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How to get the Glossy Eyeshadow Look

How to get the Glossy Eyeshadow Look

After years of being told to mattify our eyelids, a glossy eyeshadow look feels somewhat counterintuitive - but this season, it’s making a comeback. While it might seem a little odd, it’s a look with surprising versatility: dressed up, it offers a super slick, futuristic sheen (think Trinity in The Matrix - or the shiny raincoats in Blade Runner). Adapted for day, it offers a subtle textural allure. Here’s how it’s done:

1. Prep

We’ll get the obvious part out of the way: If you want to avoid the uncomfortable experience of momentarily gluing your eyes open, use a primer. Your lids are naturally oily (it's a different kind of shiny to the one you’re about to create) - which prevents the gloss from adhering properly, so make sure the area is properly cleansed before applying a mattifying eyeshadow primer.

2. Layer

If you’re going full future-glam, choose an eyeshadow with a bit of shimmer to it - rather than glitter, which can result in a gloopy, sparkly mess reminiscent of playgroup artwork. Cream eyeshadows - particularly those with a bit more staying power - are ideal for this and give you extra control over where the pigment goes. Apply gently, then clean up the edges with a cotton bud.

3. Shine

Finally, wash your hands and use your ring finger to dab a tiny amount of eye gloss over the top of your pigmented colour - the less you use, the less will build up in the crease. Avoid using petroleum jelly, unless you want to undo all your hard work - save it to remove your eye makeup later on.

4. Consider Skipping the Mascara

It’s another counterintuitive tip - but if you can possibly bear it, put the wand down and step away from your makeup box. A glossy eye is a strong look, so there’s no real need to add mascara into the mix - plus if it merges with your eye gloss, it’ll look less “I woke up like this” and more “I slept in my makeup and now I’m hungover”. You can always curl your lashes - but if they need a little extra oomph, try using a waterproof mascara.

5. Experiment with Lip Gloss

While some glosses have a tacky feel on the lids, others provide additional staying power, so experiment with glosses for lips as well as eyes.  Some finishes may have a softer sheen, making them ideal to layer over a lightly shimmer neutral shadow - this is the definitive daytime glossy look - one that pairs exceptionally well with textured, soft clothing for added contrast.

6. Fake it with Eyeshadow

It can be hard to wear eyeshadow at the best of times without the pigment meandering off your lids, so if it’s proving impossible to keep your glossy eye makeup in one place, consider faking a high shine with an ultra-shimmery eyeshadow. 

7. Simplify the rest of your Makeup

The secret to great wet look makeup is contrast: by making it all match - you’ll just end up looking like someone’s just covered you in olive oil. Glossy eyes go well with minimal blush (a subtle cream formula works well), and a natural-looking base.

8. Shine On

In terms of look, there’s the future-glam and daytime looks already mentioned -or you can go full rock-chic with glossy black lids, boy-brows and a nude lip. A shiny finish also makes highly pigmented, bold colours stand out (this goes perfectly with a matte, nude lip), while softer colours have a retro vibe reminiscent of those jelly lip glosses that were everywhere in the nineties and early 2000s.

9. Avoid a Sticky Situation

And on that note, a final word of advice for those with flowing tresses: just as hair has a tendency to make friends with the most well-formulated, perfectly applied lip gloss - it might be an idea to wear your hair away from your face for this look: not only will this help you avoid any embarrassing scenarios a sudden gust of wind might cause - it also places the focus squarely on those gorgeous, glossy eyes. Fabulous.


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