When looking for the perfect eye shadow, there are several factors to take into consideration: creaminess, blendability, pigmentation and staying power are just a few. What if we told you there was a type of eye shadow that exceeded in all of those categories? Commonly used among makeup artists but maybe not so much among the average makeup user, liquid eye shadows surpass the standard in a lot of these categories.
What is the difference between liquid eye shadow and powder eye shadow?
Grzesiak considers liquid eye shadows a beginner-friendly product, especially if you're using more sheer colors, calling the fact that you can use your fingers to blend it out as a selling point. "With powder eye shadow, you can have fallout when you apply and then it can come off at some point, especially if you don’t use anything underneath like an eye shadow base. It’s much easier to work with liquids but you have to work quickly because once it sets, it’s hard to move it," she added.
Sotomayor and Padilla noted that liquid eye shadows can work as both an eye shadow base and a main color. "This is great for if you want to create a more dramatic look or if you want a natural look that you would like to have last all day," Sotomayor told us.
The main difference Padilla highlighted is that you usually get a more pigmented color from liquid eye shadows. "With [powdered] shadow, you would need to put more effort in to build it up. With a liquid, the pigment would pretty much show off right away," she said.
Tips for using liquid eye shadow
The number one tip for applying liquid eye shadows is using fluffy makeup brushes. "Think the shape of an almond, so that you can do a buffing circular motion that blends out the color without any edges," Sotomayor recommended.
Grzesiak recommended starting at the lash base, then build up toward the crease or outward toward the outer corner. That method will give you the most intense color that you can blend into your crease.
While Sotomayor and Padilla said liquid eye shadows can work as either a base or a main color, they — along with Grzesiak — agree that you can wear them together. "If you used a liquid eye shadow on the center of your lid or lid space, you can place down that liquid shadow and then you can go in with a powdered shadow to make it pop so they can work together," Padilla said.
Sotomayor and Padilla emphasized the fact that a little goes a long way when it comes to liquid eye shadow, so don't be afraid to start with a small amount and build up the color little by little. "If you do a little bit at a time, it’s going to be easier to apply, it’ll last longer and you’ll make sure you get your money’s worth by not wasting any," Sotomayor said.
Another way he recommended using liquid eye shadow is as a concealer around your eyelids. "We all get signs of aging around our eyes, so if you put a liquid eye shadow around your lids, it’s going to hide hyperpigmentation, redness from allergies [and] signs of fatigue on your eyelids. A powder eye shadow won’t really be able to do that," he explained. "What concealer does for your under eyes, liquid eye shadow can do for your eyelids."
Makeup-artist recommended liquid eye shadows
Grzesiak, Sotomayor and Padilla all raved about this liquid eye shadow from Danessa Myricks. It can be used on your eyes, lips and cheeks. It comes in over 30 different shades ranging from matte to shimmery metallic finishes.
Padilla calls these Stila liquid eye shadows a favorite of hers, specifically calling out the shades Diamond Dust and Kitten Karma. She recommends using these eye shadows for when you want to create a dewy or shimmery look. "With these, this is when you can go ahead and put that liquid shadow on, take a powdered shadow and place it on top to set that pigment, make sure it doesn’t move and add that pop of color to make sure it finishes beautifully," she said.
Grzesiak and Sotomayor are both fans of this eye tint from Armani Beauty. "The applicator is wider and flatter than most other brands and has a contoured tip to help you apply shadow from the inner corner of the eyes and all over the lid. They last a really long time, too," Sotomayor told us.
Sotomayor loves the liquid eye shadows from Kosas. Currently available in four shades, it can be applied directly to the lid and smudged out using your fingers, but he likes to use a brush for a faster and neater outcome.
"I first bought these at the Chanel boutique in Paris when I was just starting my makeup career and finishing college. They were a splurge and I've loved them ever since," Sotomayor told us.
He describes the colors as "very wearable" and says they look elegant both on their own or as a base before applying a powder eye shadow.
Another one of Sotomayor's picks, these glitter gels come in eye-catching colors like silver, pink, blue and peach. "Liquid eye shadow is also a great way to get a glittery look. The liquid base makes it easy to get a glittery look without making a mess," he said.
Grzesiak likes these liquid eye shadows because they are very sheer and buildable. "You start with a little amount and you can keep adding and adding until it’s more saturated," she told us.
Sotomayor called these eye shadows easy to use and said, "There are a lot of hard to find shades which are great for stepping into fall fashions." From rose gold to warm brown to orangey copper, there's a color for every fall style.
These potted liquid eye shadows are a favorite of Sotomayor's. This gloss can be used on the eyes, lips and cheeks (hint: that's what makes them universal!). He particularly called out the shade Jupiter, which is more of an orangey bronze color.
While each makeup artist recommended using a fluffy brush to blend out liquid eye shadows, Sotomayor specifically called out this brush from Prados Beauty. Owned by an Indigenous-Xicana woman, the brand donates a portion of all their proceeds to charities and causes that support Indigenous communities, so you can confidently give back while achieving full glam.
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