types of eyeshadow looks

The 7 Different Types Of Eyeshadow Looks

In Fashion Blog, Outfit Ideas & Style Tips by shubham JL

Eyeshadow is one of the most versatile ways to put on your makeup and show off your look. There are various styles that you can work with, and use different colors to accent those styles. Along with different colors, eyeshadow comes in other forms, such as powder and gel.

There are seven distinct types of eyeshadow looks that anyone could put on, which are:

  • Natural
  • Shimmery
  • Cat-eye
  • Gradient
  • Halo
  • Cut crease
  • Smoky eye

To know which eyeshadow look is best for you, you should work with colors that match your skin tone and eye color, as well as eye shape. For the best results, you should practice putting on the eyeshadow and work with the best materials available.

What are the Different Types of Eyeshadow Looks?

There are seven different types of eyeshadow looks that are distinct from each other. Each one has a specific technique, along with different shades that blend well together. Within each of the looks, there are ways that you can modify them to fit your desired look and eye shape.


The goal of the natural eyeshadow look is to make it look like you’re not wearing any eye makeup at all. You should be using colors that are closest to your natural tones to enhance your natural beauty.


The shimmery eyeshadow look is probably one of the easier eyeshadow looks to attain. Apply eyeshadow with a shimmer finish, and you’re done! 


The cat-eye eyeshadow look is a fun and difficult one to apply and is timeless. Many people have found what works for them with getting perfect, even lines, including using tools, tape, and drawing guides.

After applying eyeshadow, use eyeliner to make the cat-eye look more defined.


Gradient eyeshadow is easy to apply and versatile. You can use natural or bold colors or mix them both. You will follow a different gradient path depending on your eye shape and the distance between each of your eyes. Most gradients start with the lighter colors on the inner eyelid and the darker colors on the outer eyelid.


The halo eyeshadow style is excellent for specific eye shapes and sets. To do this, you need at least two colors. You will apply the darker shade to the inner corner and outer edge of the eye. Then you will highlight the middle of the lid with a lighter color.

Cut Crease

Cut crease eyeshadow involves at least three different shades and is a great way to contour your eyes. It is also a fun way to add different colors and materials to your makeup, like glitter. The crease contrasts the color of the shadow on your eyelid to give more depth.

Smoky Eye

The smoky eye is a sexy and popular look. It is also one of the most difficult to do correctly. If doing the smoky eye look, make sure to choose colors and shades that blend with your skin tone, especially the undertones in the blacks you use.

What Type of Eyeshadow is Best?

When you know what look you want to achieve with your eyeshadow, consider the type of eyeshadow you are using. Each type of eyeshadow has different benefits.

Eyeshadow Type



Loose powder

Many colors available

Can be messy

Pressed powder

Easily available, aren’t very messy

Can’t always use with water


Many colors available

Difficult to get onto the brush if you’re applying it dry


Available in many forms, great for a single toned color

Easily smudges

Here is a great list, further explaining the pros and cons of each eyeshadow type.

You can play around with different types of eyeshadow to see which types are more comfortable for you to apply than others. Along with the different types, there are also different finishes, including:

  • Matte: works well with contouring your eyes, is a solid color
  • Glitter: mostly used for going out, some glitters are naturally sticky, but others you may need to put an adhesive on to get the full effect
  • Satin: has a nice shine when applied and can look silky and smooth
  • Shimmer: is sheer and has some sparkle. It works well with the halo style and is what is used for the shimmery look
  • Marbled: a mixture of different colors and shades, usually with a matte, satin, or shimmer finish

How Can I Make My Eyes Look Natural?

While using different looks with bright and vibrant colors for different occasions, the natural look is always in style. The goal of natural-looking eyes with makeup is to make it look like you’re not wearing any eyeshadow at all. You are also contouring your eyes to give them a more defined shape.

When making your eyes look natural, you don’t want vibrant colors to clash with your natural beauty. Things to consider when making your eyes look natural are:

  • Skin tone
  • Eye color
  • Eye shape

Skin Tone

Your skin tone is the strongest determiner of which colors you will use to get the natural eyeshadow look. When you know your skin tone, you can search for eyeshadows with these colors and even find palates for your skin tone.

Fair Skin

The fair skin tone looks best with bronze and gold eyeshadows. You can find pallets with these colors and branch into some rose and plum undertones. Light pink shades will blend well with fair skin.

Medium Skin

Brown eyeshadows with bronze undertones look great with medium skin. Medium skin looks best with almost any color eyeshadow. Just note that if you have a warmer undertone to your skin, use eyeshadows with a rose or gold undertone. If you have a cooler undertone, use plum or grey undertones.

Olive Skin

Olive skin looks best with teal eyeshadows. Avoid using a bright blue because it will drown out your skin tone. For the natural look, stick with earthy bronzes and teals.

Tan Skin

Gold eyeshadows are amazing for tan skin, especially if you’re going for a natural look. Add in some orange and yellow hues for the natural look.

Medium Dark Skin

Reds and purples, especially cranberry, look wonderful on medium-dark skin. Plum shades also look beautiful with the natural eyeshadow look.

Dark Skin

Rose gold is a beautiful color for people with dark skin. Blend it with a bronze for the perfect natural eyeshadow look.

