This was a look I did on Monday. Like most of the looks I do, I started off with good intentions. “Let’s do neutrals today,” I thought to myself as I pulled out the Urban Decay Naked3 palette. “You never do neutrals.”
Then I stared at the Colourpop Gimme Butterflies palette. It’s truly a gorgeous palette—warmer in shade than Naked3, but still, I think a lot of the shades work together.
And of course, as always happens when I’ve got a colorful palette in front of me, dreams of doing a neutral eye look went straight out the window. This happened (apologies in advance for the crappy car selfies):
Why am I posting terrible car selfies from my phone? Because that is in part the nice thing about this look. I was crazy short on time Monday, so there’s no foundation or anything. Didn’t even bother to put on nice clothes or do anything with my hair. Messy bun and workout clothes is what you get. Extra messy because quarantine means I’ve not had a haircut in ages! Oh well. Anyway, I just did eyes, brows, and lip gloss. The whole thing took me about 15 minutes to put together, and then as I was rushing to leave for an appointment, I thought “Hey, I should take a picture and post about it later!” No time to drag out the fancy DSLR or anything like that.
So yeah, that’s how this look was born. Short on time, half thought out, with quick pictures taken five seconds before I peeled out of the driveway.
If you want to replicate it, here’s a quick tutorial. Starting with swatches on paper.
Protip: Make swatches on paper, seal them with artist’s fixative, then stick ‘em in your bullet journal to admire later. I totally do this all the time. It’s super easy. Shadows won’t stick to paper all that well, but you can brush a little shadow primer on the paper, let it dry, then blend color on just the same as you would on your eyelids.
Anyway, the image below shows you all the shades I used. And yes, I realize NYX Milk looks like nothing because it’s white shadow on white paper. Next time, I’ll figure out a way to make it more contrasty.
Product List & Shade Names
The image above gives you a good idea of the color story without my skintone/hair interfering with the shades. And now for a full product list with some links. Don’t worry, these aren’t affiliate links—just linking for your convenience.
How It’s Done
To get a look like this done in no time flat, I do things in a very specific order. You’ll see why here in a minute!
There’s a couple of points to make here. First, most people use regular liner to tightline the upper lash line, but I use a liquid liner. Why? Well, I’ve got close to fifty eye pencils in my stash, many of which claim to be waterproof or transfer-proof. And in most applications, they are. Yet I’ve tried tightlining with every single one of them (made a spreadsheet about eyeliner performance, even), and no matter what, I always end up with the liner all over my lower lash line. So I use a liquid liner because it doesn’t transfer.
Secondly, I use a liquid liner because the fine point is way easier to use. With a pencil, to really get in between the lashes, you’re going to have to sharpen it each time you use it—and that’s wasteful. Liquid liners always have a nice point.
And last, I tightline first because invariably my hand shakes as I try in vain not to poke myself in the eye, which results in black streaks above the lash line. If this happens to you, you can wipe most of it off with a Q-tip, but there will likely be a few gray smudges left behind. Trying too hard to wash or rub those off results in irritated eyelids, at least for me. So do this first, and cover up the smudges with primer.
You may be wondering if you can skip the tightlining step entirely. Yes, you can! Myself, I nearly always tightline because when combined with mascara, it gives the lashes a much fuller, more finished look, but this is an optional step.
I mentioned above that the primer covers any smudges leftover from tightlining with a liquid liner, right? It also comes with the added advantage of making the liner look neat and tidy. When you’re smushing liner in between lashes, unless you do a winged liner look, the upper edge might look a bit uneven. Bring the primer down right to the lash line to correct this.
And another tip: I take the primer from lash line all the way up to the brow bone, and from the inner corner of my eye all the way to the outer corner. To find how far to extend the primer, draw an imaginary line from the tip of your eyebrow to the outer corner of your eye and follow that line. At the same time, if you just end the primer abruptly, you’ll end up with a harsh shadow line along the outsides of the eye look. So use your finger or a Q-tip to feather the edges of the primer and avoid that harsh line.
I start at the brow bone and work down, like so:
Boost Saturation with NYX Milk
This is a favorite trick of mine—and I’ll do a post that details exactly how it works later. The short version is this: if you want super saturated bright colors, use NYX Milk or a white shadow pencil like it beneath those colors. Powder shadows stick to it beautifully, and the white base really boosts the color.
And a note, particularly if you have hooded eyes like mine, but just in general for anyone using a shadow pencil on their lids: do this step right before you apply color over the base pencil. There are two reasons why.
That said, application is pretty easy. Put some on your lower lids and use a Q-tip or a shadow sponge applicator to smudge it all over the lower lid. It doesn’t have to be perfectly evenly applied. The whole purpose of this stuff is to make a sticky, light base for the bright shades you’ll put over top.
Apply Your Brights
Start with Gimme Butterflies’ Fair Play. Apply it over the NYX Milk from the outer corner of your eye to the midpoint. Make sure to blend it up into the crease shade, and to give your eyes some lift, blend a little bit onto the outer section of your upper lid.
Next comes Gimme Butterflies’ Winged. Apply this from the inner corner of your eye slightly past the midpoint. Blend it over Fair Play to get a nice fade between the shimmer and the darker shade, and blend a little into the crease, too.
And then if you want a little highlight in there, blend Gimme Butterflies’ Ur a Catch into the inner corner of your eye.
Almost done! For this step, I placed Sephora’s Contour Eyeliner in Tiramisu on the lower waterline. Really like these eye pencils for that. While I’ve never had luck tightlining with them, they do stay put all day on my lower waterline.
And to pull the shadow look together, use a narrow brush and Gimme Butterflies’ Fair Play beneath your lash line. For this, I blended the color from the corner of my eye about one-third of the way across, and very slightly smudged it by blending the edges of the liner outward and down. Since this was a daytime look I didn’t get too fancy with this. You can hardly see it in the pictures because I was going for a super subtle liner. But if you wanted, you could use Fair Play all the way to the midpoint or even across the entire lower lash line for some serious emphasis.
Brows, Lashes and Lips
Finish up using your go-to products and techniques for this stuff. For me, it went something like this:
And that’s all! Like I said, a super simple look. The most time-consuming parts are the tightlining and trying to straighten out the clumpy disaster that happens when your mascara is starting to dry out. Even with that, it’s still a quick, colorful look that you can put together in minutes.