Best makeup for your eye color

Terra Cotta eyeshadow for blue eyes(Photo: Roger Cabello)

When it comes to creating a look, complimenting your eyes with the perfect eye makeup can sometimes be a long process of trial and error. Let us make it easy for you with this guide to choosing the best shades for your eye color.


Blue eyes might be a recessive trait, but if you've got them, they deserve to be your dominant feature. Bring them into focus with these seven eye shadow, liner, and mascara shades designed to make your blue eyes pop.

Terra-Cotta Shadow: Layering your lids with a rust-colored shadow, like CoverGirl Queen Collection 1-Kit Eye Shadow in Fire It Up, is the quickest way to draw attention to blue eyes.

"The warm color makes eyes stand out," says makeup artist Meredith Baraf, who regularly uses this trick on her blue-eyed clients Adriana Lima and Doutzen Kroes.

Lancome Amethyst Glam(Photo: Roger Cabello)Purple Shadows: For a trendy fall color, opt for purple over emerald or cobalt.

"Blue eyes can get lost in blue and green shadows," says Baraf. "But purple shadows help accentuate them."

Put the focus on them with a shimmery palette like Lancôme Color Design Eyeshadow in Amethyst Glam. The amethyst and royal purples can be used as allover shadows or concentrated as liners.

Rimmel London Eyeful Eye Glistener in Flaunt(Photo: Roger Cabello)Orange Shadow: It sounds crazy, but orange eye shadow will set your blue eyes ablaze.

"Blue and orange are directly opposite each other on the color wheel, so it creates a strong contrast," explains Baraf.

Try a thin line of Rimmel London Eyeful Eye Glistener in Flaunt on your upper lash line. Then, when you're feeling bolder, sweep Nars Duo Eyeshadow in Mediteranee, a flattering burnt orange shade, on your lids. Need inspiration? Blue-eyed stars Scarlett Johansson and Fergie have both worn this look on the red carpet. 

Chanel eyeshadow in Spices(Photo: Roger Cabello)Neutral Smoky Eyes: Black smoky eyes might be a classic, but they tend to overshadow blue eyes rather than enhance them. Soften your look with a neutral palette of rich browns, golds, and light pinks instead.

Chanel Les 4 Ombres Quadra Eye Shadow in Spices offers a customizable palette of subtly sexy colors for a smoky eye that works.

Chanel Le Crayon Khôl in Clair(Photo: Roger Cabello)Eye-Brightening Beige: Using a highlighter on the inside lower lash line is the oldest trick in the book for making eyes appear bigger. But women with blue eyes should skip white highlighters.

"They tend to look unnatural and kind of dirty," says Baraf. Instead, choose a soft, beige pencil (like Chanel Le Crayon Khôl in Clair) that will brighten eyes naturally.

Terra Cotta eyeshadow for blue eyes(Photo: Roger Cabello) Turquoise Liner and Navy Mascara: It might seem counterintuitive, but women with blue eyes should avoid blue shadow.

"You see the eye shadow before you see the eye," says Baraf.

But if you can't bear to part with the shade, use it strategically. A bold turquoise liner, like Nars Larger Than Life Liner in Abbey Road, helps accentuate bright blues. And navy mascara, like Clarins Wonder Perfect Mascara in Blue, is a subtle way of bringing out blue tones in gray or greenish-blue eyes.

Chanel Le Crayon Khôl in Clair(Photo: Roger Cabello) BROWN EYES

Sharing an eye color with half the world's population doesn't mean you're destined to blend in with the crowd. Here, six makeup colors that make brown eyes seem like the rarest of them all.

Cobalt Shadow: "Brown is a mix of all the primary colors, so there are a lot of options," says makeup artist Emily Kate Warren. She recommends a vibrant blue shadow, like Estée Lauder Pure Color Gelée Powder Eyeshadow in Fire Sapphire, for rich, dark brown eyes.

"An electric shade like this really makes brown eyes pop—I just love the contrast."

