Eyeshadow School Makeup

Eye shadow school: Finding the BEST colors.

Eye shadow picking can be a little overwhelming if you’re just getting into it. I mean there’s like a trillion and a half  colors.
Most women I know focus mainly on browns. Which is pretty much my jam too, because they tend to look very natural and contour the eye really well, but what about when you want to use a little more color?
There is one REALLY important rule that NO ONE should ever break when they pick eye shadow colors.

and it is….

There are no rules.

I know. Not very helpful.
But true nonetheless.
(I only know this because I’ve read the “Official Makeup Book of Rules” in the Handbook of Life I got when I was born. You got one too, right?:)

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t tools you can use to point you in the right direction for finding your new favorite color!
So, That’s what I’m here to show you today.

When I was prepping for college I knew what I wanted to do for my career was makeup art/creation so I decided to take all the classes that I thought would be helpful for that end like: chemistry, business classes and all kinds of art classes (portrait painting,photography, art history etc.)
One thing we talked about in the art classes A LOT was color and how to make colors harmonize and look beautiful.

Two ways to use that info to make your eyes really pop would be to find colors that are similar to your eye color or find the opposite of your eye color!

eye_shadow_school_color copy

 

Just find your eye color on the color wheel (brown eyes would be in the red yellow ranges:) to get some inspiration!
I have greenish blue eyes so I went for a bright rust color (Garnet from Lorac Pro) for the complimentary tone. The opposite color really makes the eyeballs stand out!

For the analogous tones I mixed Twig (a grey blue) with Withered Leaves (a muted sage) from the Cargo Vintage Escape Palette.  This makes the eyes look bigger because the same colors are all around, which kind of creates an optical illusion and makes the eye color pop in a completely different way!

I thought it might be fun if you guys shared your eye color and then your favorite eye popping shadows too?! (or post a photo showing it off with the hashtag #colorschool !)

Hope you’re having a good week! (I couldn’t even sleep last night out of excitement/anxiousness for Monday!)

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80 Comments

  • Reply
    Lisa Walters
    January 8, 2015 at 11:49 am

    I love the second color combo you did (Twig & Withered Leaves)….Beautiful!

  • Reply
    Carrie
    January 8, 2015 at 11:51 am

    I have green eyes with hints of yellow. I love using purples, golds and grey. I try to stay away from blue or silver, but that’s because of my fair skin tone.

  • Reply
    Scarlett Ballantyne
    January 8, 2015 at 11:53 am

    I love this – I nice way to simplify things for most people and a great way for makeup artists to explain it to clients simply.

  • Reply
    Becki
    January 8, 2015 at 11:53 am

    My eye color is a deep blue with lots of yellow and green flecks so I’ve done both color combos and love them equally! I typically go for complimentary colors just for the pop it causes! Great post!

  • Reply
    Samantha C.
    January 8, 2015 at 11:57 am

    I love posts like these. I have brown eyes, which makes it a little difficult (at least for me) as I have yellow/olive undertones. I prefer bluer shadows for brown eyes but with my skin tone, I struggle. I have much better luck with greens and I love the Eat, Love, and Be Fab NYX palette. Purples always look a little funny on me and…I have some weird thing with puprle, lol. For analogous colors, I was taught to also look at the “highlight color” for my eyes (i.e., is it more gold/yellow, silver, etc). I loved Lancome’s Misty Mink but it has been increasingly harder to find with either Urban Decay’s Half Baked or Chopper as a highlighter. Thanks for the fun post! You should come up with a hashtag for instagram so we can play around with this and see how everyone interprets this post. It would be fun!

    • Reply
      Cara
      January 8, 2015 at 12:30 pm

      good idea!!

    • Reply
      klash
      January 8, 2015 at 7:34 pm

      Brown eyes are hard. It’s like there’s so much guidance for the colors. We don’t get as much attention. I’m super fair which means I have some “amazing” dark circles so purple and blue tend to emphasize them. Sometimes green works for me but while it’s supposed to cancel out red, I think it can sometimes make my eyes look bloodshot. I have the best luck mixing pinks with golds and browns.

