Quick Tip: Get Drugstore Shadows To Pop

How was your weekend? Mine was pretty good--just the right amount of fun and relaxation. I had a mini-spa night where I made my Bath Bombs (no confetti this time) and tried new skin products. I rested my hands as much as possible too. They're doing so much better, so thanks for the sweet prayers/thoughts. And if you're new to ElleSees, welcome. Enjoy this week's Quick Tip:

If you are an infrequent wearer of shadow, or are just starting your makeup collection, or are on a budget (hello, me!) chances are you've purchased drugstore shadows. While some of them are of amazing quality and pigmentation (Wet N Wild) others can be chalky in texture. But before you throw them out or donate, try these ideas to Get Drugstore Shadows to Pop:

quick tip get drugstore shadows to pop

Prime--The best way to get any shadow to have staying power is to use an eye shadow primer. These can be purchased for as little as $1 (ELF) or for more (Urban Decay). If your skin is darker, try a white primer.

Liquid--I've found that adding a little liquid to drugstore shadows really brings out the color. Try a drop of these on your brush or shadows (Wipe off excess water from shadows to remove any chance of bacterial growth):
  • eye drops--the basic kind that relieves red eyes 
  • contact solution
  • water 
Stick or Press--Many drugstore shadows, especially shimmery ones, often have a great deal of fall out--that's where more product ends up on your face than on your lid. I've had this happen with expensive brands too.
  • Stick--If I'm doing a super shimmery look for a special occasion that uses loose pigments, I'll place a sticky note under my eyes. I bend it a little to make a reservoir to catch fall out. There are many different methods and products to buy to achieve no fall out on the face, but this works for me, since it leaves a hand free.
  • Press shadow onto lid (after tapping off excess) with flat brush instead of just brushing/sweeping it on. You'll notice a difference!
Remember, you don't have to use ALL of these methods; just use what works for you.
There's no need to spend a million dollars to look like it, right?

What's your favorite brand of shadow?

Have a question/request? Email me.


  1. Sticky note--thanks for this tip. I face a similar problem esp. with smoky palettes. I really like the Urban Decay eye shadow primer. The colors blend really well.

  2. i love the post-it trick! :D my favorite brand of shadow is anastasia of beverly hills. i also really like elf and almay, they're excellent and more affordable! :D

    <3, Mimi
    Spirit Ink Tattoos Giveaway
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  3. Awesome! The reason I don't wear eye shadow is because it never stays on. Thanks!


  4. Great tips Elle. Glad your hands are resting and better.

  5. That post it trick is genius!

    Courtney ~ http://sartorialsidelines.com

  6. wow, this is interesting! i don't really know anything about applying shadow, but this really does help me. thanks!


  7. also, glad to see you're an atlanta!

  8. The post it note idea is GENIUS. So question regarding primer, the skin around my eyes are really sensitive to it and they go on too heavy. Do you have any lighter solutions?

  9. Good advice. Before I discovered primer, shadow won't stick to me and looked awful. Your other ideas are new to me and I'll try 'em.

    Glad you had a nice weekend.

  10. Wow! I'm so looking forward to following along for more tips and tricks and natural solutions. Thanks for sharing!

  11. I tell you what, I LOVE ELF shadow and I'm going to try out these tips. Thanks!

  12. Glad to read that your hands are faring better, Elle:) And great tips as usual. Never thought to use contact solutions....brills.

  13. GREAT tips! I love Mac's color saturation but they are so expensive. This is a great alternative.

  14. Again you have the best tips! Can you perhaps do a post about how to get your concealer to last longer or which concealers are best? :) Maybe you have already?

  15. I just started using eye shadow primer and it's literally changed my life!

  16. Elle, it is great to hear that you feel better!
    Thanks for the eyeshadow tips! I don't think about it, but yes probably waste a lot of eyeshadow and need to save it up!

    Chic 'n Cheap Living

  17. Great tips darling!!! I'm always looking for beauty advice!
    xoxo Darby
    Obviously Obsessed 

  18. Thanks for sharing these amazing & helpful tips!

  19. Great post! And actually Elf's primer is really good, it works just as well as the expensive primers I've found! Great picks!

    xoxo Bree
    The Urban Umbrella


  20. I hadn't heard of adding eye drops to shadow! Great tip! I also need to try the elf primer...I use mac and it's a little pricey!

  21. Great ideas! I typically use Mark Kay and ELF shadows.

  22. This is so smart! I've often wondered about how to make my eyeshadow look better.

  23. I am too cheap for expensive eye shadows but I do wonder if they stick better than my drugstore brands in heavy humidity.

  24. I love the sticky note tip, what a great idea!! My eyeshadow collection is mostly from the drugstore, so I'm definitely going to try some of these tips. I recently started using an eye primer and it really does make a difference!

  25. Thanks for the tips! You're a master.

    P.S. I hope the wrists/hands continue to get better and better!

  26. Excellent tips! I really like the one about the post it notes. Gotta try that! Have a great week Elle!

  27. The only trick I've tried is the primer... I think I may want to try foiling!

  28. OMG you're too brilliant! I never would have thought to add contact solution to shadow. Water yes, but not that. Love it.

    Glad to hear you had a good weekend and that you're resting up. Keep on the upswing, sweetie! xoxo

  29. Oh wow, I am LOVING all these tips! I'm actually quite lazy with my makeup routine and I never use primer--despite having it--but I'm inspired to start using it again. I especially love that post-it tip; I foresee all of my frustrating fall out problems to cease and desist. Thank you so much for this helpful and informative post! :)

    With love from San Francisco, California,

  30. I love these types of posts, you do it so well!

    I usually do water and I know it sounds cheap but it works!

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  31. I'm pretty much naked palette all the way. But I do love covergirl shadows. However. I bought a costal scents palette a while back, but didn't use it much. Lately though I've been reaching for it every day. SUCH an economical option for shadows!


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