Not Martha

daily photo: Feb. 22nd

five eyeshadow compacts

I’ve decided it’s time I learned how to use eyeshadow properly. On my last trip to the drug store I found these Rimmel palettes on sale for under $3 each and decided to grab a range of colors to see if I could find which ones work best on me. I remain skeptical that color will make a big difference but I’ve recently started using concealer under my eyes (pale skin + a very visible blue vein = help!) and figure I might as well take on eyeshadow while I’m at it. I’ll report back about undereye concealer, I still have little idea how to make it work. In the mean time I’ll point you towards the concealer reviews at Musings of a Muse, she’s dedicated to the search. She’s also a geek girl, within minutes of first browsing her site I knew it was love.

Related note: I suck at putting on eyeliner and have instead taken to using an angled flat brush (I have #266 from MAC) to smudge black eyeshadow (I use Carbon black eyeshadow, also from MAC) into the lash line on my upper lids. If you’re similarly frustrated by eyeliner I recommend trying this out. I’m too pale (daughter of a redhead) to put eyeliner on my lower lashes without looking rather strange, but I’m going to try the smoky eye technique that Busywork linked to recently so see how it works out. A few of the Rimmel palettes I bought are made for smoky eyes so I might do one eye in browns and one eye in blues to see how they compare. That reminds me, the other week I decided to compare my former (discontinued) favorite foundation to my current favorite foundation (Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse). Then I forgot my face was half and half and went grocery shopping. Let’s hope I don’t do the same with the sample eyes, I suspect it would be far more noticeable.

One last note on eye makeup, a friend of mine who knows her stuff reports that her favorite eyeshadow primer is Too Faced Shadow Insurance. I have not tried it yet but I plan on making the investment soon (eyeshadow on these lids of mine is prone to extreme creasing, I can use all the help I can get). Thanks Sarah!

· comments [44] · 02-22-2011 · categories:beauty · dailyphoto ·

44 responses so far ↓

  • 1 theMuse // Feb 22, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Hey Megan! fab site =-) thanks for shout out! Hope you’re epic quest isn’t as long as mine, I’m still searching out my HG concealer ;-D!

  • 2 theMuse // Feb 22, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    ps I think I have a sample of Shadow Insurance around here if you’d like it ;-D!

    Although I disagree with your mate, Urban Decay Primer Potion is WAY better ;D!

  • 3 megan // Feb 22, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    Muse – You’re so sweet! Thanks for the offer but I’m hitting Sephora tomorrow so I’ll grab it to see how I like. And shame on you — now I’ll have to also get Urban Decay to compare. You inspire me to spend more money :)

  • 4 sara // Feb 22, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    Hi Megan! I’m curious to see what your findings are for an under eye concealer. I’m also pale, both due to genetics and lack of sunlight (I’m sure it’s not just a Washington thing, but whatevs). I’m also a huge fan of the angled brush from MAC.

    Thanks for the tip to Musings of a Muse, I’m loving it! Geek girls unite! :)

    sara (a.k.a. dumpling)

  • 5 jessa // Feb 22, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    I hope you show pics of your eye shadow experimentation and the smokey eyes..I have never been any good with eye shadow, and I looked like a raccoon after trying the smokiness. Oh and thanks for the link to the Musings of a Muse, what a fun blog!

  • 6 Jen // Feb 22, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    I also can’t do eyeliner with a pencil, pen, liquid or other skinny brush method. I blame it on my lash roots not being in a smooth line. I use the tips of a flat brush to stamp gel or mouse liner at the base of my lashes in dashes.

    I’d love to see what you come up with with the eyeshadows.

  • 7 Lynn in Tucson // Feb 22, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    As someone who has never learned to apply eyeshadow either, I await the results of your quest. I’ve used Almay’s under-eye concealer (w/SPF…10, maybe?) for about 100 years and it’s always done well by me.

  • 8 megan // Feb 22, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Sara – If I find something I’m happy with I’ll definitely write about it. So far it’s just looking cakey, which is what I’ve heard from lots of people.

    Jessa – No promises! I have trouble getting photos of myself, it’s like an awkward doppelganger appears just as the shutter clicks.

    Jen – Good idea, I’ve tried a gel liner with a brush but it ended up looking like I’d tried to finger paint. I’ll give it another try.

    Lynn – Thanks for the recommendation!

  • 9 theMuse // Feb 22, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    my pleasure dear! ;-D ha! I try! lol! ;-D There are def two types of users when it comes to the primers. Some adore UDPP and others love Too Faced so it’s definitely something you have to try for yourself to find out which you love more!

