I Always Get Compliments on My Eye Shadow—Here's My Ridiculously Simple Routine

So much of why I wear makeup is to help my outside reflect my inside, which, for my bubbly ENFJ ass, means bright, playful colors all over my eyes. Smokey, sultry eye shadow and jet-black flicks of liquid liner are cool and all, but personally, when it comes to eye makeup, I'm going for simple, almost childlike whimsy.

I also don't want to look too Instagram-y or cartoonish, so lately I've been sticking to bright, one-dimensional eye makeup looks that involve just a couple products: bright yellows, oranges, blues, and pinks that require as little time, skill, and product as possible to achieve looks people can't help but compliment.

Below are the colorful cream, liquid, and powder eye shadows that I've been using and loving recently. These products are insanely pigmented but also really easy to apply—so basically foolproof. Compliments guaranteed every time.

Sunshiny Yellow

I've developed an obsession with yellow so inexplicably fervent it informs basically all my aesthetic choices: my nails, my clothes, my eye shadow. I wore the sunny eye makeup look above to my 27th birthday party, and everyone asked me what it was. The answer? Fenty's highlighter in Trophy Wife, which a Fenty pro makeup artist once told me was actually designed to be used as an eye shadow as well. To get the most pigment out of it, I wetted a small Sigma eye shadow brush (just with tap water) and packed on the color all the way up to my brow bone. I didn't use a primer or anything—just dabbed some Kat Von D concealer on my eyelids beforehand as a base.

Salmon Orange

Here's a pic I posted on Instagram a few months ago. It continues to attract questions about what eye shadow I'm wearing. This look is a combo of two: Make Beauty's Poppy shadow, which I applied all over the lid and up into the crease, plus the middle highlighter from Stellar's palette below, which I applied just to the inner half of my lid and to the corners of my eyes. The combo of Make's matte sunset orange and Stellar's shimmery peach made for a dimensional effect that was so simple to execute. Again, I just applied these with that same wet Sigma brush over a concealer base. 

Glittery Purple-Brown

I wore this sparkly eggplant-colored look to a holiday party in December, and people flipped out over it. Little did they know it involved just two products and no brushes. (Except they did actually know because I literally whipped the products out of my bag and showed everyone who asked me about them.)

First, I used my finger to apply Milk's eye pigment in Silent Disco—a shimmery purple-brown—all over my lid. This stuff is mad pigmented and dries quickly, so act fast! On top of that, I applied Too Faced's sparkly Twinkle Twinkle liquid eye shadow in Macchiato Madness (a multidimensional mocha with flecks of pink, purple, and gold) directly from the tube with the soft applicator, blending out with my finger.

Then (and this is a weird technique, but hey, it worked), I applied a bit of Silent Disco underneath my waterline by dipping an eye pencil I never use and didn't mind messing up into the product and lining my eye that way. This allowed for precision and was way easier than using a fine-tipped eyeliner brush. I lined from the outer edge of my eye to about halfway, not going all the way to the inner corner, so my eyes would look bigger and more open.

Dewy Pink

Huda Beauty's dual-sided liquid eye shadows are my latest makeup fix. The colors are so modern and fun (think bright pink, yellow, and green), and I'm shocked and impressed by how pigmented they are. I'll use just the matte side when I want to go really simple, or I'll layer on the shimmery foil side for something more festive and eye-catching. You can just use the applicators straight from the tube, which are flexible and user-friendly, and blend out with your finger. Frankly, I think this product is genius—an instant holy grail.

Icy Blue

This frosty blue eye shadow look is kind of early 2000s–esque, but I swear every time I wear it, people gush. All it requires is a 30-second application of a single product: Armani's eye tint in this sparkly (but not too sparkly) periwinkle hue. Like other products on this list, I just apply directly to my lid with the included applicator. I really glob it on for high-impact color, but you can also sheer it out with your finger for a subtler effect.

Shimmery Rose Gold

This desert-island must-have eye shadow is by far the one that earns me the most compliments because I wear it basically every day. (Or do I wear it every day because it earns me the most compliments? Chicken or the egg?) I saw it once on the lids of another beauty editor, practically fainted because it was so pretty, and then immediately bought it. And that's the same reaction I get pretty much every time I wear it. 

It's a single cream eye shadow by Tom Ford: a dreamy swirl of pink and gold shimmer that ends up looking like a complex layering of multiple different shades. But it's just one magical product, which I apply with my fingers, requiring 30 seconds and zero skill. To make me look extra awake, I apply the same product in the bright champagne shade Opale to my inner corners. This is my go-to simple eye shadow look for everyday wear, and it never fails me.