Which color and what shades go where? The general rule is that the larger or more prominent the eyelid area is compared with the under-brow area, the darker or deeper the eyelid color can be; the smaller the eyelid area is compared with the under-brow area, the brighter or lighter the eyelid color can be. The notion is that if the eyelid area is already prominent or large, it isn't necessary to make it appear any bigger by applying a light color to it. If the eyelid area is small, it is appropriate to make it more prominent by wearing a lighter color.
Application: Whichever way you choose to apply this design, the lid and under-brow shades should meet — but not overlap — at the crease. As an option for the two-color eye-makeup design, you can use a large round or small round eyeshadow brush to apply the light shade to the lid and the darker shade from the crease up to the brow. Then, using a small wedge brush you can use the light color again as a highlight just along the lower edge of the eyebrow.
This can bring dramatic, but subtle, attention to the shape of the brow and the eye without the need for another eyeshadow color. You can also apply the lighter color from the lid to the under-brow area and use the darker color in and slightly above the crease. Then take the brush and use the darker color to softly shade the back corner of the eye, being sure this shading is an extension of the crease color. For more dramatic variations on this theme, see the descriptions below.
Three-color eye-makeup design: Start by applying either of the basic one- or two-color eye-makeup designs mentioned above. Once you have done that, the third shade, an even deeper color than the two previous colors, is added to the back (outside) corner of the lid or in the crease, or over both the crease and the back corner of the lid.
In this design, the lid and under-brow colors are softer and less intense than the color at the back corner of the lid or in the crease. Regardless of where you place this third, darker color, it can be a beautiful deep shade of brown, charcoal, cedar, mahogany, sable, red-brown, slate, chocolate brown, camel, deep taupe or even black.
Application: If you apply the third eyeshadow in the crease, the trick is to not get the crease color on the lid, but rather to blend it slightly up into the under-eyebrow area and out onto the temple. When sweeping the crease color across the eye, be sure to not follow the down-curving movement of the shape of the eye. The best look is achieved if you blend the crease color out and up into the full back (outer) corner of the eye, and up onto the back of the brow bone.
When you apply the crease color, be sure to watch the angle of your brush as you blend the color from the crease out and up toward the under-brow area. If you place your color with the brush straight up at a 90-degree angle, you will look like you drew on wings.
The softer the angle and the fuller the sweep, the softer the appearance, so be certain you blend out and slightly up from the lid area toward the under-brow area. If you have a small eye crease area, a precision shadow brush will make a controlled application and expert placement foolproof.
If you apply the third color at the back corner of the eye, the color hugs a small section of the lid, blending out and up into the crease and temple area. I explain this step in more detail for the four-color eye-makeup design.