Sheer eyeshadow is *everywhere* right now—here's how to rock the barely-there look without looking too whimsical

If our eyeshadow doesn't look like a smokey veil, we don't want it.

Emma Chamberlain pictured wearing a sheet pink floral top and sheer eyeshadow, with black eyeliner at the Valentino Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2023/2024 show as part of Paris Fashion Week at Chateau de Chantilly on July 05, 2023 in Chantilly, France/ in a purple template
(Image credit: Getty Images: Jacopo Raule)

As sheer dresses continue to live rent-free in both our hearts and capsule wardrobes, the gossamer vibe is also spreading to our beauty routines, with sheer eyeshadow becoming our latest, barely-three obsession.

Now, we know what you're thinking—surely to achieve 'sheer eyeshadow', you just don't wear it? That is definitely one way to look at it, but no, we're talking about a veil of smokey color, swept over the lid, giving the impression that it's thin—mesh-like—or a sheer glitter eyeshadow, that just adds a sheen of sparkle, but no color. 

You can actually spy this look on the likes of Lily-Rose Depp as 'Jocelyn' in The Idol and a ton of other stars, for a soft focus and subtle, sultry effect. So, as this smokey aesthetic continues to gain traction, here's how to recreate the dreamy, main character look...

What is sheer eyeshadow?

For us, sheer eyeshadow is a buffed-out layer of charcoal gray or brown shadow, blended out to look super fine, before being topped with a smokey black, kohl liner. This liner is then smudged out slightly, to create that misty look.

Alternatively, you can also achieve this sheer moment with a nude or untinted, gleam-like glitter eyeshadow, which creates a light-reflecting film over the lid but doesn't add any obvious color.

As mentioned, Lily-Rose Depp's eyeshadow from The Idol is a great example of this look perfectly executed, but you can also spy it on the likes of Emma Chamberlain, Kendall Jenner and Lori Harvey—basically, everyone we get our style inspo from...

You can also find a ton of TikTok videos, of users trying to attain that sheer shadow look...

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MIL's picks of sheer eyeshadows

How to do sheer eyeshadow

So, how do we recreate this celebrity-approved, soft-focus look? Well, thankfully it's pretty straightforward as the beauty of this trend is its low-maintenance, lived-in feel.

Like with 'Latte' makeup, you'll want to opt for soft browns or grey shades, using a fluffy brush to apply a wash of one shade over your life. Then, grab your black eyeliner (which is often the best eyeliners for beginners, thanks to its pliable, smudginess) and create a wing, gently smudging it and bringing it under your lower lash line too—this will give a transparent quality to your base eyeshadow.

If you're using a shimmer, apply it with your finger over the whole of your eyelid, to really get the most of its shine and to create that seamless glaze—with minimal fallout.

Naomi Jamieson
Lifestyle News Writer

Naomi is a Lifestyle News Writer with the Women's Lifestyle team, where she covers everything from entertainment to fashion and beauty, as well as TikTok trends for Woman&Home, after previously writing for My Imperfect Life and GoodTo. Interestingly though, Naomi actually has a background in design, having studied illustration at Plymouth University but lept into the media world in 2020, after always having a passion for writing and earned her Gold Standard diploma in Journalism with the NCTJ.


Before working for Future Publishing’s Lifestyle News team, she worked in the Ad production team. Here she wrote and designed adverts on all sorts of things, which then went into print magazines across all genres. Now, when she isn’t writing articles on celebs, fashion trends, or the newest shows on Netflix, you can find her drinking copious cups of coffee, drawing and probably online shopping.