Choosing the right color eyeshadow can make or break your look. It can make your eyes stand out, make them look bigger, or make you look washed out. But how do you choose the best colors? Do you match your outfit? Eye color? Skin tone? Or do you simply stick with a neutral color no matter the event or outfit?
Just as matching your clothes to your skin tone can improve your look, understanding how to pick the right color eyeshadow can enhance your overall look.
To best choose complementary colors (instead of using one single color for your eyes, it helps to understand the different types of colors:
Primary colors are the base colors that, alone or combined with other colors, create every color on the color spectrum:** red, yellow, blue**. Using two primary colors on your eyes can give you a bold look but be careful, it can also make you look like a clown, especially if they are not well blended.
Tertiary colors are a combination of a primary color and the color adjacent to it (in equal proportions) on the color wheel, for example:** red and orange, blue and green**. Smoky eyes are created by combining three tertiary colors - or three tones of the same color, such as black, gray, silver.
Complementary colors are those that are found opposite one another on the color wheel:** blue and orange, violet and yellow**. When mixed together, complementary colors will turn to gray or brown but when placed next to each other, they seem to brighten each other. Complemetary colors are opposite one another on the color wheel.
While it is tempting to match your color selections with your outfit du jour, it is usually better to match the colors to your eye color and skin tone. Certain colors, such as plum, tend to match with all skin tones.
Matching your eye color
Start with determining your best color group baesd on eye color:
- Brown, mahogany, amber, beige, coral
- Bronze, gold and copper
- Turquoise, aqua and crystal blue
- Beige, cream, tan, peach
- Gold, bronze
- Plum, violet
- Charcoal, gray
- Purple, plum, lavender, eggplant
- Brown, gold, bronze
- Yellow, gold
- Green, olive, emerald
- Neutral colors such as beige
- Dark brown
- Pale pink
- Purple, violet
- Blue, midnight blue, deep blue, medium blue
- White, gray, beige
If you aren’t sure which colors go well together in the group, visit the makeup section. Many cosmetic companies offer eyeshadow compacts with three complementary colors to make it easier. Once you have a list of possible colors, narrow down which ones will compliment your entire look by using the following ideas to match your skin tone and hair color.
Matching your skin tone and hair color
In addition to choosing colors that work well with your eye color, keeping in mind which colors work best with your skin tone and hair color can help make your eyes vibrant:
Fair skin - Stay away from dark black or gray colors. work with softer colors in shades of green, purples, golds, light brown, light pink. If you are using a contour color, choose one that is a few shades darker than your skin.
Dark skin - Choose bright, vibrant colors. Stay away from white or light gray colors. Colors that compliment dark skin include purple and gold. You can also experiment with coral, light brown, green, beige, ivory, bronze.
- Blond Hair - light gray, pink, blue, green
- Black or brown hair - black, purple, yellow, green, brown, green, golds, tans, beige
- Red hair - black, gold, dark green, olive
Keep in mind your eye shadow colors often change depending on the time of day and where you’re headed. Going to work probably requires more subdued colors. Going for a night out? You may want to experiment with glistening or sparkly colors.
These suggestions are a guide to help you get started. Dont be afaird to experiment with different color combinations to see what looks best with your eye, hair and skin colors. Of course, there are no hard and fast rules and if you find you like the colors that aren’t on the list for your coloring, go for it! Makeup should make you feel good about yourself.
For more information:
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.