As much as I love intricate eyeshadow looks like smoky eyes, halo eyes, and the like, I find that they really only have a place in my life on special occasions because I am always crunched for time (read: medical student + blogger working on her time management skills) and also because of the nature of my “job.” Lets be real: scrubs and a smoky eye don’t exactly go together and probably wouldn’t be appropriate.
However, a quick wash of subtle color on the eyelids and crease is one of the ways I like to elevate my “five-minute face” (concealer, powder, blush, mascara, brow gel, lip balm) to something more put together. When I’m not in the hospital or clinic, I love pairing a neutral one-shadow look with a bold lipstick so I can let the intense lip color shine without feeling like my eyes are clashing.
Its also easy! So its great for eyeshadow novices. Playing around with just one eyeshadow at a time was how I figured out what eyeshadow blending shapes were most flattering for my eyes. Not to mention, its hard to mess up when its early in the morning and your coffee hasn’t kicked in yet– always a plus. So lets get to it, here are my favorite shadows to get these looks and then I will get into a quick tutorial for how I do a one shadow look.
These are my absolute favorite cream eyeshadow formula for doing a one shadow look. A lot of people claim that they are dupes for the MAC Paint Pots, but I can’t confirm or deny either way as I’ve never tried those. Regardless, these give beautiful pigmentation without being too pigmented. By that I mean that they apply such pretty color to the lid but you can sheer them out to create a more subtle look if you want (aka work appropriate) or can really build them up. What I really love about these is that I can wear them for a full day and not have trouble with creasing. Now if I am going to be outside in the heat and humidity, I might throw on a quick layer of primer, but otherwise I will just let them go and they definitely hold up without fading or moving around. I’m a big fan. The colors I have are Creamy Beige (top) and Bad to the Bronze (bottom)– both gorgeous neutrals. However, the line includes several other shades including colors of both shimmers and mattes AND is less than $7 a pop.
2) Shimmer Shadows
Pictured are four eyeshadows. From L to R, Carli Bybel Palette Eyeshadow (second row, third shadow), Carli Bybel Palette Eyeshadow (second row, first eyeshadow), Makeup Geek Homecoming, and Burberry Wet & Dry Silk Eyeshadow in Pale Barley.
I bought the Carli Bybel Palette on a recommendation from a friend and reader Grace after seeing her gorgeous swatches on instagram and snapchat and kind of had to see it myself. The whole palette costs less than $15, and the shimmer shadows and highlights really are beautiful– not just on swatch but actually on the eye. They can be sheered out for a pretty glow or packed on for an almost liquid metal look. Very pretty. I don’t find that these shadows wear a super long time on their own, but they perform well with primer. The other thing I like about this palette is that the shades, including the highlight shades, are actually something that would be flattering on a variety of skin tones. Back to eyeshadow though, those to colors I swatched are beautiful for warmer toned, all-over-the-lid, one shadow shimmer looks.
The next shimmer shadow I have to rave about is Makeup Geek’s Homecoming. In the pan, it looks like a plain old brown shadow. However, on the eye it is a beautifully complex brown with copper flecks and just enough shimmer. I really enjoy this level of shimmer because is isn’t crazy, disco ball, see it from the International Space Station type reflective…just enough to catch the light. I also love how Makeup Geek run’s their business– you order only the pan of eyeshadow that you want at $6 (instead of an entire palette including shades you don’t need), they package securely, and they ship quickly and only charge you the real cost of shipping. Big Fan. You do need a place to store the pans though, like a magnetic palette. PS– did you know sewing storage bins are way cheaper dupes for Z palettes?