  • Reply
    Allison
    January 8, 2015 at 11:59 am

    I love doing a color opposite my eye color! Purple always makes my green eyes stand out. Question… I love how you line with shadow along the bottom of the eye too, but I tend to have dark circles that recederecede. I have a hard enough time covering them, but then the shadow ends up running & making my circles look even darker. What am I doing wrong, Cara?!

    Also, can’t wait to buy up some of that foundation!!

    • Reply
      Allison
      January 8, 2015 at 12:03 pm

      Oops. Lol at recederecede. They’re bad, but not quite worthy of 2 recedes.

      • Reply
        Miss Viola Swamp (@imaqt209421)
        January 8, 2015 at 2:25 pm

        Try applying your eye makeup before concealer and seeing if that helps keep it in place.

        • Reply
          Kim
          January 8, 2015 at 3:01 pm

          Totally agreed! When I apply concealer first, the moisture and oils in it make my smudged shadow creep too far downward.

          • Allison
            January 8, 2015 at 7:01 pm

            Thanks ladies! Good idea! Has anyone tried Benefit Erase Paste? I hear it’s great at covering dark circles. Nothing I’ve tried so far even comes close to doing the job.

      • Reply
        Miss Viola Swamp (@imaqt209421)
        January 8, 2015 at 10:19 pm

        The best concealer for under eye circles I’ve found is Mac Pro Longwear.

  • Reply
    Corinn Kendall
    January 8, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    I am sooo excited too! I had a question for you – I have very very dry skin. All brushes I used to put on foundation make it worse and I can’t use them to put foundation on anymore. I just bought a real techniques sponge to use with the IIID foundation. Do you think that would work alright? I’ve never used one before! This is a really big deal Cara, I am so impressed with all the hard work you’ve done. I seriously hope this gets big for you! You deserve all the blessings and happiness in the world – you are such a sweet person!

    • Reply
      Corinn Kendall
      January 8, 2015 at 12:04 pm

      This is also in part because I’m currently using retin A!

      • Reply
        Erin
        January 9, 2015 at 2:33 pm

        I’ve used retin A too and my skin didn’t improve much it just got super dry. I took Cara’s recommendation and bought the md Jolie metamorphosis and my skin looks the best it has in years with no dryness. Just a suggestion.

  • Reply
    ladyasche
    January 8, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    I have blue/green eyes and think they look best with purple and silvery eyeshadows. I’ve never really thought browns and pinks look that good on me, which is interesting because I’ve always been told brown and pink shadows look good on blue & green eyes. Oh well, think I’ll be sticking with my purples!
    I absolutely love the analogous look!

  • Reply
    annie
    January 8, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    I,too, have green/blue eyes but with pale skin and dark hair I feel like blues/silvery/gray colors give off too much of a 80’s frosted vibe so I stick to various shades of brown. I’ll admit, I wouldn’t have the first clue how to apply purple or golds without looking like a clown so I’ve never tried them…

    • Reply
      Kim
      January 8, 2015 at 3:03 pm

      You can totally do purple! Try doing brown on your lids with a purple liner or shadow smudges on your lower lashline for a fun way to ease into it.

  • Reply
    Eli M
    January 8, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    I need help from cara or anyone who can give me some info. My eyes are brown and by that I mean SUPER dark brown…you can barely see the pupil dark. What colors best compliment my eyes? Thank you in advance for any help I can get 🙂

    • Reply
      Gail
      January 8, 2015 at 1:05 pm

      Eli M if I knew your skni tone I could give a better answer, but the generally speaking the good news is any darn color you like! Your eyes are nearly black, and black goes with everything.

      Here’s what I envision. Play up your lashes with a coat or 2 of mascara, for daytime a medium brown liner on top and gold shadow on the lid and a soft brown in the crease. My eyes are brown with hints of green and I think I may go do this eye myself right now! Good luck, and have fun playing makeup!

