Applying pigments wet makes the color of the pigment much more vibrant and intense than applying it dry. When you apply pigments wet, it’s as if you have a whole new shade of pigment! Foiling is another name for this technique, because it has the effect of making your eyeshadow/pigment look shiny and bright like foil.
In this technique tutorial, I’m using MAC Pigment in “Corn Flower” to show you how I apply pigments wet. This pigment isn’t as intense as other ones I’ve used in Look posts on this site, but you can still see the difference the mixing medium makes in the color payoff:
Before you apply pigments wet (foil your eyeshadow):
- Apply foundation, if desired.
- Apply eye primer, if desired.
- Use pressed eyeshadow to initially highlight your brow bone (if you like doing this step first in your looks) or as a wash on your entire lid, if desired. You could also apply more eyeshadow colors now if you’re only using the wet pigment to make one small part of your look intense.
Gather the following (or similar) items:
- MAC Pro Water Base Mixing Medium (or click here to see how to make your own homemade mixing medium)
- Sponge-tipped applicator (or dense eyeshadow brush, like MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush)
- Pigment (or loose mineral eyeshadow)
You could also use pressed eyeshadow, but I usually don’t because the mixing medium could potentially leave a wet spot on the surface that hardens your eyeshadow. If you decide to foil pressed eyeshadow, I recommend picking up some eyeshadow on your sponge-tipped applicator or brush before you apply the mixing medium onto it.
Shake your mixing medium — I do this before each use! The MAC Pro Water Base Mixing Medium container has a small metallic ball in it that helps mix the ingredients together when you shake.
Note that if you’re using a homemade mixing medium, replace it about every 2 weeks since it’s only made of water and glycerin (so make them in small quantities like I did in my tutorial). The MAC Pro Water Base Mixing Medium contains other ingredients to help preserve the product.
Apply one or two drops of mixing medium to one side of the sponge-tipped applicator (or brush).
Press the part of the sponge-tipped applicator (or brush) with mixing medium on the back of your hand so that the mixing medium is absorbed and spread evenly on the sponge/brush.
Your sponge or brush should now be damp — not soaking wet!
Pick up some pigment with the side of the sponge/brush that is wet. I like using the plastic insert or the inside of the cap of the MAC pigments to pick up color so that I don’t get too much product.
As in Step 3, press the side of the sponge/brush with pigment on the back of your hand to pack the loose pigment onto the sponge/brush. This will help prevent any loose pigment from falling on your cheek when you apply it to your eye area.
Pat the sponge on your eye area where you want to apply the color. Use dabbing motions as much as possible to get a smooth application, free of streaks. You can then build up more color by repeating Step 4 and 5 until you achieve the intensity that you want.
Note that in the picture on the right (top), I applied a pressed eyeshadow (dry) as a wash on my entire lid to show that you can apply pigments wet on top of any eyeshadow you already have on. Most times I apply wet pigments first with just a primer on my eye, but you could already have eyeshadow on as well.
If you want to add more pigments to your look, go back to Step 3 using the other side of your sponge-tipped applicator or brush (or you can start with another clean applicator). Once you’re done applying pigments wet, you can then blend in other pressed eyeshadow or apply pigments dry to complete your eyeshadow look, as I’ve done on the bottom of this picture.
I prefer using sponge-tipped applicators when I apply pigments wet (if you haven’t already noticed in my Look posts!), because I find that it gives me more control of the pigment and the placement.
Now you know how to do this technique to bring out the intensity of your pigment colors! Have fun!