Do you do your face or eyes first?

01
25

EYESHADOWFOUNDATION

Usually after every makeup tutorial or step by step I get asked the same question:

“Why do you do your eyes before foundation?”

While beauty school covers hair, skin/makeup, and nails, I would absolutely not call myself a makeup pro. An amateur who likes experimenting with it? Absolutely.

I do my eyes first for one main reason, and that is the fall out from eyeshadow. I don’t think there is a right or wrong order when it comes to eyes or foundation/face first, but that is just my two cents.

I almost always use high end eyeshadows, and always start with Mac Paintpot in Painterly OR a cream eyeshadow base. If I don’t use a base or eyeshadow primer, my eyeshadow is a disaster.

eyeshadowfirst-2

Regardless of using high end shadows with a high end base and nice brushes, I still find that I get a bit of fall out on the tops of my cheeks when I apply the darker shade to my crease. So, I like to wipe away any fall out before I apply my foundation and concealer.

This could, in part, be because I’m so fair skinned that you can see every single thing on my face, but I find that the end result is a cleaner look.

Do you do your face or eyes first? Based on how often I’m questioned I assume most of you do your face first. Try doing the opposite, just for fun, and see what you think of it!

Speaking of eye makeup, I wrote a post on my favorite brown eyeshadowsΒ that anyone can wear, and a tutorial on a winter smoky eye!

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Comments (95)

  1. Posted January 25, 2016

    Oh, this is very interesting! I have never considered doing eyes first but it makes perfect sense. (Another very fair-skinned, show-everything person here.) I will have to try this.

    • Kate says
      Posted January 25, 2016

      Let me know what you think when you make the switch!

      • allison says
        Posted January 25, 2016

        This tip has made SUCH a difference in my makeup routine! Love it

    • Nicole says
      Posted January 25, 2016

      I love your hair color!

  2. Beth says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I tend to go back and forth. But I always start with my face. I defiantly see the benefits in doing eyes first though…

  3. Sherry says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    Good Morning Kate

    I have been doing eyes before foundation because I noticed you doing it, I am also fair skinned and I am finding that I like doing the eyes first for the same reason as you.

  4. Wendy says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    After watching you several times, several months back I started doing my eyes first and now always do them first. I’m very fair and it helps a lot. Thank you for that!!

  5. Jenn says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    What about brows? I mean, do you do your brows beforehand as well? I guess I just worry about blending everything in well enough. I’m interested in your perspective about when to fill in brows!

    • Kate says
      Posted January 25, 2016

      No I do my brows after my foundation!

  6. Ester says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I always start with mascara, because I tend to have all black eyelids afterwards! So if I do this first I can wipe my clumsiness away and start on the rest of my face πŸ™‚

    • Andy says
      Posted January 25, 2016

      Same!!!! I ALWAYS am covered in mascara after! Did I learn wrong? Are my lashes weird?

  7. Krit says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I have been doing eyes first ever since I started wearing makeup, over 20 years ago. I never thought about it doing it any different. I feel like my foundation is the finishing touch!

  8. Posted January 25, 2016

    After watching your videos, I switched to eyes first – I would always have fall out – especially if using anything glittery. I’m also fair skinned and tried Mac’s painterly but found it darkened every shad of shadow I used, so I switched to Mac’s Soft Ochre and it’s a better fit for me. As far as when to do brows – I do them at the very end – after foundation and powder (I use Lamcome dual finish – Matte Beige ii…one later with a wet sponge for coverage and then a layer with dry sponge for the ‘powder’ finish. It’s a fantastic product). The Hourglass Brow pencil in platinum blonde is perfect for me as well…gives just enough color for fill in. Thanks for all your tips!

    • Posted January 25, 2016

      My word, all the typos!! Early mornings and typing on my phone isn’t a good combo!

