How many types of eyeshadow are there? And how do you master a gorgeous eye look? If you have ever been stumped when it comes time to decide which type of eyeshadow is right for you? I’m here to help!
In this blog post, I will explore the 19 best types of eyeshadows — from creamy mattes, velvety iridescent shades, and dazzling metallics — plus give you some expert tips on how to identify the perfect ones for your skin tone and desired look.
So if you’ve ever felt overwhelmed in the beauty aisle searching for the perfect eye shadow shade or finish, don’t worry – by the end of this post, you’ll be an eyeshadow master!
What is eyeshadow?
Eyeshadow is a cosmetic product that is applied to the eyelids and around the eyes. It is usually made up of a powder or cream base and comes in different colors, textures, and finishes. Eyeshadow can be used to enhance the look of your eyes and make them stand out.
It can also be used to add depth and drama to your eyes. With the right technique, you can use eyeshadow to create a variety of looks and effects for any occasion.
When applied correctly, eyeshadow can make your eyes look larger, brighter, and more vibrant. It is important to blend different colors and finishes together for a beautiful result that complements your features.
Types of eyeshadows and their uses (plus pics!)
It’s no secret why eyeshadow is one of makeup lovers’ favorite products to use—from shimmering pearl hues to bold colors, there is an incredible range of options available. Let’s discuss it!
Powder eyeshadow is the most popular type of eyeshadow and is the easiest to blend. It’s best used with your fingers or eyeshadow brush.
Cream eyeshadow is a great option for those who want a long-lasting eyeshadow color. It’s easy to apply and stays put all day, especially when used as a base for powder shadow. Cream eyeshadow is best applied with your fingers, flat brush, or small sponge.
Liquid eyeshadow is a great option for those who want dramatic, bright colors. Liquid eyeshadow can be difficult to work with at first, but with a bit of practice you can create beautiful results. It’s best applied with a flat brush or sponge.
Stick eyeshadow is an easy-to-use product that can be used for both subtle and dramatic looks. It blends easily and works great for blending and smoothing out harsh lines. Stick eyeshadow is best applied with your fingers or a flat brush.
Mineral eyeshadow is a great natural option for those who want to avoid chemicals and synthetic ingredients. It’s gentle on sensitive skin and provides long-lasting color. Mineral eyeshadow is best applied with a flat brush or sponge.
Pearl eyeshadow contains reflecting particles that create a pearl-like effect. It’s iridescent and generally has a subtle shimmer or a high shine. This type of eyeshadow is usually not recommended for mature skin as it can accentuate flaws in skin, such as wrinkles.
I’ll admit that shimmer eyeshadow is one of my favorites! Shimmer eyeshadow is the perfect way to add a bit of sparkle to your look. It’s great for creating glam, statement looks. Shimmer eyeshadow is best applied with a flat brush or your fingers.
Matte eyeshadow is the perfect product for creating subtle, everyday looks. It’s great for blending and adding depth to your eyeshadow look. Matte eyeshadow is best applied with a flat brush or your fingers.
Satin eyeshadow is the perfect mix of matte and shimmer eyeshadow. It adds a soft, luminous shine to your look without being too over-the-top. Satin eyeshadow is best applied with a flat brush or your fingers.
Metallic eyeshadow is the best product for creating bold looks. It has a high-shine finish and is great for adding drama to your look. Metallic eyeshadow is best applied with a flat brush or your fingers.
Sheer eyeshadow is great for those who want a subtle hint of color. Sheer eyeshadow can be applied lightly to create a natural look, or layered on for more intense color. Sheer eyeshadow is best applied with a flat brush or your fingers.
Duochrome Eyeshadow is a great way to add some fun to your look. It features two contrasting shades that create an interesting iridescent effect. Duochrome eyeshadow is best applied with a flat brush or your fingers.
Holographic or foil Eyeshadow:
Holographic or foil eyeshadow is perfect for those looking to make a bold statement. It features an intense metallic finish and creates a multidimensional effect. Holographic or foil eyeshadow is best applied with a flat brush or your fingers.
Glitter eyeshadow is the perfect way to add a bit of sparkle and shine. It’s great for creating bold, glamorous looks, however, can be tricky to work with.
Glitter eyeshadow is best applied with a flat brush or your fingers. However, be sure to use a glitter primer beforehand to ensure it stays put. Additionally, always apply foundation AFTER your glitter look.
Neon eyeshadow has become increasingly popular over the years. It’s perfect for adding a pop of color to any look and can be used to create a range of bold looks.
Neon eyeshadow is best applied with a flat brush or your fingers. Be sure to use an eyeshadow base as some neon eyeshadows are so pigmented, they can stain your eyelids.
