Luckily for you all, I pretty much do my eyeshadow exactly the same every single day. I use different palettes and colors, but the mechanics are pretty much identical. I'm going to go ahead and talk about my basic eyeshadow look, how I achieve it, and how I modify on it to do 99.9% of all the eyeshadow that you guys ever see from me.
You should start with your face. This is mine:
Obviously, I've already done a fair bit of makeup. Everything but my eye makeup is ready to go. Some people like to do their eyeshadow first because they find it is easier to get rid of fallout. For me, my eye makeup is always the last step. I find it difficult to put eyeshadow under my eyes if I haven't done concealer yet. Also, I usually do my makeup in a rush to get out the door, and eye makeup is something I don't mind skipping if I run out of time. Both ways are just fine; do whatever works for you.
I figured I would go ahead and give y'all all the products I am going to use in the tutorial below. Obviously, if you want to do your makeup precisely the same way that I do it, you should probably use these exact products. However, that's not necessarily my intention for this tutorial. You can use whatever products you have. You can use neutral eyeshadow or you can use brights. Seriously. Use whatever you want.
MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush
MAC 219 Pencil Brush
MAC 217 Blending Brush
LORAC Behind the Scenes Eye Primer
LORAC Pro Palette
Urban Decay 24/7 Eye Pencil in Perversion
Eveline Cosmetics Eyeliner Pen in Deep Black
Soho New York Eyeliner Brush
100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara in Black Tea
I definitely recommend beginning by finding a well lit area so you can really see what you are doing. Natural light is the best light for any sort of makeup application. If you don't have natural light, you can always use a makeup mirror that imitates it.
Personally, I use an Ott-Lite Dual Sided Makeup Mirror that has been discontinued (which is a bummer, because it is an awesome mirror).
Next, you want to grab your brushes. If you don't wash your brushes every day, they are probably dirty. So, let's fix that.
My strategy is to rub them against a piece of toilet paper until they are relatively clean. There is a roll of toilet paper that lives on my vanity just for this purpose.
Having clean brushes prevents your colors from getting muddied up by whatever crap you used yesterday.
Now, it's time to actually put something on your mug: primer! LORAC Behind the Scenes Eye Primer is a favorite of mine, so that is what I am using.
This is approximately the amount of primer that I use to do both eyes, up to my eyebrows, including under my eyes:
I put it on with my finger. (One of the best makeup tools out there.) Be sure to apply it in a thin layer up as high as your eyeshadow will go (or up to your eyebrow, to be safe)...
...and under your eye, at least on the outer corner. If you intend to have eyeshadow there, go ahead and put primer there. (That includes the eyeshadow mustache you were totally going to give yourself.)
(P.S. If you are using a base, such as NYX's Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk, this is the time to use it. Make a mark and use your finger to blend it all over your eye so that it is even. This is excellent for bright colors, but unnecessary for the neutrals I am using at the moment.)
Eyeshadow time! Are you PUMPED? I'm pumped.
I picked the LORAC Pro palette because using it is as if angels have alighted on my eyelids. However, you can use any eyeshadow that you like. This tutorial is going to have three colors: a light color, a medium color, and a dark color. You can amp up the drama by using a really wide range of colors (e.g. white, pink, and black), or do a work-appropriate look by keeping them in the same range (e.g. cream, light brown, and taupe). You can use really bright colors (e.g. neon pink, purple, and blue), neutrals, or anything in between.
I start with my lightest color. I'm using 'Champagne'.
I use my MAC 239 brush to apply it to the inner half of my eye or so, up to the crease.
I also use the same brush to put a little on the inside corner of my eye. You might want to use a more precise brush for this, but fuck it, I live dangerously.
Next, you can choose a lid color. I'm using "Gold".
I use my 239 again to do the outer half-or-so of my eye. I overlap the lighter color and blend them together a little bit.
Here is how my face looks thus far:
Onward ho! Time for the crease. I picked "Garnet". AND I SWITCHED UP MY MOTHERFUCKING BRUSH. Drop 239 and switch for your pencil brush, 219.
Basically, I jus draw a line where the crease of my eye is. (Note: if you have monolids, you might need to "fake a crease" by going above your natural crease.)
Sometimes, I also fill in a little bit of the edge of my outer corner, as well. This helps define an outer 'V' shape. You can skip this on softer looks.
At this point, I look terrible, because blending is important:
I also use my pencil brush to smudge some of my darkest shade ('Garnet', in this case) on the outer half of my bottom eyelids.
Now let's blend that shit out. I break out the MAC 217 out...
...and make soft, short brushstrokes that look like this:
Blending is where people make the most eyeshadow mistakes, so this is where you need to be the most careful. Keep blending until the edges of your shadow look gradual and lovely. If you are finding it really tricky, I recommend dipping the very, very tip of your 217 into your shadow and using that to get more blendyness going on. (This can also help you extend out your eye looks when you are going for superdrama.) Don't forget to blend under your eye:
Now, your eyeshadow (hopefully) looks something like this:
That is the end of the actual eyeshadow part of this tutorial, but, hell. You made it this far. May as well follow along to the end, eh?
I use Urban Decay's Perversion to tightline.
Basically, you tightline by smudging liner into the base of your lashes from below, making them look very thick.
Then, I do a wing (unless I feel like skipping one for the day!). Any liquid or gel liner that isn't terrible should be able to pull this off.
I can do an eyeliner tutorial in the future if you need it, but I promise that there are a bazillion tutorials online for you to follow.
I also like smudging a little matte black eyeshadow into my eyeliner using a liner brush, just for good measure.
Then, mascara. Any one you like.
Bottom lashes, too.
OH MY FUCKING GOODNESS. YOU ARE ALL DONE.
Here is the final look:
Do you feel incomplete? Do you feel like you need more examples? Well, luckily for you, something like 99% of the pictures on this blog feature an eyeshadow routine that is very close to this one. So, go check them out!
Although you can easily get into an eyeshadow rut if you do your shadow the same sort of way every day, the upside is that you get very good at it, and you get good at doing it quickly. And, happily, very few people actually seem to notice that you really just did the same damn thing with different colors.