Should you put Eyeliner or eyeshadow first? (& why)

eyeliner or eyeshadow first

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So you want to know whether you should put eyeliner or eyeshadow first? And why? Let’s find out!

When it comes to eye makeup, there are a lot of different products and techniques that you can use to create a variety of looks. Eyeliner and eyeshadow are two of the most popular products used to enhance the eyes.

But what’s the difference between them? And which should you apply first, eyeliner or eyeshadow?

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What’s the difference between eyeliner and eyeshadow? 

Eyeliner is a popular makeup product that is used to define the eyes. It is available in pencil, liquid, and gel formulas. Eyeliner is used to create various looks, from a natural appearance to a more dramatic one.

Eyeliner is a makeup product that defines the eyes, and you can either make them look bigger, smaller, sexier, less round, and so much more!

Eyeshadow is used to create definition and depth in the eye area, and it comes in powder, cream, or liquid form. And, as with eyeliner, Eyeshadow can be used to create a variety of looks, from a natural appearance to a glam eye makeup look.

So which should you apply first, eyeliner or eyeshadow? 

woman wearing eyeshadow first and applying eyeliner

The answer depends on the look you want to create.

If you want a natural look, then you may apply pencil eyeliner first and then eyeshadow. This will help to blend the eyeliner into the eyeshadow and create a more subtle look.

If you want a more dramatic look, you should apply eyeshadow first and then liquid or cream eyeliner.

In any case, If you apply eyeliner first, you can lose some pigmentation once you use your eyeshadow on top. So consider that when doing your eye makeup look.

When deciding whether to apply eyeliner or eyeshadow first, it really depends on the look you’re going for.

If you want a more natural appearance, pencil eyeliner can be applied first and blended into the eyeshadow, for example, in a soft brown smokey eye.

However, if you’re after a more dramatic look, it’s best to apply eyeshadow first and then liquid or cream eyeliner on top.

I always opt for a waterproof liquid eyeliner to make sure my eyeliner lasts all day.

With my hooded eyes, it’s difficult to prevent my eyeliner from smearing without wearing a waterproof one.

Keep in mind that if you apply eyeliner first, some pigmentation may be lost once you add eyeshadow on top.

What goes first on eye makeup?

woman wearing eyeshadow applying eyeliner

When it comes to eye makeup, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. As we already saw thought-out this post.

The order in which you apply your eye makeup will vary depending on the products you’re using and the look you’re going for.

However, there are a few general makeup tips that can help you get started.

If you’re using an eye primer (highly recommended, especially if you have oily eyelids), it should be applied before any other eye makeup product.

This will help to create a smooth canvas for the rest of your products.

Next, apply your eyeshadow. If you’re using multiple shades, start with the lightest color and work your way up to the darkest.

Once your eyeshadow is in place, it’s time to apply eyeliner. (well, with some exceptions, as we talk above)

Again, start with the inner corner of your eye and work your way out. Finally, finish off your look with eyeliner and then mascara.

Whether you’re going for a natural look or something more dramatic, following these steps will help you create a flawless eye makeup application.

Eye shadow provides a base for the eyeliner, making it easier to apply and giving it a more consistent color.

Additionally, eye shadow can help to camouflage any imperfections on the eyelid, making the application of eyeliner much simpler.

In general, it’s best to start with a light eye shadow and then build up to a darker shade if desired.

Once the eye shadow is in place, then the eyeliner can be applied. Again, there are multiple techniques that can be used, but one popular method is to start from the inner corners and then draw a line outward following your natural lash line.

With a bit of practice, anyone can create a beautiful and flattering eye makeup look.

Let’s make a side note for this:

Applying eyeliner can be tricky- it’s all too easy to end up with wonky lines or uneven thickness.

For this reason, many people prefer to apply eyeliner first before they move on to applying any other eye makeup.

This gives them more control over the shape and thickness of the line and allows them to use some makeup remover to define de eyeliner and then continue with the rest of the makeup.

So, there are some occasions when it might be better to apply other eyeliner first. For example, if you’re doing a smokey eye look, it can be helpful to put on some eyeliner first, as this will give you a guide for where to place the eyeshadow.

Ultimately, it’s up to you which order you apply your eye makeup. Experiment until you find a method that works best for you.

