Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

One of my most frequently asked questions in makeup is: what color eyeshadow will suit my ______ colored eyes?

Generally speaking, both artists and makeup artists are knowledgeable about the color wheel, which displays several colors in a circle. Complimentary colors are opposite of each other; for example, red’s complimentary color is green.

Typically, the following is advised:

  • Green eyes: Purples, pinks, and reds
  • Blue eyes: Oranges, coppers, golds
  • Hazel eyes: Warm tones, bronzes, greens
  • Brown eyes: Browns, bronzes, greens
  • Gray eyes: Grays, cool tones, brown

Do you agree? Do you find that the colors that make your eyes “pop” are complimentary? I have hazel eyes, and in that respect, both greens and bronzy colors do work well; depending on the hue, it will either bring out the green or the brown/gold flecks in my eyes.

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101 thoughts on “What color eyeshadow should I wear with my eye color?

  1. Elizabeth

    I have brown eyes. I think that the best colors for me are browns, but I get so many compliments when I wear brownish reds and blues. So I dont know.

    • marissa

      It may sound weird but my eyes have changed. I used to have brown eyes, but now they are hazel. However, I used to wear reds a lot and everybody loved red on me too. Maybe it has to do with the color of your hair. I don’t know about you, but mine is brownish-blonde.

      • hey, i have blue gray eyes and I have dark brown hair and my roots r kinda reddish, wat make up should i use? pplz help! talk to me at
        p.s. if u do tell me u read this.

      • Maddie

        I think that you should wear a brown red color kinda like bronze but i mean it is really up to you

    • Shelby

      Hey Elizabeth…
      i have really dark brown eyes also.
      And my boyfriend thinks that a bronzeor goldish looks good.
      So take my advise…well his.
      sometimes it depenon your skin color.
      im pourtorican and bright colors like blue and red dont look as good on me.

  2. macaddict

    I use the complimentary color wheel as a basis/foundation but I find that there are no steadfast rules so I don’t rely on it too much. For example, my eyes are hazel (both green and soft brown) and so I can wear blue colors (when my eyes are browner) and pinks/purples when my eyes are greener. But, in general, I wear whatever color suits my style/personality in general. I am not big on the gold/bronzy colors, which, according to the wheel, I should wear.

  3. I have dark brown eyes, i hear that when i wear purples, it enchances my eyes. basically i rock whatever color i feel!

  4. lala

    purple eyeshadow work well for brunettes :)

  5. maxine

    I have medium brown eyes and I think purples and greys make them pop more than browns and greens.

  6. Jennifer

    Yes! I have hazel eyes, and golden-bronze, brown, and yellow-based greens are the key to making my eyes look their best.

  7. Suz

    I have green eyes and I find I’ve had the best results with purples thus far (granted, I only got into eyeshadows over the last year or so). Grays and silvers work well, too. I’ve tried reds and pinks, but maybe I just haven’t learned how to apply them right — I always end up looking like I’ve been on a crying jag…

    I’m out to conquer the blues next. :)

    • Tienna

      Yeah, I kno wwhat you mean. I watch A LOT of shows where they do makeup like What Not To Wear, Style Her Famous, and lots of other ones, so I know what colours look good on people. Pinks should never be worn unless you have LARGE black eyes or if you have a very soft brown eye. Even if you do wear pink, go for a metallic soft rose shade with a silver undertone to it to not look like a freak. :)

  8. Coppers and oranges definitely make my blue/grey eyes stand out, but I find that blue/teal suits me really well too… and I don’t let that colour theory business stop me from wearing whatever I want!

    • Marta

      I have blue eyes but I’ve never felt 100% about how I wear blue shadow … how do you do it?

      • Dals

        Hi Marta! I’m a pale blue-eyed Polish girl, and I also had issues with wearing blue shadow. Then I saw this Bebe ad that featured a blue-eyed model wearing blue shadow- and it looked gorgeous. I printed the ad and took it to MAC, and they helped me re-create the look. Here’s what I use, in order of application:

        Primer all over the eye lid
        Brow/ highlight: Vellum (or vanilla if you want less shimmer)
        Lid: Moon’s reflection
        Above Crease: Omega
        Outer Crease: Freshwater
        liner: Blacktrack fluidline for upper lashline, Omega shadow lower lashline the eye (applied with a 266 brush)
        Black mascara on upper and lower lashes

        That’s it! Be sure to blend those shadows well, or else the results will be cartoonish. For primer, I use Urban Decay’s primer potion.

