Use Eyeshadows Wet for more colour and intensity

by Paris B on · 15 comments

in Discussions,Eyeshadow,Tips

Use eyeshadows wet

Bourjois, Bobbi Brown, MAC Pigment

Have you ever rubbed and scrubbed away at an eyeshadow that yields little colour or pigment? Or maybe sometimes you just feel like tossing out an eyeshadow that doesn’t show up much on your skin.

Before you toss it into the bin, try this:-

  • Wet your eyeshadow brush, then squeeze out the water so its just damp.
  • Use your damp brush to pick up colour from one corner of the eyeshadow.
  • Apply it to your eyelid like normal.

In most cases, you will find that the colour will appear brighter or more pigmented. Sometimes, depending on the brand or make, you might find that it gives a more metallic look, which may work well.

Wet eyeshadow

Here is a picture showing the eyeshadows in the picture above, used wet. The dry version is on the left, the wet version is on the right. You will notice that the wet version yields more colour and shimmer.

Other uses for using an eyeshadow wet, is as eye liner or for tightlining your eyes.

However, not all eyeshadows can be used wet. Cream eyeshadows for one, cannot be used wet. Based on my experience, sometimes, using an eyeshadow wet just makes it more sheer or light, rather like how it is with watercolour painting.

The best eyeshadows to be used wet are those that say they can be used wet (Bourjois and Bobbi Brown come to mind) or loose powder eyeshadow or loose pigments. In these brands, using the eyeshadow wet intensifies the colour and pigment and brings out the metallic shine. However, if you see the picture of my Bobbi Brown eyeshadow with a corner of it used wet one time above, you will notice that the texture has changed. It became harder and less pigmented.

If you want to try using an eyeshadow wet, do beware the following:-

  • The texture of the eyeshadow may change. I’ve had my eyeshadows crumble or turn hard. Looks awful.
  • Do not wet the eyeshadow – only wet the brush and then only leave it damp not dripping.
  • Let the eyeshadow dry thoroughly before storing away to prevent bacterial growth. Powder products have less tendency to encourage bacteria to grow but once it is wet its a different story.

Personally, I dislike using my eyeshadows wet. Part of the reason might be due to the fact I use my fingers to apply my shadows. The other reason would probably be that I dislike how the texture changes and makes my eyeshadow pan look awful.

Other options instead of using water are eye drops or contact lens solution (apparently they help the colour adhere better) or a product like Make Up For Ever’s Eye Seal. Eye Seal has a different function but the concept is the same. However, the easiest and fastest medium is still water which is easily available and doesn’t cost anything (well, nearly nothing anyway :) )

Have you any tips for using eyeshadows wet?

Previous post:

Next post:

[ 15 comments… read them below or join the discussion ]

September 4, 2008 at 9:54 am

I’ve heard homemade mixing medium works well too – combine 3 parts water with 1 part glycerine (available in drugstores), and use to apply shadows wet or as a liner. Apparently the effect is similar to MAC’s mixing medium (hence the term “homemade mixing medium”). I haven’t tried this to apply shadows, but it works well when using pigments as a liner :)


ParisB September 4, 2008 at 10:51 am

@blue3: That’s a great tip! And saves us money too 😉


Nikki September 4, 2008 at 11:20 am

I love this post! I know that e/s are more pigmented looking when you have them applied wet, but I am just so concern with bacteria and stuffs like that, so I always ended up packing more! LOL but this is a great post, i am planning to start applying some of my e/s wet for the color to show up!!! Thanks PB for another great tip!


Kahani September 4, 2008 at 12:00 pm

Great post, Paris!

I’d just like to add that it’s best if you use only one spot to the side of your eyeshadow pan for wet-use, and keep using that spot. So you don’t ruin the rest of your eyeshadow when you use it dry,

I also really like using mineral eyeshadows wet. This is called foiling and it makes them more intense and oftentimes, almost metallic in finish. Minerals are pretty good for wet-use too as you can tap out a tiny bit and just wet that portion, leaving the rest unaffected.


