A friend asked me for eyeshadow advice.
She sought a special-occasion look that wasn't too over the top. I was happy to help.
We're using the Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette ($54 at Sephora), because we both happen to own it, but I'll offer basic color descriptions so you can replicate the look on your own.
Step one: Take Liar (a medium metallic mauve shimmer) and pack the color on the inner third of your eyelid. I think the easiest way to apply these metallic shadows is to use your ring finger – rub the pad of your finger across the pan of shadow to pick up the color, then press your finger onto the eyelid. Don't rub! Rubbing will rub away the color, but pressing will let you add color on top of color to build a rich, opaque shade.
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Step two: Using that same fingertip (you don't even need to wash it first), pack Factory (a pinky-brown satin) on the outer third of your eyelid. Again, press on the color until you have a nice, even application.
Step three: Using the flat end of the included double-sided brush, blend the two shades together in the center of your eyelid to create a gradient effect. Once you have color covering your lid, touch up each individual color with one more press of the fingertip.
Step four: Using the fluffy end of the brush, blend Limit (a light, dusty rose matte) from the crease of the eyelid almost up to the brow bone. Really take your time here, moving the brush back and forth in windshield-wiper motions and picking up more color as needed. The goal is to have everything seamlessly blended, with no harsh edges.
Step five: Take Nooner (a medium pinky-brown matte) on the same fluffy side of the brush and blend the shade into the crease of your eyelid to create depth. Again, you cannot blend enough.
Step six: Using an eyeliner brush (try the e.l.f. Small Angled Brush, $3 at drugstores) apply Blackheart (a smoky black matte with rosy red micro-sparkle) as eyeliner on the upper and lower lid. Eyeshadow makes a forgiving eyeliner, thanks to its inherently smudgy nature; you don't have to worry about precision as you would with liquid liner.
Step seven: Using the flat end of the included brush, apply Strange (a pale, neutral pink matte-satin) to the brow bone to highlight.
Step eight: Using your fingertip again, apply Dust (a pale metallic pink shimmer with iridescent micro-glitter) on the very inner corner of the eye, right on top of the tear duct.
Step nine: Apply mascara (I'm currently loving the combination of Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara, $23 at Sephora, layered with Urban Decay Perversion Mascara, $23 at Sephora), and your look is done.