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If you pick up an old magazine with beauty tips, you may find this outdated "rule" that in order to make your eyes pop, you should use an eyeshadow that is in the same shade as your eyes. Unless you know nothing about colour theory or you've never experimented with eye makeup, this will sound wrong to you and you'll know that it's the complementary colours that work ideally when you want to emphasize your eyes. Complementary colours intensify each other and create a pleasing colour combination.
If you're familiar with the colour theory and the wheel, it's all very simple and logical. For instance if your eye colour is blue, opposite to blue is orange, therefore the best colours to emphasize your eyes are orange shades. Now I don't mean you have to wear orange on your eyes (honestly, when was the last time you saw someone wear orange eyeshadow in public?), rather that you simply pick shades that contain some orange, for example copper, peach, gold, warm brown,… But you shouldn't limit yourself only to orange. Explore all the warm shades. Since blue is a typical cool colour, any warm shade will work as a contrast. I don't really take colour theory too seriously on a daily basis, nor should you, but it comes handy when you want to emphasize your eye colour and you can achieve a lot with just small details, like changing the colour of liner from black to navy if you have brown eyes, but you still wear a classic neutral smoky eye to go with it. Regardless the colour of your eyes, there is a general rule that if you use a colour that is darker than your eyes, it will make them appear lighter and vice-versa. When picking your eye makeup, don't forget to consider your skin tone and hair colour, as one shade will look different on two people, also appropriate the makeup to suit the occasion.
As I said in the intro, the opposite of blue is orange, which means that the best shades to emphasize such eye colour are variations of it, but of course, any warm colour will create a lovely contrast.
Bronze, gold, terracotta, copper, peach and warm brown shades: these warm shade balance the cool tones of blue eyes and create a nice contrast, which brings attention to the eyes.
Purple shades: Purple suits any eye colour because it's a mix of warm red and cool blue. If you want to wear more colour on your eyes, you can't go wrong with purple.
Blue and green shades take away the attention from the eye colour. If you have blue eyes and you ever tried wearing these two colours, you may got a feeling that it looks too monochrome, but not necessarily. If you do choose blue, pick a shade that is much darker than your eyes, like navy, so your eyes look lighter, but if you choose a really light one, it'll make your eyes appear darker. It's best to avoid colours that are exactly the tone of your eyes.
Brown is a mix of several colours, so theoretically it doesn't have an opposite colour. But just as at every eye colour, there are so many versions of brown eyes. Some have tones of yellow or amber, some are more green also known as hazel, some have brown eyes that are almost black and also reddish brown eyes exist. Again think of the contrasts for each of these undertones, but if you consider that brown eyes are often warm, cool colours will emphasize brown eyes best.
Amber and reddish brown eyes: turquoise, navy blue, emerald and mint green. Opposite of orange (amber) and red are blue and green shades, so these will work best for you.
Dark brown, almost black eyes: bronze, coral, sand and terracotta. Theoretically you can pick any shade you wish, or at least one that suits your skin and hair colour.
Honey (gold) brown eyes: aubergine, lavender, royal blue, lilac and light blue. You can emphasize the gold specks with gold and bronze shades, then add some navy or cobalt blue as an eyeliner for example .
Hazel eyes (green brown): Most such guides have a separate category for hazel eyes, but it's exactly the same as at green eyes. The same applies at this eye colour, so best colours are cranberry, burgundy, copper, terracotta, all shades of purple, peach and warm taupes.
Choose a navy blue eyeliner instead of black for definition. Blue will emphasize the warmth in your eye colour and as a bonus also make the whites of your eyes look more white.
Bright colours like blue and green aren't exactly every day colours, so you can still relay on all neutral shades, while the golds and coppers will make your eyes sparkle. Dark brown eyes are sometimes cooler, so emphasize them with warm shades.
Though green eyes are the rarest, there are so many different shades of them. Emerald, forest green, jade, chartreuse - each shade has a slightly different composition of colours and colour theory again comes to the rescue. but if keep things simple: the colour opposite of green is red. Red is not an easy colour to wear (though I think Taya does it brilliantly), however, again don't take the theory too seriously and pick a shade that contains some red, but keep it wearable and subtle for every day.
Cranberry, burgundy, copper and terracotta: Copper shades are the easiest to wear from this selection, but don't be afraid to experiment with something more red, like cranberry shades. I have found the perfect such shade in TheBalm's Nude'Tude palette called Sexy. What's the most important thing when wearing such shades is to make sure that the eyes are really defined with lots of mascara and black eyeliner, otherwise it might just look like a massive eye infection or the largest dark circles known to mankind. I also like to blend it out with a warm medium brown.
