Eye foiling is a technique that is intended to use some kind of metal to give eyes a more dramatic look. It is most often used for nighttime makeup, although some also use it during the day. While foiling typically includes metallic, shimmer, glimmer, or glitter eye shadows and liners, it is also possible to use the same technique with any loose or caked eye shadow that can be mixed with water. More mature women often prefer a mixture of foil and standard shadows.

Things You'll Need

Decide on the metallic, glimmer, shimmer, or glitter colors to be used for the foiling process. Typically, these include two or three shades within the same color group such as gold, copper or pewter. A two-foil process will involve a medium and darker shade. A three-foil process will also involve a light, highlighting shade.

Make the purchases necessary if the needed products are not already on hand.

Cleanse the skin thoroughly with any standard cleansing method that will not leave a residue on the skin. Any remaining residue or even the skin’s natural oil may impede the foiling process.

Apply a cosmetic primer to ensure that the makeup goes on smoothly and stays on until it is ready to be removed.

Wet a flat eye-shadow brush with water and then dip or swirl it into the medium shade of the eye-color set chosen. Check to make sure the color is well-mixed by swiping it against a piece of wax paper. If the desired color is mixed and the absorption is achieved, then move on to the next step. If not, apply more color to the brush until the right shade is obtained and the product applies evenly.

Swipe the prepared shadow brush across the eyelid from lash to crease. Let the makeup dry thoroughly before moving on to the next shade or it may smear.

Use the same mixing technique as in Step 5, this time using the lightest shade. Swipe the lighter color across the eye from the crease to the brow bone for the most dramatic nighttime look or lightly underneath the brow bone just as a highlighter.

Wet a paintbrush style or slanted flat eyeliner brush with water. Dip or swirl it into the darkest shade of eye shadow. Beginning at the inner corner of the eye, paint a line of color from the inside to the outside of the upper eye. Leave solid for a more dramatic look or smudge with a foam tip makeup applicator or cotton swab for a smoky effect. Repeat the process on the lower lid if desired.

Mix a normal shadow shade with just a bit of metallic, glimmer, shimmer, or glitter for a less dramatic look or simply use the foiling shades to accent the eyes in the center of the lid, at the corners, or as eyeliner.


  • Bare Escentuals offers foiling kits that contain everything needed to perform the foiling process.

  • Physicians Formula caked metallics also work beautifully for this process.

  • For an edgy look, mix metallic colors together or mix metallics with glitters.

  • Glimmers and shimmers are a way to achieve a lighter foiled effect.