What Are the Best Tips for Using Dark Eyeshadow?

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  • Written By: Kelly Ferguson
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 01 September 2019
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Wearing dark eyeshadow can create a sultry, smoky, and dramatic look if done correctly. The key to applying it properly is to learn the right techniques and avoid the "raccoon eye" look. Also, be sure to take care in using fresh, clean makeup that is intended for use around the sensitive eye area, as older makeup products that have been sitting around for a while may have changed in consistency or collected dust or other small debris that can irritate the eyes and cause the makeup to smudge and come off more easily.

Try putting a very light powder on the eyelid as a base before applying the dark eyeshadow. This will help absorb some of the oil, which will make the eyeshadow stay in place longer without smudging or accumulating in the creases of the eyelid and around the eyes. Have a gentle makeup remover handy to correct mistakes throughout the process. Also, use the makeup remover at night to get rid of the heavy makeup before bedtime. Leaving makeup on all night can not only cause it to smear on the face and possibly the pillowcase, but it also blocks pores and increases the chances that makeup particles will get into the eyes and block tear ducts or cause infection.


It is helpful to apply dark eyeshadow lightly at first, and then layer it on more thickly after a basic outline has been created. This will make it easier to determine where darker areas should be and to correct any mistakes if necessary. Plenty of makeup tutorials can explain various popular ways to apply dark eyeshadow for the best smoky eye effect. In general, try to avoid lining the bottom lids too heavily. A thick, dark line of eyeshadow or eyeliner on the bottom lids tends to lead to the "raccoon" look.

After the majority of the eyeshadow and other eye makeup has been applied, use a dark eyeliner pencil to color the gaps in between the eyelashes. If there is a visible gap on the rim of the lower lid between the eyeball and the eyelash ridge, this can also be very carefully colored in with the same dark eyeliner. Make sure to use clean eyeliner and eyeshadow in this case and try to avoid getting the makeup into the eye itself, as this could cause pain and infection. Do not share eye makeup with others, as this also increases the risk of eye infections.


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