How to Use Eyeshadow as Your Eyeliner

Eyeshadow multitasking? You bet. Here's how to use eyeshadow as eyeliner

Here's how your eyeshadow can work double-duty as eyeliner

Did you know that some makeup products are made specifically to be used as both eyeshadow and eyeliner? These versatile multitaskers are usually called shadow liners. They may come in single color pots, or in palettes featuring a variety of shades.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that a perfectly acceptable makeup hack is to use your favorite powder eyeshadow as your eyeliner. All it takes it a little bit of finesse and practice.

Why Use Eyeshadow as Your Eyeliner?

Are you out of eyeliner? Do you have eyeshadow palettes piling up on your makeup table? Have you always wanted to try an unconventional eyeliner color? If you said yes to any of those questions, this makeup trick is essentially a free solution to your problems.

More than being economical, the technique also helps mitigate one of the biggest issues makeup enthusiasts face: waste. The amount of products that need to be thrown out once expiration dates roll around can be painful to admit.

You can even finish up unwanted hues in your eyeshadow palettes with this technique. DIY shadow liner will have the consistency of paste or gel, making it a great for getting the hang of liquid liner application without actually breaking out your store-bought liquid liner.

Step-By-Step: Using Eyeshadow as Eyeliner

It is important to start with clean and ideal canvas. Cleanse and moisturize your face before using eye primer. Wait at least five minutes before applying makeup.

Face primer is a good substitute, but not the best, as it is formulated to go under foundation and facilitate smoother makeup application. Eye primer is best for this technique because it makes powder eyeshadow stick to skin easier and for longer, and may help the eyeshadow look more pigmented and opaque.

Pro tip: If you’re simply using the method as an eyeliner dupe and have no desire to try wild colors, you can use a dark blue or green if you’re out of brown or black eyeshadow. A dark plum may work, as well.

1. Wet the Tip of a Thin Angled Liner Brush

The kind of brush is important, because a thicker brush may not be able to paint the product thin enough or close enough to your lash line.

What to use as the dampening agent? The most convenient option is plain water. You may also use eye drops or a makeup setting spray. Vaseline or lip balm will also work in a pinch.

You can also use a makeup product called a mixing medium exactly for this purpose. Popular ones include Inglot Duraline and the more affordable PS Liquid Fix.

2. Dip the Brush Into the Eyeshadow

We use the term “dip” but it really depends on your eyeshadow. If it’s a loose powder eyeshadow: dip in the brush, coat it completely with the powder, then tap a few times to shake off excess product. This helps prevent eyeshadow fallout. If you’re using a pressed powder eyeshadow, consider scraping some of it off the top and using the resulting loose powder as described above.

Don’t want to risk cracking the pressed makeup? Swipe both sides of the brush on a contained corner of the eyeshadow and hope for the best. Introducing liquid to a pressed eyeshadow, especially a mixing medium, can dry it out and make it difficult to use later on.

Here’s where the finesse comes in. If the brush is carrying too much liquid, the makeup will be too runny and will be harder to apply neatly. If the brush isn’t wet enough, it may not pick up enough of the eyeshadow. Gauge the consistency of the product on the brush by applying it to the back of your hand, before using it on your eyelid.

3. Apply the Wet Eyeshadow as If It Were Liquid Eyeliner

Now is the time to go from practice to performance. If you are already used to liquid eyeliner, you may not need to read this step. For those that are not, we have some tips to share.

You may want to steady your brush-holding hand by placing your elbow on a solid surface, like a counter or table. Close one eye and start applying the damp product as neat and as close as you can to your upper lash line. Start at the inner corner of the eye with a thin line, working outward, optionally thickening the line as you go. This step may need to be repeated several times, depending on how dark or opaque you want the color to be.

Want to line underneath your eyes, too? Start at the outer corner, this time, and apply the wet eyeshadow below your lower lash line. Make sure that this lower shadow line connects to the upper shadow line you just applied. As you did with earlier, keep the product as close to your lashes as possible. Drag the brush toward the center and stop about two-thirds of the way, avoiding your tear duct.

4. Keep Your Eye Closed and Wait for the DIY Shadow Liner to Dry

Give the freshly painted lines some time to dry before you open your eye or blink. If you don’t, you may get smudged eyeshadow on your eye crease. Consider reinforcing the DIY shadow liner by using a setting powder. After this point, you may repeat all the steps and do your other eyes.

You may also use a setting spray after both eyes are done, but note that you will need to wait for this to dry, too. Setting your makeup will help make it last longer.

Resources—Bustle, L’Oréal Paris

Share this article