Color might seem like the star of the eyeshadow world, but let’s not forget about texture and finish. Every product is designed to look a certain way on the skin, whether it’s a luminous shimmer, a flashy metallic, or a lush matte. Working with matte shadows might sound like a basic step, but these pigments require some finesse to get that velvety look. If you’ve been wondering how to get the most out of these eye and face palette staples, you’re in luck.
What Is Matte Eyeshadow?
Whether you’re using a pressed powder or a creamy eyeshadow stick, matte products don’t have any shimmer components. Instead, they tend to be highly pigmented for that dramatic payoff. But there’s a catch: That rich, bold pigmentation can make these shades a little harder to blend.
Knowing when to press and pack and when to sweep and buff can take your matte shadow looks from chalky and patchy to smooth and stunning. We recommend using small amounts of product to start and building as you go. Remember that it’s easier to add more to get the depth you want than it is to have to blend in or clean off the excess.
How to Apply Matte Eyeshadow
Soft and Sculpted
For a softly shadowed look, choose two colors to serve as your highlight and contour shades. You read that right—we’re highlighting without shimmer by applying a light color. Place the lighter shade over the majority of your lid and pack the darker shade on the outer third of the lid and into the crease. Blend the edges of the darker shade to get rid of any harsh lines. Picking up some of your light shade on a clean brush creates a smoother transition.
Here’s how to pick the perfect pairing for this look:
- Blank Canvas and Botticelli in the Venus XL palette
- In Bloom and Botticelli or Divine and Venus or Mud in the Greatest Hits Classics palette
- Olympia and Cyprus or Genesis in the Prelude Chroma palette
- Cameo and Ash, Unveil, or Unseen in the Venus Immortalis palette
Matte looks are far from boring. Creamy eyeshadow sticks give you the perfect balance of pigment and precision. Our Electric Slide Eyeshadow and Brush Sticks let you draw and blend quickly.
Create crisp graphic lines with negative space in an unexpected pastel shade, like sky blue OMG or lavender Whatever, or blend As If into BFF for a berry and nude evening look. Keep the outer edges of your liner clean and gradually transition towards the center of the lid.
Smokey and Sultry
Who doesn’t love a classic smokey eye look? To achieve this look using all matte shadows, apply a light color to the eyelid and softly blend it out. You can use a medium shade over the outer third or blend carefully with your dark shade to create that smoldering transition. Remember to define the lower lash line and diffuse all your edges—that’s what separates a smokey look from a winged shape.
Can’t live without a little sparkle? Save the shimmer for the inner corners to keep your eyes looking luminous.
Choosing just one color for your whole look might sound overly simple, but the monochromatic look is bolder than you’d expect. Stick to one color family for your lips, cheeks, and eyes. We love playing with earthy, rosy tones because the Greatest Hits Classics palette and Venus XL palette are perfect for creating alluring eye looks and beautifully draped blush.
Blush draping is a retro trend that’s starting to come back around. Anywhere you would normally apply bronzer along your temples and cheekbones, pop on a matte blush shade instead to get a playful, youthful flush.
Some Matte Pigment Hacks to Keep Your Look Popping
Remember when we said matte shadow takes a little practice and finesse? Here’s how to keep your look locked in all day:
- Start with eyeshadow primer: A thin layer of primer will help make the color look more like it does in the packaging and prevent smudging or patchiness by giving the product something to grip onto.
- Create a base layer: Prepare your eyelid with a transition color that’s close to your skin tone so you don’t get any harsh lines between the lid, crease, and browbone.
- Watch what you pick up: Dab your brushes gently into matte powders and tap lightly to get rid of excess product. This helps you to control the application and prevents patchiness, which can happen when the brush starts picking up more pigment than it lays down.
- Know your application motions: Always dab matte shadows on to create a smooth, even layer. Sweeping can start to lift the color, especially if you’re pressing too hard. When you need to buff, use gentle circular motions and make sure there’s a tiny amount of product on the brush to help diffuse the shape.
With these tips and Lime Crime’s vast array of matte eye and face colors, gorgeous makeup is right at your fingertips. Share your latest look on Instagram, and check us out on TikTok and Pinterest for more fun ideas!