How To Apply Wet Eye Shadow Like A Pro

There's more to it than just dampening your applicator and jumping right in.

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m a big time eye shadow addict. And when I’m looking to add a little dimension and texture to my look, I often wear my shadow wet. The idea sounds simple enough, but if you really want to milk it for all the look it's work, a little technique must be employed.

First of all, let’s talk tools! Sure, you can use plain old water to dampen your brushes, but I like to use setting spray. It enhances the shadow and makes it more adhesive. My spray of choice is Urban Decay B6 Vitamin-Infused Prep Spray, but I know a lot of people like to use a spray like MAC’s Fix Plus, or even eye drops. You don’t have to use a specific brush, but I usually reserve a couple of eye shader brushes (one for pan shadows, one for loose pigments) and a liner brush for wet use only.

As far as application, I typically spritz my brush until it's damp (not sopping wet) and dip it directly into the product. For pan shadows, I try not to get the entire pan wet so it can still be used for a dry applications. If I’m using a loose pigment, I’ll typically shake a little into the container lid and dip my damp brush into that.

What shadows you can use wet? I’m not big into beauty rules, and I think you can make virtually any shadow work wet or dry, but there are some types and textures that lend themselves better to a wet application.

Pressed Pigments

Pressed pigments usually pack some pretty intense color saturation on their own. Add a little moisture and they give a kind of semi-foiled look. L’Oreal's Infallible 24hr Eye Shadows are my favorite pressed pigments.

Wet/Dry Shadows

Eye shadow that's formulated for wet or dry use is an obvious pick, and Shea Moisture Wet/Dry Pan Shadows are among my top picks. I use the Claudia shade dry to fill in my brows and I use it wet as a dark brown liner. Claudia is a matte shadow and I tend to prefer to use those wet as liners.

Metallic/Shimmer Shadows

As far as your regular shadows go, I tend to think that metallic and satin finish shadows are best for wearing wet, especially on the lid. As with pressed pigments, they yield a high-shine, semi-foiled effect.

Loose Pigments

My favorite shadows to wear wet are loose pigments. On their own they can be a bit hard to pack onto the lid, but when dampened they adhere beautifully and often have more intense color.

Here are the shadows worn wet together. I have Insomnia on the lid, Homecoming on the center of the lid, Claudia in the crease and as a liner, Champagne as a brow bone highlight, and Amber Rush as an inner corner highlight.

I hope this was helpful! What tips or tricks do you have to add? Definitely tell me your favorite wet/dry eye shadow formulas in the comments!