How many eyeshadows do you need?
Most of the time, I think the answer is: NONE. I often use just a little of my bronzer on my lids with some gray or brown liner smudged on the outer corners, well-blended.
But when I do want shadow, I usually want something fairly neutral. Bright colors and older eyes are not especially compatible.
Here are two palettes I like – one with warm shades and one with cool. Both are travel-sized palettes, which I like because I don’t need huge amounts (when was the last time you actually used up an eyeshadow?) and they store and pack so easily (and they are more reasonably priced.)
Tarte’s Tarteist Pro To Go
This little palette of six colors retails for about $23. It’s small – each shade is just 0.03 oz – check the eyelash curler in the photo to get an idea.
This palette gives you three matte shades and three irridescent shades. With the exception of the lightest matte shade, they are quite highly pigmented.
Irridescent and aging eyes is another tricky combination, but I do add just a dot of Hype on the center of my lids once in a while for a little pop. Or Boss (bronzy) or Dominate (warm wine) on the outer corners – but just a touch. That type of sheen works best if you have younger eyes (i.e., not crinkly eyelids) than mine. I usually use the very neutral Drive on my lid, Crisp in the crease, and either Crisp or Stylin close to my upper and lower lashline.
Here’s a look with the Pro To Go palette. I kept it warm and natural with Crisp on the lower lashline but a touch of the golden Hype on the center of my lids.
For a cooler toned look, which is my go-to look, I use:
Urban Decay Naked2 Basics
This is another travel-sized palette, although it is a bit larger in size of the shadows – each being 0.05 ounces. It retails for $29.
Naked2 Basics is extremely neutral – all the colors are matte except for the lightest shade, which has only a very slight sheen. They will give you a very subtle look, since they are not very pigmented, except for the darkest shade.
My most often-used look with the Naked2 Basics is Stark on my lids, Cover in the crease, and Undone along the lashline. Althought these tones are so subtle and neutral, there are lots of good combinations here. (I would guess though, if you have a deeper skin tone than I, you may need something more pigmented for a cool palette.)
As I mentioned, I often just use my Bronzer as shadow, with some well-blended liner for accent, but if you are looking for subtle eye color, these two palettes would probably give you everything you need.
I have a couple of tips for you – if, like me – you have “mature” eyes.
– It is pretty common to use a little highlighter under the browbone. If you do that, don’t go too glittery or irridescent if you have heavy droopy lids like mine. Not the right part of your eyes to emphasize.
– As with the browbone, I’ve seen lots of tutorials where the makeup artist puts a little highlighter on the inner corner of the eye. To me, this technique is also one that may not be the best look for older eyes. But a tiny dot of irridescence on the center of the eyelid can be flattering. In the inner corners, a tiny blended dab of extra concealer works better for me than highlighter to widen the eyes and make me look more “awake”.
– Both these palettes – though the powder has a nice creamy consistency – have a lot of “fallout.” That is, you get a dusting of color falling off your brush and onto your cheeks. For this reason, you may want to do your eyes first – and then your foundation. Another way around this (although it is some kind of makeup treason to say so) – on the dark colors with a lot of fallout, I use a sponge tip applicator and not a brush. Please don’t call the makeup police on me.
– One tip I learned from YouTube that I love – after my makeup is done, I take a little concealer on a brush and I apply it on the outer corners of my eyes and sweep it upward and outwards to the outer corner of my brow. In effect, I am erasing any makeup outside the direct eye area itself. I can’t believe how much this lifts my droopy eyes. Instant Youth (well, almost.)