Tips & Tricks For Loose Eyeshadows

In my day job at Sephora, I have the opportunity to learn a lot of great makeup application tips from the education I receive as well as from the amazing girls that I work with. A part of my job there is to teach clients how to apply makeup. So, I thought I'd bring that knowledge here and share some advice for applying loose eyeshadows, such as my own.

The first thing to know is that applying loose eyeshadows isn't the same as applying pressed eyeshadows. Like the name suggests, loose eyeshadows are free flowing powders. Because of this, there are certain ways to apply to make the most use out of your loose colors.

Pat Don't Sweep

  • Loose eyeshadows should be patted onto the eyelid instead of swept across. Since the pigments are loose, sweeping can cause a lot of fallout. Sweeping also takes away a lot of the color, especially with shimmery/glittery shades. Don't rush and pat gently.


  • Once you have dipped your eyeshadow brush into the loose color, tap the handle of your brush on the side of your wrist or against the cap of your eyeshadow container. This takes off all of the excess powder that would otherwise be everywhere. It is easier to add more than it is to remove.


  • Primer is an absolute must with any eyeshadow, but especially loose eyeshadows. Sticky/tacky primers, such as Too Faced's Glitter Glue, usually work best since the sticky texture causes the loose powder to adhere better. This is ideal for shimmery or glittery colors. However, matte and satin colors usually do best on a tinted primer such as UDPP Eden as the tinted base gives the color a boost in intensity as well as a even base.

Foil & Wetline

  • Loose pigments make foiling and wetlining a breeze. You can either use a dampened brush dipped in loose color, or mix the loose powder with a foiling liquid. These methods turn loose pigments into vivid eye liners. However, not all loose eyeshadows work with these methods. I find that colors that contain some sort of blue pigment as an ingredient do not mix well with liquids.


  • Some loose eyeshadows can leave behind a stain due to the high pigment content, particularly blue and black shades. Oils will break down pigment, making clean up easy. However, it is not suggested to apply cleansing oils directly to the eyelid. Instead, pour some onto a cotton round then place onto the eyelid. Hold the round there for a few seconds to allow the oil to break down the pigment. Swipe inwards then down to remove. Swiping outwards tends to stretch the delicate skin around the eye. Finally, rinse with water.