How To Rock Jewel-Bright Eyeshadow Like A Pro

Rainbow hues to banish the blues
Instagram @sarahbrownphoto

Whether it’s a futuristic graphic liner, or a classic molten red lip bold, a colour pop will never go out of style. But if you’re in a beauty rut or committed to latte makeup, wearing shocking hues can be a daunting enterprise. How many times have you applied an eyeshadow, only to take one look in the mirror and wipe it off again? How can we get these looks off runways and Instagram feeds and into our lunch-date repertoire?

We at GRAZIA believe that everyone – yes, that means you too – is able to wear bold hues without looking clownish or washed out.

We asked London-based makeup artist Olivia Cochrane to share her bright eyeshadow tips, tricks and product picks.


“The use of colour is a great way to transform your entire look, so long as you have a lightness of touch,” Cochrane explains. If you’re a bit of a colour-phobe, you don’t have to jump straight in at the deep end with fluorescents. “No one should wear makeup they’re not comfortable with.” If you’re just dipping your toe into technicolour waters, you can try a coloured mascara to pique interest. And for a beautiful touch of colour in “ten seconds or less, try investing in something like the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick,” Cochrane says. “I personally use the shade Sunrise on my green eyes. It has a pinky gold wash and subtle shimmer that really makes me feel I’ve livened up my makeup. These sticks are super easy to use, and you can blend them seamlessly with your fingers.”

 If you’re ready for a little more pigment in your life, go for something like KVD Dazzle Gel Hyper-Metallic which “glides on smoothly and creates a dazzling, iridescent look with a gorgeous shimmer. They give an amazing colour pay-off, and are a great look for evenings out.”

KVD Dazzle Gel Hyper-Metallic Vegan Eyeshadow, $37, SHOP NOW


A worker is only as good as they’re tools, so they say. If, like me, you’ve had a bit of trouble with eyeshadow in the past (smudgy, unflattering…) the issue could be with the method of application, rather than the colour itself. Don’t just dab the shadow on and expect it to do its thing. “I would advise using two different brush sizes”, says Cochrane. “Start by using a slightly smaller tapered brush, such as MAC’s 239 to apply the shadow along the lash line, and use a clean, soft blending brush, such as MAC 217. I’ve had my MAC brushes for 15 years, they’re such a great investment,” she says. “To wash them you can just use baby shampoo. Or Kérastase if you’re feeling fancy…”

MAC 239S Eye Shader Brush, $33.50, SHOP NOW


To prep your eyelids, it’s important to use a primer to hydrate, smooth and make sure you have the ideal canvas. “If you’re wearing matte powder shadows, primer is especially important,” Cochrane says. Reach for products like MAC’s Prep and Prime Eyes to ensure your shade stays locked in place all day, and to avoid the dreaded spill, smudge or lid-crease.

MAC Prep + Prime 24-Hour Extend Eye Base, $49, SHOP NOW


If you’re stuck in a makeup rut and have been sporting the same old routine for years, it’s time to mix it up. The disruptive power of shows like Euphoria, with its audacious beauty moments courtesy of Donni Davy, has seen wearable gemstones, graphic liners and shocking hues disseminated throughout social media and into the mainstream. Professionals and amateurs alike are dipping their brushes into territories unknown and bringing a playfulness and fearlessness into the everyday.

“It’s such an exciting time. Everyone is learning from one another online, creating this incredibly fertile ground for creativity, no matter your skill set. It’s so fun to watch.” So get scrolling and find yourself some new beauty heroes. “My own beauty hero? Personally, I’ve always been really obsessed with makeup artist Erin Parsons. She engages with the history of cosmetics, from ancient times to the present day. And like me, she adores Marilyn Monroe.”

So, if you still have cold feet about bright eyes, we’ll leave you with the words of Marilyn herself. “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”

This article originally appeared on Grazia Middle East