The third shimmer shadow, and my favorite of all of the three, is Burberry Pale Barley. This is a pure neutral taupe with subtle light reflecting particles to the point where it can’t be called a matte…but it isn’t quite a full on shimmer. This is my favorite eyeshadow to wear into the clinic because it seems to go with every makeup look and every outfit I come up with. The formula is a dream, and if I am going to be in air conditioning for the day I don’t even need to apply primer with it and it will last >12 hours and stay on my eyelids without creasing. It is definitely a luxury eyeshadow, at $29, but it certainly proves its worth in performance. This shade works really well for fair skin, but may be too light for anyone with light, medium, or dark skin. Burberry has several other gorgeous shadows in this formula (I have my eye on Rosewood, Dusty Mauve, and Mulberry) if you are interested in other colors.
3) Matte Shadows
In addition to Burberry Pale Barley mentioned above, my mattes are always my safe bet when it comes to eyeshadow for clinic because it is a little bit more professional.
Urban Decay Frisk is this perfect taupey warm gray that is great for a one-shadow look on they eyelid because it literally looks like a shadow. I will talk about this in the tutorial a bit, but using colors like this works well because you can quite literally “contour” your eyes to make them look a little more open and then shaded around the edges without giving the obvious appearance of eyeshadow. Unfortunately, this color is exclusive to the Naked2 Basics Palette. However, if you are in the market for an all-matte palette for professional looks, this one is a great option! Plus it is teeny tiny so it is great for travel.
The other two matte shades are Buxom singles. Buxom sells single eyeshadows to include in their “customizable eyeshadow palette” which I never got around to doing…I just really liked these two colors. I have hazel eyes, so I find that lilac and mauve tones really bring them out without being too crazy of colors for work. The lighter shade, Lingerie Lover, is fantastic for fair skin and the darker mauve, Spoiled Sexy, would be perfect for medium to dark skin tones or for more dramatic looks. I really like the formulas of these eyeshadows because they don’t kick up a ton of powder when you dip your brush into them, and so they don’t have a lot of eyeshadow fallout when you apply them onto your lids.
Now, if you’re an eyeshadow pro you can probably stop reading here. However, if eyeshadow is something you’ve struggled with, maybe you will find this helpful! Here I broke down the step-by-step process on how I actually make these one shadow looks look pretty on the eyes.
- Prime your eyelids (I use UD or WNW). You can skip this step if you are using a cream or powder shadow that doesn’t crease (see my recommendations above) and you are going to be indoors. However, if you are going to be outside and it will be hot/humid and you will be sweating, I highly recommend priming.
- To make it extra crease-proof and help your eyeshadow powders blend easily over your primer, apply a skin-toned eyeshadow (my favorite is less than $1 if you can find it in stores) over your primer. I start all of my eyeshadow looks this way and they stay all day 🙂
- For creams: with a fingertip, apply the shadow all over the round part of your eyelid. With a denser brush (I love the deluxe crease brush in this set), blend the shadow out into your crease. With what is left on the brush, blend the shadow into your lower lash line to balance your upper lid but keep it from looking heavy.
- For powders: begin with a less dense blending brush (my go to is the base shadow brush) and apply in a “window wiper” motion in the crease, defining the outlines of the shape that you would like the eyeshadow to take. It doesn’t have to be anything too fancy or defined. Then, with the same brush (or a slightly more dense “lid” brush), apply that same shadow all over the eyelid. Then, if you like, you can go back in with the looser brush (if you switched) and apply a bit more shadow into the outer crease to deepen the color. It won’t be dramatic since it is the same color, but will add more definition to subtly “contour” your eye. Then, with a tiny shading brush (I love this one I found at CVS), take a bit more color and apply it along your lower lash line. Softly connect it to the area where you blended your shadow out on your upper lid.
- Top it off with a coat of your favorite mascara! I’m loving Covergirl Clump Crusher Water Resistant right now.
I’ve been trying (and failing) to create some video GIFs to illustrate the blending techniques this week, so I am just going to go ahead and publish this. I will keep you updated if I can figure out how to make them!
What are your favorite shadows to use for one-shadow looks?
Also, any requests for upcoming posts? I’m trying to plan my blogging calendar ahead of time since I will be spending the next month on an away rotation and would love your recommendations!
Don’t forget to check back in for tomorrow’s Week In Review 🙂