  9. Posted January 25, 2016

    Most of the time I do my face first, but I tend to do my eyes first when using darker shadows. Personally, I have a hard time having an eye look come together for me without my foundation being done, so that’s why I do it first.

    http://www.jenniferpeer.com

    • Hannah S says
      Posted February 23, 2016

      I am the same way! My skin is so uneven I feel like my eyes look awful in shadow unless I have foundation on first. Inconvenient because I’m so pale, but ce la vie πŸ™‚

  10. Lauren says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I’ve always heard that the “proper” way to do it was eyeshadow first, but I am in the habit of doing foundation first, especially since I don’t wear eyeshadow most days. I need to give it a try again on the days when I’m wearing a full face!

    Fizz and Frosting

    • Lori Testy says
      Posted January 26, 2016

      I have always done my foundation, blush , eye brows , mascara and then eye shadow last, then sometimes another coat of mascara. If I have any fall out, I just wipe it away. Because I do have longer lashes, I always have some mascara under my lower lashes and even sometime above on my lids, so that is why I do eye shadow after the mascara.

  11. Becca says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I’m with you on this subject Kate! I end up with fallout too so it helps me to do my eyes first, clean up the eye shadow and then finish my face. I also think my eyes tend to take the most time so it’s nice to get them done first and then everything else seems to go much faster.

  12. Michelle says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    Years and years ago, Oprah had a makeup artist on and she said to do your eyes first for the same reason.

    • Kate says
      Posted January 25, 2016

      oh, funny! I had no idea!

  13. Samantha says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I always did my foundation before my eyes, then I started following you and made the switch! I feel like the finished look is much cleaner πŸ™‚ Maybe its because i’m so pasty white from these Michigan winters? πŸ™‚

  14. Melissa says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    Honestly, I had always done foundation first…until I saw a tutorial that you did long ago. I switched at that point and really prefer it that way now. I will say though, I do my mascara after foundation. Second to last step…before lips.

  15. Trina says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I’ve recently gotten in to watching YouTube makeup channels and all the pros say to do eyes first for the same reason – eye shadow fall out. So I’m trying to switch it up myself, but I often forget! Oh well!

  16. Andrea says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    Interesting! Thanks for the insight. The eye primer is a MUST have for me also!

    Do you have any tips on primers/foundations/BB creams that work well with oily skin? I struggle to find something that won’t make my skin look all sorts of uneven by the end of the day. I’m tried so many things, but not a lot of luck. Thakn you!

    • Suzanne says
      Posted January 25, 2016

      Andrea – Have you tried Nars Luminous Foundation? I love it and it evens out my skin tone and lasts all day!

  17. Kayleigh R says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    Ever since I began watching your tutorials I do my eyes first then the rest of my makeup. It’s easier to fix my shadow or a mascara mistake and not risk messing everything else up. Love your tips & tricks!

  18. Alyssa says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    For some reason I just always do my foundation and concealer first. I need to try to forgo my habits and try to do my eyes first!

    Alyssa | Glitter and Grey

  19. Susan Schnitzler says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I never thought about which to do first until I watched your tutorials. I’m going to start with eyes now because of you. My biggest problem has always been my lashes. They are so long, (I know…such a problem) that while waiting for the mascara to dry I wind up with mascara on my upper lid (and under mt eyes) which messes up my shadow. Ugh…such a pain.

    • Katie says
      Posted January 25, 2016

      I have the same “problem” as you! I found that doing my lower lashes before my upper lashes helped that- if I do my uppers first, when I try to do my lowers my top lashes touch my skin and smear! Just a thought for you to try!

      • Susan Schnitzler says
        Posted January 25, 2016

        Thank you, Katie! That’s a great idea. We can’t really complain about having long lashes, can we!!!

  20. Sarah says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    When I first saw you do that it made complete sense so I gave it a try. That felt completely foreign at first, but now I don’t have to worry about cleaning up my face after I do my eyes. Thanks for the tip!!

