Whether you’re a makeup beginner or a pro, wearing colored cosmetics isn’t always easy. While it’s nice to have poppy accents, no one wants to look unnatural. A colored eye doesn’t have to be scary if it’s done right. So if you’ve never dabbled in colored eyeshadows, here's how to wear color with confidence.
Start With a Liner
When experimenting with any type of makeup for the first time, don’t purchase the brightest and boldest eyeshadow palette on the market. It’s a good idea to start small so you don’t feel overwhelmed. “If you want to incorporate color into your eye look, remember it doesn’t have to be a complicated look,” says celebrity makeup artist Mary Irwin. “Try a colored liquid liner atop a neutral shadow or a bare lid.” For best results, opt for a formula that is opaque, not sheer and glides on smooth.
Marc Jacobs Beauty
Highliner Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner, $25 at Sephora
These easy-to-apply poppy liners glide on like a gel formula with an intense color payoff.
NYX Professional Makeup
Vivid Brights Eyeliner in Vivid Violet, $6.99 at Ulta Beauty
This liquid liner with give your peppers a pop of color that won’t smudge throughout the day.
Find a Complementary Shade
Once you muster up the courage to swipe on a bold shade, you’ll need to find the color that will look best. If you’re not sure which color to swipe, use the color wheel as your rule of thumb. “The most complementary shadow color will be the opposite of your eye color,” says Irwin. For brown eyes, think blues and greens, blue eyes pop with rust or purple and green eyes pair best with violets or reds (if you’re really up for the challenge).
Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow in Phoebe, $29 at NARS Cosmetics
Pat on this iridescent lilac shade for a subtle color that won’t make you feel like you’re overdoing it.
Ombre Couture Cream Eyeshadow in 6 Kaki Brocart, $26 at Sephora
Feeling bold? Coat your lids with this unexpected olive green hue that blends easily.
Use a Light-Colored Shadow
Once you’ve narrowed down your color family and you’re ready to pick a shadow or liner, Irwin suggests using a softer shade to start. “If you’re new to wearing color, try a softer color or a pastel,” she suggests. Think sky blues, rosy pinks and soft lilacs. She also recommends choosing a cream formula that blends easily to avoid patches of heavy color.
Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick in Soft Peach, $30 at Sephora
Try an easy-to-apply cream shadow in a stick applicator for precise application.
Color Your Lashes
Poppy peepers don’t stop at shadows and liners. Try swiping on a colored mascara for a fun pop of color with each flutter. Apply the color alone or atop your black mascara. “An old makeup artist secret is burgundy mascara on top of black mascara,” reveals Irwin. “It goes back to color theory and intensifies blue and green eyes, but also adds depth to brown eyes.”
Double Team Special Effect Colored Mascara, $24 at Urban Decay
Add some color to your flutter with these two-in-one colored mascaras. One end swipes on bright and the other metallic for a dazzling look on your lashes.
Whether you’re a makeup beginner or a pro, wearing colored cosmetics isn’t always easy. While it’s nice to have poppy accents, no one wants to look unnatural. A colored eye doesn’t have to be scary if it’s done right. So if you’ve never dabbled in colored eyeshadows, here’s how to wear color with confidence.