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 🙂

Big Up to the Deep Set Crew


There are a lot of great things that come with my Italian heritage. A huge, loving family; chicken parm so good it will make you cry; Italian swears that are fun to say; the good hair gene–I could go on and on. But being Italian also means I have The Curse of the Deep Set Eyes (quick! cornicelli up!) Like so many people of Mediterranean descent, my eyes are set pretty far back. My brother says this is a good thing, because it protects the eyeballs if you fall on your face (always the optimist, that Mikey B!). In terms of photography though, it’s a definite disadvantage.

Before you get into this, let’s see if you are part of the Deep Set Crew (not to be confused with the Dipset crew). See the celebrity pictures included in this post? (Please excuse the formatting, not my strength.) Do their eyes look similar to your’s? If so, read on, my friend.

Let’s start this by saying a little prayer of thanks for those of us that have two eyes that can see. I think it’s important to give thanks for those things we might take for granted (even when it’s not November, folks!). Let me also point out that there is no “bad” eye shape. But there are ways to work with what you’ve got to make things look best in photos, if you are concerned with that.

If you’re rollin’ with the Deep Set Crew, you have probably seen a million photos of you that look nothing like you. That’s because cameras pick up on light and shadows, and if your eyes are deep set, the light and shadows are going to make your eyes look like they are pushed back even further in your face. Typically not a flattering look, and probably not at all what you look like in person. But these deep set eye makeup tips for photography can help you out, or at least they have for my clients and I.

First thing you want to do is avoid applying dark eyeshadow colors on your eyelids. This is a big, indisputable rule in makeup–dark colors make things recede, or look smaller. Putting a dark color on your lids is going to make your eyes look even further set back. Go with a lighter color for photography–even some shimmer is fine–and this will help bring the bottom part of your eye forward. Try a shade that is a couple of shades lighter than your skin (matte is preferable if you have very large eyes that you want to minimize, otherwise shimmer is fine). MAC Brulee eyeshadow works well on light skin, MAC Wedge is good on medium skin and MAC Era is pretty on dark skin. But use whatever works for you!

Don’t put a dark eyeshadow in the crease (or socket, if you prefer) of your eye. I would go as far as to say don’t put ANY color there. This has the same effect as putting a dark color on the lid–it is just going to make your eyes look more sunken in in photos. If you want to put some color there, what you can do–and this takes some practice–is apply a light-medium color (I usually use a light brown) slightly above the crease. It should hit the very bottom of your browbone, but not in an 80s way. Blend it well. If you don’t have much space between your crease and brows, or this sounds too advanced to you, skip it.

Avoid highlighting the browbone. I know many magazine articles and YouTube tutorials tell you to highlight the browbone, but this is really not for everyone. Highlighting the browbone is just going to make the bottom part of your eye look even further back in comparison.

If you have a lot of eyelid space (and many people with deep set eyes do–look at the Cher picture as an example), you can draw a medium or thick line of eyeliner at the top lashline. This is really more about how much lid space you have, but since I have found that so many Deep Set crew members have large eyes, I had to include that. I do recommend softening the liner by either using a shadow, smudging a pencil liner or tracing a gel liner with shadow, as it gives that soft focus effect that is generally more modern and flattering in photos. Topshop Kohl liners are awesome and easy to smudge.

I wouldn’t suggest going too dark or heavy with any liner or shadow at the lower lashline, as this can highlight the deep set factor too. A soft, thin line is flattering, but anything too dark or too heavy won’t do you any favors on camera.

People with deep set eyes are often also blessed with dark circles, which make the whole eye area look even more recessed. So it’s really important to correct and cover these circles. If they are very dark, you will need to color correct with a peach (light and medium skins) or an orange (dark skin) corrector. Follow with a concealer one shade lighter than the rest of your face (MAC Select Coverups are great), and if necessary, a small amount of brightening concealer (like Clinique Airbrush Concealer). Set with powder.

Mascara on top lashes is a must for deep set eyes (fine to do bottom too, just don’t channel Tammy Faye Bakker). Lengthening mascara is a Do, as it gives the illusion of pulling the eyes forward. Don’t believe me? Give it a try. Mascara on one eye, no mascara on the other. Which one wins this round? Dior Diorshow, the original, is still my fave for thickening and lengthening.

The next two tips could be controversial, as they are purely from my experience. I have never heard of another makeup artist/watched a YouTube tutorial suggesting these things for deep set eyes.

I love black liner on the waterline, I really do, but in photos, I swear it makes the eyes look more deep set. I recommend an off-white liner if you want to line the waterline.

This last one isn’t even eye makeup–cheekbone highlight. Don’t do it. Think about how close the cheekbones are to the eye sockets. Highlighting the cheekbones, in my opinion, automatically sets the eyes back more.