        • Marta

          OMG girl, that is awesome … I have always wanted to wear freshwater!! What an amazing colour combo – that’s it, I’m trying it :) Dziekuje Bardzo!

      • Kat

        You have blue eyes so use bright green

    • Cheyenne

      your right about not letting this get in your way

  9. I always used to wear brown because it is supposed to work with blue eyes. And it looked fine. But lately I found that greens really light up my skin tone. In fact I would rather wear the green tones now!

  10. SnickerDoodle

    I have green eyes, and I wear purple eyeshadow a lot, both because I like how it makes my eyes look and because I love purple! But I also wear green eyeshadow a lot, and will wear basically any color family on my eyes.

  11. miss smith

    i feel the electra(silver) along with a smokey eye looks great with dark brown eyes..flesh tones are pretty but i get the most compliments with purple./green/silver either one of those

  12. I have medium to dark brown eyes, and I always get the feeling that dark blue’s or purples ( mixed with some gray or black) seem to work for me. Even though it’s not completely according to the color theory

  13. Arness

    I have caramel colored brown eyes with some green flecks, but not a true hazel. Bronzes, greens, blues and purples look great on my eyes. I think the reason they work is because I am so dark (NC50)and the contrast works well for me.

  14. Kella

    Christine, I thought your eyes are brown! Brown eyes can rock so many colours bc they’re a neutral. I feel limited bc mine are crazy blue. Taupes look the best on me.

  15. Aprilrobin

    I have gray eyes and I find that when I wear Purples, pinks, and reds my eyes really pop – but they actually start to look kind of a sea green color.

    • i have gray eyes with bits of green(weird combo. but its cool lookin)
      ive found that a coppery bronze looks REALLY awesome on me. my hair is a medium blonde color, so idk if thats y, but i do all sort of different things – experimentation!

  16. Jennifer

    I have blue eyes but orange, copper and gold look awful on me. They are way to warm for my cool skin tone and make me look washed out. I find blues/greys, pinks and purples look far better.

    • Shea

      same here, orange and copper look terrible on me. and depending on the gold, it can look awesome or i can look sickly :/

  17. Gail

    I wish bronzes and coppers suited my blue eyes, but unfortunately, my cool tone skin makes the bronzes/coppers look awful. I literally look sick wearing most coppers/oranges. I find I look better with soft browns, lavendars, etc.

  18. I wear pretty much all the colours of the rainbow but I do find that greens and sometimes purples help my really dark brown eyes pop! x

  19. Kat

    I’m not an MA (yet) but I would have thought more than eye colour decideds what colours shold be worn for make-up, including skin tones, hair colours and the effect you are going for.

  20. I find blues, greens and purples really make my medium brown eyes “pop.”

  21. I don’t agree, just because an eye colour is just one part of what someone looks like, skin colour and undertones play a role too.

    My eyes are a warm dark brown, and the most common ‘pop’ comments I get are when I wear purple. But, also teals, greens, bronze/copper/gold, red.. it’s all over the place.

  22. Hmm, I have blue-green eyes, but I actually never use red/pink eyeshadow. I’ve found that coppers and purples suit me well.. and that’s also what you’ve got listed under blue and green! Awesome.

  23. aline

    i have dark brown (almost black eyes)

    im lucky that most colors compliment my eyes nicely, like bronzes, browns, greens (olive)..

    but the color that really makes my eyes POP is vibrant, intense jewel tones purples… like violet pigment or shu ME purple 780 (my HG purple)

  24. Sash

    I have Hazel/green eyes. Similar to urs, Christine! And, by God, I hate Pink and red eyeshadow on me.

  25. geri

    I have dark brown almost black eyes and dark hair and I find that Purple, Turquoise, Blues and greens in shimmery and Jewel tones work best for me. Brown eyeshadow makes my eyes look rather flat and pink makes me look rather punched out.

