Home Makeup Tips How to Apply Eyeshadow Without Getting It Everywhere (Expert Tips)
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How to Apply Eyeshadow Without Getting It Everywhere (Expert Tips)

by Sandy Taylor

One of the many challenges of applying eyeshadow is to do it without getting it everywhere.  It’s a common problem but there are some great ways to work around it!

In order to bring you the best information, I connected with a few of the top beauty gurus in the industry and asked them to provide me with their best tips.


Here’s How To Apply Eye Shadow Without Getting It Everywhere:

Shake Off Excess EyeShadow

Patty Bell, an award-winning film and television makeup artist says to always shake off the excess shadow from your brush

You never want to apply the shadow directly from the pan to your eyes. The powders are still sitting on the surface off the brush, and are bound to fall off onto your face. Once you dip the brush into the eyeshadow, gently shake off the excess, and use a tissue to work the product into the brush before it ever hits the eyes. This prevents the shadow from going everywhere.

The size of the brush also determines the fall-out. The smaller the brush, the more compact the head is & more of a chance to overload the product onto the brush.

Remember: Less is more! Start out lightly – you can always go back in and add more.

Metallic, glitter, and dark eyeshadows can be the trickiest to work with. Use a tissue under the lower lash line to catch any fallout. If you are using them as a liner, make sure you wet your brush with a finishing spray to really lock in the makeup.

Check The Shelf Life

Kerrin Jackson, a 3 time Emmy nominated makeup artist and founder of Uttermusings.com, says to check that your eyeshadow is still within its shelf life. Sometimes, the first indication that eyeshadow is ready to go to makeup heaven is that it begins to crumble, which in turn can lead to it going everywhere.

So it’s worth checking how old it is. The best solution, if it’s crumbly and going everywhere, maybe to toss it all together and treat yourself to a new eyeshadow. Safer for your eyes, and no more crumbles!

Do Eye Makeup First and Use A Cream Eyeshadow

Kerrin also suggests doing your eye makeup first, before any other makeup on the rest of your face. That way, if you do create under-eye fallout, or mess anywhere else, you haven’t messed up your previously applied makeup in that area. You can easily wipe it off the fallout, clean the skin and then apply your foundation and concealer to a clean area. If you have wrinkled eyes, check out my guide on how to apply concealer on wrinkled eyes.

Also, use a cream eyeshadow as this will prevent fallout of any kind!

Avoid Powdery and Glitter Eye Shadows

Laura Chawke, a beauty expert and founder of MakeupScholar.com, suggests that powdery shadows and glittery finishes are particularly prone to fallout. Always look for a less powdery finish if you’re concerned about the messiness. Before you apply any eyeshadow, make sure you tap the excess off the brush before lifting it towards your face. Do not blow on your brushes as this is unhygienic.

It’s important to keep in mind that some eyeshadow brands are more prone to fallout than others. Often cheaper brands cause more fallout, but this is not always the case.

Try the Powder technique

If you love applying your eye makeup last, Laura suggests trying the “Powder Technique”.

What You Need To Do:

  1. Apply a generous amount of face powder under your eyes before you add your shadow.
  2. Once you’ve applied your eyeshadow, take a big powder brush and sweep away all that excess face powder and watch as the eyeshadow fallout sweeps away with it!

Extra Tip: Take a tissue and hold it just under your lower eyelid while you add your eyeshadow to your lids. The tissue will catch any shadow that falls onto your cheek! You could also buy eyeshadow shield pads instead of using a tissue – these are more expensive but more compact and convenient.

Use a Good Eyeshadow Primer

Agatha Kranidiotis, makeup guru at Mania Hair Studio, suggests starting with a good primer on the eyelid to assure the shadow will not crease. This will also help the eyeshadow stick better. This is especially important if the eyelid is oily.

After priming, apply shadow in stages marking sure to tap your brush as you go along. Once the eye makeup application is complete, you can go back and clean with makeup wipes or remover. This will always ensure a clean application.

Use a Setting Spray or Shadow Shield

Eve Dawes, Mrs. England World 2021, and founder of  Glamour and Gains suggests applying a setting spray to your makeup brush when using loose powder to help it adhere to your eyes and minimize fall out.

Andrea Claire, a professional hairstylist, and makeup artist say to pick up your desired shade with your brush and then lightly mist with MAC Cosmetics Fix+ to anchor onto your eyelid without a hot mess to clean up. It also gives you a better pigment payoff and humidity-proof for those in humid climates or during the sweaty summer months in a concrete jungle

Shadow Shields are self-adhesive, disposable crescents that fit under the eye area that catch any makeup fallout. Simply peel away the pigment fallout after you’ve finished applying your eye shadow!

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