    Enjoy those great rimmel palettes, what a deal!

  • 10 theMuse // Feb 22, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    ha thanks sara ;-D w00t geek gurls unite indeed world domination is ours!

  • 11 Maria // Feb 22, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    I really like both Too Faced Shadow Insurance and Urban Decay Primer Potion. I have the latter in their Sin color, which makes everything you put over it more shiny.

    For great cheap eyeshadows, you should check out the ColorIcon palettes from Wet N Wild. They have great pigmentation and they are incredibly inexpensive.

    I must say, that video is hardly the traditional smokey eye, though pretty. Be careful applying eyeliner — if you apply it too heavily in the inner corner it can make your eyes look droopy.

    I really quite like the videos put up by, and the tutorials and reviews on I’m not associated with either site, but I found them when I got back into makeup recently.

  • 12 Carrie // Feb 22, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    The eyeshadow insurance is a MUST! I use it religiously! Not only does it hold your shadow in place for the day, it also means that a more vibrant and strong shade will come with less makeup. Any way to avoid buying makeup as often is a blessing!

  • 13 Nomi // Feb 22, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    I would highly recommend concealer under the eyes. I’m big on minimal makeup but I’ll never leave the house without mascara and concealer under the eyes. I used to even use a foundation just under my eyes because it worked basically the same. I’ve recently switched to Bobbi Brown, which is pricey but worth it. I’ve found the best thing to do is a little concealer (I use a BB creamy concealer but make sure not to get one too dark or it’ll be obvious) and then I add a general swab of powder all around my face. Afterward, I’ll go over lightly with some bronzer and a tiny amount of blush just to add a few hints of color (in my day-to-day…those last two aren’t exactly necessary). It’s fun to photoshop my face in real life. ; ) Finally, I end with mascara and a eyelash curler. If I want to jazz it up, I’ll put on foundation and eyeliner to give that completely polished look for photographs. I rarely use eyeliner but I love BB gel eyeliner. It’s more like a paintbrush but it seems to stick a lot better than others that I’ve used and when I put on makeup, especially for a party, I don’t want to ever feel the need to check up on my appearance. I don’t mean to be a walking advertisement, but one of my wedding gifts was some BB makeup and I’m pleased with the quality and some of the tools I’ve used. I still haven’t gotten a hang of eyeshadow (except white to dab in the inner corner of my eye and a bit on top) so I’ll be looking forward to your post on how your adventure turned out. :)

  • 14 megan // Feb 22, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    Maria – Thank you, I’ve read lots of good things about the Wet N Wild Color Icon palettes, I’ll try them. And thank you for pointing me towards tutorials, I need them!

  • 15 christina // Feb 22, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    I like watching this make-up artist’s videos. Maybe they will help you!

  • 16 megan // Feb 22, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Thanks Christina! I’m suddenly thrilled with information overload.

  • 17 Amy // Feb 22, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    You should totally check out

    I love that she analyzes the ingredients and is so knowledgeable about the science behind what’s possible!

    I’ve been a fan of the Cosmetics Cop since the late 90s. She’s saved me a ton of money!

  • 18 megan // Feb 22, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    Amy – Thank you, and I have been a fan of the cosmetics cop, her toners have been a favorite for a long time. I love how no-bullshit she is.

  • 19 Rachel // Feb 22, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    Just to chime in, the hands down best makeup resources I’ve found as a former cosmetics dumbo are makeup alley and youtube tutorials (the good ones). Makeup Alley (I’m too lazy to link it but google isn’t hard) has the best, most comprehensive reviews and the boards are super-active and super helpful (and generally very kind, even to newbies). And good youtube tutorials – I’m thinking Pixiwoo, Lisa Eldridge, Goss, etc. They have changed my life. Good luck! And may I suggest Wet n Wild as good drugstore eyeshadow if you like highly pigmented stuff?

  • 20 brandi // Feb 22, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    I have always been eye makeup deficient. Add that to the fact that any makeup I did try to wear ended up in the crease by mid-morning and I pretty much gave up. That Too Faced Shadow Insurance is AMAZING. I use drugstore eye shadow (one color at a time!) with gel eyeliner and it stays on all freaking day. Blows my mind.

  • 21 Seanna Lea // Feb 23, 2011 at 4:27 am

    I will have to use your terminology about the awkward doppleganger. I usually tell people that what makes me attractive (at all) is that I am relatively animated. If that is taken away usually by photography, I look like a stilted and dull version of myself. Not fun!

