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Understanding eyeshadow textures
December 14, 2017, 2:46 pm

When it comes to choosing eyeshadow, many people focus on color first, but shadows also differ from one another in texture. Understanding the many textures available out there can aid you in creating exciting looks, whether you want bold and dramatic, nude and natural, or a creation that is entirely your own.

Texture describes the appearance of an eyeshadow, also known as the ‘finish.’ The finish of a shadow effects color payoff, ease of use, and the result of the final look. It applies to all formulations including pressed or loose powder, liquid, and cream.

Here is the lowdown on texture for eyeshadows, including a breakdown of the best formulas and some hints on how they can work for you.

Matte shadows: The primary building block to creating a beautiful eye starts with shadows that have a matte finish. Matte shadows have no shine, so they are ideal for providing structure and contour. Since it does not reflect light, the flat texture is great for shaping, defining, and producing a shaded effect. Some mattes are creamy and glide on while others offer a much drier texture. So, it’s best to test the shadow first to see how richly pigmented it is and how finely the powder has been milled.

Try taupe, greys, or browns in medium tones for creating eyebrow dimension or a crease. Use medium or deep, dark tones in brown, black, deep blue or purple as an eyeliner.

Since they offer a more even shading, lighter matte shadows give off a softer and more realistic highlighting effect. Try vanilla, bone and cream for lighter skin tones. For darker skin, try ochre and mid-range beiges. A matte shadow is also the best choice to use as a base because it will not affect the shadows you use above it.

Shimmer shadows: Shimmer shadows have a subtle sheen and give a hint of sparkle. They offer coverage from sheer to full, depending on the manner of application. They allow the skin to show through, creating a modern and natural look. Typically, shimmers won’t collect in fine lines and wrinkles, making them ideal for more mature skin.

The lightest shimmer shades work extremely well for highlighting recessed areas of the eyelid. The darker shimmers work great for adding drama without being as harsh as the dark matte shades.

Satin shadows:  These semi-matte shadows fit perfectly in the category between shimmer and matte. They offer more shine than traditional matte shades but possess a smoother reflectivity than shimmer, so they work well for all ages and skin shades. Because they are so versatile, they can be used to bring light or depth to an area. But they can also ground the look of more textured shadows that exaggerate contours and refract light.

Satin shadows are great as base eyeshadows. They are good for lining under the eye or filling in an eyebrow where you need a bit of lift. Satin shadows in the same color range as your favorite mattes are a great investment.

Sheen shadows:  Eyeshadows with a sheen formula are highly reflective but tend to offer a more even shine than sparkle or shimmer shadows. Sheen is a great option for lifting and bringing light to an area.  The effect of sheen shadows can almost appear wet or dewy. And unlike frosted shadows, sheen finishes can look fashion forward, warm and modern. This product is ideal for the lid from crease to lash and works well for all eye shapes, except for protruding eyes. 


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