When building the eye shadow portion of your professional kit it is important to keep in mind that eye shadows are not only a color. Their form, texture and finish is what makes them stand out so before I get into the actual brands and products I use in my pro kit let’s have a quick lesson the key points of eye shadows.
FORM: Eye shadows typically come in 3 forms, the most popular being pressed shadows, then there’s loose shadows and cream shadows. In this post we will only be focusing on pressed and loose eye shadows.
Pressed Eye Shadows
Pressed shadows are again, the most popular and widely known form of eye shadow. Pressed shadows in short, are just loose eye shadows aka pigments that have been mixed with some sort of mixing medium or bonding ingredient then pressed down and dried into the pans and pots you are accustomed to seeing companies sell. Most pressed shadows are used dry as to not ruin the shadow, unless they are baked or are some sort of metallic shade.
As a pro makeup artist I find pressed eye shadows to be the easiest to work with because they’re less messy and can be purchased from some companies in pan form and put into customizable palettes which make them travel friendly.
Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a true pro I stand firm to the belief of keeping all of your pressed eye shadows in palettes. Palettes save you money and kit space as far as storage goes. As your kit grows you’ll see that using palettes (even for lipstick and blushes) will be the best option to keep your kit neat and organized and also have some space for other any new items. Another important note is that single pan shadows and refillable products are less expensive to purchase because you do not have to pay for additional packaging.
The brand of pressed shadows I primarily use in my kit are Coastal Scents’ Shadow Pots (formerly Hot Pots) Click here to see my entire shadow pot collection!
Loose Eye Shadows/Pigments
Loose eye shadows or pigments have over the years become just as popular as pressed shadows. Simply put, loose eye shadows are what a pressed shadow looks like before it is pressed and diluted with bonding ingredients. Loose shadows are the purest form of eye shadow so you will find that they can be much more pigmented (have more intense color pay off) than most pressed shadows. Loose shadows are often shimmery or glittery but companies have been catching on to the importance of matte shades so there are lots of companies that carry fully matte pigments as well.
Loose shadows are indeed a bit more messier than pressed shadows but what makes loose pigments/shadows set apart from the pressed is that they are very versatile. They can be used wet or dry for a sheer or intense color pay off. They also can be mixed with other things such as hair gels, nail polishes and lotions for use on the hair and body. They can even be mixed with clear lip glosses to create custom lip colors and also have a longer shelf life than pressed shadows.
The brand of loose shadows I primarily use in my kit are Shany Cosmetics Mineral Pigments. Click here to see swatches and my review of these pigments!
TEXTURE & FINISH: The texture or finish of a shadow will ultimately determine the full intensity and appearance of a shadow, this applies to all forms of eye shadow. Finishes will vary by brand the most popular among almost any brand are matte, satin, shimmer, frost and metallic.
Matte eye shadows usually have high color pay off (some may be more sheer) with no shine, glitter, sparkle or frost. This is a very flat finish that does not reflect light and is usually true to color. Some matte shades are very pigmented and apply easily while others are more patchy and chalky with little to no color pay off, it all depends on the quality of the pigment being used and how finely milled the powder is. Matte finishes are the most versatile finish because they can be used all over the eyes or even on the face.
Eye shadows with a satin finish have a very soft sheen or reflective property to them. Satin finishes are a mix between a matte and a frost finish and usually tend to be more sheer in application. Satin finishes are typically used as brow bone highlights, on the lid for a light wash of color or in the inner corners of the eye.
Shimmer finished eye shadow contains small glitter particles that reflect the light. They have much more sheen than a satin finish but still aren’t ans shiny as a frost or metallic finish. Eye shadows with a shimmer finish tend to be used only on the lids, the inner corner, or brown bone.
Frost finishes have an iridescent shine that creates a pearly effect. Eye shadows with a frost finish typically have an extremely shiny and almost metallic look to then and can usually be used wet for a more true metallic or “foiled” look.
Metallic finishes have an intense metallic sheen when applied to the skin and when used wet they can resemble actual metal. A metallic eye shadow will not be as sparkly or reflective as a frost eye shadow but will have more of a shine to it when it catches light; think aluminum foil, cooper or bronze.