7 Makeup Artist-Approved Tricks For Flawless Eye Makeup Every Time

Photographed by Lara Callahan
We know how to prep our skin for flawless foundation and how to apply lipstick to make thin lips look fuller almost instantly, but when it comes to nailing eye makeup, especially eyeshadow, it's a little trickier.
Once you've worked out the best shades for your eye colour, bought the right brushes and decided whether you want to create a smoky eye or something more minimal, there's the back and forth of blending and the inevitable clean-up. But according to LA-based makeup artist and photographer, Jordan Liberty, it doesn't have to be that taxing. Here are all the eyeshadow hacks we learned when we sat down for lunch with the pro himself.
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How to do a smoky eye...without looking bruised
According to Jordan, there are two mistakes we tend to make when doing a smoky eye: using too much dark eyeshadow and not starting close enough to the lash line. But it's easier not to use any eyeshadow at all...
"I like to build a smoky eye up with eyeliner instead of eyeshadow," he told R29. "I’ll take a really soft, creamy, gel-based eyeliner, like Urban Decay's Glide On Eye Pencil, and smudge it on to the lid first. As it's controlled, there’s no fallout and you won’t look like a raccoon. Liners like these move easily when blended with a brush. I find it’s easier to define the outer third of the eyes and if you keep the darker colour close to the lash line and then just blend it out, it won’t be as scary. It’s a cool fashion look to go above the crease, but it can look a little too much. That's when you can go in with a little eyeshadow to make it softer. I'd also suggest mixing tones. Sometimes use a chocolate colour eyeliner and an eyeshadow in a contrasting colour."
These are the best eyeshadow shades to suit your eye colour
Because purples aren't that wearable day-to-day, Jordan suggests sticking to neutral hues for maximum impact. "Those with brown and hazel eyes can get away with virtually all colours, but I love greige, a cross between grey and beige. A little hint of silver vibrates against brown eyes. That said, cobalt blue is a great wildcard shade. When it comes to blue eyes, I’ll always opt for warmer, peachy tones, which really makes them pop. For green eyes, warm shades with slightly red tones bring out the golden flecks."
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Make sure you're using the right tools
"If you’re scared of eyeshadow, get yourself a really soft, fluffy brush," advised Jordan. "The softer and fluffier, the less colour it'll apply. If you want to create more of a defined crease, choose a brush that comes to a point and tapers off. You get more of a diffused line, not a 'slice'. The softer the brush, the more natural the look."
How to apply eyeshadow for every eye shape
"With hooded lids, you can get away with more colour because you only really see it on the lid when you blink," said Jordan. "My aim is never to alter the shape of the eye because it’s beautiful, but I’ll always aim for a pop of colour on the lower lash line to emphasise the eye."
If you want to make small eyes appear bigger, use warmer colours and take them higher and lower than you normally would. "I use the Audrey Hepburn tip," revealed Jordan. "Her makeup artists would take a taupe-y colour and take it slightly lower than where you would normally apply it to create a gap between the eye and the shadow. This emphasises the height and width of the eye without looking too stark, which white eyeliner can sometimes do. The aim is to use colours that suit your own skin tone, as they add a bit of weight underneath the eye so it’s more fresh and doe-eyed."
And if you have round eyes and want to make them appear slightly more cat-like, use your brush to blend the eyeshadow out at the outer corner, halfway up to the temple. "Taking eyeshadow off the eye in this way is a bit like sculpting and creates a soft, contour effect," said Jordan. "This technique also helps to resolve the end of the eye to make sure eyeshadow doesn’t look blocky. "
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How to do a cool cut crease
Sharp, Instagram-inspired cut creases aren't for everyone, but if you do want to get on board the trend, Jordan has a few top tips. "I'm not the biggest fan, but I would suggest tracing your brush through the crease very gently, as this creates a much softer line. You don’t have to use dark colours and it doesn’t have to be black or brown. I like applying metallic colours in the crease because they don’t close the eye. It creates a shadow, but because of the metallic light reflection, it doesn’t look too dense or heavy."
Invest in eye primer
If you don't want to do a full-on eye, Jordan suggests just a swipe of tinted eyeshadow primer. "Sometimes I’ll just apply a little of this and then define the crease by running a brush through. These days, they're almost like cream eyeshadows and give a little wash of colour to lids."
This is the pro way to clean up mistakes
Whether you use a cream or powder, some fallout is inevitable. If you’ve already done your foundation, Jordan advises grabbing a fan brush. "I don't like applying translucent powder under the eyes when applying eyeshadow because it looks too chalky and dries out the area. Keep it as hydrated as possible. My trick is to place the fan brush under your eye while applying eyeshadow so you can let it fall on to the brush."
And what about mascara? "Mascara shields are great. If your mascara does smudge on to your finished eyeshadow, wait until it’s completely dry before you try and take it off. If it’s wet it will smudge. When it’s dry, use a dry Q-tip and it’ll pick up a lot faster. I also paint on mascara to avoid mistakes. Take out your mascara, pick up an angled brush and simply paint the lashes. I find it’s so much easier to define them in this way. No clumps, no big clumsy wand so close to your eye and no smudges."
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