    • Reply
      Loren Slaymaker
      January 10, 2015 at 5:59 pm

      If your eye color isn’t really on the color wheel, I would suggest playing with dark/light contrasts. Silver or champagne for contrast, deep black/brown/grey for analogous.

    • Reply
      Cait
      January 12, 2015 at 12:11 pm

      Smashbox has a “Fade to black” pallet that would look great with dark brown eyes. Dark purple, close to a black cherry, would be your complimentary color and dark golds ( MAC Honeylust) and olive greens ( MAC sumptuous olive) will be your analogous colors. Cara’s color wheel is very basic and difficult to follow if you have brown eyes but if you google color wheel you can find a much more detailed one that will be much more helpful.

  • Reply
    Ashley H
    January 8, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    Can you please show us a way to use blue eyeshadow? My eyes are dark blue, and I’ve always wanted to try blue eyeshadow, but I’m so scared of it. I know it can be done well but I don’t want to look too 80’s. I usually just stick to neutrals to be safe.

    • Reply
      Katie O
      January 8, 2015 at 11:56 pm

      This is EXACTLY how I feel! I see other people wearing blue shadows that look magical, but I’m simply terrified of looking like the friend from Legally Blonde!

    • Reply
      Katie O
      January 8, 2015 at 11:57 pm

      I so understand you! People on the internet can do these BEAUTIFUL looks with blue shades, and as blue’s my favorite color, I would love to be able to wear them. I always stay firmly in my neutrals though, because I’m terrified of looking like the sidekick form Legally Blonde!

  • Reply
    silvercamaro77
    January 8, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    Wait- I had no idea anyone had the cargo vintage escapes palette available now!!! I literally stopped mid-sentence, purchased, and came back. I’ve been swooning for this palette since you used it on your eyes in one of your IIID makeup tutorials that was on the IIID page, but it was already sold out when I found out about it. Thanks for the link!

  • Reply
    BostonMom
    January 8, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Would a plum color work for hazel colored eyes and super fair skin? Would you use it as a crease color or from the crease to the lash line?

    • Reply
      Samantha C.
      January 8, 2015 at 1:56 pm

      What is the dominant color? I always loved pink with hazel but usually go with either a)the dominant color or b) the color you wish to emphasize.

  • Reply
    Erika
    January 8, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    I have hazel-y, greenish eyes, and I LOVE wearing shades of lavender and purple. I like a dark purple shadow as liner too.

  • Reply
    Kayley
    January 8, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    I have green and gold eyes and my favorite colors are usually purple, gold, and copper. They seem to make the green really pop!

  • Reply
    Ashley @ StyleOnHigh.com
    January 8, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    This post is amazing! Thanks so much for the great ideas!

  • Reply
    Miss Viola Swamp (@imaqt209421)
    January 8, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    I have green eyes like Cara and I recently got the Mac Sketch eye shadow she featured in her Marsala post. I like to mix it with the gold color in the Lorac Pro Palette. So pretty 🙂

  • Reply
    Jeanine McAuliffe
    January 8, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    Truly been in love with the rust/copper color. The color of the year!! I have brown eyes but it really does make them Pop!!! Maybe my eyes are more hazel then dark brown but I use the Naked 2’s browns and golds to blend with and it comes out looking amazeee!!!

  • Reply
    Hayley Griffin
    January 8, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    What if you have one blue eye and one green eye?

  • Reply
    Kara Zalsman
    January 8, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    My eyes are greenish gold. I love purples, greens, browns, and gold. My favorite palettes are Urban Decay Naked 1 and Urban Decay Oz Palette The Glinda. My newest love is Maybelline Color Tattoo Purely Pigments in Improper Copper; on my fair skin tone it looks reddish brown (ala Marsala).