  21. Kim says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I always do my face first, but I keep meaning to try doing eyes due to the fallout you mentioned! Creature of habit I guess πŸ™‚

    Kim

    http://trendkeeper.me .. Blizzard OOTD

  22. Katie says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I am also fair-skinned and I used to use only cream eye-shadows, so I never had the fall-out problem until recently. I apply my foundation with a disposable sponge or a beauty blender and I can pick up any fall out with the sponge. I think I’ve always done foundation first because my mother did. I never even thought about trying it eyes first. I will have to give it a try!

    P.S. Long time lurker, first time commenter. I love this blog!

    • Kate says
      Posted January 25, 2016

      good idea with the sponge!

  23. Debbie says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I tend to do shadow first, but for a different reason: I don’t always bother with foundation. My skin is…okay…and I still have memories of those girls in high school who’s foundation was just a mask. Also, I like to keep things really simple and quick, and with blonde eyelashes (I’m a redhead), eyes have the most impact. They are the first thing people notice (so I’m told by my dental brother’s website…smile comes next:)) so I figure if I’m only going to do one thing, it’s my eyes. Just thought I’d give a shout out to other super-quick, lower make-up people!

  24. jessica says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I sometimes do eyeshadow and eyeliner first, but I wait to do mascara until the end. I’ve always heard that the powders from eyeshadow, blush, etc. gets on your lashes and gives the mascara more “grab”

  25. Nicole Blackstock says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I do foundation first, I guess to me it just makes since, that you put the foundation down first..then build. I have only had problems with fallout a few times.
    I am kind of messy when I put on foundation so at least I can clean it up and I would be afraid I would mess up my eyes rubbing my foundation on my face πŸ˜‰

  26. Rachael S. says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    What a coincidence. I was just thinking about this very topic this morning! I have recently realized the fallout. What do you find best to wipe it off? I’ve been using a cotton ball but still notice some sparkle under my eye and it seems weird to me!

  27. Rosa says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I do foundation first then eyes for my everyday makeup. Since I use very neutral colored eyeshadows on a daily basis, I do not need to worry about any of them falling down underneath my eyes or on my cheek.
    I, however, do my eyes first whenever I do a smoky eye! There are definitely darker and more shimmery eyeshadows involved, so I need to do my eyes first. I learned this trick from a makeup artist when my grandma got me the very first set of makeup :)!

  28. Natalie says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I have always done foundation first. I will have to give eyes first a try.

  29. Amy says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I’ve been following you for years and usually try all your tips, I’m surprised I never thought to try this one! I’m also very fair skinned, so today my eyes will go on first…I’m intrigued to see how it goes πŸ™‚

    • Kate says
      Posted January 25, 2016

      hope it went well!

  30. Bayley says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I always do my eye makeup first, especially if it’s for a night out when i’m using dark colours!x

    http://bayleybloom.blogspot.co.uk/

  31. Tiffanie says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I just recently made the switch after watching your latest makeup tutorial. I am also very fair skinned and this has done wonders for my under eye darkness. Why I never thought of this is beside me. πŸ™‚

  32. Melissa says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I’ve been wearing makeup for 20+ years and it never once occurred to me to do my eyes first! It even took me a minute to figure out what you meant by “eye shadow fall out”. Haha I’ll be giving this a whirl. Thanks for the tip.

  33. Rosie says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I’m pale too, so I always do my eyes first otherwise I end up with shadow everywhere. I always leave my mascara until last though because I use mineral makeup and if I don’t, I always smudge my mascara.

  34. Charlotte says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I have never did my eyes first but this makes perfect sense! I always have to wipe excess eye shadow from under my eyes seems like. Then apply more foundation πŸ™ Great article! Thanks!

  35. Amanda says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I actually do foundation first, then eyes, then undereye concealer, bronzer, blush…kind of random but it works for me!

