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Six Tips for Outstanding Eye Makeup

Eye makeup application Tip #1 - Prepare the area before applying any eye makeup

Start by applying foundation or primer on your entire eye area, from the lashes up to the brow. If you will be using powdered products, set this coat with translucent powder. If you will be using cream eyeshadow or pencils, skip this step, your eye makeup will glide on more easily without it.

Tip #2 - Invest in a good set of makeup brushes

Good brushes are essential to beautiful eye makeup. You don't need to spend $50 per brush, but that tiny, free, sponge applicator just won't do. You should be able to find good brushes at your local drugstore, department store, or makeup specialty store. Natural hair brushes are good for dry makeup application, but if you plan to use any wet techniques, opt for synthetic hair brushes.

Brushes should be cleaned often with brush cleaner or mild dish soap for the best possible makeup application and to ensure that they keep their shape.

Tip #3 - Avoid using colors that match your eyes, use complimentary colors instead

Matching eye makeup can compete with the natural beauty of your eyes rather than enhancing it. Using the same color family can look lovely (for example, light brown shadow with dark brown eyes), but a close match is not ideal.

If you have brown eyes try eye makeup in peach, pink, coral, champagne, gold, green, blue, plum, purple, or brown. For blue eyes, try taupe, gray, orangey brown, mauve, purple, deep blue, or metallic (gold, silver, copper, bronze), and avoid aqua and other greenish blues. Greens go well with gold, bronze, earth tones, flesh tones, shades of brown (including deep brown and reddish brown), pink, or purple. Hazel-eyed women should try soft pink, lavender, plum, purple, or earth tones, and should avoid using a lot of blue.

Tip #4 - Don't overlook your eyelashes

Invest in an eyelash curler and good mascara. Mascara may not be as flashy as eye shadow or liner, but it is an essential step and really completes your eye makeup. In fact, mascara alone (or with a quick coat of a light, neutral eyeshadow) can be a great minimalist look when you're in a hurry.

Curl eyelashes first, then apply mascara. Wiggle the wand back and forth slightly as you coat the lashes, to ensure that you don't miss any. If you are doing too coats, allow the first coat to dry completely before applying the second. Once your mascara has dried, use an eyelash comb to remove any clumps and separate lashes.

Tip #5 - Keep your eyebrows well-groomed

Also frequently overlooked are eyebrows. Well-groomed brows frame your eyes and set the stage for great eye makeup. Remove stray hairs and shape brows by waxing or tweezing. Use brow powder or pencil to fill in any gaps and better define your brow's shape and arch. If you have trouble getting the shape and angle just right, eye brow stencils may be helpful. Smooth down the hairs with a brow brush or comb and set with brow gel/wax or a little hairspray. (Apply the hairspray to the brow comb, not directly onto your brows.)

Tip #6 - Clean up after yourself

After you finish, look closely at your eye for eyeshadow dust, mascara specks, and other application debris that will detract from the final appearance of your work. You can gently pick up these stray bits of color with a soft cotton swab. You can also try putting a square of tissue under your eye while you're working, to catch anything that falls and make cleanup easier.

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