Smudge-proof eyeshadow is perfect for those who want long-lasting, stay-put color. This type of eyeshadow has a creamy, gel formula that helps it adhere to your skin. Smudge-proof eyeshadow is best applied with a flat brush or your fingers.
Waterproof eyeshadow is perfect for those who want a long-lasting look without the worry of smudging or running. This type of eye shadow is ideal for hot and humid climates, as well as active lifestyles. Waterproof eyeshadow is best applied with a flat brush or your fingers.
Pressed eyeshadow is a great choice for those who want to create an intense, pigment-rich look. They’re pigmented colors pressed into a pan and ideal for creating vibrant, long-lasting eyeshadow looks. Pressed eyeshadow is best applied with a flat brush or your fingers.
Unlike pressed eyeshadow that is pressed into a pan, loose eyeshadow is finely milled color pigments and usually comes in powder form. It’s a great choice for those who want to create intense, highly-pigmented looks and best applied with a flat brush, small sponge or your fingers.
Baked eyeshadow is a unique type of eyeshadow that has a creamy formula but is baked in an oven to create a creamy-to-powder finish. It’s perfect for creating bold, intense looks and is best applied with a flat brush or your fingers.
Highlighter eyeshadow is perfect for adding a subtle glow to your look. This type of eye shadow is usually lighter in color and used to highlight certain areas of the eye. Highlighter eyeshadow is best applied with a flat brush or your fingers.
No matter what type of look you want to create, there is an eyeshadow for it. From sheer and duochrome, to glitter and highlighter, there are a range of options to choose from.
With the right products and application techniques, you can create a range of looks to suit any occasion.
How to apply eyeshadow for beginners
This eyeshadow looks includes 4 colors:
- Eyeshadow color similar to your complexion (above your crease)
- Lightest eyeshadow color (to your lid)
- Medium eyeshadow color (to your crease)
- Dark color eyeshadow (outer-v).
This is an easy eyeshadow look for a smokey eye, and you can play around with colors and textures!
Easy smokey eye tutorial:
Optional: Apply an eyeshadow primer or base before applying your eyeshadow to help your eyeshadow last longer, prevent creasing and make the color more vibrant.
Step 1: Take your face powder or eyeshadow similar to your complexion and lightly sweep it above your crease (we call this a transition color).
Step 2: Take a light eyeshadow (I personally like to apply a pearl, satin or shimmer for a nice pop of color or matte shade for emphasis) and apply it to your lid completely.
Step 3: Take your medium color eyeshadow and apply it a little higher than your crease. Blend out with a fluffy brush.
Step 4: Take the darkest color of eyeshadow and apply it to the outer end of the end of your eye.
Step 5: Blend out any harsh edges with a fluffy eyeshadow brush. Apply eyeliner and mascara (or lashes!) to complete your beautiful eye look.
Do you love makeup videos? Be sure to subscribe to my youtube channel where I have tons of beauty tutorials!
Best eyeshadow brushes:
Now that I’ve covered the different types of eyeshadows and how to apply, let’s cover the different types of eyeshadow brushes:
All-over eyeshadow brush:
The all-over eyeshadow brush is great for dusting a sheer layer of color across the entire lid. It’s usually fluffy, with soft bristles and a rounded edge.
A blending brush is essential for creating a smooth transition between colors, as it helps to blend out harsh lines. It’s usually tapered, with soft bristles and a slightly pointed edge.
This type of eyeshadow brush is great for blending colors and creating a seamless transition on the eyelids. It’s especially useful when using multiple colors and shades.
Angled eyeshadow brush:
An angled eyeshadow brush is great for adding definition to your look, as it can easily be used to create a more intense eye look. It’s also great for applying dark eyeshadow on the outer corner of the eye and blending it outwards or use your eyeshadow like an eyeliner.
Pencil eyeshadow brush:
A pencil eyeshadow brush is great for applying and smudging eyeshadow in the crease of your eyelid. It can create a softer, more diffused look when compared to other types of brushes.
Dome-shaped (shadow) eyeshadow brush:
This type of eyeshadow brush is ideal for applying light, shimmery eyeshadows to the eyelid. It can also be used to blend out harsh edges and create a soft, airbrushed effect.
A smudge brush is great for creating a smokey eye look. It can also be used to blend out eyeliner or eyeshadow along the lower lash line. It’s usually tapered, with soft, densely-packed bristles.
A crease brush is perfect for adding depth and definition to the eyes. It’s usually fluffy, with long bristles that can easily reach into the crease of the eyelid. This type of brush is great for blending eyeshadows together to create a seamless finish.
So here are some of these popular types of eyeshadow brushes. While you don’t need every single brush, I do recommend, as a beginner, having an all-over eyeshadow brush to play your eyeshadow on your lid, and a fluffy blending brush to blend out your eyeshadow.