  36. Alicia says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I normally do foundation first. That started way back when I was first learning about makeup. Somewhere about the time I went to cosmetology school or when I was first in the salon, they told us to put a thick layer of loose powder under the eye, then wipe that off with a powder brush after doing shadow. It felt so unnatural to me to put that much powder on. Apparently this was essentially baking before that term was used. Since I never was comfortable with it, I would use my foundation or concealer to clean up the fallout. Sounds like you would just make a big grey smear, but I promise it doesn’t. What I like about using the foundation or concealer a second time is I can clean up the outter corner of my eye. I suppose that is the same thing as applying foundation after shadow! I recently tried using hair tape before shadow, and I really like how it gives a nice clean line. Not sure if it takes off some foundation though. Will have to try tape and shadow before foundation. The reason I like foundation first is I normally chose my shadow based on how good or bad my skin looks after foundation. I will wear minimal shadow if my skin looks great. If I still have alot of pimples that refuse to be covered up, I will do a more dramatic eye to shift the attention from the skin to the eyes. BTW tried ELF’s makeup remover pen, and I love it! So much easier than makeup remover and qtips to get that mascara that ends up where it shouldn’t… You know, like the bridge of my nose. πŸ™‚

  37. Christine says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I do my eyes first as well, due to potential for eyeshadow fallout. I have to use a primer first, I had used MAC paint pot but now I use MAC fix plus as per recommendation from the wonderful makeup artist at the MAC counter. I received the Naked Basics palette for Christmas and love love love it!

  38. susan says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I don’t have an eyeshadow fallout problem (using Charlotte Tilbury Sophisticate palette & Zoeva Cocoa Blend—love love).

    But today, I am trying your eyes first routine.

    http://a-woman-of-a-certain-age.com/

  39. Leigh says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I do my eyes first as well. When I was just starting to wear makeup, my mom told me to always do eyes first so I’ve always done it that way. I usually have shadow flecks on my face and sometimes little mascara marks, so I just clean up and move on to the rest of my face.

  40. Stephanie says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I also do eyes first, for the same reason you mentioned. Just works for me, I guess!

  41. adrianne says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I have always done foundation first. I have pretty uneven skin – a spattering of acne, some scars, freckles, etc. I find that doing foundation gives me an even palette to start with, and it makes me want to do more.

    I tried doing my eyes first this morning. It didn’t seem to make a huge difference for me. I am pretty pale, but have a lot of freckles so maybe I don’t notice the fallout as much? Or maybe because I use the loose powder foundation? I always do a quick swipe around my eyes with my powder brush, especially if I am wearing something dark or glittery. I will give it a shot again tomorrow; maybe it is just to “weird” to me right now to really see the difference.

  42. Arijana C. says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    Up until recently, I always did eye shadow first. I must say that I love applying foundation first before i do my eyes. I think, in my case, the foundation just gives me the even skintone and i also apply it on my eye lids before i start the eye shadows. It almost makes my shadow color pop out more.

    • Kate says
      Posted January 25, 2016

      That makes sense!

  43. Jillian says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I do my face first and here’s why…. I use my concealer/foundation as my eye primer. I apply both to my eyelids as a do to the rest of my face and my eye makeup does not budge. Ever! If there is any fallout I use my beauty blender to pick it up.

  44. Joy says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I started doing my eye makeup first after seeing you do it several months ago & I love it! Not only can I clean up the eyeshadow fallout before fixing my face, I no longer have issues with smudging later in the day.

  45. Alicia Haas says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I am fair skinned too and always hate when I get makeup under my eyes after I’ve gone through all the work of putting my foundation on. I’m definitely going to try this! Love your tutorials!

  46. Connie Boothe says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I do my eyes first for the same reason you do. Makes a big difference in the foundation looking its best!

  47. J. says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    Hi!
    I am just dropping in to let you know I linked to your blogging series today on my blogpost (http://www.practicalbydefault.com/blogger-recognition-award/) It was due to this well written, informative and super helpful guide that I started blogging. It put the little seed in my head and heart-thank you so much for writing it!

    As for your question today-I do my face first HOWEVER I can see how it is super helpful to do eyes first-that way if you mess up you can start over quicker without destroying your face.

    Love your blog!

