I Spotlight

Get The Feel About Different Eye Shadow Textures

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Before we start, what exactly is texture?

Texture refers to the appearance or finish of a particular type of make-up. In the case of eye shadow, it can be loose powder, creamy or liquid, with finishes ranging from matte to glittery. Beyond color, the finish is the second important thing to consider when choosing an eye shadow. It plays an important part in achieving the right look for the right occasion, as it can reflect light, in a flattering or (on the contrary) overpowering manner.
If you thought eye shadow only came in powder form, think again! Beyond choosing the right color for you, you also have the choice of textures that will best suit your needs, lifestyle and preferred application methods. With powder eye shadows you can create color gradients and mix colors easily; on the other hand, liquid forms cover more and last longer. These differences allow you to create different looks, for different occasions, as well as do quick touch-ups. Here is a list of different textures and their features:

Frost / Pearl

These eye shadows feature a white or silver sparkle. They usually come in pastel colors and are used to ‘illuminate’ certain areas of the eyes (the inside corners of the eyes or the eye lid under the eyebrow arch). They usually look more flattering on younger skin, as on more mature skin types, they can accentuate wrinkles. Used wisely they can do wonders for finishing a look; however, if used wrongly, they can be ‘a bit much’.


These are the easiest and most widely used eye shadows. They are used to create a wide range of looks, from natural to dramatic. Because they contain a high level of pigment, they are ideal for contouring and shaping the eye, in either simple or dramatic ways. They are used as a base for any look, from which one can build up with other textures. Matte eye shadows will not affect the colors layered over them. Because they do not reflect light, they can be used to correct and redefine contours, as well as to create ‘faux’ shadows (enhancing eye depth, for example). Matte eye shadows can be creamy or dry. Depending on your application preference, you may like the gliding effect of creamy matte shadows or the light layering of fine powders. They can also be used as highlights, in light shades, and are easy to reapply and touch-up, as needed.

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Similar to frosty/pearly shadows, shimmer shadows have subtle sparkles that enhance your look. They are not opaque, so you can still see the skin underneath, but they won’t collect in fine wrinkles, which makes them more suitable for mature skin, as opposed to frosty/pearly eye shadows. They are less harsh than the matte shades, as they are more transparent, and therefore can be used to enhance and create a dramatic effect that will not be overpowering. The lighter shades are great for highlights.
They can easily be mixed with other shadows, especially if you’re looking for a subtle ‘extra touch’ for an already existing look (for example, they are ideal as a touch-up for existing matte shadows that need to be transformed from a ‘day time’ to a ‘night time’ look’.

Cream (Shimmer Cream)

This texture is light, easy to apply, has great coverage and blending potential. It stays on for long periods of time and can serve as an amazing base. However, if you have naturally shiny lids, you will need to apply a base before the shimmer cream. You can apply several layers in order to increase intensity or use lighter shades for a more natural look. It will highlight creases, therefore it is not suitable for mature skin.


Mineral textured eye shadows are an amazing choice for long-term applications, as they last very long. Because of their high pigment content, you will only need small amounts in order to achieve opaque, intense colors. They are light and smooth, and therefore easy to apply: by ‘dosing’ small amounts (mineral shadows have a lot of color) you can achieve great looks that will need hardly any touch-ups. They are great for all skin types.


Glitter eye shadows contain medium to large particles that reflect light, with a sparkling effect. They generate an intense impact as they attract attention to the eye area, but they need to be used wisely. A dab too many and they become overpowering. Used properly they can enhance looks and features…and they look great on camera.

Read more of MBS’s Spotlight column, over here.

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