How to

How to Prevent Eyeshadow Fallout From Ruining Your Makeup

Here’s what we all know from experience—eyeshadow can wind up all over your face if you’re not careful.

There are two types of eyeshadow fallout: initial application fallout and fallout that happens throughout the day. Some, like the JD Glow’s Galaxy shadows discussed in our indie eyeshadow singles post, have both types of fallout. And no worries—I’ll cover all of fallout kind in this post.

We will fight the fallout gremlin together.

Tip 1. Wear a Primer or Glitter Glue

Primer and glitter glue are the only things that will help you both with application fallout and the fallout that happens throughout the day. This is the most important tip on the list.

First, let’s talk mattes. If you’ve got a matte that produces a scary amount of kickup when you put a brush to it, you’re no doubt going to need a primer for it to stick to. I like Milani’s now, but I used to swear by the more popular Urban Decay Primer Potion—either will work for you. Just apply it to your whole eyelid before you begin using shadow.

I wouldn’t try to use a glitter glue for mattes, but you’ll want to break that out for your fallout-inclined shimmers, glitters, and flaky eyeshadows. NYX Glitter Primer is the industry standard for affordable glitter glue. If you haven’t used glitter glue before, be warned: you’ll find it a bit sticky. The best way to apply it is to use a small, flat brush to place it exactly on the spots you’ll add the shiny shadow. (And make sure to wash that brush after you use it!)

A much loved (and abused) tube of NXY's Glitter Primer, which works on shimmers, sparkly shades, glitters, and flakey shadows
A much loved (and abused) tube of NXY’s Glitter Primer, which works on shimmers, sparkly shades, glitters, and flakey shadows

As an added bonus, primer and especially glitter glue will really bring your shadows to their full potential. Nothing shines like a shimmer put on with some glitter glue.

Tip 2. Hold a Kleenex Under Your Eye

This is a trick I use all the time to prevent application fallout—just get out a Kleenex, fold it, and place it under your lower lash line, curving up with the slope of your outer eye.

Kleenex held tilted to follow lower lash line up
Here’s where I hold a Kleenex while applying shadow.

Bam. All the fallout will land on the Kleenex.

You may need to rotate it to catch fallout from the inner parts of your eye, but overall, it’s surprisingly easy to maneuver the Kleenex and apply your eyeshadow at the same time. However, it won’t help you with throughout-the-day fallout.

Tip 3. Apply Powder Under Your Eye

If you load up powder under where you’re applying the shadow, you’ll be able to lightly brush off fallout that isn’t too severe (or dark) without issue. Fallout sticks to bare skin—and it especially sticks to moisturized skin—so the powder will act a barrier between your skin and the flakes that wind up on your cheeks.

It’s worth saying here that you may be tempted to use this tip and say, “Well, I’ll just do my face first and make sure to powder at the end.” But I’d caution against this. You don’t want a fallout-y mess on your hard work and have to redo your base.

If the failsafes here don’t prevent those few immovable flecks of glitter under your eye and you have to completely redo your concealer, well…the annoyance of fallout may double.

Tip 4. Tap Your Brush Before Applying

Here’s a simple one that will help you with application fallout. When you dip your brush into the pan, take your brush and tap it against something hard, like the top of your open palette. All that loose powder that would have wound up on your undereye the moment you touched it to your eyelid? It’s now off the brush.

Tip 5. Spray Spray Spray

The last thing I’d advise is that you find a truly long-lasting setting spray that will lock in your shadow. I adore Urban Decay’s All Nighter for this, but maybe you’ve found a different one that makes your makeup stick around. This is not the time for dewy or hydrating sprays! Sprays like MAC’s Fix+, while leaving a beautiful finish on the skin, will do more to melt your makeup off your face than keep it on.

While spraying, make sure you hit those eyes—not enough to make your mascara start transferring, but enough to make sure that disco ball on your eyelids stays put. And with that, you’ve conquered the all-day fallout problem!

That’s It!

Knowing what you know now, you’re going to be way less plagued by the fallout demon. Welcome to your new life!

Try integrating a few of these tips the next time you use a shadow you know will cause you trouble (cough—Anastasia mattes—cough). Then, you’re on your way to a face that keeps everything where it belongs!

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