Who says you have to “wing” it? These easy eye makeup tips for beginners will help you confidently apply eyeshadow, eyeliner and mascara. No mistakes, no smudges, no smears! They save a lot of time, too — so these makeup shortcuts are perfect when you don’t have the time or patience for elaborate beauty routines.
#1 Tilt your head when you apply eye makeup
Don’t just stare directly in front of a mirror. Tilt your head down so you angle your eyeliner brush to go really close into the lash line. Tilt your head up to help you find your natural crease and place your eyeshadow more accurately. Do a final check from all angles to see if your eyeliner wings look symmetrical.
#2 Wriggle your mascara brush
Jiggle it, just a little bit! Your lashes look longer and you get less clumps. We don’t know why this works, but it totally does. Even makeup artists (and celebrities like Jessica Alba) swear by it! (Check out some of our favourite waterproof mascaras.)
#3 Apply a matte highlighter under your eyebrow
It brings out your browbone and helps highlight your eyebrows. Experiment with applying it across your eyebrow, or just from the middle of your arch to the outer end. It will create a different effect, depending on your face and eyebrow shape. See what you prefer!
#4 Apply a shimmer illuminator above your eyebrow
Apply it from the the highest point of your arch to the tip. It’s an instant eyelift!
#5 Make eyeliner dots
If your eyeliner always look squiggly, create little dots and just connect them. It’s easier (and more accurate) than drawing a straight line. Even experts like using this eye makeup tip for beginners when they’re using a liquid eyeliner with a very thin brush tip!
#6 Tightline to make your lashes look thicker
Tightlining means using a short, flat-top eyeshadow brush and pressing eyeshadow or liner into the lashline. It makes you look like you have very thick, full lashes. Use dark brown gel eyeliner or eyeshadow powder for an even more natural look!
#7 Tightline with black or white eyeshadow to change your eyeshape
Use the same technique in #6, but use a different eyeliner colour to create different effects.
Black eyeliner will make your eyes look smaller and fiercer — like a cat. White or nude eyeliner will make your eyes look bigger. Experiment with different colours (for example, one colour all around your eyes, or black on top and white at the waterline) to see how it transforms your eyeshape.
#8 Use a white base before coloured eyeliner or eyeshadow
Use a white eyeshadow or a creamy eyeliner pencil. This creates the perfect canvas for brighter colours to really pop and stand out. (Look at our list for some of the best coloured eyeliners.)
#9 Use a matte neutral eyeshadow before shimmer
You need a base matte eyeshadow that completely matches the lightest shade in your skin tone. This cancels out discoloration, so your eyeshadow colour looks more intense. This step is especially important for shimmer eyeshadows, which are lighter and less pigmented than mattes.
#10 Use black eyeshadow under any eyeshadow for instant smoky effect
Instant drama! Just apply black eyeshadow close to the lashline, then any eyeshadow on top. BLend it out with a finger or a small brush.
While this works with any colour, it’s especially pretty with greens, purples, oranges and pinks. You’ll get all sorts of effects — practically like buying a whole new eyeshadow palette!
#11 Adjust your pressure
Use medium pressure when you’re blending eyeshadow across your eyelid. Use a lighter pressure when you’re applying makeup along the crease.
#12 Blend out eyeshadow first on your wrist
Most eye makeup tips for beginners recommend tapping a brush on the table to get rid of excess pigment. However, when you’re working with dark eyeshadow colours (or very pigmented formulas) it also helps to brush off most of the product on your wrist before applying it on your lid.
Why bother doing this step? You have more control over how much eyeshadow you apply, and you prevent eyeshadow fallout.
#13 Wipe brushes with spray makeup cleaner
Spraying brushes and wiping off leftover pigment prevents your eyeshadow from looking muddy. It also keeps your brushes in top condition! (Note: you should still deep-clean your eyeshadow brushes regularly, to prevent eye infection.)
#14 Turn your mascara curler
Get maximum curl! First, pinch your lashes at the base with your curler right side up. Then, invert it and curl your lashes again!
#15 Apply liquid or gel liner to your mascara curler
The colour transfers to your lashline as you curl your lashes. Instant eyeliner!
#16 Let your mascara dry between coats
Everyone knows but forgets this eye makeup tip for beginners: two coats of mascara are better than one, but you need to wait for the first layer to dry. Otherwise, your lashes will stick together and look clumpy.
#17 Heat your eyelash curler with the blowdryer
Your eyelashes will hold their curl a lot longer!
#18 Apply eye makeup first
Then you don’t have to worry about eyeshadow fallout or mascara smudges! You can wipe away any mistakes too. Once you’re happy with your eye makeup, you can apply foundation and concealer. (You can also look at our picks for eyeliners that don’t smudge.)
#19 Store eyeliner pencils in your refrigerator
If your eyeliners are melting in the heat, then keep them in the refrigerator. This is especially useful before you plan to sharpen them. Soft tips will crumble and break. (Find the best eyeliner pencils for every budget.)
#20 Use blush on your eyelids
No time to do eyeshadow? Just sweep a bit of your blush along the browbone. It adds that healthy bit of colour and helps bring together your makeup look. It’s one of the easiest eye makeup tips for beginners.
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