The Beginner’s Guide to an Eyeshadow Palette

The Beginner’s Guide to an Eyeshadow Palette
Photo: ImaxTree

Even with years of makeup knowledge under my belt, eyeshadow application is still pretty damn intimidating. So much so, that I almost never wear it outside of weddings and other special occasions. I’d rather throw on a bold lip that distracts from whatever isn’t happening on my lids instead. However, as I attempt to lead a more fiscally responsible life, it’s become abundantly clear that leaving beauty products unused is the equivalent of watching piles of cash vanish from my dresser top.

So, although I’ve never been a huge fan of resolutions, wearing eyeshadow a couple times this summer is something I know I can handle. And admittedly, it’s thanks to Rihanna. Her latest Fenty Beauty drop includes an eyeshadow palette chock-full of colors that can be mixed and matched, depending on one of my many moods. It should come as no surprise that the singer has a penchant for making everything she touches—especially makeup—look easy and effortless. So with a renewed interest in going bold and channeling my inner bad gal, I did us all a favor by asking Fenty Beauty Global Makeup Artist Hector Espinal exactly how to get the most out of an eyeshadow palette without expert-level skills.

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Neutrals First

Palettes can range from smaller quads to double-digit color offerings, but regardless of the number, they’re usually arranged according to colors and finishes. For an all-around option like the upcoming Fenty Beauty Moroccan Spice palette, both neutral and bold shades are typically included in either matte or metallic finishes.

“Eyeshadow can be a little intimidating, so I say to always start with your neutrals,” says Espinal, who counts “Cumin Get It” as his favorite matte neutral in Moroccan Spice. These are your earth tones; think browns, beiges, and maroons. And when you’re cozying up to eyeshadow for the first time, it’s easiest to apply just one of these by dipping an eyeshadow brush into the color and lightly patting all over the lid.

Once you’re comfortable doing this (baby steps!), go ahead and start playing with color combos and texture within the neutral family. “Take a crease brush and add a different pop of color, whether it’s a shimmer or satin finish,” he says. “You can wash it on top or diffuse any harsh edges from the outer eye and work your way inward.” In simpler terms, apply your second wash of color above the crease or just under the brow bone of either eye.

Accent with Bolder Shades

When you want to get fancy or play with bolder, brighter colors, substitute your second wash of neutral color with this or concentrate it along the lower and/or upper lash lines. Another way to make your bold color pop even more is to “pat just at the center of the lid and build from there if you want to go more dramatic.” The only color this doesn’t apply to is white, which should be applied to the inner and/or outer corners as an eye opener.

Regardless of how you use the bolder shade, “finish with a liquid liner or mascara” when you want something that stands out more.

MORE: 8 Fenty Beauty Hacks You Didn’t Know About but Need to Try Immediately

Prime for Better Payoff

Be it cream or powder, matte or satin, the underrated product that will always take your color to the next level is an eyeshadow prime, which is why Rihanna made it a part of her Moroccan Spice lineup.

The Pro Filt’r Amplifying Eye Primer is a very faint pink formula meant to be applied all over the lid and prevent color from creasing, as well as make it easier to blend.

“Oftentimes, women will feel like her eyeshadow is rubbing off after a while. A primer really locks it in,” says Espinal. “It boosts up the eyeshadow and helps you get the best pigmentation out of it. And it allows the eyeshadow not to crease and make it long-lasting.”

In short: This is home base.

Day-to-Night Moroccan Spice

If you want to apply your newly acquired skills to Rihanna’s spicy palette, Espinal’s got you covered for a daytime look.

“I would use ‘Cumin Get It,’ which is this beautiful earth tone, all over the lid. You can even use that by itself and just finish the look with mascara. But if you want to create dimension, I love using ‘Nuts and Dates,’ which is this matte brown. It just creates this really beautiful, soft smoke effect. If you wanna have fun and add a little bit of shimmer, I love ‘Casablanca,’ which has this beautiful satiny finish.”

As for the more vibrant shades, there isn’t one way to go about using them, although he notes “Shisha Smoke” or “Evil Genie,” the latter of which she wore in the “Wild Thoughts” video, is his favorite. Here are other summer eyeshadow palettes for you to practice with.