Eyeshadow Placement Guide: How to Make Eyes Look Bigger & Brighter

7 Materials
10 Minutes

The old saying “Eyes are the window to the soul” is true! As we get older though, our eyes sort of begin to fade to the background. Eyeshadow placement can really make the difference and help bring your eyes back, sparkling and full of life.

I'm using makeup from Look Fabulous Forever, but you could replicate the same techniques with your own makeup.

This eyeshadow placement tutorial will teach you how to define your eyes, making them look bigger and prettier! I’ll show you my technique and what I think is the best way to apply eyeshadow for eye shapes for mature eyes. Let’s see how amazing the transformation is on one eye...

Tools and materials:

  • Eyelid primer 
  • Eyeshadow palette with light, medium, and dark shade
  • Eyeshadow brushes including blending and short tipped flat wedge brush
  • Mascara
  • Highlighter
  • Q-tips (cotton buds)
  • Fluffy brush (optional)
Priming the eye before eyeshadow

1. Prime the eye

You can see how bleached out I look without any eye makeup on! Apply eyelid primer to your upper lids. Don’t skip this step. Primer helps to even out any crepiness and keeps the eyeshadow in place.

If your brows are a bit faded, do use brow pencil, pomade, or gel before applying eye makeup.

Applying the lightest eyeshadow color first

2. Light goes on first

Apply the palest shadow from your palette first fairly liberally over your upper lid. Don’t worry too much about precision as this is the base. Put some just slightly above your natural eyelid crease. Now for some of you, this is enough for daily wear.

Eyeshadow placement guide

But do continue because you’ll see how adding definition can even help change your eye shape!

Eye shaping makeup

3. Apply the medium shade

Now apply the medium shade in the socket just a bit above the crease line. It looks like an arc. If you rest your hand on your cheek, it will help control your hand so you’re not too wobbly.

At just the top of the brow bone, I’ve added a bit of highlighter just to bring that area a bit more forward.

How to do eye shaping makeup

I do want to change my round eyes to more of an almond shape. To do this, I pull the dark shadow out a bit to extend the eye further. It’s all about creating an illusion that my eyes are longer than they actually are.

Blend the shadow thoroughly so there are no obvious marks. This softens the entire eye area, diffusing the color beautifully.

Best way to apply eyeshadow for eye shape

4. Add the darkest shade

Use the wedge brush and dip it into the darkest shade.

How to do eyeshadow for eye shape

Apply this dark color at the lash line, stamping it a bit in and then rubbing it gently back and forth. Again, you don’t need to be precise here with the placement because we are going for that soft, pretty, smoky, smudged look.

Applying the darkest eyeshadow color

You can also extend the darker line at the outer corner of the eye to heighten the almond eye effect.

Applying dark eyeshadow as eyeliner

Then apply the darker shade to the base of the lower lash line, starting from the outside and working your way inward.

Eyeshadow placement tutorial step by step

Keep checking in the mirror as you go along.

Applying mascara to eyelashes

5. Lashes

Finish the eyes with a coat or two (or more!) of mascara on both the upper and lower eyelids. Mascara is wonderful because it adds darkness to the lashes and really helps to frame the eyes.

Keep applying mascara as needed but beware of spidery or spiked lashes. You want the lashes to look soft and pliable. 

Using a q-tip to tidy up the eye makeup

6. Finishing up

Run a Q-tip to tidy up any errors.

Brushing away fallen eyeshadow

If you notice speckles of eyeshadow powder on your cheeks, use a fluffy brush to brush them away.

Before and after eyeshadow placement

You can see the impact eyeshadow placement has! It really does make a difference!

How to do eyeshadow placement on mature eyes

Eyeshadow placement tutorial

Please let me know in the comments if my eyeshadow placement guide helped you make your eyes look better, brighter, and more beautiful!

Suggested materials:
  • Eyelid primer
  • Eyeshadow palette with light, medium, and dark shade
  • Eyeshadow brushes including blending and short tipped flat wedge brush
See all materials

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Join the conversation
2 of 3 comments
  • Diana Diana on Dec 01, 2021

    I am very inspired. I am 79 yrs old. Like your eyes, mine are not the same 'shape' due to some drooping of the lid. I have been using white shadow under the brow. Then, I have been using brown shadow blended from the upper lashes to almost meet the white. I am going to try your way, with the 3 colors. My eyes are turquoise and I'm just wondering whether to use your grey/blues, or the 3 browns? Hmm. I'm definitely excited to use the dark color next to my lashes. And your shaping is a new idea. The difference on you is amazing. Hope mine turn out that well! Thank you and Merry Christmas!



  • Linda Linda on Dec 12, 2021

    Great job, I use the 3 color method and it does really make a difference. I am going to get the short wedge brush, that will make a difference I think. I am 73 so I know what you mean by not being as large any longer. One thing ladies, make sure you are using a good night cream and eye cream. It really helps with the wrinkles. One that has the tightening properties, we don't have to look older any longer. Thank you for sharing, I am going to try your method and see if it works better. Have a great Christmas everyone.