  26. sasha

    purple goes well with brown eyes (hence, i have brown eyes), it brings out my eye color. honestly, i think it doesn’t matter what color eyes we have but how we apply the shadow itself. i don’t like applying the same color eye shadow everyday…so i’m always playing with my eye shadow to create that certain look and i’ve never gone wrong with any color.

    but that’s just my opinion. lol :)

  27. Carla

    I agree with most of the brown eyed girls. My eye color POPS with purple and green or any jewel tone e/s. Browns tend to make me eyes muted

    • daddys girl

      i have brown eyes also and i love wearing purples (fav color). brown colors look AWFUL on me

  28. claudine

    i have blue eyes but bronzes make me look sick i look better with greys, dark blues and dark teals…weird

  29. kat

    I think it has to do with skintone and hair colour, too. But I have bright blue eyes and oranges/golds really do look good on me (I have a warm, light skintone and reddish brown hair… so makes sense!)

  30. Chica

    Hmm, I half agree- I have brown eyes and I do get the most compliments when I wear bright greens or olive tones so that’s true but I find brown eyeshadow/brown eyes a really, really dull combo. Purples, greys & reds also make my eye colour pop :)

  31. Runway Makeup Tutorials

    In my experience, it’s not the color but the application that makes or breaks a look.

    In the end, the best color on you is the one YOU LIKE! :) So rock it with confidence whether it’s turquoise, lemon, or royal purple 😉

  32. I have green eyes, and purples/reds/pinks DO really emphasize that. But I don’t feel like I HAVE to wear stuff that emphasizes my eye color for my makeup and face in general to rock. Of course, I don’t wear makeup on a daily basis either; I also wear glasses so emphasizing my eyes is sometimes moot because my glasses are pretty dramatic anyway. I am far more likely to pick an eye shadow color scheme based on what I’m wearing and what I’m in the mood to wear.

    So, yes, the color wheel and color theory is accurate but I don’t feel at all inclined to limit myself that way.

  33. Claire

    According to the recommendations in the blog story, no one should wear blue eye shadow?? Blue is recommended for brown eyes.

  34. lisa

    Purple goes great with brown eyes it should be under brown eyes!

  35. Mamainak

    I generally agree, except my green eyes look good with bright greens or greens with yellow undertones. Also, I think you missed out on blue for brown eyes…

  36. Purple eyeshadow really makes my green eyes pop. I also really like wearing coppery shades too, they just look right
    with my eyes.

  37. Anna

    i have really really dark brown eyes which are practically black. i find that electric and navy blue really look good with my eyes. but light colours don’t work for me. maybe cuz i have slightly tanned skin. dark purple and dark green work as well.

  38. Kristen

    I have blue eyes but being fair skinned, I find that coppers and golds etc, do not suit me at all. I’ve tried many a time to pull it off but just can’t. I tend to pull of pinks, browns and greens more easily.

  39. I actually don’t agree at all. Sure some of the things are right, but I think that we all look great in things and colors we are comfortable in because we wear them with confidence. :)

    I have very dark brown eyes and the example above shows that I “should” wear greens, browns and bronzes. But I actually like blues, greys, teal, turqoise and other colors. :)

    Like this EOTD I did this week (I have a theme going on called Mike’s Choice. My husband chooses MAC shadows and pigments for me to create my look with) and it’ve very blue. It make my eyes pop out more than what bronzes does sometimes. :)
    Here is the look:

    So I think that we all should wear the colors we love and feel good in. We don’t need limits in make-up! :)

  40. Hannah

    I have golden brown eyes, and I think they look awesome with purple or green. Blue & aqua looks good too!

  41. Saira

    I have brown eyes and I find that shades such as purple, silver, gold, blues and especially green tend to work best with my eye colour. I do sometimes wear browns but I find that other contrasting colours tend to bring out the colours of my eyes much more.

  42. Gemma

    i have green and brow what colour shades should i wear

  43. how should i wear my eye shadow if i am light brown?

  44. kelly

    I have dark blue eyes and wear all colours. I especially like vivid colors, blue, greens, pinks…I am also very pale and find that I can get away with more bc of it. Browns are ok but I find I look washed out in neutrals.