  48. Ann B. says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I’m an “eyes first” girl!

  49. Kari says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I did my eyes first this morning….so odd as I am a creature of habit and have the same routine every morning but I kind of liked it. I love the painterly pot primer for the eyes. I got it about a year ago after reading one of your blogs.

  50. Posted January 25, 2016

    Eyeshadow fall out was the main reason I did my eyes first for a long time. This still makes sense to me, but now I do my face and then the eyes. Just because I clean my face and use cream and then foundation in the bath room. I do my eyes in my own room now, so yeah.

  51. penny says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    Thank you Kate! Tried eyes first and it is So much better. I’m not spending so much extra time cleaning all the shadow smudges.

  52. Shelby says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I like to do my face first because sometimes I run out of time to do my eyes! I also don’t experience much fallout with eyeshadow, so there really isn’t a problem here for me. Thanks for sharing this!

  53. Evelyn says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I do foundation/bb cream first, then eyes, then concealer/blush/highlighter etc… I prefer to leave some time for the foundation to set in, but I agree that there may be fall outs (though I love just using cream eye shadows) and that’s why I do concealer after.

    But if I were doing a super smoky eye with a cat eye I may do foundation after just because I know I will need to correct and using a makeup remover is just easier. But I don’t do that often!

  54. Nicole says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I do my eyes before my face as well–and for the same reason! I have a more olive complexion and I have a lot of eye shadow fall out from the darker shadows that I like to wipe away before putting on my face make up!

  55. Heidi says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I do my foundation first but also use the trick of loose powder under the eyes- learned this trick when I worked at a makeup counter in college. I usually buy a cheap translucent powder (like covergirl), put it under the eyes fairly thick, then when done with eyes wipe it away with large powder brush. The powder catches the fallout and wipes away clean. I sometimes do eyes first but usually like getting my base on to really get all areas/eyes covered πŸ™‚

  56. Dana says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I always do my face first…do you put foundation on your eyes? Depending on the primer I use on my eyes, I put that on first, then bb cream (on my eyes as well), then mineral veil, then eye shadow. Now I don’t know what to do!

  57. Erica says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I have tried the eyes first, and the thought is good, but I feel the need to put my foundation on first. For me, it’s the base for everything, even the eyes. When I do eyes first, it always seems like the eyes don’t quite match the face. The foundation evens out all the discoloration and my eyes seem to need that too, even when wearing eyeshadow. But to each his own! You do you ?

    • Jessica says
      Posted January 26, 2016

      Same here. I can’t blend my foundation properly if I have to leave a perimeter around my eyes.

  58. Gina DaMetz says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I do my eye shadow, eye liner and mascara, THEN do my foundation. I always have fall out from my eye shadow, so I always do my foundation last.

  59. Kristi says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I usually do my face first, but if I am planning on doing an intense smokey eye (for parties or nights out), then I will do my eyes first. I always find it interesting how women do their makeup differently.

    Kristi | Be Loverly

  60. Posted January 25, 2016

    I’m with you and always do my eyes first! Not only for eyeshadow fallout but also from mascara smudges and I often balance my hand on my cheekbone and would rub off foundation and/or blush. Plus, if I screw up trying out something new it would likely be on my eyes so it’s easier to start over that way.

  61. Lynn says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I do BB cream all over, including eyes. Then concealer. Then loose powder. Then eyes! I feel the combo of the 3 sets the eyes really well.

  62. Evelina says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I always do my face first because I put my underage concealer and powder on my eyelids too. And I just do a little liquid eyeliner wing tip so there is no fall out.

  63. Ashley says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I always do my eyes first because of the fall out and when I put mascara on, it sometimes gets on my skin below my eyes.

  64. Crystal says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I have always done my eyes last, but this rationale has me questioning my order completely. I’m going to give changing it up a try and see how it goes. Do you ever use a BB cream? If so, when do you like to apply that? I typically use that and not foundation.

  65. Posted January 25, 2016

    Because of all these years watching you do eyes first, I finally tried it. It was a total disaster! I had weird lines on the outside of my lids. I have such tiny, deep set eyes that it just didn’t work. But I tried!!!

