It’s one thing to perfect a glowing foundation or sculpting contour, but mastering an eye look can be especially tricky. More specifically, understanding how to choose eyeshadow colors that bring out your eyes and complement your overall complexion.
“Whatever color you wear on your eyes—whether it be eyeliner, mascara, or an eyeshadow—can truly make your eye color pop by using a specific color that complements [them],” says pro makeup artist Melissa Hurkman, who says that this philosophy translates to outfits too, as it relates to color theory. “On a color wheel, you can find your specific eye color and directly across from that color will be the complementary shade for your own eye color.”
Because of this, some colors will better enhance your natural eye color, resulting in a more illuminated, vibrant look. Although Hurkman, who has worked with brands from Savage X Fenty to Nudestix, believes that the color itself is most important, don’t be afraid to play with shadow textures. “As far as texture goes, using a shimmer, metallic, or glitter will accessorize the look and do more to enhance your eye shape.”
Below, the eyeshadow colors to wear based on your eye color and the makeup products to shop.
Per Hurkman, warm browns, golden shades, purples, and blues will do your brown eyes justice. So, Huda Beauty’s Brown Obsessions Eyeshadow Palette in toffee is a solid option for its assortment of golden caramels and pigmented honey shades. Otherwise, she loves a burgundy mascara, like L’Oréal’s Voluminous formula in deep burgundy, to make the eyes pop.
Orange and other warm shades will complement blue eyes well. For a look, Hurkman reaches for the Dior Backstage Eyeshadow Palette in amber neutrals for its assortment of blendable coppery tones. If you’re sticking to liner, she recommends Makeup By Mario’s pencil in soft brown, or another warm brown, applied to your waterline.
According to Hurkman, those with hazel eyes should reach for purples, browns, golds, and greens in their makeup. She’d recommend Charlotte Tilbury’s Luxury Eyeshadow Palette in The Vintage Vamp—a buildable shadow quad consisting of warm purple and red tones. For eyeliner, try Chanel’s Stylo Yeux in prune intense to bring out your eye color.
Green eyes will be complemented best by warm oranges, reds, and golds, which makes the Natasha Denona Bronze Eyeshadow Palette a smart buy especially ahead of summer. Like brown or hazel-eyed counterparts, those with green eyes should have a burgundy mascara or liner on hand. Hurkman recommends Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Eyeliner for its iconic blend of berry and brown.
Hurkman notes that warm browns, golds, oranges, “or even a dark charcoal smokey eye” would make gray eyes stand out. For her clients, she is a fan of the Pat McGrath Labs Mothership I: Subliminal Eyeshadow Palette filled with radiant jewel and gold tones. “For blue and gray eye colors, I love using a warm brown liner in the waterline,” she says. “You can also smudge this out to use as a cream eyeshadow all over the lid.” For the smokey look, Victoria Beckham’s Satin Kajal Liner in ash works wonders, though Makeup by Mario’s soft brown Liner is the ultimate warm brown.