Should Eyeshadow Be Applied Before Foundation?

No matter if you’re a makeup novice or a makeup master, sometimes the most confusing part of your beauty routine can be where to begin. One of the most common and controversial questions in the beauty world is whether eyeshadow should be applied before foundation. So, we’ve researched and gathered advice from top beauty buffs and will settle this question once and for all. 

Although there is no right way to do makeup (it is a form of self-expression, after all), applying eyeshadow before foundation is typically the most efficient application order, especially if you are aiming for a more dramatic eye. Applying foundation after eyeshadow helps clean up any smudges or fallout from putting on eyeshadow and eyeliner. 

There are, however, varying opinions to this question, so we will explain this topic in more detail and discuss some of the caveats. We will also provide some other related tips and tricks to put in your beauty arsenal, so be sure to keep reading!

Beauty brushes with different facial care powders on it from foundation to eyeshadows, Should Eyeshadow Be Applied Before Foundation?

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Applying eyeshadow before foundation 

A woman putting on eyeshadow for a photoshoot

This order is most helpful when doing a smokey eye or winged eyeliner because, as we all know, it can get messy. There is nothing worse than ruining your perfectly crafted canvas with smudged eyeliner or fallen out eyeshadow. Applying foundation afterward will ensure that your eyeshadow is where it needs to be and erase any stray eye makeup. This will save you from having to go back and touch up or redo your foundation. 

Dark and glittery shadows used for smokey eyes are especially susceptible to fallout, which is why most makeup artists prefer applying foundation and concealer after creating dramatic eye looks. However, it is recommended to save brows and mascara for very last since foundation and powders can easily get in those fine hairs. 

Applying foundation before eyeshadow 

If you’re just sticking to a simple, everyday look that doesn’t involve a lot of eyeshadow or eyeliner, there shouldn’t be much fallout, so it won’t be a problem to switch up the order and apply foundation first if that’s what you prefer. 

There are not strict makeup rules; it truly depends on what works best for you and your personal preferences. Some artists will swear by doing something one way and others the opposite. So, if you prefer to do your eye makeup after applying foundation, you do you! 

As a helpful tip, before applying eyeshadow, put a generous amount of translucent powder underneath your eyes to catch any fallout. Then, once you’re done, simply dust off the translucent powder with a fluffy makeup brush. 

Should I put foundation on eyelids?

But what about putting foundation on your eyelids? It may seem like applying foundation or concealer on your eyelids before your eyeshadow is a good way to create a base and prime the eyes, but it could actually have the opposite effect. Avoid using foundation or concealer on your eyelids as it can cause your eyeshadow to crease.

Instead of using creamy products intended to go on the face, invest in a matte eyeshadow primer. This will give your eyeshadow more staying power and a richer pigment. You can also use a matte shade of eyeshadow as a base; just sure to use a neutral color similar to your skin tone.

NYX Proof is a waterproof eyeshadow primer with all-day staying power, and people who wear this product say it works great on oily skin too. Find it here on Amazon.

Is it bad to put foundation under your eyes?

Foundation is intended to be the base layer of your makeup, and while it’s not necessarily bad to put it under your eyes, it also won’t do anything to help your under-eye area. It’s best to stick to under-eye creams or serums along with a liquid concealer to hide any dark circles or puffiness. You can skip applying foundation in this area if you want to save time and makeup, but if you want to go ahead and put it underneath your concealer, that works. 

Do you put primer under eyes?

Now, let's talk primers. You can use primer below your eyes to prime your under-eye concealer. It's a good idea because it will help prevent under-eye creasing and keep your concealer in place. 

Eyeshadow primer should be used specifically on the eyelids, so if you plan on priming under your eyes, choose a face primer formulated to go under foundation and concealer. Benefit Stay Don’t Stray is unique in the fact that it can prime for both shadows and concealers, so you could use it as both an eyelid and under-eye primer! Find it here on Amazon.

What’s in Your Tool Kit?  

Different kinds of beauty products and brushes placed on a white background

Makeup application order is only one part of the process. Like a painter carefully selecting his brushes and paint, a makeup artist is also mindful of the tools and products they use to paint their canvas. 

What makes a good eyeshadow brush? 

Just like it’s important to select the right products, it is equally, if not more important, to choose the right tools to execute your makeup routine. A good eyeshadow brush can make all of the difference when it comes to creating your look. Choosing proper, quality brushes can differentiate the amateurs from the pros.

A good brush will smoothly blend out your shadows and won’t steal too much product. Look for brushes with soft yet densely packed bristles and a comfortable, sturdy handle. 

The type of look you want to achieve will determine what kinds of brushes you will need. As a general reference, these three types of eyeshadow brushes are must-haves in your collection.

  • Blending brush
  • Tapered crease brush 
  • Flathead brush 

All-over blending brush 

An all-over blending brush is essential to have in your brush kit because it is versatile and great for just sweeping on some shadow or blending out your whole look. It will help you master and smooth out those transition shades. Look for a longer, fluffy brush like this one from NYX. See it here on Amazon. 

Crease brush

A smaller, rounded tapered brush will allow you to sweep shadows evenly in your crease. Using this brush with a medium shade in a windshield wiper motion will help contour your eyes and make them pop. You can also use it to pack on shadow for a more dramatic look. This type of brush should be a bit shorter and smaller in circumference and the bristles should be tapered at the top. Click here to check out this Sigma brush on Amazon. 

Flathead brush 

A flat head brush is used to pack on powders to give a more pigmented look. This kind of brush is used on the eyelid under the crease to apply the base shadow. It is used for color application but would not work for blending. Look for a short and wide flat brush with dense bristles. This Milani one is a great all over shadow brush. Click here to see it on Amazon. 

What is the best eyeshadow palette for beginners?

A woman putting on eyeshadow using a beauty brush

If you’re a beginner and looking to build up your palette collection, a good place to start is finding a versatile palette that will work for everyday use. A quality shadow will be pigmented, easily blendable, and shouldn’t have too much fallout (unless very glittery). 

The Urban Decay Naked palettes are a great start for beginners because they feature various shades and finishes from mattes to glitters. They offer palettes in rose gold, brown, and red hues, so there is sure to be one for any taste. Urban Decay also has a Naked basics palette with the essential matte shades to create a natural, everyday look. See the Naked 2 Basics here on Amazon. 

The Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance is another go-to palette. It will make even beginners feel like pros. Its buttery formula is pigmented but blends very smoothly, making application a dream. The beauty of this palette is that it works perfectly for everyday looks or special occasions. Find it here on Amazon.

Final Thoughts

Although opinions may vary, most makeup gurus' verdict is that eyeshadow should be applied before foundation. It’s more efficient and will save you the hassle of redoing any messed up foundation. But most importantly, however, you choose to do your makeup is just perfect! In the end, you should do whatever works best for you. So, grab your brushes and your favorite palette, and you can decide for yourself if you’re team eyeshadow before foundation or eyeshadow after foundation!

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