Introduction: Eyeshadow Blending 101
If you've ever wondered why your eye makeup doesn't look as effortless and amazing as the pro's does, it's most likely because you're not blending correctly! Blending is how colors seem to seamlessly transition into one another with no discernible brush marks, stops, or starts. There are two distinct components to great blending: using the right brushes and technique to blend the colors into the other, and using colors correctly to transition into one another. To demonstrate both of these techniques I'm using the Urban Decay Electric palette to do a gradient rainbow eye.
Step 1: Step 1
Prime your eyes with a good eyeshadow primer, apply foundation if you wish, and dust with translucent powder. The translucent powder will allow you to blend much more smoothly. I'm also beginning with a layer of white eyeshadow (Snow from the Lorac Pro 2 palette) all over the eye to give me a more intense color payoff.
Step 2: Step 2
Using a large crease brush, I picked up the shade Savage (hot pink) from the palette, tapped off the excess, and used a soft back-and-forth windshield wiper motion to slowly build the color in my crease and swept it down beneath the eye. I used heavier movements where I wanted the color to be most concentrated and light buffing movements where I wanted the color to fade out gently.
Step 3: Step 3
Using a slightly smaller crease brush, I applied the shade Jilted (deep fuchsia) to my inner crease to give the pink color some depth. (This is what I was talking about when I mentioned correct use of color! You will want to use many shades of the same color to achieve depth and highlights within the makeup even though the final effect is very subtle-- but very noticeable.) I used the tip of the brush to lightly feather the color in exactly where I wanted it, and when nearly all of the color had been buffed out of the brush I used those heavier windshield-wiper-y movements throughout the crease to blend the two colors together seamlessly.
Step 4: Step 4
Using a very small crease brush, I added the shade Urban (deep purple) to the outer V and gently carried it into the crease. The smaller the area you want to apply color to, the smaller the brush and the smaller and lighter your movements should be.
Step 5: Step 5
Using a flat shadow brush, I patted the color Chaos (electric blue) onto the center of the lid, then used gentle strokes to blend it back into the Urban. At some points you may want to go back in with a color you've already applied in order to deepen or intensify it.
Step 6: Step 6
Using a flat shadow brush, I patted Gonzo (lighter blue) onto the front half of the lid and used soft, smooth strokes to blend it into Chaos. I then went back in with more Chaos to make it more noticeable.
Step 7: Step 7
Using an accent brush, I applied Freak (mint green) to the inner corners of the eye and gently brushed it onto the lid to blend it with Gonzo.
Step 8: Step 8
Because I wanted to add more of an accent than a stand-alone highlight, I used a large fluffy blending brush to apply Thrash (neon green) to the inner corner and swept it beneath the eye as well.
Step 9: Step 9
Using a clean fluffy blending brush, I used those tiny, gentle windshield-wiper motions in places where the colors hadn't transitioned cleanly enough, and then touched up some of the colors that had seemed to have gotten lost with small flat brushes and little patting motions.
Step 10: Finito!
Once I was satisfied with how the colors seamlessly transitioned into one another, looking like a glorious rainbow but ON MY FACE, I added winged liner and mascara and BOOM! Rainbow eyes. Done. Love!
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