If you're asking this question, you're probably a beginner, so we're going to steer you towards the simplest, most effective technique. Use nudes! Nude eyeshadow palettes have more tricks up their sleeves than a Las Vegas magician. Plus, everyone looks good in beiges, creams and browns—which is why you'll see a million amazing eye shadows out there in those shades. Ever since we introduced the Nudes of New York Eyeshadow Palette, for instance, it's been a hit! "Everyone needs this palette," says MUA Jenna Kristina! "It seriously works for every person and occasion. You can take your look from soft and natural to full sexy glam all with one palette."
A good basic trio of eyeshadow colors to have is 1) a neutral, nude tone that matches your skin, 2) a paler neutral shade to use along the brow bone and as a highlighter, and 3) a deep neutral shade to use as a liner or to create darker, sultrier looks. These three light-medium-deep shades are the cornerstone of almost any look out there and helps simplify how to apply eyeshadow for beginners.
For hooded eyes, you want to create the illusion of depth and dimension, and there's no better technique for this than cut crease eyeshadow. Equal parts optical illusion and beauty trend, it's when a lighter shade of eyeshadow cuts across the crease of the eyelid, creating a dramatic contrast that makes eyes look Bambi-huge and defined. Here's how to do it:
First: Dust lids with a neutral shadow that closely matches your skin tone, then sweep a deeper eyeshadow shade just above the crease of the eye, close to the brow bone. Second: Apply a light concealer across the lid to clean up the edges of the eyeshadow and provide a guide for the cut crease. Use an angled brush to sweep concealer outward and across toward the tail of the eyebrow. Then: Layer a cream or white shadow over where you've applied your concealer, to really amp up the contrast. This step creates that dramatic "cut crease" effect. Finally: Gab your favorite eyeliner. Carefully drag across your lash line and angle upwards to create the perfect cat eye.