If your eyes are the windows
to your soul, then eyeshadows are basically the curtains. The colors you
choose, and how you choose to wear them, conveys a lot about your personality.
Are you a sultry, smoky-eye kinda girl? An exotic bird drawn to bright colors?
Or perhaps a natural, low-key, girl-next-door type? Regardless of what you want
your eyeshadow to tell the world about who you are, whether you choose blue or
purple, orange or yellow, the color may not be as important as you think.
I spoke with Keka Heron, the
in-house key glam (i.e. makeup artist) for Revolt-TV, and she was quick to
point out, “No matter what your skin tone or eye color, you can wear any
color of shadow. However, it depends on the shade. Your complexion – whether
you’re fair, medium or dark — will help determine the best shade or tone that’s
appropriate for you.” In other words, blue eyeshadow is always an option,
regardless of your skin tone or eye color, but for some, navy blue may be a
more appropriate option than electric blue. If you really want your eyes to
pop, here’s what you need to know.
to basics: The color wheel

According to Keka Heron, one
of the easiest ways to select an eyeshadow color based on your own eye color is
to reference the color wheel, “There will always be colors that will bring
more attention to the color of your eyes. In order to make your eye color pop,
go back to basics, think about the color wheel. Choose the color on the
opposite side of the wheel from your own eye color.”
Of course, most of us don’t
have bright green, red, or yellow eyes, so at first glance, this advice doesn’t
seem to make a lot of sense. But if you find and use a color wheel like the one
available from Sessions College, you can actually adjust the tone of the color
wheel until you can select a shade that closely matches your own eye color.
Then based on on that shade, you can find a complementary tone on the opposite
side of the wheel. For instance, my eyes are hazel — they’re primarily green,
with an edge of brown and a very dark, almost black rim. When I use the color wheel
to select a complementary shade of color, it appears that dark blues, mauves,
and dark plum eyeshadows are the best options for my eye color.

Brown eyes are deep, often
mysterious, so playing up the mystery with a smoky eye is a great option for
brown-eyed girls. Keka Heron suggests, “Shadows with hues of blue, green,
and gold are great for brown eyes. A dark blue smoky eye with gold near the
tear duct is very attractive. You may also want to try a gold/brown shadow combo
with navy blue eyeliner.”
Based on the color wheel
theory, blues are often opposite the brown tones, and the deeper the brown, the
darker the shade of blue that complements it. This is why navy and dark blue
shades are such a great option for those with brown eyes, and why applying
these shades closest to your eye is so effective. But don’t overlook the impact
of a shimmery gold, too.
Hillary Kline, a freelance
makeup artist living in Minneapolis told me, “Put a hint of gold on your
lid if you have brown eyes — it makes the eyes look bigger and bolder.”
Then she went on specifically to suggest mixing shades from Lorac’s eyeshadow
palette, Unzipped Gold.

Beautiful, blue eyes do all
the “popping” on their own, so you really don’t need to resort to
over-the-top eyeshadows to give your eyes a kick. Keka Heron says, “In
order to make blue eyes stand out, I recommend using warm shadows. I love a
smoky brown or bronze eyeshadow with blue eyes. A burnt orange shadow, with
hints of gold, is also beautiful and will make blue eyes pop instantly.”
Hillary Kline agreed, also suggesting tones of gray, copper, pink, and slate.
She said, “If you want to create depth to the eye, pick a slightly deeper
shadow and put it in the crease – it makes a strong statement and makes the
blue pop.”
But it’s not just about the
eyeshadow you blue-eyed ladies choose, it’s about the whole look. Kline
suggests toning down your lipstick color, “If the color is too bright or
too dark, it takes away from your eyes. I tell my clients to wear matte shades
in the peach or pink family – it allows the eyes to take center stage.” If
you’re looking for suggestions, Kline points to Tarte’s Amazonian Butter
Lipstick in the shade “Coral Blossom.”

