Late Bloomer Beauty: Eyeshadow

2 Mar

Up until 5 years ago makeup was a foreign language to me. I had no idea where my waterline was nor could I tell a crease brush from a contour brush and at 20 my first eyeshadow purchase was a Wet n Wild brown eyes eyeshadow trio. I cringe at how I used to apply my shadow (all the way to my eyebrows) and how harsh my makeup looked until I discovered the wonders blending. I didn’t come from a family where the women wore a lot of makeup; the most my mom wore was lipstick and the occasional mascara when she was being jazzy. In highschool my friends didn’t wear anything but lipgloss. So, being the nerd that I am I did what any other beauty hungry bookworm would do – I googled it.

I have pored over hundreds of websites and have watched thousands of hours of youtube videos. was one of the first beauty forums I came across as well as From the forums I was introduced the world of youtube tutorials and was instantly intrigued. It was on Youtube that I discovered makeup goddess Queen of Blending. The online beauty community as a whole just made it so much easier for me to find products that worked for me. It was better than going to Sephora or MAC and asking for recommendations. You were getting consumer research of the highest degree. One search for ‘mascara reviews’ garnered hundreds of videos from people all over the world with an opinion on any brand of mascara you could name. It was like I had stumbled into a huge powder room and was eavesdropping on conversations between girlfriends. I was a teenager all over again; spending hours in the mirror trying new looks and slowly building the confidence to wear them outdoors.


I wont lie, it took me a while to gain the guts to wear makeup to work. I just knew the color would be off and I’d come off looking chalky, fake and amateurish. Everything but the look I was going for. I’m sure some people held their tongues when I came out looking a hot mess but who hasn’t looked crazy while they were learning something new? I didn’t want to let my fear of looking stupid stop me from doing learning something I really wanted to do. Today, when I’m get ready for a night out with the girls or a day at the office I’m proud of my lil skills and I’m happy I didn’t throw in the towel over my first failed attempts at beating my face. I’m no where near the level of a professional but I’ve learned a few thangs over the years and I can finally walk the cosmetics aisle of Walgreens without panicking.

My experimenting started with drugstore brands like Wet n Wild, NYX,  Revlon and Covergirl while trying Avon and Mark’s cosmetic lines. I currently only have 2 MAC eyeshadows and its not that I dont want to buy them all, I just didnt want to spend a lot of money on products if I wast going to take the time to learn to use them. Its easy to go overboard in the beginning so I took my time in buying and trying different brands. Some of my tried and true basics are:


Eyeshadow primer – My primer of choice is TooFaced Shadow Insurance. Urban Decay Primer Potion is another option but I find UDPP too thick for my liking.

Black pencil – I’m not brand loyal so any black eyeliner pencil is fine for me. I use it to gently fill in my brows and line my eyes, a 2-for-1 deal.

Mascara – My go-to product is Covergirl LashBlast Length. I love the wand and I never have problems with clumpy lashes

Brushes – I substitute art store brushes for expensive mac/professional brushes. I went to Pearl Paint but you can go to any craft store like Michaels or AC Moore for the same brushes. One brush that I did invest in this stippling brush from Sephora for my foundation. Brushes do make a difference in your application.

To start my collection I chose colors that were close to my skin tone and I slowly learned how to apply it for a natural look. Some manufacturers had in-depth interactive websites that allowed you to play virtual dressup. was really helpful and one of my favorites in showing color combos for different skin tones. One of my favorite eyeshadow palettes is a purple quad from Covergirl that I use for a smoky plum eye look. I’ve purchased it 3 times already and I’m running low so you know it’s definitely a staple.

Long story short, I love eyeshadows and I love the challenge of learning new techniques. A few of my favorite glamour gurus are:

Queen of Blending

Coloured Beautiful

Scandalous Beauty


Michelle Phan


Go forth and be beautiful!

-Nikki B. Decadent


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