What is Wet Eyeshadow?

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  • Written By: Alex Tree
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 31 October 2019
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Wet eyeshadow is a technique of eye makeup application also known as the “wet on wet eyeshadow technique.” For this technique to be used, the brush has to be dampened with clean water before it is dipped into eyeshadow pigments. This is based on the aesthetic notion that putting color on top of a wet surface can make the colors more vibrant, much like in watercolor painting.

Many people are familiar only with eyeshadow that is applied dry, using a brush. Traditional eye makeup is either pressed or loose. In fact, some people are not even aware that pressed and loose eyeshadow can be applied to the eyelids using a wet brush to achieve a distinct effect.

Not all eye makeup can be used for wet eyeshadow application. Some are specifically made for wet application, and others can be applied either wet or dry. The ones that are made for the wet on wet eyeshadow technique usually have a creamy formula for smooth application. They also dry up and blend easily.

Both professional makeup artists and enthusiasts use the "wet on wet" eyeshadow technique to achieve different looks. Wet eyeshadow can be sparkling or soft, depending on how and how much is applied. It also can appear chunky and messy if applied improperly. If perfectly blended, it might create an iridescent effect, especially when different vibrant colors are used on the eyes. Such brightness is difficult to achieve when the eye makeup is applied dry.


For effective application, it is important that different brushes are used for different purposes. An angled brush is used over the entire eyelid for the initial coating, and a soft, stiff-bristled brush is good for blending. A cosmetic sponge also must be available for cleaning up. The fingers should never be used to apply eye makeup.

The face should be clean before makeup is applied. For starters, foundation should be applied evenly all over the face. The person applying the makeup also should have a cup of clean water available. Some professional makeup artists use a certain mixing medium that is readily available in beauty shops instead of using water, but these mediums can be costly. Water can be used, as long as it is used properly.

The trick is not to wet the eyeshadow; it is the brush that must be dampened, although it should be soaked in the water. Excess water should be squeezed out using a facial tissue or a spare cosmetic sponge to make sure that the brush absorbs just enough moisture. After it is wet, the head of the brush should be dipped onto the eyeshadow palette to pick up as much color as is necessary. This should be done gently, especially if loose eyeshadow is being used, because the pigments get picked up easily using a wet brush.


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Post 1

Wet eye shadow just doesn’t work for me. After having it on for a little while, I find that it cakes up in the crease. It ends up looking horrible.

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