Mally Beauty Volumizing Accents Mascara(Photo: Roger Cabello)Eggplant Mascara: Purple shades best enhance brown eyes with hazel flecks, says Warren: "The eyes already have a variety of tones, so you don't need a dramatic shade to create a striking contrast."

We like Mally Beauty Volumizing Accents Mascara because it not only flatters brown irises, it makes the whites of the eyes look seriously bright.

M.A.C. Eye Shadow in Sumptuous Olive(Photo: Roger Cabello)Greenish Gold Shadow: For a pretty eye-makeup look that's neither drab or cuckoo-bananas, go green.

"And don't be afraid to try different finishes," advises Warren. "Green tones come in a wide range of matte and metallic shades—they'll all pick up any flecks in brown."

Our favorite: M.A.C. Eye Shadow in Sumptuous Olive.

Josie Maran Argan Eye Shadow in Cinnamon(Photo: Roger Cabello)Copper Shadow: Warm up a neutral shadow shade, like bone or taupe, with a layer of copper shadow on the outer halves of your lids.

"It will highlight your eye color, and the shimmer will add a little texture," says Warren.

Our pick: Josie Maran Argan Eye Shadow in Cinnamon

Elizabeth Arden Color Intrigue Eyeshadow in Indigo(Photo: Roger Cabello) Navy Shadow and Liner: Deep blue is the best bet for daytime, office-appropriate cat eyes—it also animates brown eyes without looking severe (as black sometimes does).

"It creates a slight but eye-catching contrast," says Warren.

We like Elizabeth Arden Color Intrigue Eyeshadow in Indigo and Sonia Kashuk Eye Definer in Blue Jean.

L'Oréal Paris 24 HR Infallible Eye Shadow in Eternal Sunshine(Photo: Roger Cabello)

Gold Shadow: Warm metallics, simply put, make brown eyes glisten.

"They highlight even the slightest hint of gold undertones," says Warren.

We like L'Oréal Paris 24 HR Infallible Eye Shadow in Eternal Sunshine.

CoverGirl Eye Enhancers in Tapestry Taupe(Photo: Roger Cabello)

There's a reason Irish eyes are always smiling—they're drop-dead gorgeous. And these six makeup shades—shimmering taupe, silver, violet, and more—will make others go green with envy.

Taupe Shadow: Every makeup bag needs the right neutral eye shadow, and for women with green eyes, makeup artist Erica Whelan swears by taupe.

"The warmer undertones are more flattering than ashy brown," she said. Plus, one that has a little sparkle will bring out golden flecks in the irises.

Our pick? CoverGirl Eye Enhancers in Tapestry Taupe.

Wet n Wild Idol Eyes Crème Shadow Pencil in Graphite(Photo: Roger Cabello)Slate Gray Liner: Heavy black liner can look severe on light eyes, especially in the daytime, Whelan says.

A creamy charcoal pencil (like Wet n Wild Idol Eyes Crème Shadow Pencil in Graphite) is a softer, less overpowering alternative. 

Shiseido Makeup Luminizing Satin Eye Color Trio in VI 308(Photo: Roger Cabello)Every Shade of Purple: We've said before that purple flatters every eye color (which is true), but it's extra gorgeous on green eyes.

"It goes back to the color wheel," Whelan said. "Green's complementary color is red, so any shadow with red undertones really makes green eyes pop." Lavender, violet, aubergine—no shades are off limits.

We love all three hues in Shiseido Makeup Luminizing Satin Eye Color Trio in VI 308. For the most eye-catching results, concentrate purple shadow close to the lash line. 

Elizabeth Arden Smoky Eyes Powder Pencil in Espresso(Photo: Roger Cabello)Espresso Liner:
A dash of brown eyeliner has the same smoldering effect as black, without the harshness.

"Sometimes black can have a flattening effect [against light eyes]," Whelan said. "A warm brown shade is much softer." For easy smudging, try Elizabeth Arden Smoky Eyes Powder Pencil in Espresso.

