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A breakthrough with baked powder eye shadows

In September I shared with you how much I hate baked powder cosmetic products.  I’m always seduced by their in-palette beauty, and yet their color payoff always disappoints.  Then recently, that changed – I had a breakthrough with baked powder eye shadows.

Twenty Shades of Baked makeup palette

Over the years I’ve bought, then returned or given away, many baked eye shadow products. The one I kept, despite what I considered lackluster performance, was the 20 Shades of Baked palette by Laura Geller.  The palette itself is gorgeous, and I always had high hopes that I’d find a way to transfer the beauty of the powders from the palette to my eyes.

Anyway, one morning I was looking for some rich, shimmery purple shadow to go with the day’s outfit, and I once again pulled out 20 Shades of Baked.  I changed up the way I apply them, and guess what – they’re insanely pretty.  And not just on the palette, but on the eyes.  It’s all in the tools and techniques.


Closeup of 20 Shades of Baked Palette


Here’s what works!

If you’ve tried baked eyeshadows and been underwhelmed, give these few tips a shot. See if changing your technique improves your experience with baked powder eye shadows.  I’m going to keep experimenting myself, and with different baked powders like highlighters.  But this morning’s epiphany revealed:

  • Use primer.  I have a whole piece coming up soon about cosmetics primers, so be sure to check that out. But in the meantime, know this – wearing shadow primer completely improves the color payoff of whatever product you’re using. It also improves wear time exponentially. Gotta have it. If you’re not using it now, my three faves are Lorac Behind the Scenes Eye Primer ($21 retail), Milani Eye Shadow Primer (less than $10 on Amazon), and Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion ($20 retail).
  • Apply with a C brush.  With most products, the applicator makes all the difference, and the same is definitely true with baked powder eye shadows.  While the C brush I used has soft bristles, they’re short and compact, which gives the brush a little more muscle.  In the past I’ve tried to brush over the surface of the shadow with a long-bristled brush, and it just didn’t pick up any color – which is what I mistook for poor color payoff.  Instead, I used the C brush to pounce firmly into the surface of the shadow. The short, compact bristles really dig into the powder this way and pick up a lot more product. If you’re looking for a C brush, here are my two faves.  The C brush from E.L.F. is about $6 and is pretty good. The Sedona Lace C brush #305 is $13.95 and is uh-ma-zing.  (It’s the perfect balance of firm and soft. So it packs on the color and still feels good on the skin.  I love all of my Sedona Lace brushes. I recommend their synthetic line with the pink and black bristles. (Their 12-piece professional makeup brush set is my holy grail for brushes. And as with all Sedona Lace products, they’re less expensive than Sigma and other brands.)

Sedona Lace C brush is perfect for applying baked powder eye shadows

  • Finally, build the color.  Using your loaded C brush, pack the color onto your lid with a dabbing or pouncing motion.  If the first coat doesn’t give you the intensity you’re after, apply more, building the color in light layers until you reach your desired effect.

Sporting the baked purple shadow, I walked into a colleague’s office, and she immediately commented on how pretty my eye makeup was that day.  You know that feels like a million bucks!  And it’s great when an underused product from your stash rises to the top of the heap and becomes a fave.  Try the tips above with the baked shadow (or any shadow in your collection that seems to underperform) and let me know what you think!

Have a great day!



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