  • 22 Kelly // Feb 23, 2011 at 7:43 am

    i swear by Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer Potion! plus, it makes me feel like a riot grrrl to say i still use Urban Decay.

  • 23 Lisa // Feb 23, 2011 at 8:17 am

    I too am less than skilled when it comes to eye makeup, so I definitely appreciate reading about your experiences with eye liner and eye shadow. Too Faced makes great eye shadow palettes too. Even better, they come with little illustrated cards that give you instructions on how to apply different colors to create different eye shadow effects. I use a Bare Escentuals eyelid primer, but I’ll definitely try the Urban Decay and Too Faced ones.

  • 24 Megan // Feb 23, 2011 at 8:39 am

    How do you find foundation to match your skin in the drug store? I buy at a makeup counter specifically so that I know I’m getting a good match but hate paying the price. With drugstore stuff, though, I feel I might have a go through trial and error, wasting money along the way. Tips?

  • 25 kimberly // Feb 23, 2011 at 8:39 am

    I like using Lancome’s waterproof concealer. I too am pale-skinned and have dark purple under my eyes. It covers beautifully and stays all day. Plus, one tube seems to last for 6 months.

    For shadow primer, I like MAC paints. Using Bare Canvas or Untitled, my shadow stays all day long and then some. These little tubes also last for months and months.

  • 26 megan // Feb 23, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Rachel – I’ve been a Makeup Alley fan for a while, really helpful reviews. And thanks for the Youtube recommendations.

    Seanna Lea – I have this whole thing about how photos just don’t work, and I chatted with somebody recently who says her husband is a bit dorky/awkward but in photos he looks like a J Crew model, it’s weird how that works.

    Megan – I buy from drugstores that have a makeup return policy. I also read reviews on Makeup Alley, you can sort them by skin tone and if I read reviews saying the makeup was too orange or peach for somebody I know it won’t work on my face.

    Thank you all for the product recommendations! I’ll have to test them out.

  • 27 sharon // Feb 23, 2011 at 10:43 am

    I’ve spent the last 20 years in search of an eyeshadow primer. Aziza used to make one that worked but since that went away, I’ve been lost. The Primer Potion made my eyes look like I was wearing stage makeup. In the end the best thing for me is a light dusting of MAC Blot Powder followed by the MAC Paint Pot. Bare Study works best (the frosty ones work better as a primer in my experience) but I also use Painterly when I don’t want the frost. Then I put any old eyeshadow on and it works like a dream.

    Also, I recently discovered Clinique’s Brush-On Cream Liner and it’s WAY easier to control than the liquid kind, if you want a more defined line than with a brush and dark eyeshadow (I do this too).

  • 28 megan // Feb 23, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Sharon – Thanks for sharing your method. I have the Painterly pot from MAC but unfortunately find it’s too dark against my pale skin to use as an overall primer. I’ll check out the Clinique recommendation.

  • 29 Jennevieve // Feb 23, 2011 at 10:49 am

    I love the MAC Paint Pot in Painterly for a creme base that keeps my eyeshadow in place.

    I also love the MAC Fluidline eyeliners. I watched a ton of videos on Youtube to figure out how to use it correctly especially because I wanted to learn how to do a winged look.

  • 30 Amy in StL // Feb 23, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    I was totally going to recommend the paint pot in Soft Ochre as a base, although Rubenesque is my go to if I only have time for liner and mascara. Also, I don’t like Bare Minerals makeup, but I use it as concealer because it goes on easily with a brush and I never have to worry about lines. It also lasts forever, however I hate it as a foundation.

  • 31 Suz // Feb 23, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Target sells a brand called Pixi. I adore their lid primer because it colors your eyelid in the same manner of concealer, and makes the shadow last for hours and hours. I think it’s $16 and I give it ten gold stars. I love their shadows too.

  • 32 Be Like The Squirrel, Girl // Feb 23, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    Thanks for posting this! I’ve also been experimenting with smoky eyes and I’m not that great at it, yet, but practicing helps. I actually went to our Sephora store and had a makeup tutorial where they showed me how to do it. Since then, I’ve been trying different brushes in an effort to get my eyes to look as good as they did at the store.