All shades of purple and plum: Plum looks good on all eye colours, but it's especially gorgeous on green eyes. Everything should work, from lavender shades to aubergine. Purple contains red and it's not nearly as scary to wear as reddish shades. If your eyes have gold specks or are chartreuse (pale yellow-green), purple will look awesome on you.
Taupe: Pick warm version of taupes, so those with more brown or even gold-yellow (think Mac's Patina and L'Oreal's Sahara Treasure). If you pick a more grey shade, it'll look very neutral and won't bring out your eye colour that much.
Peach: Peach is great for a subtle every day makeup and it's much easier to wear than copper or purples. I never wore peach until making this post and I discovered a great new every day look. Coral will work too of course, but again as at reds, make sure the eyes are defined with a lot of mascara.
Everyone neglects grey eyes when talking about making your eyes pop. They just shove it under blue and that's it. Well, as a proud owner of stormy grey eyes, in my post they get their own category. Grey eyes are so much more complex than all the colours above. Why? Because they are truly neutral. They are neither warm nor cool, and there is no opposite colour. But just as at all other eye colours, so many variations exist. They may have shades of blue, green, brown, some are even a bit purple or a mix of colours, but they can be just classic grey. Mine are a mix of blue, green and grey. They look blue with the help of gold, copper and cranberry shades, but purple makes them look more green. With no makeup, they look stormy grey. So how to deal with grey eyes? You can approach the issue two ways:
You can treat them as neutral and you focus your selection of shades only on complimenting your skin and hair colour, so warm shades for warm skins and obviously cool for cool skin tones. Every colour suits grey eyes, just avoid pink because you don't have a strong counteracting shade that would act as a sort of a neutralizer and it can make you look like you have a pink eye.
If you're like me and have a bit of an undertone, then emphasize it with a complimentary colour.
To emphasize blue tones in your eyes use light peach, rich bronze and copper shades, so shades that have an orange base. Gold makes my eyes look blue as well, but I find copper is the best shade for the task. (It's my non-photoshopped colour of eyes under blue eyes middle eye makeup).
For emphasizing green use reddish shades, purples and corals, so colours with a red base. Cool purples work best for me, while reddish shades make them look closer to blue.
For emphasizing brown tones use purples and plums, but also chocolate shades and light browns. You may be wondering why not blue or green. I can say from experience that these kind of don't work that well on grey eyes. But you may have a different experience.
THE CASE OF GREY-BLUE-GREEN EYES1. Row: Makeup 1 - Makeup Factory Shimmer Cream 4, Catrice Baked Eyeshadow ViennART Lovely Lace (LE), TheBalm Nude'Tude Sophisticated. Makeup 2 - Max Factor Excess Shimmer 25 Bronze. Makeup 3 - L'Oreal Color Infallible 005 Purple Obsession
2. Row: Makeup 4 - Essence old navy blue eyeliner as base (Nightfever), Freedom Makeup Jewels and Riches last row 3. shade, TheBalm Nude'Tude Sophisticated and Sultry. Makeup 5 - L'Oreal Color Infallible 021 Sahara Treasure. Makeup 6 - TheBalm Nude'Tude Sexy and Sultry.
3. Row: Makeup 7 - Catrice Chocolate Nudes palette, Makeup 8 - Max Factor Excess Shimmer 25 Bronze as base, Urban Decay Naked palette Half Baked and Darkhorse. Makeup 9 - Sleek Sunset 2. row 5. shade, TheBalm Nude'Tude Sultry.
So obviously all the eyes above are mine, but with photoshopped eye colour (I don't feel comfortable with
stealing borrowing pictures. I know how much work it goes into a picture). I'm including the originals as well, so you can see how all these different makeup influenced my eye colour. I know my eye makeup skill aren't the best, well, to be fair it's my eye shape that's not the easiest to deal with, so don't focus on that, it's not the point of this post. I have the type of eye colour that does change a bit depending on what makeup I wear, that includes lipsticks and blushes, and of course what colour of clothes I'm wearing as well. See how purple brings the green in my eyes? Peach too, while copper, gold and burgundy make them more blue. The royal blue eyeshadow just overwhelms the eyes and takes away the focus off the eye colour, same happens to me with green, unless it's gold green like L'Oreal's Golden Goddess. I gave you the general guidelines to finding shades that might enhance your eye colour, but experiment yourself to see what really suits you.
I also wanted to share a similar post that my fellow blogger Petra made a while ago, so check her version as well. I hope this post was helpful and have a great day!