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Everything You Need To Know About Applying Eye Makeup

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    Photographed by Collins Nai.


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    Sometimes the basics can be the hardest to get right. Factor in myriad product options — in an almost infinite number of shades and finishes — and you have a serious challenge for even the most seasoned beauty pro. But fret not: We’re here to help! We’re breaking down the beauty basics to make it easy to create a flawless, customized look of your own. Welcome to Beauty 101.

    You can't scroll through a beauty blogger's feed without coming across a multicolored eye look. But as soon as we double-tap on the snap, we quickly realize that the fantastically intricate eye looks we adore take a lot of time and knowledge of technique to craft. Just search YouTube for something as seemingly simple as a smoky eye: You'll pull up over a million video tutorials and reviews.

    Eye makeup allows you to create a wide range of looks, whether you're in the mood for something soft and subtle or wild and dramatic. But with a fresh palette or shadow hitting shelves every day, it can be a bit overwhelming.

    Think of us as your friendly neighborhood makeup mentor, here to guide you through the beauty aisle to unlock the secrets of shadows, liners, and mascaras, as well as how to apply them. As always, the "rules" laid out here are just designed to get you started. Once you can handle a few easy techniques, feel free to switch up shades, add a twist to the techniques, and create your own masterpieces. Click through to find out how.

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    Cream Eyeshadow
    Eyeshadows define and highlight the eyes, and come in many forms, including powders, creams, liquids, and crayon sticks (which are perfect for travel). There’s an almost endless variety of hues and finishes that you can mix and match to your heart’s content.

    If you're sticking with one shade, a sheer wash of color on the eyelid will give your eyes an extra boost of definition. All you have to do is use an eyeshadow brush or your finger to pat on and blend the product. Cream shadows like this one can be applied quickly and easily (with your fingers) and have great staying power.

    Try: Maybelline EyeStudio Color Tattoo Metal 24HR Cream Gel Shadow, $6.99, available at Ulta Beauty.


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    Powder Eyeshadow
    If you’re using two shadows and desire a more natural look, apply a shade that mimics your natural skin tone across your lower lids. Then, dab a dot of shadow that’s one shade darker to the outer corners of each eye and into your crease, and blend for added depth.

    Feel free to swap natural matte shadows for something more sparkly for a night out. But regardless which technique is your top pick, the key is to always blend, blend, blend.

    Try: Sonia Kashuk Eye Couture Palette in Eye on Neutral 02, $19.99, available at Target.


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    Eyeliner Pencil
    Liners are available as liquids, kohl pencils, gels, and felt-tip pens. Pencils are perfect for beginners to develop a steady hand to apply more creative eyeliner looks. One thing to remember: Always start with a sharp point for a more exact application.

    Try: Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal Eyeliner, $3.97, available at Walmart.


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    Gel Eyeliner
    Gel or cream liners are usually found in pots and are applied with angled eyeliner brushes. This provides the smoothness of a pencil with the precision of a liquid — minus the risk of a major mess.

    Try: Wet n Wild MegaEyes Crème Eyeliner, $3.79, available at Walgreens.


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    Liquid Eyeliner
    It’s all about the angle when it comes to crafting the perfect cat-eye. Many makeup artists suggest using your lower lashline as a guide to find the ideal angle for your wing. This will ensure everything stays symmetrical, regardless of how thick or thin you want your eyeliner to be. Once you've drawn your angle, connect it to the rest of your liner, filling in the small space to create the flick of the wing.

    Almay Liquid Eyeliner, $7.99, available at Ulta Beauty.