A special-occasion eyeshadow tutorial that is attainable and sophisticated.

Share story

Looking for a special-occasion look that isn’t too over-the-top? Here’s an eyeshadow tutorial that is attainable and sophisticated.

We’re using the Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette ($54 at Nordstrom), a neutral set that works on an array of skin tones, but I’ll also offer basic color descriptions so you can replicate the look on your own.

Step one: Take Liar (a medium mauve shimmer) and dab the color on the inner third of your eyelid. The easiest way to apply metallic shadow is to use your ring finger — rub the pad of your finger across the pan of shadow to pick up the color, then press your finger onto the eyelid. Pressing — rather than rubbing — will let you add color on top of color to build a rich, opaque shade.

Step two: Still using your ring finger, add Factory (a pinky-brown satin) on the outer third of your eyelid. Again, press on the color until you have a nice, even application.

Step three: Using a flat eyeshadow brush (one is included with the Urban Decay palette), blend the two shades together in the center of your eyelid to create a gradient effect. Once you have color covering your lid, touch up each individual color with one more press of the fingertip.

Step four: Using a fluffy eyeshadow brush, blend Limit (a light, dusty rose matte) from the crease of the eyelid almost up to the brow bone. Really take your time here, moving the brush back and forth in windshield-wiper motions and picking up more color as needed. The goal is to have everything seamlessly blended, with no harsh edges.

Step five: Take Nooner (a medium pinky-brown matte) on the same fluffy brush and blend the shade into the crease of your eyelid to create depth. Again, you cannot blend enough.

Step six: Using an eyeliner brush — such as the e.l.f. Small Angled Brush ($3 at Ulta) —apply Blackheart (a smoky black matte with red micro-sparkle) as eyeliner on the upper and lower lid. Eyeshadow makes a forgiving eyeliner, thanks to its inherently smudgy nature; you don’t have to worry about precision as you would with liquid liner.

Step seven: Using the flat eyeshadow brush, apply Strange (a pale pink matte-satin) to the brow bone to highlight.

Step eight: Using your fingertip again, apply Dust (a pale metallic pink shimmer with iridescent micro-glitter) on the very inner corner of the eye, right on top of the tear duct.

Step nine: Apply mascara. I’m currently loving the combination of Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara ($23), layered with Urban Decay Perversion Mascara ($23, both at Sephora). And your look is done.