Technique: Working with Loose Eyeshadows

I don’t know if I will ever be more attracted to anything in life than I am to loose, pretty, glittery eyeshadows. There’s something about them that triggers my magpie-related reaction of, “Oooh, sparkly!”, much to the chagrin of those who shop with me. (Yeah, okay, I guess dragging people into beauty stores to swatch EVERY glittery eyeshadow they have isn’t always the funnest thing for them…) But regardless, I have a deep seated fetish for the gorgeously iridescent, high pigment loose shadows out there, and I will never give it up. (Oooh, if loving loose pigments is wronggggg I don’t wanna be right!)

Of course, once I see pretty, sparkly, loose shadows, I must bring them home with me. The problem for many sparkle-fetishists like myself arises the next day, when it’s time to put them on: How can you get the beautiful pigment you swatched onto your hand applied to your eyelid, but without more powdery fallout than a nuclear cosmetics explosion? Have no fear, beauty maven. I’ve got some fail safe tips that will feed your fetish.

#1. Time to Prime

One of *the* most important things in any beauty regime is a good eyelid primer. While you may not notice it as much with pressed shadows, loose pigments tend to do a LOT of creasing and moving around throughout the day. This can lead to uneven, greasy looking lids—which is the opposite of what we want. Using a good primer, such as Urban Decay’s Primer Potion (my personal favorite) will not only keep your shadow on all day, but you’ll notice that even your subtlest shadows go on more vibrant when applied over primer. This is because any decent primer contains ingredients that smooth out lid imperfections (such as veins, blemishes, and hyperpigmentation), giving your shadow a clean, lovely surface. It’s the difference between painting on a white canvas and a dirty napkin.

#2. Foiled Again!

When using loose shadows, it is absolutely imperative to foil, foil, and foil some more. What is foiling? The technique of very lightly dampening your brush to allow loose pigments to stick better and become more concentrated before application. I get just the right amount of dampness by dabbing my finger under the faucet to lightly (lightly) coat it in water. I then swipe both sides of my shadow brush over my finger to dampen it, then begin tapping the brush in my shadow. The water goes a LONG way in preventing fallout by helping the powder granules to stick to the brush. It also often heightens the color payoff, too!

#3. Tap Tap Tap

Tapping is probably the first word that comes to mind when I think about applying loose shadows, and for more than one reason. First off, when packing pigment onto your brush, you always want to tap the brush at a 45 degree angle against the shadow container’s edge before you apply it. Even though foiling prevents a good deal of fallout, tapping your brush will knock off any loose, dry pigment granules that are hanging onto your brush.

Second, while I like to apply pressed powders in a smooth, relatively even stroke across the lid, I find that tapping works much better with loose pigments. So when applying, skip the strokes and gently tap the brush over the lid. This condenses the pigment more, preventing it from spreading too thin and getting grayed out. Additionally, tapping also tends to give you more control over the amount of pigment as well as preventing fallout.

And that, my lovelies, is all! Three simple tips that transform gorgeously feral shadows into tame and shimmering pets. After all, you’re supposed to be wearing the shadow—not the other way around!

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