The Types of Eyeshadows

By Wanda Starr

Shopping for eyeshadow can make you feel like a kid in a candy store, with an abundance of shades, pans and palettes at the ready. While it may be tempting to reach for that mauve shadow that matches your favourite dress, it's important to consider eyeshadow formulas first. Choose the type of eyeshadow that suits your style and daily makeup routine when topping off your makeup bag.

Pressed Powder Shadow

Pressed powder is the most popular and widely available form of eyeshadow. Pigment is pressed into a pan, and packaged either individually or in a palette with complementary shades. It suits all skin types, but often requires primer unless marketed as a long-lasting or vibrant shadow. For a hint of color, powder is best pressed onto lids with a dense flat brush. For a diffused and smoky look, use a fluffy shadow brush to sweep color through the crease of your eye, and pat it onto the lid.

Cream Shadow

Cream shadows are the most versatile formula. They are typically very long-lasting, even on oily skin, and can also serve as a primer to make powder shadows pop. To use as a base, select a matte shadow in a neutral shade. Use your fingertip to press it onto your lid, as your body heat will help it to melt into your skin and blend with ease. To use as a standalone shadow, press the cream onto your lid with your fingertip, and use a fluffy brush to diffuse the edges in a windshield wiper motion. Cream and skin tone shades with a pearl finish can also be patted onto the inner corners of your eyes, or cheekbones to serve as a highlighter.

Loose Pigment

Loose powder shadows are favored by professional makeup artists, and those looking to create a bold look.They are pure pigment and have not been pressed into a pan, making them vibrant. Apply them alone, using a flat brush to tap off excess before pressing it onto your eye. Subdue the colour by mixing a drop of water with a quarter-sized amount of pigment, and pressing it onto your lids. Try holding a playing card under your eyes while you apply the shadow to catch any fall out.

Liquid and Stick Shadows

Liquid and stick shadows are convenient for those days when you're on the go, as they don't require brushes or applicators. Liquid shadows are typically very pigmented, and set quickly. Use the doe foot applicator to apply one dot to your lid and quickly blend it out using your fingertip. Add more to increase opacity. Stick shadows are typically a blend of a wax and cream, and are best smudged onto the lid with the pencil-like end. Use your fingertip to blend the shadow towards the outer edge of your brow for a natural gradient.

Eyeshadow Finishes

The finish of an eyeshadow determines the affect it will have on your makeup look. Matte shadows create a very natural look. For a lightweight wash of matter color, opt for a powder, and to go slightly bolder, choose a cream. Metallic finishes will create drama, or add a subtle flattering glow. Try gold, or a jewel tone with golden flecks for a special occasion. For everyday, opt for bronze or copper. Satin shadows sit between matte and metallic, making them perfect for transitioning from day to night. Try mixing the finishes. Pat a metallic shadow over your lids with a flat brush, and diffuse it by sweeping a matte shade through your crease with a fluffy brush.