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matte vs shimmer eyeshadow what should you choose


Matte Eyeshadow vs. Shimmer Eyeshadow: Which Should You Choose?

Posted by LiveGlam on Jun 01, 2021

If you’ve always been a strictly blush-and-gloss kind of person, you may be baffled by eyeshadow. Rightly so, it’s a complex subject! One of the first things you should explore as a new eyeshadow wearer is texture and finish. Specifically: matte vs shimmer eyeshadow, which should you choose?

Piece of cake! Here we go:

when to use matte eyeshadow

Matte Eyeshadow

Matte eyeshadow is eyeshadow that doesn’t contain shimmer or glitter. It doesn’t change when the light hits it and has a “flat” texture. There are different variants of matte, as some shadows have extremely fine shimmer particles that create a satin-like finish. However, true matte is totally shimmer-free and smooth. 

The thing is, you can wear matte and shimmer any time. However, they both offer different functions. For example, matte is excellent because: 

  • Matte eyeshadow, (especially in neutral tones of bone, taupe, bronze, chocolate, charcoal, and tan) is ideal for creating a base and building depth in the crease.
  • Matte eyeshadow in deep shades can be pressed into the lash line to create the effect of thicker lashes. 
  • Matte eyeshadows (the great ones!) offer opaque, rich, saturated color great for creative artistry and bright looks. 

Note: matte shadows are best applied with a brush, as they tend to turn patchy if applied with a finger, unlike shimmer shadows. Always tap your brush after loading it with matte shadow, as the ultra-pigmented shades are often very dusty. Be prepared to blend, blend, blend, especially with cool-toned shadows in purple and/or black tones. 

when to use shimmer eyeshadow

Shimmer Eyeshadow

Shimmer eyeshadow has tiny glitter particles that catch the light and sparkle as you move. The shiny pigments are often so finely milled that the shadows gleam and glimmer as opposed to glitter. Often, when the shadows move, the color can change as the undertone (often darker and more matte) is exposed. A second later and the blinding shimmer catches the light. Some shimmer shadows even have two colors at once, this is called “duo-chrome”. 

Shimmer shadows are great for: 

  • Creating dimension! Pop a shimmery champagne shade in the center of the lid and it will give the lid a more dynamic, lively look.
  • Catch the light and celebrate the structure of the eye. Pop pearly shimmer onto the brow-bone and inner corner for a fresh, youthful gleam.
  • Get glam in the evening! Shimmer looks stunning under low lighting. 
  • Shimmer shadows are generally easy to blend and can be buffed onto the entire lid to create a wash of sheeny color.  
  • Shimmer shadows are often able to be applied with a finger for direct placement and saturated color. 

Which one to use?

Honestly? There are no hard-and-fast rules. Give it a try! For starters, try this: 

  • Skin-matching matte color over the entire lid.
  • A cool-toned, deeper matte shade buffed into the crease.
  • A deep shade pressed into the upper and lower lash lines.
  • Champagne or bronze (depending on skin tone) shadow pressed into the center of the lid and buffed along the lower lash.
  • Gold or pearl shimmer pressed into the inner corner and along the brow bone.
  • Viola, classic shimmer-and-matte smokey eye.

Play around with different brushes and fingers to learn how different textures perform in the pan versus on the eye. Give yourself time to experiment, you’ll be a pro in no time. 

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