Monday 6 April 2020

Makeup Monday #4 Enhancing Eyeshadow

Eyeshadow is one of those makeup items that many people do not regard as a staple. Let's face it, if push came to shove, mascara and concealer are most people's 'desert island' products. I'm not here to dispute that, but I do have a love for eyeshadow (and more specifically, finding the perfect neutral shades to enhance my eye colour). Finding the right colour palette for you is part colour theory, part trial and error. In this post, I talk about both. If eyes really are the windows to the soul, good eye make-up is like finding a beautiful pair of curtains. So if you feel your nets are looking a bit yellow, or your chintz pattern is a bit dated...

What colours are good for me according to colour theory?

To make your eye colour stand out, colour theory suggests that you should find where your eye colour fits on the colour wheel and choose the complementary (opposite) colour. 

Brown eyes: blues/ purples
Blue eyes: Oranges/ peach
Green eyes: Pinks/ purples

Of course, eyes come in a myriad of colours and blends. Hazel eyes are browny-green; amber eyes are browny-yellow/ orange; green eyes can have yellow flecks; blue eyes can look darker or lighter in different lights. Therefore it makes sense to look also at elements such as your skin undertone and hair colour.

Cool skin has pink undertones.
Warm skin has yellow undertones.
Neutral skin is a blend of undertones.

Cool hair has blue or purplish undertones.
Warm hair has yellow or orange undertones.
Neutral-- you guessed it-- is a blend of both.

It therefore stands to reason that you would choose tones matched to your cool/warm/neutral colouring for a pared-down, matched look. For me, I would choose pinkish/ cool undertone shadows to match my cool skin, hair and eyes. 

A palette that I absolutely love using is the Mac Art Library (Nude Model) which is a mixture of mattes and shimmers. By complementary colour theory, I've highlighted below some shades that may be suitable for the different eye colours.
Wearing the  peachy matte shade in the middle
in the second row from the bottom
Rules are meant to be broken!

My favourite colours to wear on my eyes are not the cool shades that would match my colouring, but warm peachy and orangey tones that act as a contrast and make my green eyes stand out. 

As mentioned above, eyes are rarely a block colour (unless your eyes are a very dark brown or black in which case you can wear pretty much any colour you like!) The yellow flecks and bluish tint to my eyes can be brought out with these warmer shades.

It's a matter of preference: some people wish to go for a natural, barely there look and others like people to notice that they're wearing shadow. The joy of makeup is that you can wash it off, so experimenting is the way forward, whether you're 16 or 60.


To give the best application which lasts, I use the Nars Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base (but any primer would work). This ensures the best colour and less chance of patchiness with matte shadows.

If you're doing a one-shade wash of colour make sure you use a blending eyeshadow brush and concentrate the bulk of the colour on the eyelid. Then blend up into the crease and fade just above it. At the outer corners, trace a diagonal from the corner upwards to the edge of the crease to blend in a flattering way.

For smoky eyes/ multiple colours: lay down a lighter wash of colour first as above. Then choose a more virant or darker shade to work into the crease (from the outer edge of the eye and working inwards). Do not take the darker shade much past where the pupil of the eye aligns to. This will make eyes look closer together and not as well-blended. You can highlight the inner corner (tear duct area) with a shimmer or lighter colour to give a bright look and the illusion of wider spaced eyes if that is what you are going for. The key to blending the darker/ more intense colour in is to blend gently, applying a small amount of pigment at a time and layering. You can always add; it is harder to take away.

For under eye application, a pencil brush works well. 

The take-away:

Be aware of your complementary tones, experiment, blend, have fun.

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