I appreciate the artistry and craft that’s go into the plethora of eye makeup tutorials on the Internet—the cut creases, layered eyeliners, and immaculate ombrés—but I simply do not have the dexterity or patience to follow them. Still,  I get by, and am frequently asked by friends, Internet people, and strangers on the street how I manage to make my own bright eyeshadow look pro-grade fabulous. The answer is obnoxiously simple: Almost nothing.

I will never be a person who sits through a tutorial and then has the stable hands of a surgeon to recreate it. So instead, I’ve come up with my own hacks for designing statement-making looks without the need for expert-level precision. My advice? First, choose a shade that’s vibrant and bold, like a red, pink, or green (and stay far away from anything neutral). Second, commit to that one shade and stop caring what you’re doing with it.

You don’t need to be a YouTube beauty star to wear bold, bright eyeshadow—all you really need is the right products and two free minutes to apply them. Keep scrolling to see how to finesse the most seemingly-intimidating shades so you, too, can start fielding compliments on your makeup from strangers on the street.

Red

Shop now: Rituel De Fille Color Nectar Pigment Balm in Bloodflower, $24

Red eyeshadow can be difficult (… when it goes wrong, you may wind up looking sickly), and the best way to get around its challenges is to simply lean into the color. Hard. Balms and creams are your best choice when it comes to red tones, because these formulas get rid of any harsh lines and don’t require blending.  For this look, I literally stick my finger in the pot and smear my eyes, which takes one minute. If I’m expecting anyone to see the lower half of my face, I’ll also wear a red lip color. After all, monochromatic makeup really gives off the illusion of competence.

Green

Shop now: Anastasia Beverly Hills Norvina® Pro Pigment Palette Vol. 3, $60

For greens and blues, I stick to powder formulas. The pigments stain more than other shades and I don’t want to accidentally smear green stuff all over my cheeks. Again, the mere fact you’re choosing to rock a bold color has already done half the work for you. This palette might seem intense or dramatic, but I swear by it.  It’s got enough subtle colors to justify its size, but also has what I think are universally flattering (read: easily wearable) shades of greens.

Pink

Shop now: About Face Matte Fluid Eye Paint in Orchid, $22

I’m going to make a statement that’s as bold as these looks: Bright pink eyeshadow should be considered neutral. I’ve been devoted to this matte eye paint since its launch, and have gone through two bottles (when is the last time you hit the pan on even one shadow?) thanks to how simple it is to apply. It’s a liquid to dry formula with a lipgloss-style wand applicator that delivers rich pigment. With just one swipe across your lids, you’re set for the day, night, and next morning. If you’re feeling shy about the shade, there are less-intense introductory products—like Jones Road Just a Sec in Icy Pink ($26) or Kosas10-Second Liquid Eyeshadow in Copper Halo ($28)—that allow you to experiment with ease.

Want to amp up your makeup for your next Zoom meeting? Follow along with the video below. 

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