Makeup Tutorial: How To Wear Bright Eyeshadow And Look Like A Peacock (Not A Candy Kid)


Once upon a time, I exclusively wore bright eyeshadow. Given just how vivid, opaque and rainbow-like the hues were, it was a constant battle not to look like a clown (or an overzealous Cirque du Soleil fan). For the most part, looking back, I would say the looks were decent for a 10th grader who really hated plain anything when it came to makeup — but they still aren’t how I would go about creating bold, fluorescent looks nowadays.

To answer your question: Yes, I fucking loved MySpace at 15.

To answer your question: Yes, I fucking loved MySpace at 15.

There are plenty of ways to use bright colors without looking like you’re 16 and just figured out how to sneak into raves. In this tutorial, I’ll show you just two: the first is somewhat subtle (meaning you can totally wear it to a daytime get-together) while the latter is a bit over-the-top.

The best thing to do is experiment to figure out which brights you love and which shades you think look like gangrene with your skin tone. You want to figure out a way to enhance your look while not going over-the-top, which is exactly what the male peacock has — a wild, vivid coloring, but it’s beautiful rather than overwhelming to the viewer.


Step 0: Start very, very clean. You do not want to combine any of last night’s makeup with this stuff or it’ll look clumpy, weird and not remotely fresh. Do moisturize, of course.


Step 1: Apply face primer. This is important, as it will help you avoid being bright and shiny — a combination best left to runways and sweaty shows. Put on your base makeup as usual and dust a fine powder overtop. For this step, I used Sephora Perfecting Ultra-Smoothing Primer, MAC Concealer, CoverGirl Clean Whipped Creme and e.l.f. Studio High Definition Powder in Translucent.


Step 2: Apply medium brown shadow, like Clinique Brow Shaper, with an angled brush to define brow and arch. To keep it the hairs in place, which will avoid distracting from the overall look, apply gel like this clear one from Anastasia.


Step 3: Use an eyeshadow primer, as there’s nothing worse than a bright or dark shadow that gets melty into your eye crease. For this job, I picked Benefit Stay Don’t Stray. Apply sheer avocado shimmer shadow, like Cargo Eye Shadow in Green Bay, all over lid and up to the crease using a fluffy eyeshadow brush. Add a thin line of bright blue liquid liner (Wet N Wild Mega Liner in Indigo Blue) and wing outward. Apply black or dark blue mascara to curled lashes to complete the look.


Step 4: Add a sheer, bright pink blush, like Besame‘s Cream Blush and blend it into cheeks.

Let your hair down — these looks are supposed to be fun, not formal. You can do whatever you wish with it, too, whether it’s curling, straightening or spritzing it with something to enhance the curls. I was given a bottle of got2b Beach Trippin’ the other night and used it on my hair today to make its natural wave come out, rather than having to tediously curl my ridic-thick hair. I wish I had some pretty accessory to pop on this style, but alas, you’ll just have to imagine it instead. Voila! You are done.




Now, for the second, much more colorful look inspired in part by peacocks, start back at Step 3 again. Use an eyeshadow primer (again, Benefit Stay Don’t Stray). Apply shimmery pale pink shadow all over lid up to brow (L’Oreal 211 Blue Haute Couture‘s lightest shade). Apply bright luxe blue up to crease and outward; I picked Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Peace, which is a crazy-gorgeous color that you will want to use every day of your f’ing life. Use a purple shadow on outside, in crease and blend outward. I’m wearing Wet N Wild Fergie Centerstage Collection Photo Op Eyeshadow in Desert Festival.

bright eyeshadow tutorial eyes peacock

Step 4: Add a pale green pencil underneath eye — I used Urban Decay Glide-On in Freak, a gorgeous golden-lime color with some shimmer in it. Then, apply black liquid liner (as always, I picked Urban Decay 24/7 in Perversion) on top lids, adding a slightly-upturned wing at the end. Curl lashes, use lash primer (I am a huge fan of Lancome‘s Cils Booster XL) and jiggle on one coat of black mascara, like Wet N Wild Megaimpact.

bright eyeshadow tutorial eyes peacock

Step 5: Using a big, fluffy brush, apply a matte peach blush (I used Smashbox‘s powder formula in Warm Apricot). I don’t like to do anything too bright or overwhelming on the rest of my face when the eyes are so strong.


Step 6: Add a little bit of sheer bubblegum pink lip gloss — nothing shimmery or with any sort of sparkle. I picked Stila Lip Glaze in Joy.


Got a question or idea for a makeup tutorial in the future? Let us know in the comments or via email!

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    • Jeanie Jay

      …is it okay if I think your middle school-era makeup was pretty awesome, too? (I was one of those people who didn’t figure out makeup until about 23.)

      • Samantha_Escobar

        Pssst…I still like looking at it sometimes, too, so thank you :) Also, I often wonder how the hell I had that much patience in the morning every day.

    • Holly


    • NeuroNerd

      This is beautiful. Lisa Eldridge did a similar tutorial on her website, but with more colors and peacock feather eyelashes. Definitely a more editorial look than yours, which someone could totally rock during a night out on the town. Somebody is not me, however. Hooded eyes :-/

    • Roxanne Marie Zoltan

      I am so obsessed with both of these, especially the first one, but I’m wondering – if I used purple liquid liner instead of blue, what shade of eyeshadow do you think would work?