  • 33 Nathalie // Feb 24, 2011 at 7:31 am

    I am not the make up artist expert or anything of the sort, but I do have a wonderful eyeshadow base which I love, because (a) it works – no creases and shadow stays on all day (b) it’s all natural which is always a benefit of stuff you put on your skin, especially your face and (c) it’s so cheap! I bought a 5oz pot in July, and it’s still going strong. I think an everyday make up person might have used it all up by now, but I’m a makeup every other day kind of person, so I’ve still got half the tub.
    I look forward to your make-up experiments. If you ever understand how to put on concealer without it being obvious, but still having it conceal something, give a detailed explanation, please!

  • 34 Nathalie // Feb 24, 2011 at 7:31 am

    Oh! I forgot the primer link. It’s on etsy:

  • 35 megan // Feb 24, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Thanks Nathalie!

    And continuing thanks to everybody who has included their favorites.

  • 36 Lisa // Feb 24, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    Hilarious! I bought every single one of those colours (plus a frosted white – what was I thinking) when they were on sale at a store here on Vancouver Island. $3.00 for a mini palette – who can resist!

  • 37 Julie // Feb 24, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    I would skip the drugstore eyeshadow and buy the good stuff from MAC.

    Covergirl has a great eyeliner out now that is a waterproof pencil, and it won’t smear!

    Try bare minerals foundation… you won’t go back. It will cover up that blue vein.

  • 38 catastrophegirl // Feb 24, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    i do special effects and movie makeup as a hobby so i’ve had to cover a lot of different things.
    for under eye blueness the absolute most effective thing i’ve found is physician’s formula yellow concealer. use the yellow just over the blue vein and then cover with regular concealer or foundations.
    for redness and red blemishes use their green concealer. both come in a stick or a wand last time i checked.

  • 39 JessicaBee // Feb 25, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    I LOVE too faced shadow insurance….My lids get greasy really quick, so without it my eyeshadow starts to crease within 1-2 hours. I use it a few different ways. The first is to put a small dot of it (about 1/4 the size of my pinky nail) on my lid and then mix in a dry shadow to use as a primer…then use the same color to pat on top of it…It creates a really bright vibrant look. But if I’m doing multiple colors (rainbow eyes!) I’ll rub it over my entire lid and then pat on the eyeshadow color were I need it. I do the same think below my lower lash liner to use a shadow as an eyeliner. Love it :)

  • 40 Berit // Feb 27, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Megan, thanks for all the great links this week! Just back from a killer biscuit at Dahlia Workshop. The ham with apple mustard is seriously drool worthy. Best $7 I’ve spent in recent memory. Do you know if Tom Douglas has a biscuit recipe available anywhere? Mine have never quite reached the fluffy heights I experienced this morning.

    I too am a Clevelander-turned-Seattlite whose friends and family back home are now enjoying the the link you posted to the D*S guide. Thanks for showing some hometown support!

    Last, I have long suffered the indignity of never leaving the house without undereye concealer for fear of appearing to have made some choice comments about Mike Tyson’s mom. I’ve settled for using MAC liquid concealer #NW20. (I like to think “NW” stands for “NorthWest” palor.) If you apply face lotion, let it soak in, then apply just a bit of the concealer with your fingertip, it will usually last the day without that flaking off effect. I usually do a few thin “coats” (sounds weird!) The tube is little but lasts forever. I’m always looking for an improved approach though, so thanks for the link to Muse! I’ll be interested to know what you find in your experimenting.

  • 41 Carmie of the Single Nester // Mar 1, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    I love the smokey gray quad you purchased. I have used Carbon by MAC for 15 years now. Love it.

  • 42 Courtney // Mar 7, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    I’m another hand up for the Wet ‘n Wild Color Icon palettes. I use Walking on Eggshells everyday at work. I’m probably a little darker than you but they have such great pigment. Word of advice though is that they all tend to have some shimmer in it, so you may need a matte color to tone it down.

    I’ve also used the Milani under eye concealer that comes in a click pen (people say it reminds them of a YSL dupe). I was pretty happy with it, especially for $8.99.

  • 43 Jayne // Mar 9, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Hey! My daily eyeshadow is that rimmel smokey brun one, you have pictured above! Not sure of the name, I mostly use the colors on the right. It’s the only eyeshadow that goes on normal on my eyes and isn’t ridiculously expensive.
    I’m pretty translucent and have been searching for an under eye concealer myself too…I’ll be checking back! Let me know what you find.

  • 44 suzanne // Mar 11, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    OH… I have Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Sin which is *great* esp. if you want a bit o’ glimmer. I also have a $1 elf Eyelid Primer which is fabulous. And did I mention it’s one dollar? Yeah.

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