Reviewing Shades of Black Eyeshadow

Words by Jaime (she/her), 22 QLD  

Content Warning

The following poetry and artwork may contain themes that might be difficult to read or triggering to some readers. Readers in need can seek support from the following services 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) or Lifeline (13 11 14) – visit our Creating a Safe Space page to see a full list of support services.


#Reviewing Shades of Black Eyeshadow


Moon Beam Chocolate

This shade looks like pitch black,

A scream into the nighttime,

The blanket stars lay their heads on.

It’s dark as night.


But then there’s Void,

which looks like the abyss,

an endless space,

…A void.

Its matte and deep, deep black,



Still, Galaxy dreams is pretty.

It shimmers and shakes like the stars

On a frosty night.

Sometimes it looks purple in the right lighting.

I imagine, that if you could see echoes,

This is what they would look like.

It’s a black eyeshadow that says,

‘Here I am, look at me!’


The Sephora employee watches me,

Black swatches running

Up my arm like a charcoal ladder.

I see her looking at me, not just to me.

She’s seeing my swollen eye,

The streaks of red and yellow swirling down my cheek,

She’s watching me watch.


I know what she’s thinking.

The full coverage matte foundation

Is probably better suited,

And also, maybe a colour corrector,


setting powder,

and an awkward encounter at the


That was the original plan.


I feel sixteen again,

Taking to my neck with concealer

Or cold spoons to try and get rid of rare hickeys

Before my parents could scrub my skin raw with scoldings.

Back then, it felt like a shameful piece of drama,

An awkward rite of passage

That we giggled about at school but dreaded at home.

Now its just dread.


It hurts me to think we practice

Covering bruises so young.


But this isn’t my neck,

A cute love bite,

A mark of romance.

This is my eye.


And to be fair,

It never used to be my face.

It was the texts sent at 3 a.m.,

It was the wall behind me,

Then my collarbone from firm shakes.

It’s all over now, genuinely.

A restraining order and my sister’s couch

Serve as beginners solace.


I don’t know that I want the full coverage,

The mattifying blended look.

This bruise is not a part of my skin.

I will not melt it into my complexion,

Hide it under covers of foundation,

Like a small child shoving rubbish under the bed.

No, this is not a part of my skin, face, body.

This is a cancer, a wart, a tumour, a cyst,

Protruding, invading, an outward

Ugly thing.


That is one thing I have learnt,

Pain will demand it’s space.

It will swell and consume.

I deserve for this to take up the space

I have for so long not let it have.


I smile at the Sephora employee and turn away.

No, I don’t want the coverage.

This is not something I want to cover,

Not anymore.


There’s an eyeshadow shade called It’s a Secret.

It’s gel and moves like ink.

It does look like a secret.

I hold the pot in my hand.

It feels heavy.

It would sit on my swollen lid proudly,

Loudly declaring itself on my face,

Screaming at everyone who walks by.

But it looks like his hair,

And his car,

And his words.

It looks violent.


I grab the Galaxy Dreams eyeshadow instead.

I pay at the counter.

When I get to the car,

I use my finger to gently

Smear this sparkly black abyss across my eyes.

It shines on my skin,

Blends into the bruise, and

Carves out how green my eyes are.

It shimmers.

It shakes.

It says, ‘Here I am,

Look at me’.

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