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Idiot Proof Eyeshadow: Kid Tested, CC Approved


The other day, I was tricked into going to Costco with my Mom. I just really wanted an excuse to wear my SWEET new rain galoshes, so I agreed to go on what I knew would be a torturously long errand. I soon found myself wandering the massive aisles, bored out of my mind, considering buying 600 plastic forks, just so I could use one to poke out my eyes. Maybe then I could go home?

I figured this was a bad idea, so I meandered over to health and beauty, where I knew I could find something to occupy myself with. And then I saw it– a Smashbox Picture Perfect Kit with eyeshadow quad, mini lip gloss trio (with pink leather mirrored case!), mascara, and face highlighter– for $19.99!! The kit came with detailed instructions on how to apply the makeup, much like other cosmetics brands that are now taking the guesswork out of makeup application . I snatched it, threw it inconspicuously into Mom’s cart and tore it open as soon as we were in the car.

Opening up the new makeup kit felt exactly the same way it did that very first time. My Grandma (against my mother’s desperate pleas not to) bought me a GIANT pink and purple kit full of awful pink lipsticks, hooker-blue eye shadow, fake mascara, fucshia blush and glitter, glitter, sweet glitter when I was three. It was then that I fell in love with makeup. I put on all of my face decorations, just like mommy did, every day before I left my house. I sometimes had loaded my face so full of makeup that it couldn’t take anymore, and, consequently, I applied some to my helpless baby brother.

Which brings me to my point.

Baby bro is now 16, with a healthy thirst for revenge. So to let him get back at me, I’ve enlisted his help in testing the “anyone can be a makeup artist!” attitude that so many companies (Almay, Smashbox, Hard Candy) have adopted. The kits come with fool proof instructions that are pretty straightforward. I sacrifice my body in the name of science, to determine whether these How To quads give you enough bang for your buck, or if you’re better off buying a regular set and playing around with trial and error.

Step 1: Apply lightest shade from corner of inner eye to brow bone.

Brother took brow bone very literally; I ended up with very pale eyebrows. He also neglected “inner eye” completely.

Step 1 Modification: Sweep lightest shade from inner corner of your eye to just under your brow in an arch the length of your eyebrow.

Step 2: Apply neutral shade from crease to brow.

This phase went fairly smoothly, although little bro didn’t apply enough pressure, so you can’t really tell I’m wearing any.

Step 2 Modification: Apply neutral from lash line to just under your first color. I like to add this extra step as a base for my darker colors, it just makes them pop more.

Step 3: Apply Second darkest shade from lash line to just above crease.

Again, little bro got it right! He did give up on using brushes at this point, but he blended the sparkly coal color into the neutral very nicely.

Step 3 Modifications: Use an angled brush to apply just above and below your crease. The brush allows for more even color distribution, and skipping the extra layer on your lower lid will keep if from looking cakey.

Step 4: Apply the darkest color from your lash line to just under your crease.

Brother used verrry little of the dark color (I think this may be that male fear of too much makeup kicking in), but managed not to make me look like I got into a fight. There was a little excess powder underneath my eyes, making it look like I was more than ready for nap time.

Step 4 Modification: Use a precision brush to slowly layer your darkest shade. You can always add more, but if you go too dark, you’ll ruin all of your hard work by removing it. Apply the darkest colors only to the outer third of your eyelid, to keep your eyes from looking small. And if you do catch a few flakes underneath your eye, use a fan brush to gently sweep them away, or very lightly use a tissue to sweep ’em away.

Final Result: Not bad! A 16 year old boy, I think I can safely say, is the most inexperienced you can get when it comes to makeup (although I can think of a few 20 year old girlfriends of mine who would argue…) And if he can follow those directions, I have faith that even the most make up challenged can follow the guidelines in these idiot proof makeup kits.

[Photos courtesy of and]