As much as we love intricate, over-the-top eye makeup, there’s a lot to be said for something you can achieve in a few short minutes. Even the most accomplished makeup artists have a few quick and easy eye makeup looks at the ready for their clients, and we thought it high time we share some of the tricks of the trade with you. Best of all, you don’t need to be a makeup artist, beauty blogger or even particularly adept with an eye shadow brush to do them at home. (Trust us—they will still end up just as Instagram-worthy.) Thanks to some of our favourite influencers and celebs, there’s no shortage of inspiration to get you started on your journey to eye makeup mastery.
We’ll keep it real: There might be a couple of cat eyes involved. Don’t be scared—they’re easier than they seem and can be transformed into about a zillion different variations. Once you master the technique, you’ll be doing them constantly (promise). That said, there are plenty of other stunning ideas—from subtle shimmer to graphic pops of colour—for the cat-eye averse.
Read on for 13 of the prettiest, easiest eye makeup ideas that can be done in just five minutes or less. Whether your skill set is advanced or you’re looking for a new everyday look or sultry date-night inspiration, you’ll leave here with at least one idea. Plus, we’ve shopped out the must-have products that will help get you started.
Wearing a bold shadow gives the impression that you put effort into your look, even if you, well, didn’t.
We recommend a vibrant, almost coral colour rather than pale shade to avoid the pink-eye effect.
This budget-friendly mascara is a triple threat, adding length, volume, and curl to the lashes.
More often than not, a ring of rocker-like black liner does the trick, as Lily Aldridge shows here.
Choose a soft pencil that blends but stays put so you don’t end up with raccoon eyes by the end of the day.
If you can apply eyeliner, you can re-create this simple yet statement-making look.
If you’re steady with liquid eyeliner, by all means, do that, but a pencil is easiest.
Applying this universally flattering colour all around the top and bottom lids give you a day-to-night smoky eye that may be too intense with other, darker shades.
Use a (clean) pinky to apply this cream formula along the lower lashline and across the lid.
Applying two contrasting but complementary colours to the inner and outer corners of your eye couldn’t be easier, but as Halsey demonstrates, the look screams “party.”
A palette with tons of colours gives you plenty of options to mix and match (and allows for trial and error).
A touch of gloss on your lids catches the light, bringing attention to your eyes with hardly any effort at all.
This clear lip gloss is a makeup-artist secret for getting a perfect, non-sticky sheen on the eyes.
Nothing says “I tried” quite like winged eyeliner‚ even if you skip makeup on the rest of your face altogether.
Cat eyes require a black liquid liner with a lot of control, and this one features a super-precise tip and smudge-proof formula.
Once you’ve perfected your cat-eye look, you’re ready to graduate to new colours like sleek silver.
Sivan Ayla used this exact shade to achieve her look. (It’s also waterproof!)
You don’t have to be Zoë Kravitz to pull off brown shadow—the neutral flatters every skin tone. To complete the look in the easiest way possible, match your eye makeup to your lipstick for a ’90s vibe.
Choose whichever neutral shadow suits you, or blend more than one for a custom shade.
Soft green is gorgeous and unexpected if you’re looking to wear colour but don’t want something overly vibrant.
Start with one layer and then build as you go for more intensity.
Applying a pale, shimmery shadow to the inner corners of the eyes gives a wide-awake look in a flash.
You can use whatever eye shadow you have on hand, but a stick formula gives you the most control and makes application a breeze.
A layer of metallic shadow adds just the right amount of dressed-up glamour to just about anything—even a terry robe (right, Shay Mitchell?).
Start by blending a small dot of this cream shadow in the center of the lid, and then add more depending on your desired look.