9 Common Eye Shadow Mistakes That Are Ruining Your Smokey Eye

by Lindsay E. Mack

Remember when magazines and the M.A.C makeup counters were the only sources for eye shadow information? Well, thankfully, that is no longer the case. With the recent surge of social media makeup bloggers, the Internet is awash with tips and tricks about every imaginable eye shadow look.

Yes, the world wide web is filled with extreme smoky eye tutorials and eye shadow works of art. But for the makeup novice who just wants to learn how to apply a little color to their eyes, the most valuable information may simply be a breakdown of common eye shadow mistakes to avoid.

Although there are some great guides on common makeup mistakes to avoid, eye shadow faux pas deserves their own special focus. Eye makeup can really make your entire look come together, so it makes sense to review some ways to improve your eye shadow game. After all, you’re probably not trying to channel Mimi when you’re putting together a look for the office. (No shade here: Mimi rocked one of the most recognizable makeup looks in pop culture. But probably not one you want to emulate.)

So for those who don’t dream of Sephora (or maybe just want a little makeup refresher), here is a rundown of some common eye shadow mistakes to avoid – and easy ways to fix them.


Using The Sponge Applicator

You’d think if your eye shadow came with an applicator, then it’s ok to use. But these little sponges are not the best tools for applying eye shadow, because they are tricky to control and very difficult to use for blending. While they can work in a pinch, your best bet is investing in a nice set of brushes that are made specifically for applying eye shadow, like this selection via Studio of Makeup. Fortunately, there are some neat ways to use those sponge applicators for other purposes.


2. Skipping Primer

Primer not only provides a smoother canvas for your eye makeup, but it also helps everything stay in place for hours afterward. Available in a variety of shades and finishes, from transparent to shimmer, it’s easy to find a primer that suits your look.


Doing The Eyes Last

Primping your eyes last is fine if you’re using a shadow stick or just don’t have a lot of fallout. But for more labor-intensive looks that will require a lot of cleanup (think smoky and smoldering), it’s a good idea to apply all of your eye makeup before tackling the rest of your face. This gives you the chance to fix any imperfections without smearing your face makeup.


Not Blending Enough

Blending makes a tremendous difference in the outcome of your eye makeup look. By blurring different shades together and buffing out any harsh lines, blending can take your makeup game to the next level. And, thanks to a slew of eye shadow blending tutorials, learning this technique has never been easier.


Skipping Cleanup

Applying eye makeup is a delicate art, and if you lack a steady hand then your look will likely require a lot of cleanup. Though it’s tempting to leave the touch ups till the end (or skip altogether), cleaning up mistakes as you go with a bit of makeup remover and some cotton swabs can make a tremendous impact on your finished look.


Neglecting The Brows

Brows have become a huge trend in the makeup community of late, and have made terms like fleek part of our everyday speech. But in order for your brow game to be on point, you need to fill in your brows. In creating a fuller brow, you are able to accentuate even the most subtle eye shadow job. With so many ways to fill a brow, pencils, powders, or gels, just to name a few, you can certainly find a method that works for you. 


Using Old Product

Sure, that Lancome palette you swiped from your mom some years back still looks pretty, but even eye shadow has a lifespan. After about 18 months, it’s time to toss that old eye shadow. Try to use up those shades beforehand to get the most use of your product.


Mismatching The Occasion

After gazing at the insane and gorgeous eye shadow trends all over Pinterest, it can be hard to get excited about your demure look for the office. But for most professional events, it’s a good idea to use a light hand. This isn’t to say that matte, natural shades have to be boring. After all, office-worthy makeup can be beautiful too.


Not Experimenting

On the other hand, if you feel the need for glitter and bold colors from time to time, give yourself room to experiment! If the extreme peacock-like look doesn’t work out, you can always just wipe it off and start new. It’s only makeup, so have some fun with your collection from time to time.

Images: Courtesy of Laura De’Alessandro,  Tech109, Courtney Rhodes, Aurora CuaCua, NanshyOfficial, Rekre89, Lorraine, Eflon, 22Lauren, Deborah Austin /Flickr