  • Reply
    Marie Gross
    January 8, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    You are a makeup genius and I love your blog!! For the tips, and also the window into your beautiful, fun and sweet personality! xoxo

  • Reply
    Elizabeth Goode
    January 8, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    Hi Cara, I have bronish/hazel eyes. I normally wear dark brown colors to make my eyes pop, but I getting tired of wearing the same color. What would be other complimentary colors for my eye color. The color is wheel is a bit confusing to me :/ help!

  • Reply
    Cait
    January 8, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    I have golden brown eyes- similar in shade to scotch, very dark hair and a fair complexion. I love MACs Honeylust ( metallic gold color ) eye shadow with lots of black maskcara and black eyeliner. The gold is light enough that it doesn’t overwhelm my skin tone but the color is still rich enough to really make my eyes pop. I also like to mix brown and olive green or do a plum smokey eye.

  • Reply
    hashtagfablife
    January 8, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    This is such a clever idea! I never really thing of eyeshadow as enhancing/contrasting my eye color but instead think of it in regards to my skin tone. Thinking about this will help me play with more variety!

  • Reply
    Kaycee
    January 8, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    My eyes can go from super dark brown to an almost-green hazel, so I tend to wear pretty much any color! I stick to more muted colors for work. but I love to experiment with brighter/darker colors on the weekend. When my eyes are looking a bit daker/browner that day, I love to pair neutral eyeshaddow with a navy eyeliner to make my eyes pop – it tends to bring out the brown tones more. If I’m a bit greener or lighter one day, I’ll go for olive/gold tones and dark brown eyeliner.

  • Reply
    pocketofblossoms
    January 8, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    just shows you that makeup is an art!

    xo, k
    http://www.pocketofblossoms.com

  • Reply
    Lindsey
    January 8, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    I have blue/gray eyes and I LOVE Tempting form MAC. The PERFECT rich brown color to compliment the blue!

  • Reply
    Sunny
    January 8, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    “Complementary” not “complimentary” 🙂

    • Reply
      Shanna
      January 11, 2015 at 7:29 am

      😉

  • Reply
    Amy F
    January 8, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    I have brown eyes, and generally stick to brown or copper eyeshadow. I feel too 80’s if I wear blue. I’d love a suggestion that looks more natural. I just always seem to be drawn to the warmer shades.

  • Reply
    Mona
    January 8, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    Such pretty looks on you Cara! And thank you so much for linking the Cargo palette. I’ve wanted it for a few months and couldn’t find it anywhere except eBay for way overprice. I bought it as soon as I saw it for only $20, what an amazing site to know about but I see it being troublesome lol. Love your work as always!

    • Reply
      Cara
      January 8, 2015 at 11:33 pm

      Thanks Mona! I actually was BEAMING when I found it on this site! It’s one of my very favorite palettes so I check periodically to see if it’s back in stock, when I saw it was for 20 bucks I was thrilled! I’m glad you were excited too!

  • Reply
    Jen
    January 9, 2015 at 7:40 am

    My eyes are pretty similar to yours in color with a deeper blue ring on the outside and I am currently obsessed with the Color Tattoo Bad to the Bronze color. It’s perfect for bringing out the blue with a good metallic shimmer!

  • Reply
    Hallie
    January 9, 2015 at 9:36 am

    I have similar eye color but very pale skin with red undertones (I’m the typical fair-skinned, blue-eyed blonde). I have tried to do the rust/copper color, even just as a teeny line of eyeliner, and every time, people ask me if I’m been crying because it makes my eyes look red?!? Or maybe I just look washed out? I love the look on others but can’t figure it out on me. Bummer.

  • Reply
    Mona
    January 9, 2015 at 9:56 am

    I’m very excited to play around with it! My eyes are a light brown so it looks like a great go-to palette for,me. I’ve been comparing it to the lorac pro but I can see myself using this more. Thanks for the tips!

  • Reply
    Tess
    January 9, 2015 at 10:22 am

    I love that last shade on you, so pretty! Thank you for sharing this with us, very helpful!

