Pro Makeup Artist Tricks to Make Problematic Eyeshadows Work

November 22, 2018

There are so many makeup products that go on the market every single week. And it seems like every popular YouTube influencer or celebrity makeup artist has a palette for sale, and their makeup palettes, they claim, are collections of carefully curated eyeshadows. Long established makeup brands, meanwhile, continuously release their own to satisfy the biggest makeup enthusiasts.

For makeup lovers, it is an absolute must to give new eyeshadow palettes a try, especially if they have a fantastic color configuration. However, the reality is not all of these palettes have great quality.

Those created by YouTube influencers, particularly, get a lot of flak for not being pigmented enough or for producing a lot of fallout. Also, drugstore brands have been churning out eyeshadow palettes that leave a lot to be desired.

If you have recently purchased makeup duds, you have the option to return them to the store. But, on some occasions, the palettes are not entirely bad. More often than not, for such cases, you just choose to keep the palette and use the heck out of the good quality eyeshadows in the selection. It is kind of a waste of money but what can you do, right?

Making ‘Bad’ Eyeshadows Work

Poor quality eyeshadows are actually not hopeless. With smart application techniques, you can make them decent enough to use along with really good eyeshadow products. So, if you have a lot of eye makeup palettes that have a few pans of problematic eyeshadows, below are professional tricks on making them work:

Pro Makeup Artist Tricks to Make Problematic Eyeshadows Work

For chalky or powdery eyeshadow:

  • Use a high performing eyeshadow primer to improve adhesion and prevent creasing, or a creamy but long-wearing and non-creasing concealer to establish opacity.
  • Likewise, limit the blending. Powdery products lose their color intensity easily with blending. Instead, use a flat and dense brush to strategically apply the eyeshadow and just pat it in the exact location on your lids.

For eyeshadow with a lot of fallout:

  • Invest in a glitter base. If it’s strong enough for loose eye glitters, it’s strong enough for eyeshadow powder that tends to ‘rain’ pigments under the eyes and on your cheeks.
  • After application, spritz your face generously with setting spray.
  • Additional tip: Apply the ‘face’ products after doing your eye look. Get rid of any fallout with a cleansing wipe or a cotton pad with Micellar water before applying your skincare essentials, face primer, concealer and foundation.

For eyeshadows that easily lose their color intensity:

Pro Makeup Artist Tricks to Make Problematic Eyeshadows Work

  • Use high-quality concealer as a base; Benefit’s Boi-ing concealer is highly recommended by makeup artists.
  • Use the tapping method with a flat eyeshadow brush for application, especially if the eyeshadow tends to look patchy. This will build up color more effectively.
  • You can also just use your fingers for a clean swipe of eyeshadow and to maintain color intensity. Just make sure to clean out the edges with a small blending brush. It may help to load up the blending brush with a high-quality transition color for a nice gradation.
  • Experiment with a wet application as well. Either use water or Mac Fix Plus (or any other reliable makeup setting spray – some makeup artists swear by contact lens solution, though) to wet your eyeshadow brush. Setting spray may be better because it is formulated to make your makeup adhere better to the skin.

For intimidating super pigmented eyeshadows:

  • Always tap off excess powder.
  • To make them easier to blend, use a small but fine and fluffy eyeshadow brush and apply with a light hand.

For streaky cream eyeshadows:

  • Your fingers are the best tools especially your ring and smallest finger which do not tug at the eyelids too much, and blend the cream more smoothly and evenly.
  • If you are not keen on using your fingers, a small and soft shading brush (such as the one that you can get from Real Techniques) will do the trick. It is just the right size for packing on color, and it is flat enough to place the cream shadow where you want it.

Outworking the different issues of your makeup is not that difficult if you know the tricks of the experts.

Remember, beautiful makeup looks are rarely about the products; they are about the skills of the person using the products. So, invest in self-makeup classes to obtain the skills that can create beautiful looks even with makeup products with a dull or substandard quality.


Toni Malt is the Middle East’s leading international editorial makeup artist and the woman behind the highly anticipated Toni Malt Makeup Academy in the heart of Dubai, now training the next generation of key makeup artists. From minimalistic looks to freestyle artistic creations, Toni’s creative work has been published in top international fashion magazines around the world including VOGUE, ELLE, L’Officiel, Marie Claire, Harper’s BAZAAR, Grazia and Cosmopolitan.

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