ParisB September 4, 2008 at 12:21 pm

@Nikki : You’re welcome. Do try and let us know what you think of it. I don’t use it much myself because I’m so lazy LOL

@Kahani: Ah yes, I knew I missed out on foiling. And mineral powder shadows are good for using wet. That way, they look so much better than when used dry.


Monstro September 4, 2008 at 12:22 pm

I’m also paranoid about spoiling my eye shadows with water! I wonder if the same applies to mixing mediums that have less water, but more of other ingredients? Is there a big difference with mixing mediums vs water?


ParisB September 4, 2008 at 12:27 pm

<b>@Monstro : </b>I found the same difference i.e. the texture of the eyeshadow gets hard or crumbles. So best just play with the loose powder shadows when using wet. :)


Connie September 4, 2008 at 1:42 pm

I only use eyeshadows wet when I’m using it as a base or I wanna do a liner. Instead of water, I’d use homemade mixing medium with the same measurements provided by @blue3. Usually, I’d use pigments wet because they adhere much better to a wet base and the color pops even more. As for pan eyeshadows I usually don’t use them wet. For liner, I find that using water or mixing medium doesn’t give a very good staying power so I use this thing called Magic Eye Changer from Missha. Should be around RM20 or so. A tip to avoid mold on your eyeshadow is to let it dry first before closing the lid (if it has one).


prettybeautiful September 4, 2008 at 2:01 pm

wow the wet eyeshadow looks so much cooler than the dry version! but, if it runs the risk of drying up whole palette, i might need to think twice before experimenting this…


ParisB September 5, 2008 at 4:16 pm

@Connie : Thanks for the tips. I prefer using pigments wet too rather than pressed shadows.

@prettybeautiful: It doesn’t dry up anything but it might cause the texture to change. That said, you will only be using one little corner of the shadow so its not that bad.


September 5, 2008 at 6:28 pm

Thanks for the tips! Yeah, I’ve read on doing the whole wet eyeshadow thing with glycerin as well, which I’d love to give a try. But first, I’ll do yours 😉


Jooj September 6, 2008 at 2:17 am

my BB shadows crust over when i use them wet too. i hate that, esp because they’re supposed to be used dry and wet. it’s almost like false advertising!! so when i line with my BB shadows i just line with it dry, then load up my brush with more shadow, wet it, and then line again. bit of a hassle, isn’t it, but sometimes i want a softer line than gel liners so i do it anyway. i find that soft, shimmery shadows hold up to wet use better. and piggies of course.

just another useful tidbit: the other thing i typically hear about is using Visine as mixing medium. it’s a sterile solution so you don’t have to worry about bacteria in the liquid, and it comes a dropper bottle so it’s convenient! it’s available from the pharmacist at guardian/watsons.


ParisB September 8, 2008 at 9:43 am

@Jooj : Thanks for the tip! I agree with you about BB shadows. I was so surprised the first time they crusted over too especially because the SA told me I could use them wet.


Janice September 9, 2008 at 10:31 am

Yup the home made mixing medium works and is true! The only annoying part of the home made medium is just that since there’s no preservatives in the glycerin and it’s being mixed with water bacteria can grow and it needs to be used up within 2 or 3 days. So I’d only make it in small batches of a drop to 3 drops of bottled water at a time.

Also you can just take your toner (I use LUSH’s Breath of Fresh Air) spray it on your brush and dip in the eyeshadow. Or the other way round. I find if I dip my brush in to water it makes it too wet.


Ann September 14, 2008 at 12:28 am

Yes, there’s another method to apply eyeshadow wet without compromising your shadow pans. Just pick up your color with a dry brush, then get one of those cheap, plastic spray bottles and spray once at your brush. In fact, I saw this tip here:

The girl who does this also loves cosmetics, and I picked up how to apply my own makeup just by watching her!


Let's Talk ~ Share your view

No SEO names, rude comments or advertising in comments. Please read the comment policy if new.

Share your latest blog post

Previous post:

Next post: