9 Aug 2017

Press Don’t Brush: Eyeshadow

Eyeshadow: Press Don't Brush on vickiarcher.com

Press don’t brush, That Is The Trick

We have talked about the brows but what about the whole eyeshadow question?

I have always had an irrational fear with eyeshadow. Visions of too much colour or too dark a shade and the thought of residual powder dripping down under the eyes or gathering in the corners makes me weak at the knees. A slight exaggeration but I am sure you know what I mean.

These feelings may hark back to my younger days when I took a temporary position as a make up consultant for a large company. It was one of those jobs that I wasn’t very good at it. The chatting to customers was fine but the makeovers were not my forte. You know the overly made up and uniformed girls who have the microphone in one hand and deftly apply the eyeshadow with the other, that was me, except for the ‘deftly’. My foray at the make-up counter didn’t last long, fortunately for the customers.

Eyeshadow is a tricky one, too much and you look like a kewpie doll, none and we are missing out on all the advantages that subtle contouring can provide. I want to wear eyeshadow but with one condition, I want to look like I’m not wearing it.

  Eyeshadow: Press Don’t Brush

1. Prepare the eyelid

This is the most important step as it ensures a smooth finish with no blotches.

Blend concealer or eye primer over the eyelids, making sure that it’s even and absorbed

Pat a very small amount of translucent powder over the eyelids.

I avoid bright and very dark colours. I find creams are more difficult to manipulate and tend to crease on the eyelid or fold into creases I don’t want. 

2. Use two shades

A light shade similar to skin tone and a darker taupe/grey shade are my colours of choice.

 Press the lighter colour all over the eyelid using an eye shading brush.

 Pressing instead of brushing is the key as it avoids product falling under and around the eyes

3. Gently press the darker taupe eyeshadow into the crease of the eyelid starting in the middle and applying to the outer half of the eyelid only

Continue pressing the eye shadow downwards towards the eyelashes. Imagine with the eyes opened a ‘croissant’ shape is formed with the darker eyeshadow.

Once the colour is applied, use a blending brush so that the two colours fade seamlessly into each other.

4. For additional definition to the eye add eyeliner and mascara.

Eyeshadow: What to Use

my latest crush colours are from trish mcevoy; they wear well, are easy to apply with the right brushes and don’t crease.

trish mcevoy cream glaze eyeshadow   ||  trish mcevoy tawny glaze eyeshadow  ||  shading brush  ||  blending brush

finish with a couple of new ones from my make-up bag

tom ford eye pencil in onyx  ||  dior pump n volume mascara

images rene russo, los angeles sunday times

VA In Your Inbox

subscribe for updates from vickiarcher.com

In This Post:



Mimi Gregor

I have hooded eyelids, and they require a different technique than most women are taught for eye shadow. (If, when you apply eye shadow to just your eyelid, it disappears as you look straight on into the mirror, you have hooded eyelids.) I learned a lot from watching a YouTube tutorial by Stephanie Lange. I recommend it highly.

First, one uses matte shadows, the lighter of which is just a bit darker than one’s skin tone. That goes not only on the eyelid itself, but up into the crease and to just under the browbone. Then, the darker shade goes on the outer eyelid only, and up to the end of the browbone. One can use a bit of shimmer in the highlighter, which goes on the browbone, as usual, but also on the inner eye corner. Everything is blended with a clean, fluffy eye shadow brush. A very thin line of black powder eyeshadow is brushed on very close to the upper lashline, and just on the outer third of the lower lashline. again, blended well. Then the upper waterline is lined (she uses pencil, I find gel eyeliner easier to use) — it’s a LOT easier than I thought it would be and makes a BIG difference. Lange demonstrates it in her video. Makes the lashes look incredibly long and dense once mascara is applied.

I find that MAC has a great range of nude matte colors — I like Omega as the lid color and Charcoal Brown as the darker shade, with Shroom as highlighter. The great thing about this “no-makeup” look is that one uses shades that are flattering to one’s coloring — NOT what the cosmetic companies are trying to push you to buy for the coming “season”. I have a very pared-down makeup case. For evening, I darken the darker color of shadow a bit, add more color to the lips, but it basically remains the same.

