What is Eyeshadow Design?

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  • Written By: Mandi R. Hall
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 18 August 2019
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Eyeshadow design has become increasingly popular since the advent of eyeshadow in approximately 10,000 BC. In the 21st century, however, eyeshadow has taken a more technological approach in the form of pre-made eyeshadow shapes that can be stuck on to the eyelids. The term eyeshadow design refers to both manually drawn eyeshadow and eyeshadow stick-ons that have been manufactured by a cosmetics company. A person can design her eyeshadow look herself, or a makeup artist can do it for her.

Historians believe that around 10,000 BC, Egyptians began using cosmetics for aesthetic reasons. Such cosmetics included perfumes and dyes that originated from natural resources such as berries, henna plants and kohl. Forms of kohl, which was made from a mixture containing ingredients such as burnt nuts, copper and ash, are still used as eye makeup in the 21st century.

Most eye shadow in present time comes in a powder form made of granular materials, dyes, and mica. Many manufacturers in the 21st century have begun creating eyeshadow designs made primarily or fully from all-natural products. Such eyeshadow products are not tested on animals, nor are they harmful to the environment. Many people say these products, which are occasionally dubbed organic, are also better for the consumer’s skin, due to their lack of harsh chemical ingredients.


Hundreds of cosmetics companies manufacture makeup products for the specific use of eyeshadow design. Therefore, many shadows come in pallets consisting of three coordinating colors: the lightest color is the highlighter, while the darker colors are blended over the eyelid and the crease above it to create contrast. If eyeshadow doesn’t come in a multi-color palette, it is sold in miniature individual pots or palettes. While it may be purchased on its own, experienced makeup artists and consumers often purchase it with coordinating shades.

Eyeshadow design can also be finished off with the help of liquid eyeliner or eye pencil. Such products may be applied to the upper and lower lid, though it’s advisable to consult a book or online tutorial for help the first time around. The art of brushing, smudging, and drawing eyeshadow can be tricky with a shaky hand, so it’s best to get in some practice before a big night out.

For the classic “smoky eye” evening look, for example, the eyeshadow design might include a silver, charcoal, and black eyeshadow with complementing black liner and mascara. The darkest color is used at the outer corners of the eye, while the lightest color is used in the inner corner of the eyes, as well as along the brow bone. These smoky eye shapes can be purchased from the store in the form of stick-on paper that has the desired smoky eye shape already painted on with eyeshadow. The consumer need only press the shape onto her eyelid and release, at which point the eyeshadow is transferred from the sticker to her lid.

Eyeshadow design products can be purchased from high-end cosmetics counters in department stores, or at the local drugstore. Along with eyeshadow, consumers need to purchase applicators if they don’t plan on using their fingers or designated design stickers. Applicators may consist of household materials such as cotton swabs or cotton balls, though most professionals use a variety of angled brushes and smudgers that come in many shapes and sizes.


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