Bobbi Brown Shimmer(Photo: Roger Cabello) Smoky Silver Shadow: We're stealing this one from Kristen Stewart (she's one of our green-eye icons, and the girl knows how to rock a smoky look): Dust silver shadow, like Bobbi Brown Shimmer Wash Eye Shadow in Stone, across lids and in the inner corners.

It's both smoky and bright, which adds up to a gorgeous, ethereal look. 

Nars Cream Eyeshadow in Mousson(Photo: Roger Cabello)Metallic Sage Shadow: Don't rule out green shadows, either—just go for one that's multidimensional, such as Nars Cream Eyeshadow in Mousson. It's a silvery sage that goes on sheer.

"Whenever you're using a color in the same family as your eyes, play around with texture," Whelan said. "Something shimmery will always make your eyes stand out."

While the origins of hazel eyes are still a mystery to geneticists, the best shades for making them look amazing are not a secret. Here, our top six looks.

Chanel Les 4 Ombres Quadra Eye Shadow in Reflets D'Ombre(Photo: Roger Cabello)HAZEL EYES

The Perfect Palette: "If you have hazel eyes, reach for rich, autumnal colors like browns, golds, and greens," says makeup artist Quinn Murphy.

"Play with the colors in your eyes that you want to bring out." You can't go wrong with the shimmering pans of dusky gold, rich chocolate, creamy bone, and forest green in Chanel Les 4 Ombres Quadra Eye Shadow in Reflets D'Ombre. For daytime, Murphy suggests a wash of green or brown over the eyes and gold or bone highlights on the inner corners and centers of the lids.

"Any of these colors would look great on their own with a trace of eyeliner and mascara, too," he says.


Revlon Illuminance Crème Shadow in Not Just Nudes(Photo: Roger Cabello)

Earthy Brown Shadow and Liner: Warm, neutral browns enhance the richness of hazel eyes. A graduated palette, like Revlon Illuminance Crème Shadow in Not Just Nudes, works alone "for a soft luminous effect, or as a base for other colors," says Murphy.

To create more depth, Murphy suggests defining eyes with a brown liner, like Dolce & Gabbana The Eyeliner Crayon Intense in Coffee, a medium brown with gold flecks. "It's not as jarring as black, but still gets your eyes noticed," she says. 

Shiseido Makeup Luminizing Satin Eye Color in GR 711(Photo: Roger Cabello)

Warm Green Shadow and Liner: Bring out any green tones in your eyes by sweeping on a soft, army green shadow, like Shiseido Makeup Luminizing Satin Eye Color in GR 711. Then rim the lashes in a darker shade of forest green—we love Yves Saint Laurent Eye Pencil in 5.


Dolce & Gabbana The Eyeshadow Smooth Eye Colour Duo in Gold(Photo: Roger Cabello)

Gilded Shadow: Gold (and bronze) bring out the warmth in hazel eyes—they pull golden flecks forward and make brown and green tones radiant. Dab gilded shadows in the corners of the eyes or the centers of the lids as dazzling highlighters, or sweep them across your lids for a more ethereal effect.

Murphy recommends Dolce & Gabbana The Eyeshadow Smooth Eye Colour Duo in Gold: "It's a beautiful bronze goddess-y duo—you can't go wrong with either color." 


Lorac Eye Shadow in After Party(Photo: Roger Cabello)

Eggplant Shadow and Liner: "The other way to enhance hazel eyes is to go to the opposite side of the color wheel," says Murphy.

"Purple always provides a gorgeous contrast to hazel, and it's great for creating smoky eyes."

We love the deep eggplant shade of Lorac Eye Shadow in After Party—use it to smoke out the top and bottom lash lines. Then line the eyes with a deep purple pencil, like Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Lust, for a dramatic effect that's downright sexy.


CoverGirl Exact Eyelights in Black Gold(Photo: Roger Cabello)

Metallic Black Mascara: Eye shadow or no, never forget to amp up your lashes. With its subtle light-reflecting gold shimmer, CoverGirl Exact Eyelights in Black Gold is especially flattering for hazel eyes.

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