Eyeshadow Tips & Tricks:
You didn’t think I would leave out some tips and tricks when it comes to eyeshadow, did you?!
Always start with a clean base:
Before applying eyeshadow, make sure your eyelids are clean and free of any natural oils or dirt which can interfere with the eyeshadow application.
Pack on your eyeshadow:
You want to “pack” the eyeshadows on. Packing the eyeshadows on is the motion of patting the eyeshadow on your lid (vs. rubbing the eyeshadow on your lid).
By packing on your eyeshadow, it allows you to get the best color pay-off and the least amount of eyeshadow fall-out (eyeshadow falling on your cheek and face). You want to apply your primer and/or base first. Then you want to pack on your eyeshadows.
Invest in eyeshadow brushes for a better look:
When applying eyeshadow, I HIGHLY recommend investing in great eye brushes. I know the world of makeup brushes can be overwhelming, but I do recommend you invest in at least an eyeshadow brush, a blending brush, and a smudge brush.
Know the light eyeshadow VS dark eyeshadow rule:
Remember the golden rule: light colors emphasize, and dark colors deemphasize. When you apply a light color, you are bringing that area forward. When you apply a dark color, you are giving that area depth and receding it.
Additionally, a mid-tone (medium) color will allow you to add shape without too much depth or focus.
How to pick the best eyeshadow color for you:
When it comes to deciding the right eyeshadow colors for you, I have a disclaimer! You can make any eyeshadow color work for you with the right application.
However, if you’re a beginner, I understand that you’re just trying to make eyeshadow WORK for you, so here are some easy tips to follow when it comes to picking the right eyeshadow color for you:
Consider your skin tone:
The first step in picking the perfect eyeshadow color is to assess your skin tone and determine if you are warm or cool toned. This will help you narrow down your color choices to colors that will look best on you and make sure the eyeshadow color you pick complements rather than clashes with your skin tone.
Consider the occasion:
Another factor to consider when picking the perfect eyeshadow color is what occasion you are dressing for.
For example, if you are going to a formal event, you would likely want to choose a more subdued and classic color like brown, tan or grey. If, on the other hand, you are going out for a night on the town, you may opt for a bolder color like purple or green.
Consider your eye shape:
Yes, your eye shape matters when it comes to determining the right eyeshadow color for you! For example, if you have small eyes, you may want to choose a lighter color, like pink or beige, to make them look bigger and more open.
On the other hand, if you have larger eyes, darker colors such as brown or black can help define them and make them stand out.
Consider your skin type:
Do you have oily, combination, or dry skin? This can also be a factor when considering what eyeshadow to use!
For example, if you have dry skin, a cream eyeshadow may be a great option since it adds moisture to your lid. However, if you have mature skin, you may want to stay away from pearl and glitter eyeshadows which can accentuate fine lines and wrinkles.
Finally, the best way to pick the perfect eyeshadow color for you is to experiment and find what works best with your skin tone, eye, and skin type. Have fun with it, and don’t be afraid to try new colors!
Frequently asked questions: Types of eyeshadows
Is eyeshadow base and primer the same thing?
Eye shadow Primer and Eye shadow Base are actually two completely different things, although some products can serve as both!
Eye shadow primer is used to prevent creasing and fading as well as improve the longevity of shadows. However, an eyeshadow base is used to intensify color, and help powder eye shadows adhere better to the eyelids.
These days, a lot of products are both eye shadow primers and an eye shadow base to help minimize work.
Just remember that if it’s clear, it’s probably just a primer (which it should say on the label). If it’s a thick consistency with some color to it, it’s a base.
List of types of eyeshadow
- Powder Eyeshadow
- Cream Eyeshadow
- Liquid Eyeshadow
- Stick Eyeshadow
- Mineral Eyeshadow
- Shimmer Eyeshadow
- Matte Eyeshadow
- Pearl eyeshadow
- Satin Eyeshadow
- Metallic Eyeshadow
- Sheer Eyeshadow
- Duochrome Eyeshadow
- Holographic Eyeshadow
- Glitter Eyeshadow
- Neon Eyeshadow
- Smudge-proof Eyeshadow
- Waterproof Eyeshadow
- Pressed Eyeshadow
- Loose Eyeshadow
- Baked Eyeshadow
- Highlighter eyeshadow
William Shakespeare once said, “Eyes are the windows to your soul” and I like to think that eyeshadow is the gorgeous accompanying curtains.
Following these tips and tricks, having the right set of tools, and a great eye for color, anyone can create an attractive and diverse pallet that will fit their personality.
Remember to not be afraid to experiment; it’s all part of the makeup journey! Don’t be afraid to be adventurous and explore new looks – you never know what amazing and unique looks you can achieve!