Eye Color

While skin tone is an excellent determiner of what colors to use to attain the natural eyeshadow look, your eye color can have some effect as well on what colors you will be using. You can look for specific eyeshadow palates made especially for your eye color.

Eye Shape and Set

Eye shape and set are important for how to apply the eyeshadow for the natural eyeshadow look. While most eye shapes and sets suggest going from lightest to darkest from the inner to outer lid, other shapes require you to use a darker tone on the inside of your eyelid.


Once you have figured out your skin tone, and eye color, and shape, you are going to find shades that work well with your skin tone and eye color. Matte finishes are the best for the natural look because there isn’t any extra sheen. When you have the colors and shades, you’re using. You’re going to apply the eyeshadow in these easy steps:

  1. Put on your primer. If you don’t have a primer, you can use foundation. Some cosmetologists and schools recommend mixing primer and foundation.
  2. When the primer is dry, apply the lightest color on your lid with a flat eyeshadow brush. When applying, use short sweeping motions from the wrist, holding the brush towards the end.
  3. Pick your slightly darker shade and apply it to your crease to define it. When finding your crease, you should lift your chin and look down towards the mirror to apply the shade there. You can also apply it to the outer edge in a “V” shape from your crease to the outer corner.
  4. Using a small or medium blender brush, blend your shadows to smooth away any fine lines. Use small, circular motions.
  5. Conceal any dark circles underneath your eyes.
  6. Using a flat eyeshadow brush or an angled eyeliner brush, apply the darker of the shades underneath your lower lashes. Then buff them out with a small blender brush.
  7. Finish off with eyeliner and the best little mascara as you like.

Here is a great video showing how to apply your eyeshadow for your eye shape and how to find your eye shape.

Why Does My Eyeshadow Look Bad?

Even after practicing putting on your eyeshadow multiple times, sometimes, you just can’t get the right look that you want. Here are some possible reasons as to why your eyeshadow looks bad:

  • Wrong brushes
  • Poor lighting
  • Lack of primer
  • Applying eyeshadow for the wrong eye shape

Learning how to applay makeup properly has never been easier. Check out this article to learn to apply makeup!

Using the Wrong Brushes

The type of brush that you use when applying makeup, in general, is important. Every brush has a specific purpose. The bristles are made of certain materials and have different thicknesses, flexibilities, and angles to use. Not only is finding the right brush good, but also keeping clean makeup brushes is essential.

When putting on eyeshadow, make sure to use brushes for the techniques and type of eyeshadow you are using. Some brushes to use during eyeshadow application are:



Flat eyeshadow brush

Applies the eyeshadow

Small or medium blender brush

Blends the eyeshadows

Blender or smudger

Finishes off the look and extends your eyeshadow

Angled eyeliner brush

Applies eyeshadow under the waterline and gives a precise line at the lid

Another issue with brushes that is common is improper or infrequent cleaning. Be sure to clean your brushes at least once a week. Here’s a great video on how to clean your makeup brushes. If you don’t clean your makeup brushes, leftover product, oil, and bacteria will get stuck in the bristles and leave residue on your face, and the application won’t be as simple.

After cleaning your brushes, make sure that you hang dry them so they can hold their form. If you pat dry, you may run the risk of the bristles losing form, and it will make the application much harder.

Poor Lighting

When putting on your makeup, be sure to have the proper lighting and angle for your mirror. If you’re putting on your makeup in low light, the details won’t show very well, and your makeup can look sloppy.

A great way to make sure you have proper lighting is to buy a vanity mirror with lights or a light stand. They work great and also make sure that the lighting is placed on your face, instead of above your head like the lighting in your room.

Lack of Primer

You should prime your eyes just as you would the rest of your face. Make sure to use a primer on and around your eyes where you are putting eyeshadow to help the makeup stick. It also provides a neutral-toned canvas for your eyeshadow. If you don’t have a primer, you can use a concealer or foundation.

Eye Shape

As eye shape is important for how you will apply the natural eyeshadow look, it will be important for the looks that you use with your eyeshadow. Certain eye shapes and sets don’t pair well with certain looks.

Eye Shape


Almond eyes

Almost any eyeshadow look works great with almond eyes. It looks best with looks that make your eyes pop, like gradient and cut crease.

Deep-set eyes

Try to avoid the cut crease with drastic shades because it will make your eyes look deeper.

Close-set eyes

The gradient looks amazing with deep-set eyes because if you use darker shades towards the outer edges, it will make your eyes look a bit further apart. Cat-eye also looks great and helps make your eyes look further apart. Avoid the halo look because it will make your eyes look closer together.

Wide-set eyes

Halo eyeshadow looks great with wide-set eyes because the darkness on the inside makes your eyes look closer together.

Protruding eyes

The cat-eye is the best eyeshadow look with this eye shape because it makes the eye look less round. Avoid the shimmery look because it can make your eyes appear to pop out further.

Monolids and hooded eyes

The cut crease with a gradient is great for these eye shapes because they create a depth illusion. When applying makeup, be sure to put it on with your eyes open instead of closed so you can see the makeup.


The seven different eyeshadow looks are a perfect way to help you feel comfortable with your makeup and to either enhance your natural beauty or make you stand out at a party. It is important to use the correct brushes and eyeshadow for each look you’re trying to achieve. 

Check out these online makeup courses for beginners to learn everything you need to know about makeup.

(If you enjoyed this article, you’ll want to check out these different makeup looks!)