  • Reply
    Laura Markle
    January 9, 2015 at 10:24 am

    These are so beautiful! Can’t decide which one I like better!

    She Likes to Shop

  • Reply
    Audrey Helena
    January 9, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    This could not have come at a more perfect time. I have eyes similar to yours and I am always afraid of wearing the pinks and coppers because I thought it would bring out the red and glassiness, but on you it looks fabulous! Love getting info like this from a woman who knows her stuff!
    xo
    Audrey
    m.Brace

  • Reply
    Nicole Walker
    January 9, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    I loved this post. For my brown eyes my favorite eye popping shadow is a NARS duo called Kuala Lumpur, it has the most gorgeous boysenberry shade.

  • Reply
    Boni
    January 11, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    Holy wow!!! I am smitten with those colors! I have medium green eyes with some yellow zig zags. My eyes have a dark green line around them on the outside. They sort of light up in the middle. My eyes do change colors though. Sometimes they are green blue and other times they are blue, and the rest of the time they are my usual medium green. My eye popping eyeshadow color is a vibrant deep purple from Makeup Forever. It says Blush on the back, I’m not sure if they’re calling it an eyeshadow or a blush for cheeks, as I found it where they sell their blushes. Either way I use it for eyeshadow, it’s too unnatural of a color for the cheeks. I’ve found that purple shadows are amazing for green eyes.

  • Reply
    kellysparklesandshoes
    January 11, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    Both are so pretty!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

  • Reply
    Lisa
    January 11, 2015 at 11:57 pm

    I have Blue/grey eyes. Is it weird that I think plums and mauves look good on me? I can do brown, but I don’t think I get that pop. Even Lavender is good in my opinion. Of course, maybe other people wonder WTH???

    Lisa

  • Reply
    Blackgiraffe
    January 12, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    How does the cargo palette compare to the Lorac pro original? They look similar?

  • Reply
    Leah
    January 12, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    My eyes are gray, and I have light, cool-toned skin and blonde hair. I’ve always had a hard time finding eye shadow that goes well with gray eyes–it’s like no one really knows they exist haha. Does anyone know of some colors that would work well with gray eyes?

  • Reply
    Jack
    January 12, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    what foundation are you wearing here?

  • Reply
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    lisacorkery
    January 13, 2015 at 9:24 am

    Love this! It’s going to make it a lot easier for me now when buying eye-shadows! 😀 I will definitely be trying the first look, beautiful!

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    Claire
    January 14, 2015 at 5:59 am

    I have super dark brown eyes with a hint of Amber when the sunlight hits them (and only sunlight never any other light!). But I have cool undertones and can only wear blue-based lip colors. I have always read about blues and purples to complement my eye brown color as well as my cool skin tone, but it is so hard, for me anyways, to figure out a nice way to wear these colors for work and it not look like I was just playing with make up! I wear muted/basic brown’s so I don’t look over done. I like pink with subtle shimmer but no one says that’s the best color lol. I have always been comfortable with shimmery bronze tones also which are ok, but I want my eyes to pop! I would love a tutorial or any advice on wearing blues or purples for a natural daytime look! If anyone could point me in the right direction I’d appreciate it!

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    Belen Feight
    January 14, 2015 at 7:41 am

    I have very dark brown eyes (look black) with olive skin, long face and dark brown hair. I also have somewhat dark eyelids. I don’t wear makeup very often so what would be a good eyeshadow for me to lighten up the eye area that could be used daily?

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    January 15, 2015 at 8:13 pm

    So pretty! Why kind of eye liner are you using under your eye?

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    I have blue eyes and I notice that warmer tone shadows look the best on me, especially the color “caramel” from the Anastasia Amrezy Palette!

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    I have brown eyes and blues are supposed to make them pop, but i don’t like how blue looks on me. maybe i haven’t tried the right blue yet.

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    Would you be able to recreate Kim Kardashians blue eye shadow look she recently had?

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