Trend alert: Eye shadow foiling - here's how to do it
On a scale of one to noticing you have spinach in your teeth two hours into a date, it’s not super high on the embarrassment scale, but in terms of annoyance realising your meticulously applied eyeshadow has vanished only a couple of hours after applying is up there.
The amount we spend on shadow these days, you expect it to stay put, but even the most trusted products still have a tendency to fade, smudge or settle in creases.
RELATED: 7 eyeshadow tips for beginners
There are primers and setting sprays that help, but one technique really on the up is eyeshadow foiling.
Foiling means mixing your powder shadow (pressed or in loose pigment form) with a liquid mixing medium or setting spray to intensify its appearance making it really pop, and giving it better longevity on the eyelid.
Dampening it slightly transforms the powder to a slick of colour that glides over skin like a dream and sets fast. Use a shimmery metallic and the foiling process turns it to what looks like liquid molten-metal. The name refers to transforming a regular shimmer to a more dramatic foil effect.
It’s a technique that professional makeup artists backstage at fashion weeks have been using for years to create bold looks that don't budge, but it's something we don't often think of doing with our own shadows that just seem to clutter up the vanity drawer at home.
bh loves: L'Oreal Infaillible Magic Setting Spray, $32.99; Chi Chi 9 Shade Palette in Mermaid and Deep Nudes, $29.99 each; Morphe M124 Firm Shadow Brush, $7; MAC 217 Eye Blending Brush, $48; MAC Pigment Minis in Rose, Copper Sparkle and Vanilla, $24 each
Step 1: Choose your tools
The handy thing is, it generally works whether your shadows are luxe designer brands or more accessible ones and it gives you extra mileage out of products you already own by letting you wear them two ways, soft and blended (dry) or intense and dramatic (wet). It helps to choose a shadow that is approved for use wet or dry (it's often indicated on product listings online) and definitely works better with those that have a metallic or shimmer base, although modern matte loose pigments can look cool too.
Next, choose a mixing medium. The easiest option is to use a setting spray that you generally use to mist over your face. There are more professional options available like MAC’s multi use Face & Body Mixing Medium.
You’ll need an eye shadow brush with a flat, dense head to pick up enough colour and pack it over the lids. You’ll also need a slightly fluffy blending brush to blur away the hard edges after colour is applied.
Step 2: Master your mix
Dampen your brush with your mixing medium. The quickest way to do that without drenching it is to spritz lightly with a setting spray or face mist, but if you're using a liquid, add a dot to the back of your hand, a flat lid or a mixing palette and dip the tip in.
Pick up some colour with your damp brush. If it’s a flat pan, swirl the brush over the surface until you have a decent amount of colour. If it’s a loose pigment, tap a tiny bit into a wide, flat lid and pick it up with the tip of the brush there.
From here you can either go straight in on the eye or for more control, continue mixing the colour on the back of your hand till you have a liquidy but opaque mix of colour. If it’s too dry and thick, add some more mixing medium: you could spray the back of your other hand and pick up a bit of moisture from there.
Step three: Apply to your eyes
Foiling can go straight onto the lid, or can be applied over your regular dry eye shadow application as an accent color. Apply your regular shadow first and then foil your metallic over the top.
The most flattering and common approach is to concentrate the foiling just in the centre section of your lid, over your iris, or wear just in the inner ⅓ of your lid to catch the light as you blink, but all-over foiling looks amazing too.
Apply the wet colour to your lids in a light dabbing motion motion, working from the inner outwards. You don't have to get everything on in one go, this technique looks stunning as a sheer wash or built up with several layers.
When the foiling is dry, take a clean, dry blending eye brush and blur the edges of the foil away until there are no harsh lines.
Once it’s applied you can put on the rest of your liner and mascara as usual.
Main image: @JoanSmalls