Do you put eyeliner or mascara first? 

woman applying mascara on top of eyeshadow and eyeliner

Mascara should be applied after eyeliner. This will help to prevent smudging your eyes by applying eyeliner while your eyelashes have mascara or, even worse, fresh mascara.

Now that you know the difference between eyeliner and eyeshadow and which to apply first, let’s take a look at some tips on how to apply each product.

Related post: Eyeliner vs Mascara: When to apply each + Pro tips

How to apply eyeshadow and eyeliner for the perfect look

When applying eyeshadow, it is important to start with a clean and primed eyelid.

If you have oily eyelids, be sure to use an oil-free primer or concealer on your eyelids to help create a smooth base for your eyeshadow. My top eye primer recommendation for oily eyelids is this one here.

Then, using a fluffy eyeshadow brush, apply a light eyeshadow over your entire eyelid.

This will help to create a smooth and even base for the rest of your eyeshadow.

Next, using a crease brush, apply a medium-toned eyeshadow to the crease of your eyelid.

Start from the outer corner of your eye and work your way inwards. Be sure to blend well, so there are

When applying eyeliner, Then, using a fine-tipped eyeliner brush, lightly draw a line along your upper lash line.

Start from the inner corner of your eye and work your way outwards. Once you have created the desired shape, fill in the eyeliner.

For a more dramatic look, you can also extend your wing to get a beautiful cat-eye look

Related post: Can you use Concealer as an Eye primer? Here’s the truth about it

Let’s do a quick recap:

  • Eyeliner can help create a more dramatic look with ANY eyeshadow makeup
  • If you want a natural look, apply pencil eyeliner first and then eyeshadow to blend it in.
  • For a more dramatic look, apply eyeshadow first and then liquid or cream eyeliner.
  • Mascara should be applied after eyeliner to prevent smudging.

My personal opinion as a makeup artist? 

woman applying eyeliner pencil on bottom lash line

I constantly work with different eye shapes and skin ages.

Eyeliner can be difficult to work with on some eye shapes like for example, on hooded eyes, but that’s why I always apply eyeshadow first.

That way, my eyeliner will look more defined. Without any powdery eyeshadow on top of my perfect wing.

If you like, have hooded eyes. I got you! I know the struggle with eyeliner, too; it’s not easy to get just the right look with hooded eyes.

But don’t worry, I’m here to help. Follow my tips, and you’ll be able to rock that liner like a pro!

Wearing Eyeshadow as Eyeliner

woman wearing eyeshadow as eyeliner

One of the best ways to achieve a smudge-blended effect when applying eyeshadow is to use your eyeshadow as eyeliner.

This can be done by using a blending eyeshadow brush (preferably small) to apply eyeshadow directly to the lash line.

Start with a small amount of eyeshadow and build up the color until you achieve the desired intensity.

For a smokey eye effect, sweep the eyeshadow up into the crease of the eye.

This technique can be used with any eyeshadow shade, but for a more dramatic look, try using a dark eyeshadow like black for a black smokey eye or brown for a brown smokey eye.

You can also use an eyeshadow brush to create a winged eyeliner look.

Whatever look you choose, using eyeshadow as eyeliner is a great way to get creative with your eye makeup!

Conclusion on Eyeliner or eyeshadow first

So there you have it! Now you know whether you should put eyeliner or eyeshadow first and why.

Experiment with different looks and find what works best for you.

There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to applying eyeliner or eyeshadow first – it all depends on your personal preference and the look you’re trying to achieve.

Some prefer to apply eyeliner first, as they find it gives them more control over the shape and thickness of the line (for example, you can erase your line without ruining your eyeshadows because you are applying them after).

If you’re doing a more dramatic smokey eye look, you might also want to apply eyeliner first, as this will help to create a more intense effect.

On the other hand, some (me included) prefer to apply eyeshadow first, as they find it easier to incorporate the eyeliner into the eyeshadow and keep the coverage and pigmentation in touch.

Especially if you are wearing glittery/shimmery eyeshadows.

You don’t want little sparkles on your eyeliner (unless you do, haha)

What’s Next? More eyeliner and eyeshadow posts:

Should you put Eyeliner or eyeshadow first? (& why)

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