If you’re one of the lucky few
who can boast the elusive green eye, you should do whatever you can to play up
your emerald-hued gems. Both Keka Heron and Hillary Kline agree shades of purple
are the way to go. Heron says, “For a daytime look, use a neutral matte
shadow and a little purple liner in the lash line,” while Kline emphasizes
you should play up your lashes, “Choose a mascara that creates the effect
you want, whether long, full, or both. Apply two to three coats to achieve
lush-looking lashes.” To get the perfect effect, Kline points to MAC’s Eye
Shadow Palette, Purple x 9 and Maybelline’s Lash Sensational Mascara.

Hazel eyes are tricky – your
eyes boast multiple colors, and depending on what you’re wearing or what
environment you’re in, one color may appear more prominent than another. How do
you know which color to play up? Keka Heron assures you you can’t go wrong with
a palette of gold, bronze, green, and creme, “These colors will enhance
hazel eyes no matter the environment.” And Kline offers an extra tip,
“Experiment with eyeliner. Colored eyeliner can actually look awesome on
people with hazel eyes. Try a deep purple, shades of gold, or browns.”

If all the color options feel
overwhelming, and you’re just not sure how to select the right shade, there’s
good news: You can use a universally flattering option. Keka Heron suggests the
basics, “Black, navy, gold, and brown can be worn by women with any eye
color.” And Hillary Kline takes the guesswork out of the equation
completely, offering a specific example, “I really like to use champagne
tones as a universal color to make all eyes pop. One of my favorite drugstore
colors is L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche Monos Eyeshadow in Little Beige Dress 201,
which looks great on all eyes.” Plus, it’s just five dollars, so it fits
into just about any budget.
importance of primer

Choosing the right eye color
is certainly important when you’re trying to create the perfect look, but if
the color doesn’t go on smooth or if it wears off within the hour, your eyes
will lose their impact quickly. Both Keka Heron and Hillary Kline talked up the
importance of prepping lids with a primer before applying color.
Kline says, “Eye primers
add vibrancy and can make the color pop. Plus, some primers come in different
finishes, such as matte, white, or with glitter flecks.” These different
bases can help create slightly different effects. Heron, on the other hand,
emphasizes that first applying a shadow base helps colors appear their most
pigmented. If you don’t have an eyeshadow primer on hand, don’t worry about it.
Heron says, “I prefer to use creme concealer that makes your lid one color
and holds the shadow in place.”
perfect eye-popping application

How you apply your eyeshadow
can also affect how much attention you draw to your eyes. In fact, it’s rare
for professional makeup artists to stick to a single eye color. For instance,
HIllary Kline admits, “I can use anywhere from three to six shades,
depending on the look I want to achieve.” And it’s not just because she’s
a makeup artist who likes playing with her palette, “By adding more than
one color, you’re adding depth to the eye, which helps make the eye look
bigger, bolder, brighter. A rule of thumb is to put the lightest color
underneath the brow bone and on the inner corner of your lid. Then apply a
transition color (like a light brown) along the crease. Use an all over color
on the eyelid, and another in the outer ‘v’ of the eye to add dimension.”
Keka Heron’s application
advice echos Kline’s, but she emphasizes a few of the most important points,
“Adding a lighter color near your tear duct enhances your eyes. And when
you use a color a few shades darker than your skin tone to create a crease, it
gives your eyes shape while making your eyeshadow color pop.”
no-fail eyeshadow tips

At the end of the day,
experimenting with eyeshadow and different application methods is a fun and
relatively painless way to play with your look and draw attention to your
peepers, but if you’re wary about taking the plunge, remember these key points:

  • Using a primer across your
    entire lid provides the best base for applying eye color, while ensuring shadow
    stays put.
  • You can’t go wrong with
    universally-flattering shades of eyeshadow like black, brown, champagne, gold,
    and navy.
  • When you want to play with
    color, try using a color wheel to identify shades complementary to your own eye
  • Use multiple colors (or varied
    shades of the same color) to create dimension and shape for your eyes — use a
    light color on the inner corner and brown bone of your eyes, and a slightly
    darker color along the crease of your lid.
  • Don’t shy away from eyeliner
    and mascara, which serve to further enhance your overall look.
Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.