Debbie Dabbs

Thank you for the tips Vicki! I have enjoyed reading your blog for several years now, and as a woman of 60 I am finding my brows and eyes looking different than I remember. I too prefer definition and not looking washed out, without too much makeup. Keep the info coming.

Taste of France

I’m happy with just mascara and eyeliner. And doing the brows, of course.
I reserve eye shadow for really dressy nights out. I’ve always used my fingers to apply it. I suppose I’ve pressed more than brushed with my finger, but your tip is very logical.

Pauline Haas

I’m quite taken with your articles and have now subscribed – however I’m more than “a certain age” but will continue to follow even though I’m in Australia and buying anything at all may become a problem. Many thanks for in anticipation of further interesting articles.

Anita Rivera

Good morning, Vicki! OK, you have given me the keys to the kingdom here; I have always had trouble with my eyeshadow and I think you’ve solved the mystery, to press, not brush. I’ve been doing the latter all my adult life, resulting in a caked or running shadow within minutes of application. Back in the early 70s when I first started to experiment with makeup, us girls wore this horrific BLUE shadow. What were we thinking? In my later years, I was using two different shades of brown, one close to the color of my skin, the other darker to go into the crevice below the brow. But last year, I wore NO eyeshadow at all, concentrating on just my red lips. I do want to start off the school year with a new look and I’ll need to experiment before I go back, but I’ll need to carefully select my shadow hues. Great advice, as always!


I know longer use powder eye shadow … I used Clinique eyeshadows that are creamy .. they stay where you put them they don’t flake etc and the colors are soft and natural on the skin ..
I rarely use colors etc .. I have been using a soft creamy pink and a light pale tan color .. just enough to not look like bare skin .. and I never use blue or green … so unnatural and old fashioned looking ..

Lynnelle, the Heels Diva

Love the post – and the eyebrow post, also. As a woman who just recently bungee jumped into her 60’s (still can’t believe it) I have a couple of comments for those of us needing a tweak on your recommendations above.
1. not only do we need our eyelids primed, but also directly under the lower lashes. That area tends to be a bit darker and it really brightens up the eye using, as I do, a yellowish tone concealer. (olive skin tone) A very tiny bit will do both upper lid and lower lash line – patting around, never rubbing. If it seems too dry, add a tiny bit of eye cream or lotion.
2. On your #3 you mention putting the darker color in the crease. At 60, my eyes appear to be set deeply enough on their own so I use the darker color slightly above the crease which seems to open the eye more without further sinking the eyes into the unfortunate folds.
3. I use a slightly off-white eye shadow crayon – sort of taupe-ish, silver-ish, color – NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil “cottage cheese” is the actual product I use. Just a pop of this under the high-arch point of the brow further opens the eye without an obvious white highlight.
4. Finally, eyeliner on a ‘mature’ eye should be left for special, evening occasions, in my opinion. Very thin close against the upper lashes – a softer charcoal, slate or olive green versus the hard blacks. If I want more definition during the day, I use an olive green eye pencil and line the inside of my upper lashes. That takes careful practice and cleaning the pencil tip after each use – but it adds definition without a heaviness of a traditional, above the last liner.

Your blog is as pretty as it is interesting. Thanks for letting me share my mature 2 cents.

Crawford obrien

Dear Vicki
I enjoy your posts and over the last several months realised I was only occasionally receiving them. I checked the status of my subscription and it seems fine. Any ideas as to why this is happening?
Regards Crawford


Hello Crawford,
It was because you had elected for weekly emails and My Daily Click. Over the summer I am sending only the Daily newsletter, so everyone has a little break..
I have updated the list to include you in all my latest emails.. :)
You can change your preferences at any time once normal scheduling re commences. xv


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

powered by chloédigital
Read previous post:
How To Shape The Eyebrows