Free shipping on all domestic orders over $39

Eyeshadow colors that work for you

February 23, 2012 Reviewed by admin 2 Comments
Truth #17: Neutral eyeshadow colors are safe, but vibrant colors will make your eyes stand out.

A few weeks ago I began writing about how to pick the best colors in makeup because you curious TIA readers kept asking. These questions about the “right” colors are tough to answer since there’s not a specific set of rules to go by when it comes to choosing the “perfect” colors for you.

We’ve already covered the basics on color theory and how to find your perfect foundation shade, now our focus moves to the eyes. Within the eye category there is eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara and even brows to consider. So the choices become rather like a complex formula of variants with an exponential number of outcomes.

Everyone and their tastes are so different, so the idea of a perfect color is totally subjective. Just this weekend I was teaching two clients, who couldn’t have been more opposite, and helping them choose colors. The first loved the sparkly, navy blue I put on her by Alima Pure, the false lashes, and the drama of a more intense eye, which she was willing to put on. By contrast my second client was as neutral and natural as it got. She normally didn’t wear anything other than mascara and lipstick on a daily basis. To play up the amber color in her brown eyes, we used a warm, gold-brown eyeshadow, Seduce by RMS Beauty. She felt she had really done a lot to enhance her eyes and yet it still looked quite natural. So the right sets of colors for each of them were different given their aesthetic preferences.

If we go back to the rules of color theory, then we begin to understand how colors interact with each other to either blend together or accentuate one another through contrast.

If you divide the color wheel in half from red to yellow you will have what are known as the warm tones; they are opposite of the cool tones. A color opposite another is a complementary color. Red and green are complementary. Put two opposing color wheel colors together and it will create a very strong impact versus pairing colors from a similar family, which will seem more subdued.

Knowing this relationship helps us to translate it all into makeup terms. For example, if you have brown eyes and you wear brown eyeshadow, then your eye just looks neutral and monochromatic, and doesn’t make any sort of statement. Now if you put on a punch of violet eyeshadow you are actually drawing more attention to both the color in your eye and the eyeshadow because they are sharp contrasts to each other. You may have noticed that a variety of makeup companies will sell eye shadow kits specific to various eye colors. They are all based on the concept explained above.

Since we all love simple guidelines, here are some for making your peepers pop.

Brown eyes (a warm color) can wear cool tones such as blue, purple, green, and even some pinks.

Blue, gray eyes (a cool color) can wear brown, gold, copper, and pink.

Green eyes with a cooler, blue look can wear brown, gold, copper, pink, and olive.

Green eyes that are more hazel or with warm hues can wear blue, purple, pink, and jewel-toned green.

Of course, there are a thousand variations on the colors listed above, so you want to find one that has an undertone that also works with the depth and color of your skin. Light pink can look amazing on someone very fair skinned, but can look childish on a woman with a darker complexion who would look better in a deeper rose shade.

Virtual makeover sites like TAAZ and Daily Makeover are a really cool way to give yourself a commitment-free makeover. You just have to be willing to spend a bit of time getting a photo uploaded of yourself that you can easily transform using their technology. I have a great time playing around with the generic models changing eyeliner and lipstick at will. I wish all the makeup changes were so easy at photo shoots!

Am I encouraging you to start sporting pink and blue eyeshadow? Yes and no. Obviously you want to use good taste while having fun. You can start incorporating the shades listed in your eyeliner, mascara and/or eyeshadow little by little to help draw more attention to your eye color. By keeping all the other elements of your eye makeup neutral and adding color in one area, you will achieve a more sophisticated result.

It’s good to try new things, and makeup washes right off if you don’t like it. Give a new color a whirl, you may find you really look great and feel different going outside your own box a bit.
  • March 1, 2012

    by Ann R

    Once again a wealth of information! Now I just have to get the guts to try blue or violet eyeshadow for my hazel eyes.....if only I didn't have purple bags underneath big enough for the grand tour of Europe!

  • February 23, 2012

    by Julie Kay

    Kristen: Eyeshadow is the hardest thing in makeup for me to become knowledgeable about and comfortable with. This is lifelong, not just now that I'm in my 60s and not wanting added attention of being labeled "She who doesn't know she looks over-made-up." I have deep set blue eyes.

    I go to Vancouver BC with my best friend (nearly) annually, and we always go to MAC's store there. A couple years ago I let a stylist have a go at my eyes (something I've only done twice in my life). She actually praised my eyes' deep set'ness as an asset (who'd of thought- not me!) and said it helped me not need that dark crease line most women need. At any rate she used a muted purple at the outside lid; a very subtle brown mauve on the inside lid and kind of in the deep crease; and a peach-almost-the same tone as my skin- just a little lighter on my brow bone. I've used these same colors since! when I feel the need to look THAT made up, which isn't often.

    But thank you for your honesty. It is hard to advise eyeshadow in an article. You've done an excellent job with your guidelines. Also I love your recent video with Marta.

    Rock on! ~jk

Join the discussion! Leave a comment below.

My Comment

Add a comment...

-or- Cancel Comment
* Required Fields
truth in aging's five best

Truth In Aging's Five Best

The very best to choose from for your skin concerns.

Read More

truth in aging videos

Truth In Aging Videos

Helpful how-tos and reviews from Marta and friends.

Watch Now

meet our contributors

Meet Our Contributors

The TIA community consists of our trusted reviewers.

Meet Them

be inspired

Be Inspired

Inspiring thoughts and women who are aging gracefully.

Read More