Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Eyeshadow

Eyeshadow palette


In theory, choosing an eyeshadow should be simple. Pick the color you want and apply it. But like deciding where to go for dinner when you’re with a group of people or coming up with a response to that cute guy’s initial text, it’s not easy. Too bad you don’t have a professional makeup artist who loves to give unsolicited beauty advice at your disposal…

I want to make your life less confusing–the opposite of what that cute guy texting you seems to be doing–so let me walk you through eyeshadow terms you have probably heard or might hear in the future.



matte eyeshadow

Matte: Flat with no shine or sparkle. Matte shadows do not reflect light. They typically give the highest color payoff, but a cheap matte shadow can be patchy.

MAC Phloof

Frost: Frost shadows have light reflecting particles that give off a shiny effect. Great for highlighting the center or inner corners of the eyes, but can draw attention to wrinkles and creases.

satin eyeshadow, eyeshadow finishes

Satin: Matte with a little bit of sparkle shot through it. The tiny light reflecting particles in satin shadows give off a sheen, but the effect is very subtle. It’s like the kitten heel of eyeshadows. If you like some shine to your eyeshadow but don’t want to accentuate crepey skin, a satin shadow might work for you.

Motives eyeshadow

Pearlized: Satin’s big sister. Pearlized shadows aren’t quite frosts, but they pack more of a punch than satins.

Metallic gold

Metallic: These shadows are meant to look like actual metals–gold, silver, bronze, etc. Their light reflecting particles are usually larger. Because of this, they can’t be as tightly packed as matte shadows, which means they are more like to cause fallout.

Shimmer eyeshadow

Shimmer: Contains light reflecting particles. Shimmer is a broad term that encompasses pearlized, frost and metallic finishes.

Velvet eyeshadow

Velvet: This finish is very soft and buttery. It can contain no shimmer, a little shimmer or full-on shimmer. Cheaper velvet shadows may not adhere well to the skin.




Naked palette

Powder: The most common type of eyeshadow. It can come as a single shadow, a duo, trio, quad or larger palette. Powder eyeshadows are usually applied with a brush.

Chanel eyeshadow

Stick: Creamier than a powder shadow and easy to apply. You draw it on, then blend with a brush or your finger. Some stick shadows are very sheer, “slippery” and wear off easily, others are more opaque and long-lasting.

Waterproof eyeshadow

Cream: Cream shadows typically come in a little jar. The can come in any finish. Cream shadows, like stick shadows, can be slippery and can wear off easily. Some companies make long-lasting and/or waterproof cream shadows. You can apply them with a brush or fingers.

Eyeshadow pigments

Pigment: Pigments are loose, highly concentrated powder eyeshadows. A good pigment will give you strong color payoff with minimal product. They adhere best to the skin when placed over a cream shadow or primer. I find them easiest to apply with a brush.

I hope I have answered all of your burning questions about eyeshadows. If not, comment at me.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Light It Up: Too Faced Shadow Insurance in Candlelight Review

The original Too Faced Shadow Insurance has been a staple in my pro kit and my personal makeup bag for years. I have yet to find another eye primer that works as well. Shadow Insurance helps eye makeup stay on longer and crease less, which makes it something I use on almost every client. The only time I don’t use my Holy Grail of eye primers is when I do several eye makeup looks that I need to change (typically for a photoshoot), because I don’t need the eye makeup to last long.

Because I love the original formula, I decided to give their Candlelight version a go. Candlelight is supposed to give a “soft focus effect and subtle golden metallic sheen,” while reducing shadow creasing and helping eye makeup last longer. You only need about half of a rice grain-sized amount of product–that’s a legit measurement, right?–for each eye. Apply and blend it with your ring finger for best results. (Because the ring finger is the weakest, it is least likely to pull on the delicate eye area skin.)

The “golden metallic” description is right on, as are the longevity and anti-creasing claims. This eye primer is pretty enough to be worn on its own too. It’s a sheer metallic wash–like the lite version of a cream eyeshadow. It catches the light in a flattering way, much like candlelight. So yeah, good call on the product name, Too Faced Shadow Insurance.

When worn under a shimmery shadow, the Candlelight primer ups the shimmer factor. But my favorite use for this primer is under a matte shadow. It turns the matte eyeshadow into a shimmery or satin version of itself. The less pigmented the eyeshadow, the more shimmery. More pigmented shadows get a slight but noticeable satin finish.

Candlelight is great on its own, as a shimmery shadow intensifier or as a matte shadow transformer. You gotta love a product that has multiple uses! I think this would be an awesome gift for a young girl/teen who is starting to wear makeup. Worn on its own, it’s like a subtle cream eyeshadow that’s definitely age appropriate.

Sephora, Ulta and Naimie’s all carry this primer.

Have a beautiful day 🙂