So, those are my tips. If you are a fan of the infamous selfie, try doing your makeup this way, and then the opposite. Then see which picture makes your eyes look more deep set. I think you will find these tips will generally make for a prettier you in pictures.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Thank God For My Cousins: Sonia Kashuk Brushes & Products Review

Sonia Kashuk, Target
A line worth checking out.

There are a lot of makeup lines out there and new products are constantly released.  I would very much like to try them all.  If I wanted to do just that all day (and I do!) I probably wouldn’t be able to do anything else. So until I am the position to do nothing but try new products all day–at which point I probably will have died and gone to heaven–I rely on recommendations from friends, family, clients, fellow bloggers, other makeup artists, and beauty publications.

Whenever I do a woman’s makeup, I ask her what she normally uses.  I don’t do this to tear apart, judge, or to suggest other products.  Rather, I ask about her favorites so I can try them. If someone really raves about an eyeliner, or I hear a bunch of people praise a certain bronzer, you can be damn sure I’m going to get it.

I first heard of the Sonia Kashuk line about five years ago. My cousin, Brooke, got me a Sonia brush kit for my birthday. Brooke had tried a Sonia brush before and liked it and thought I would too. She was right, as Virogs often are. The brushes came in a white travel case and to this day, the blush brush that came in that kit is my favorite. It’s super soft, distributes color evenly and doesn’t shed.  The Sonia brushes, if they are taken care of properly, last for a while.

My cousin Maria lives in New York City, and she is the one who got me into the Sonia products.  She finds these amazing products at Space.NK http://www.spacenk.com/home.do and sends them to me.  How great is she?!?!

Below is a list and review of the Sonia products I currently have:

Beautifying Blush in Lilly:  This is one of the most used powder blushes in my kit.  It’s a warm pinky peach that looks amazing on medium and olive skin tones. As long as there is a primer underneath, it lasts for a while. It’s well pigmented, but not to the point where it’s too much.  It’s very buildable, so you can choose how intense you want the color to be.

Beautifying Blush in Flamingo: This powder blush is a cool pink shade that really brings a pop of color to the cheeks. I reach for it often when I am doing a purple eye makeup look, as it balances out the look and doesn’t clash with the purples.  See “Lilly” description for pigment and length of wear.

Creme Blush in Rosey: I think the shade name is a little deceiving.  I’d call it “Peachy”, or maybe “Peachy-Rosey”, but who am I to judge? This blush is easy to blend (it doesn’t grab onto the skin then dry and not budge, like some cream blushes) and it gives a gorgeous flush to the cheeks. I’ve found this shade to be flattering on several skintones.  Like many cream blushes, it can fade quicker than powders, but I’ve found that layering it really helps.

Lip Palette in Shimmering Sorbet: This lip palette includes five colors–shimmery apricot, light toffee brown, mid-tone pink, coral and berry. The apricot and pink are on the sheer side and the brown, coral, and berry are more pigmented. This palette has a great color selection and the formulas do not feel sticky. They do tend to dry out my lips a little, but that might just be me. As far as length of wear, they fall somewhere in the middle–they don’t come right off, but they’re  not especially long-lasting either.

Eye Shadow Quad in Smoke in Your Eyes: This is my most used eye shadow quad. It contains a dark gray, a cream, a mid-tone gray and a chocolate brown. The brown is absolutely gorgeous and flattering on many eye color/skintone combos. The two grays are great for a smoky effect. The cream works well as base or a highlight.  The shadows are well pigmented and as long as you use a primer underneath (which I do with all shadows, no exceptions) they last all day.

Eye Shadow Quad in Born to Be Wild: This quad contains four beautiful colors–a vibrant purple, a gold rose, a dark blue and a light, frosty blue.  The purple is perfect for brown eyes, and I love the gold rose on blue eyes.  If you want to wear all four colors at the same time, one combination I like (especially for blue-eyed girls) is the gold rose on the lid, dark blue at upper lashline, light blue at lower lashline, and purple at outer third of lower lashline.  The pigment and length of wear is the same as the Smoke In Your Eyes quad.

Eye Shadow Duo in Stormy Night: The two shadows, a silver gray and green gray, are shimmery and high impact. The colors look great when worn together or alone. If you’re nervous to use metallics, try lining close to your lashline with a gray or black pencil liner first, then trace over the liner with an angled brush dipped in one of the shadows. Pigment and length of wear is the same as eye quads.

Enhance Eye Shadow in Fleshy: The name grosses me out a little, but the shadow is great.  This is a must have for those with light to medium light skin. It’s close to the color of those shades of skin, so it’s great as a base.  And if you are a very natural one shadow girl who just wants the lids to look more even, this is a good choice for you.  Pigment and length of wear is the same as the other shadows.

Sonia Kashuk is a solid makeup line, and I’ve liked or loved every product I’ve tried. The blushes and the eyeshadow quads are amazing, and everything is relatively inexpensive. The line is available at Target and SpaceNK.

Have a beautiful day 🙂