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How to Apply Eye Makeup—What Your Mother Never Taught You

While many moms were preoccupied with convincing their daughters there wasn't a need for makeup, others just didn't want their daughters looking too tawdry. No matter what your mom's position was, did she give you you the tools you needed to apply great eye makeup? If your mom was one of those that forgot to pass on her wisdom, don't worry. We've got all the tips to help you create everything from a smokey eye to a natural eye right here.

Contour Creatively

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Contrary to what Mom told you, the darkest shadow doesn’t have to stay near your lash line. Get a contoured look in two simple steps: Apply a light-colored shadow across your entire lid, sweeping up near the brow bone. Next, use a conical contour brush and dab it into a shadow one shade darker than your skin tone. Sweep it across the outer 2/3 of your upper lash line, then swing up at the end and blend it into the crease with big, half-circular motions. Reapply shadow if necessary, then use a large shadow brush to blend the two shadows together seamlessly. Once you’ve mastered contouring with flesh-toned shadows, practice with darker and more daring colors like purple, green, and metallic duos. 

Apply Mascara One Eye at a Time

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Mom's advice to apply two coats of mascara was right on, but did she mention that those two coats need to be applied to one eye first? If you move onto the second eye too soon, the mascara on the first will dry completely, making the second coat clump and stick. Waiting only a second or two allows the first coat to dry just enough to help the second cling.

Use Primer Like a Pro

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Don’t blame Mom for not telling you about primer—it’s only become a go-to in the past decade or so. To get the most out of yours, apply a dab to the center of your eye and tap gently to spread and blend. (Don’t rub.) When the primer is spread into a thin layer, let it dry until it's no longer moist, just tacky. Then, start applying your eye shadow with gentle pressing motions and short swipes instead of long brush strokes. 

Get Bright Eyes

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If your mom recommended dotting the center corners of your eyes with white eye pencil to “make them pop,” give that old dance-recital trick a modern update with light colored pencils in shimmering and metallic finishes. A smudgy taupe or oyster-hued pencil blended into the centers of the eyes brightens your whole face subtly and sophisticatedly. 

Use Less, Look More Beautiful

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When Mom told you that “less is more,” she probably meant to dab on a tiny bit of concealer and mascara, rather than apply a whole face of foundation. These days, a multipurpose convertible color adds just the right hint of tint to cheeks and eyes for a classic natural face that epitomizes the "less is more" Mom mantra.

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