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What is Matte Eyeshadow?

B. Miller
B. Miller

Matte eyeshadow is at type of cosmetic product applied to the eyelids for a more attractive appearance. Matte refers to the look of the eyeshadow; matte eyeshadow is flat and does not contain any light reflectors, whereas other types of eyeshadow may appear to be shiny. Some people mix different types of eyeshadow for a more customized appearance.

Matte eyeshadow comes in many colors, and may be available in a cream or powder form. It is generally worn during the day, for a more subtle appearance, whereas shiny or shimmery eyeshadow may be worn more often in the evening to look more glamorous. Both types of eyeshadow typically have the same silky texture to go onto the eyelids smoothly. Though some people choose to apply an eyeshadow primer first, it may not be necessary to do so with this type of matte eyeshadow.

Matte eyeshadow is flat and does not contain any light reflectors.
Matte eyeshadow is flat and does not contain any light reflectors.

When creating a particular look with eyeshadow, it is generally recommended that one use two or three colors on the eyelid to create a blended appearance. One easy way to do this is to choose two matte eyeshadow colors, and one shiny eyeshadow color. All of the colors should be complementary to each other, ranging from light to dark; the shiny color should be the lightest.

Matte eyeshadow can achieve a more neutral and natural look.
Matte eyeshadow can achieve a more neutral and natural look.

Apply the shiny color of eyeshadow to the inside corner of the eyes, and just under the brow bone. Then, take the lighter of the two matte colors and sweep it over the eyelid. Finally, take the darker matte eyeshadow color and apply some to the crease of the eye and to the outer corner. The eyeshadow can then be slightly blended with a makeup brush to give a more natural appearance. A matte eyeshadow may also be used as an eyeliner when applied with a small, angled makeup brush.

Matte eyeshadow is available in cream and powder form.
Matte eyeshadow is available in cream and powder form.

By using eyeshadow in this way, the shiny, light color on the brow bone and inner corners will catch the light and help one to look brighter and more awake. The two matte eyeshadows will add color and definition to the eyes, while still remaining appropriate for day or evening looks. To find the best matte eyeshadow, simply look in drugstores or cosmetics stores. Many stores allow customers to try on different shades of eyeshadow; it is easy to tell which ones are matte and which ones are not by the way they look in the light. Matte eyeshadows will not reflect the light.

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Discussion Comments


@speechie - It is the teacher in me that has to correct your spelling of "matt eyeshadow" it is matte not matt (easy enough mistake though) huh?

You know I have heard that about purple eyeshadow and brown eyes and maybe there is some sort of color science about it but I have also seen purple eyeshadow claims that purple eyeshadow goes with blue eyes, hazel eyes, etc.

I think really it is all about the look you are trying to create - a light purple would be a romantic look, while a more full purple would bring an edge to your look.

I personally love unassuming my tan revlon matte eyeshadow or even just my tan matte wet n wild eyeshadow so that I can wear the classic bright red revlon lipstick and look somewhat balanced and not overdone!


I was still using my shiny eyeshadow out of college into my first years into business until I started noticing how much I liked some of my co-workers soft and subtle eye make-up look.

I started then to experiment with these different matt eyeshadows packages that came with three or four colors together, and my favorites were the ones that gave you ideas of how to wear the eyeshadow.

Most recently I had heard that I should wear a subtle purple shade to bring out my brown eyes, has anyone else heard this?


I have been wearing matte eyeshadow to work for years now. I used to wear shiny shadow, but one day my four-year-old girl told me my eyes looked like they were ready to party, so I decided to stick to matte shadow during the day. It made me wonder if my coworkers thought my shimmery shadow was a bit over the top, so I decided to play it safe.

If I ever plan to go out immediately after work, I carry a case of shimmer shadow in my purse to match whatever matte shade I’m wearing during the day. I simply sweep it on over the shadow I have on, and I have instant party eyes.


I have found that the best way to use a matte eyeshadow as an eyeliner is to dip the applicator tip in water first. This lets the color liquefy and makes it glide on like a real eyeliner.

I always choose one small area of the shadow to wet and convert to eyeliner. The area will take on a strange texture, and you won’t be able to use it as eyeshadow again, so keep it confined to a small space.

I love making eyeliner out of my deep blue eyeshadow. It smudges really well once I paint it on, and I can get a dramatic look that way.


I have some green matte eyeshadow that came in a three-pack. All three colors are supposed to blend to bring out my hazel eyes.

There is a purple color included that is meant to be applied right above the eyelashes, but it makes me look like I’ve been crying, so I skip that one and go straight for the emerald green. I use it as an eyeliner and extend the color about a third of the way up on my eyelid.

Then, I use the light green shade above the crease up to the browbone. These colors would look good shimmery, but they work well as matte shadows, too. The green is just so noticeable, and it blends together well.


I have had matte eyeshadow that is extremely rich in color, and I have had some that you have to apply about three coats of before you can see it. It all depends on the shade and the brand.

I had some purple matte eyeshadow that looked really bright in the container, but when I swept it on with the applicator, I couldn’t tell I had any on. I had to layer it up, which I thought was strange.

I also had some brown shadow that showed up so well wherever the applicator touched my eyelid that it was hard to blend. It seemed to stick to the surface rather than glide across.

I guess that’s why I prefer shimmer eyeshadow. It always seems to spread and blend very easily.


@Sunny27 -I love matte eye shadow. I use it all the time especially when I want a dramatic look. Since my eyes are wide set, I try to use the darker contour shade on the inner corner of my eye and the lighter highlighting shade near my brow bone. It actually gives my eyes a little lift. I have used glittery eye shadows before, but I only use them for special occasions because I think it would be too much for every day wear.


I think that matte eye shadows are more flattering than eye shadows that have a lot of shine. For me, I prefer the matte eye shadows because it does not draw attention to lining around the eyes and makes me look better.

I also use an eye shadow primer that is cream based so that it holds my eye shadow in place. I buy a few neutral shades in beige and pinkish brown that come on like a cream but turn to powder. I love these because I can apply my eye shadow on top and it not only creates a richer look but it makes my eye shadow last longer.

I also like to add my liquid eye liner in black because it makes my lashes pop. If your eyes are made up well you really don’t need to add anymore make up. That is what I do because most people notice your eyes first.

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    • Matte eyeshadow is flat and does not contain any light reflectors.
      By: Africa Studio
      Matte eyeshadow is flat and does not contain any light reflectors.
    • Matte eyeshadow can achieve a more neutral and natural look.
      By: Andriy Petrenko
      Matte eyeshadow can achieve a more neutral and natural look.
    • Matte eyeshadow is available in cream and powder form.
      By: phasinphoto
      Matte eyeshadow is available in cream and powder form.
    • Eyeshadow may be used to enhance the color of one's eyes.
      By: Nneirda
      Eyeshadow may be used to enhance the color of one's eyes.
    • Matte eyeshadow comes in many different colors.
      By: Khorzhevska
      Matte eyeshadow comes in many different colors.