    My order (and if I deviate, I forget a step): foundation, concealer, concealer setting stuff, shadow primer, highlighter, shadow, blush, bronzer, curl lashes, eye liner, mascara, lips

    I got braces in December and can’t wear lipstick until they are done. I miss it so much!!!

  66. Mel says
    Posted January 25, 2016

    I always always always do my eye makeup first! Even after all these years, eyeshadow always ends up on my cheeks! I use a makeup wipe to clean up and then I start applying makeup to my face.

    Mel | http://www.thegossipdarling.com

  67. Mark says
    Posted January 26, 2016

    A very good topic. I have always done my foundation, then brows and eyes. I could do with a change. Great to think of new ideas.

  68. Posted January 26, 2016

    I do my face first. I’ve thought about eyes first, but I struggle with acne, so I end up working on covering all that up first and layering on several different products in that regard before moving on to my eyes. I think I would end up smudging my eyes if I switched. Maybe I should give it a try though. πŸ™‚

  69. Martie says
    Posted January 26, 2016

    I do it your way, eyes first. When I did makeup professionally I always did it this way, too. Not only did it give me a chance to clean up any messes I made on the cheekbones, but also, I’m a toucher…if I did foundation first I’d have to re-do it anyway once I got done with the eyes because of all the times I lifted a brow or propped my fingers on the cheekbone for leverage! Lol! I kinda do that on myself, too. I don’t stretch and pull, but still manage to touch every part of my face, or the client’s face, while doing eyes.

  70. Lauren says
    Posted January 26, 2016

    I always do eyes first! The reason for me is that I have a big wrinkle in my forehead and when I do my mascara and such it crinkles. If I do foundation first, it settles in the wrinkle and looks gross. I also do it for the fallout and mascara getting on my face, but the main culprit is the wrinkle.

  71. Lynn says
    Posted January 26, 2016

    ALWAYS…eyes first!

  72. Tiffany says
    Posted January 26, 2016

    Always do face first. I was taught that it builds a foundation for your eyeshadow. Of course, this was before the invention of primer. I also put concealer on first too and start with the eyes. It gives me a nice canvas to play with. Also, my eyelashes end up being covered in foundation since I use a powder foundation, so I need to do these and my eyebrows last.

  73. Posted January 27, 2016

    I usually put the concealer first and then go to my eyes, after that a bit of blush and back to eyebrows which are my final thing to do. I do sometimes have loose powder from eye shadows on my cheeks but tried some of L’oreal and they’re great. Blend well and don’t leave that much mess either πŸ˜‰

  74. Bretty says
    Posted January 27, 2016

    I don’t wear foundation, only concealer, but I think I may have to try the eyes first approach as well!

  75. kayla says
    Posted January 28, 2016

    I am with you! I definitely love doing my eyes first because there is nothing worse than getting fall out all over a perfected base!

    kayla
    http://www.misskaylajane.com

  76. Erin says
    Posted January 29, 2016

    I LOVE that you asked this question! It seriously was a revelation when someone taught me to do this. One day I was fed up with my eye makeup falling on my cheeks and not being able to get it off right. So I went to Sephora looking for a white powder to place underneath my eyes so that the leftover makeup would fall off. The lady was like, “girl, try putting your eye makeup on first, then you can use makeup remover before your foundation so it won’t mess it up.” I was like, what? No way! That would be the hardest thing to do! But I tried it anyway. It was really weird at first. it took me atleast a week to get the hang of it, but now I can’t go back!! LOVE this way! I can’t go back. πŸ™‚

  77. Sarah Beth says
    Posted January 30, 2016

    I just started doing my eyes first and it makes a huge difference. I didn’t even realize hum much shadow fell on my pale cheeks!

  78. Christy says
    Posted January 31, 2016

    I’ve been doing my shadow first for about a week now. I’m hooked! I ALWAYS get shadow on my cheeks and then I rub off my foundation trying to get the shadow off. This is brilliant!