How to Apply Eye Shadow Wet

Most of us apply our pressed and loose eye shadows dry with a brush. In fact, most don’t even know there’s another method.

I first learned about applying eye shadow wet when I looked at the back of one of my eye shadows and it said, “apply wet or dry.” I wondered what that even meant. They didn’t teach wet eye shadow application in school, after all. At least not at the non-cosmetology schools I went to.

After some experimentation and research, I’ve been able to successfully create looks by applying my eye shadow wet. While I still prefer applying it dry the old fashioned way, having this extra option really opens up how many makeup looks I can do during the week.

Applying eye shadow wet will give you more vibrant and brighter colors than the same look applied dry. Want to learn how to apply eye shadow wet? Then follow along:

What You Need

Before we get started, you’ll need to arm yourself with a few beauty essentials.

  • Clean water. Position yourself near a sink or fill up a small cup with water.
  • Soft, stiff-bristled brush. Brushes with less-hard bristles will become floppy and useless when coated with water, so go with something stiffer.
  • Eye shadow that’s wet-approved. Not all eye shadow can be applied wet. This is mostly the case with cheaper, inexpensive brands. Look on the back of your eye shadow to see if it can be used wet. If it doesn’t say there, look on the product website as well. If you don’t look ahead of time, you may end up ruining your eye shadow.

That’s it. You don’t need any special product. Some people use a mixing medium instead of straight up water, but that’s a cost that you don’t need to spend.

1. Wet the Brush

When you apply eye shadow wet, you wet the brush and not the eye shadow.

Dip your brush into a cup or stream of clean water. take it out and squeeze the excess water out into a clean facial tissue.

How wet your brush is can vary based on the look you want. For the best blending, make sure that it is slightly damp, but not soaked. Experiment with varying levels of wetness to find the right one for you.

2. Rub the Brush in the Eye Shadow

When working with pressed eye shadow, rub the wet brush into the color. Check the brush head to see if you have enough shadow. When working with loose pigment, gently dip the brush into the powder until there is a small amount on the bristles. A wet brush will pick up more color than a dry brush.

Once you’re satisfied with how much color you have on your brush, it’s time to apply it to your eyelid.

3. Apply the Eye Shadow

Rub the color onto your eye much like you would with traditional dry shadow. You’ll soon find that blending is different when applying eye shadow wet. You’ll be adding color in layers rather than truly blending it together.

The application may take some getting used to. Practice with different eye looks in order to get better at blending wet eye shadow.

Rinse out your brush after every eye shadow color so you’re starting with pure color every time. Once you’re done, you will have layers of color that’s more vibrant than when you applied it dry.

Example Wet Eye Shadow Looks

Here, I applied Urban Decay eye shadow wet from the Eyeshadow Ammo Shadow Box. You can see the progression below:

UDAppliedWet It’s smoky and dark with some silvery shine.

Here, you can see a brighter, colorful look also applied wet using the Elite Pro Cosmetics 88 Eye Shadow Palette:

EPAppliedWet As long as your shadow says it can be applied wet, you can create any look you want.

Wet-Approved Eye Shadows

Wondering if your eye shadow can be applied wet? Here’s a small list of shadows that you can definitely use for these looks.

If you know of any other eye shadows that have been proven to work when applied wet, let me know and I’ll add them to the list.


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  1. all coastal scents eyeshadows can be applied wet.

  2. Any NYX loose powders, All Physician’s Formula, and any eyeshadow that says it is baked is pretty much able to be used wet. Honestly, I use my eye shadow wet more often than dry now. The colors just seem to pop!

  3. can anybody suggest me how i will apply my eye shadow shiner, please?

  4. Ulta Baked eye shadow duos can be applied wet 🙂

  5. for me, I prefer use instant eyeshadow. no skill needed.

  6. Just still interested in the technique for getting this blended properly. I feel that once one of the colors has dried, it’s going to be hard to blend, no?

    • Yep, it does get a little harder to blend when it dries. That’s why it’s best to do this quick, so you can blend everything while it’s still wet. You’ll get the hang of it!

  7. I Noticed that MAC Eyeshadows Do not do well with wet brushes, Anything by urbandecay does amazing with wet brushes.

  8. FM pressed and loose eyeshadows are fab for applying wet – they have some really gorgeous colours too x

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