Imagine this: You’re at your favorite beauty store, and you see the most gorgeous palette with all of the colors you’ve ever wanted. One swatch later, you’re sold! Once you’re at home, you can’t wait to try it out. Hold on! Did they use trick lighting? It looks totally different from the store! Now you’re left wondering, is my bathroom light weird?

There’s probably nothing wrong with the lighting. However, there are a few other reasons why your eyeshadow isn’t showing up. Makeup tends to melt and fade more quickly on oily eyelids. Just like our lips, our eyelids tend to have more pigmentation and discoloration, making shadows harder to cover or stand out. In addition, many people have textured skin, lines, and crevices on their lids where eyeshadows tend to gather, cake, and create an uneven appearance.  

Makeup applied to various parts of the body will react differently depending on where it is used. For example, the fact that the eyeshadow you applied to your wrist in a store seemed more accurate to the palette is the result of the thicker skin in that area. The exact same shade on your lid, however, would have appeared more translucent, offering less blendability since the skin on your eyelids is thinner than the skin on your wrist. 

No worries, though! Keep reading for everything you want to know on highlighting the eyes and making your eyeshadow pop!


The biggest mistake people make is not prepping before applying makeup. It’s so simple, but getting your eyes prepped and primed is probably the most overlooked step in your makeup routine.

What Does Primer Do?

Picture your eye as a canvas. The pigment in the eyeshadow needs something to grip and hold onto; otherwise, it will smudge, crease, blotch, and fade throughout the day. Plus, the right primer allows your eye makeup to last longer, helps you blend your shadows better, and accentuates and intensifies the color of your shadows simultaneously.

When it comes to using a base, less is more. Using too much can cause creasing. Take a finger or a beauty sponge and apply it to the entire lid and close to the lash line. Using an angled concealer brush, blend up and out toward the brow and over the entire eye area.

1) Prep with concealer base: Apply eye concealer and set it with translucent setting powder for a soft, everyday look. For a more dramatic look: don’t set your eyes with powder; stickier bases grip eyeshadow better and provide the most color payoff. 

2) Apply a cream shadow base: Cream shadows are great for beginners because they can be used as a shadow or base, drying to a powdery finish. These are easy to apply and great for cheerleaders who want a long-lasting, quick eyeshadow look. It is also possible to apply cream shadow directly on top of powder shadow. Cream shadow bases come in matte or shimmer finishes. The type of cream base you use depends on whether you have matte or shimmer eyeshadow.

Tip: Use matte shadows with matte cream bases and shimmer shadows with shimmer cream bases

  • It’s best to apply the cream shadow with a fluffy brush to the lower lid in an outward motion using light pressure.
  • By adding small amounts to your brush, you can gradually increase the intensity as you move upward towards your crease line.   
  • Since cream shadows tend to set relatively quickly, use a medium fluffy brush to lightly diffuse and blend out the shadow once you’ve achieved the desired color.

Tip: Try dabbing and blending out any harsh lines with your ring finger for a seamless transition

  • Use your finger or a fluffy brush to clean up the area directly above the cream shadow without transferring the pigment, and then blend it out for a seamless look. 

3) Use an eyeshadow primer: Out of all of the priming methods we recommend for priming your eyes, using eyeshadow primer is the one that provides the most longevity. However, not all eyeshadow primers are created equal! There are some for oily skin, dry skin, and textured skin. 

In general, eyeshadow primers are thicker and tackier to keep your makeup in place and give a more vibrant color. It’s the perfect option for cheerleaders who prefer highly pigmented shadows and loose glitter at cheer events, adding glitz and long-lasting eye color without touch-ups.

Think of a primer as a double-sided tape, one side adhering to your eyelid, the other to your makeup. It keeps makeup and your eyelid’s natural oils apart by acting as a barrier.  

  • With your finger or beauty sponge, apply a small amount of primer.
  • Blend it out completely with a beauty sponge or soft, fluffy brush. 
  • Using a beauty sponge, set the eyelid for one minute with a skin-matching matte foundation or translucent powder. 
  • With the soft fluffy brush, dust off the excess powder from the eye. This method is also known as baking.  

Tip: Watch this quick tutorial to see how to bake your eye primer 


Last but not least, taking the time to prep and prime your lids means you won’t get the halo effect/raccoon eyes when photographed. Using this technique will definitely keep your eye makeup on point even after you leave the mat (or game).

Feeling ready to level up your eyeshadow routine with these helpful tips? Let us know which method you liked best and be sure to tag @LevelUpCheer or use #MyLevelUpSquad when you share your finished look on social! 

*This is not an advertisement or sponsored content. There is no official endorsement or evaluation by Level Up Cheer of these products, services, or companies.

**Please note that the content on Level Up Cheer is not intended to replace professional medical advice. For any questions you may have, you should always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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