How to

Do You Put Eyeshadow Under Your Eye? The Dos and Don’ts

Want to know if you should put eyeshadow under your eye?

Many people love the balance of having eyeshadow on the bottom lid. And if you have a smoky eye going on, things might look strange without lower lid shadow.

The trouble with eyeshadow under your eye—likely a problem you’ve run into yourself—is that it can make the eye look smaller or closed off, and it can drag your eyes down instead of lifting them.

So, do you put eyeshadow under your eye? Sure–you can! But you’ll want to guarantee your best results.

To that end, here’s a list of dos and don’ts for applying eyeshadow under the eye.

An image of the dos and don'ts as shown on my face
The dos and don’ts illustrated!

Don’t Put a Big Stripe Under Your Eye

The thing you most want to avoid is to put a big, even stripe of dark shadow under your eye. This is how you close off your eyes and make them look smaller. It’s a dated look, too, so it’s doubly a faux pas.

Do Blend the Shadow Under Your Eye

If you think that dark shadow under the eye will flatter you, the way to do it is to blend it down with a pencil brush like this one from Dose of Colors. No sharp lines here!

Don’t Make Things Unbalanced

If you don’t have heavy eyeshadow on your top lid, you don’t want to add a disproportionate amount of shadow to your bottom lid.

Likewise, if the shadow on your top lid is light in color, you don’t want to load up black or deep brown shadow on the bottom lid.

Do Concentrate the Lower Lid Shadow to the Outer Third

Drawing of undereye with the outer third illustrated as the place to put eyeshadow
The red is the place you’ll concentrate the most shadow

Just as you’d concentrate the deepest shadow on the outer regions of your eye to lengthen things visually, you’ll want to place the deepest shadow on the outer third of your lower lash line (as opposed to an even application all along the bottom lid).

You’ll also want to place comparably less shadow on the middle and inner third of your bottom lid.

This will help continue to bring your eyes out and elongate their profile.

Do Use a Brightening Shadow on Your Inner Third

Drawing of undereye with the inner third illustrated as the place to put brightening eyeshadow
The red is the place you’ll place a brightening shade

Why not extend your inner corner highlight?

A nice trick to add and to make it look like you spent a ton of time on a sophisticated, complex eye look is to add a highlighting shade to the inner third of your lid.

Try it out and see if the pop works for you!

Do Use Liner in the Waterline (Maybe)

If you’re a person who feels a little black in the waterline is flattering, it often looks great with shadow on the lower lid. (A nice, cheap option for a one swipe, non-irritating waterline pencil is the L.A. Girl Gel Glide Eyeliner—it’s the best one I’ve found, personally.)

Dark shadow can sink an eye back into the head—after all, it looks like a shadow. The sharp black of liner brings things forward again.

But that being said, for some people, dark liner in the waterline does more to close off their eyes than to open them. See how it looks on your eye.

If you think dark liner makes your eyes look too small, try a nude color liner in the waterline.

The People for Whom Eyeshadow Under the Eye Won’t Work

Everyone’s eyes are different! There are some people for whom lower lid shadow won’t work no matter what rules they follow.

Usually, these are people with downturned eyes, mature eyes, or eyes that otherwise need lots of lift.

If that’s you, you’ll know it—no matter how many of these dos and don’ts you apply to your technique, you’ll still like the way your eyes look best when you focus on the upper lid only.

And when the rules don’t apply, that’s okay! For me, many eyeshadow “rules” are off the table because my eyes are deep set. Sometimes things are just too generic for our specific eye shapes and types.

If you find that, even after experimenting, lower lid shadow doesn’t work for you, don’t force it! The most important thing is that you like the way you look.

The Results for Most People

Most of us will find that eyeshadow under the eye will work, given the right technique.

In fact, done right, shadow under the eye can add definition and balance.

Experiment with these dos and don’ts and see if you can’t make eyeshadow on the lower lid a flattering addition to your next eye look!