to Apply Eye Shadow Like An Expert (A Beginner’s Guide)

January 31, 2023

Eye shadow has the ability to transform your entire makeup look, instantly taking it from day to night. Along with complementing your eye color and drawing attention to this beautiful feature, eye shadow also has the ability to add depth and dimension, while making your eyes appear larger.

The key to learning how to apply eye shadow is to approach it in the same way an artist would approach their canvas; start with a solid, yet neutral base, then gradually build layer upon layer of color until you’ve created your masterpiece.

In this eye makeup tutorial, you’ll learn the simple steps to apply eye shadow like an expert, using some of Laura Mercier’s most popular products.

Before You Begin: Choose Your Brushes

Creating the perfect look with your eye shadow begins with having the proper tools on hand. For this eye makeup tutorial, it's recommended that you use the following brushes to help you achieve the perfect eye shadow look:

Almond Coconut Body Cream

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Almond Coconut Hand Cream

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Ambre Vanille Hand Cream

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Tinted Moisturizer Bronzer

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Ensure Your Brushes Are Clean

Before you begin this eye shadow tutorial, you should also ensure your makeup brushes are in optimal condition for application. This includes making sure they are both clean and dry, thus allowing them to pick up and release your products perfectly.

If you need to clean your eye makeup brushes first, you can do so using mild shampoo and warm water. When cleaning brushes, gently squeeze water through the hair, going from base to tip, then rinse thoroughly. Finally, shape the brush and allow it to air dry on a flat surface.

How to correctly hold your brushes

Along with having the perfect set of brushes to help you master your eye shadow, you can also benefit from understanding the correct way of holding these brushes, depending on the type of application you’re hoping to achieve.

For a precise and detailed eye makeup application, hold the brush at the center of the handle or closer to the ferrule. Then, pinch the brush handle between your thumb and middle finger. For added control, you can also use your pointer finger with a light touch on the handle, as this will act more as a “guide” during application.

To blend and diffuse your eye makeup, hold the brush with a loose grip, close to the end of the handle, and lightly pinch it between your thumb, pointer, and middle fingers. This will provide the most “painterly” and seamless result between eye shadow shades.


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How to Apply Eye Shadow

With the correct brushes on hand, it’s now time to learn the five simple steps on how to apply eye shadow using Laura Mercier's best-selling eye makeup products.

Step 1: Prime Your Eyes

To create a smooth canvas for your eye shadow, you’ll first need to prime your eyelids using an eye shadow primer.

Eye shadow primer is just like a primer for your face, as it creates a uniform base that evens out any discoloration. As a result, eye shadow primer can help to prevent your eye makeup from creasing or smudging, thus allowing your glam eye shadow look to last longer. Additionally, priming your eyelids enhances eye shadow pigments, causing your desired color to “pop” more.

To prime your eyelids, apply Laura Mercier’s Eye Basics Primer in a shade close to your skin tone using the product’s wand applicator. Then, use the Crème Eye Color Brush to gently blend the primer into your skin.

Start at your lash line and work your way up to your brow bone, underneath your eyebrow. If you plan on applying eye shadow or eyeliner just underneath your bottom lashes, then you will also benefit from adding primer to this area too.

Step 2: Build Your Base

Once the primer has been applied, it’s time to focus on your base layer of eye shadow. For a more effective eye shadow look, makeup artists generally use 3-4 different shades on the eye area. This includes:

  • A neutral shade for your base
  • A medium shade for your crease
  • A dark shade for the outer corner
  • A light, shimmering shade for highlighting the inner corner and brow bone area.

To start with the neutral shade for your base, choose an eye shadow in a color that is similar to your skin tone. Laura Mercier’s Matte Eye Shadow has a wide range of neutral shades that are perfect as a base layer for your eye shadow look.

Then, use the All Over Eye Color Brush to apply the shadow evenly across your eyelid in a sweeping, outward motion. This brush features a large flat head with a beveled edge for the smooth, perfect application of base eye shadow shades.

Step 3: Define Your Crease

The next step in this eye makeup tutorial is to define your crease to add definition to your eye shadow look, as well as to give your eyes a wider, more “awake” look. Your crease is the part of your eye where the eyelid meets the eye socket.

Using Laura Mercier’s Matte Eye Shadow, select a shade that is darker than your base eye shadow color for the perfect contrast. The darker the color you use in the crease, the more dramatic your look will be. It is also best to use matte colors in your crease, rather than shimmery shades, as a shimmery finish can make this area appear more prominent and decrease the desired effect.

To apply eye shadow to your crease, use the Eye Crease Brush, as its broad base and tapered bristles allow for precise application. Press the bristles into the powder before pressing the brush onto the back of your hand to effectively work the powder into the brush. This will ensure the eye shadow powder is loaded into the bristles and minimize fallout. Next, gently tap the brush once on the back of your hand to shake off any excess product.

Finally, gently sweep your brush from side to side along the natural curve of your crease.

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Step 4: Enhance your Outer Corner

If you wish to add more depth to your eye shadow look, you can also apply a darker shade to the outer corners of your eyes. Use Laura Mercier’s Matte Eye Shadow in a shade such as Deep Night, Coffee Ground, or Black Plum for this desired effect.

For best results, apply this eye shadow in a sideways ‘V' shape between your upper lash line and crease. The eye shadow should extend just beyond the end of your eyelid to give your eyes a wider appearance.

The Eye Color Brush is the perfect size for achieving this look, as it has a tapered oval tip that gently blends color onto the outer corner of your eyelid.

Step 5: Blend & Define

One of the most important steps in applying eye shadow is to blend and define it to create a more seamless finish. This step can be likened to a watercolor painting, as you want the edges of each color to blend together. In other words, there shouldn’t be any hard lines between eye shadow hues.

Thankfully, Laura Mercier’s Finishing Pony Tail Brush makes it simple to achieve seamless eye shadow. The perfectly curved fibers of this brush allow it to precisely pick up and release shadow, while softly buffing to deliver a smooth application of color.

Step 6: Highlight

The last step in this eye shadow tutorial is to finish off your look with a highlighter. This is a lighter, more shimmering eye shadow that is applied underneath your eyebrow, as well as in the inner corners of your eyes, if you wish.

Similar to a highlighter you would brush over your cheekbones, this shadow should be able to catch the light, giving a pop of sheen to your eye area. Laura Mercier’s Caviar Stick Eye Color is available in perfect highlighting shades, including Beam, Pearl, and Intense Moonlight.

As a stick shadow, it glides seamlessly onto your skin and can easily be layered underneath or over powdered shadows. To perfect the look, simply use the Crème Eye Color Brush to blend the product and create a more seamless finish.

The Finishing Touch

With your eye shadow applied, you might consider adding additional definition to your lash line using a dark eye shadow and the Flat Eyeliner Brush, as well as finishing your look with Laura Mercier’s Caviar Volume Panoramic Mascara.

Flat Eye Liner Brush

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Camouflage Powder Brush

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All Over Eye Color Brush

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Bronzer Brush

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Now that you know how to apply eye shadow like an expert, there’s no limit to what gorgeous eye makeup styles you can recreate. Check out this smokey eye makeup video for a glamorous look, or this pink eye shadow tutorial for something softer.