  45. Gayle

    I have olive eye color. Not green, not hazel…just plain olive.
    If I wear a lipstick in the red/orange range it looks best, but I can’t find the correct eyeshadow. My hair is dk. red with blond chunks and my skin is naturally a light tan color. I need help with the eyeshadow !!

  46. Emily

    I have blue eyes, auburn hair (red/ brown) and really pale skin. I hate it when my eyes look grey, which in the winter they tend to, I want to make them appear as blue as possible!I find that brown eyeshadow does make my blue eyes stand out however the brown looks to dark against my pale skin and makes me look slightly ill! However i find that orange and pale gold works well! I’m bord of wearing these colours though so does any one else have any other ideas for what colours you think would suit me? please help…

  47. helen

    I have blue eyes, wear glasses, fair coloured skin and brunette hair what make up goes well with that?

  48. Gwendela X]

    I have found that I love browns/tans , blacks/greys, and very light metallic pinks on my light blue, practically grey eyes. I wear the browns/tans and blacks/greys when I feel like I really wanna stand out and I love to wear the light pink when I just don’t want 2 stand out. And I usually apply it across the crease, but not too far past that. Am I doing this rite? Am I using the rite colors?

  49. vanessa

    ok so i have hazel eyes but they are more green than brown and im confused what color i should wear

  50. vanessa

    oh and im very pale with dark brown hair

    • marissa

      I have more green than brown in my (hazel)eyes too. I really like dark brown on me, but I am pretty tan and my hair is bronish-blonde. I wear glasses so you can’t really see my eye lashes but brown eyeshadow works well with an orangish pink lip gloss.

  51. marissa

    whoops! brownish not bronish.

  52. jackie

    I have olive eyes that go yellow in the sun!! would purple eyeshadow suit me?

  53. Jess

    I have hazel/green eyes, fair freckly skin and auburn coloured hair… what colours would suit me without being to garish?

  54. i have green/grey eyes what should i wear.

  55. shannon

    i have light baby blue eyes and i have really blond hair and my skintone is fair…i haven’t found any shadows that make my eyes pop…some good makeup advice would be helpful..

  56. Makayla

    My eyes are green but I have a lighter brown/green color around pupil it is actually a light green just up close can appear a little brown. So my eyes are green but turn gray what do I do if my eyes change colors at rare times they go blue or blue-ish green so what would I do then if they change in the middle of the day.

  57. Cheyenne

    My eyecolor naturlly changes color, but would the colors that I should wear look good?

  58. kay

    i have green eyes and brown hair…could i pull off a “smoky” look?

  59. my eyes differ sometimes i have green eyes with orange in the middle and then brown eyes with green in the middle. i find the best sort of eyeshadows for my eyes are white, blue,silver, red,brown and green.

  60. Brianna

    I have blue/green eyes, they are a very intence colour, everyone loves them, but i want to find out what colour of eye shadows and liners would make them pop out even more.

  61. Chau

    I have brown eyes. And I read somewhere that all colors work for brown eyes. Well, i think your eye structures (full or deep) and skin tones also play a role. I love plum/egg plan, blue (all shades), green (all shades), grey, silver, taupe, shimmery gold, peach. To my big surprise, I pull off grey/silver plus deep berry lip (Dior Fall 2009 look) with my medium skin tone. But brown doesn’t do the job very well (I really want to rock NARS Cordura but it’s just so so:( ), and especially violet is absolutely unflattering on me.

  62. if you have brown eyes you shouldnt where brown eyeshadow as it dominates your eyes and everyone will be looking at your eyeshadow not your gorgeous eyes
    brown=greens,blues, but if you dont wanna be out there then pale golds and reds
    blue=NEVER PUT BLUE EYESHADOW ON, rich reds or creamy pale
    green= browns or reds aswell
    hazel=the worlds your oyster your lucky enough hazel goes with almost anything but i would stay clear of pale greens
    anything else=pale colours are the best

  63. bella

    I have never worn eyeliner/mascara before, what color should i use/how do i put it on? thanks! My eyes are blue.

  64. lia

    what about black eyes?

  65. Heather

    Heyy i have green eyes and dark red hair i have no clue what colors i should use to make my eyes pop but not make me look weird please help :)

  66. molly

    thnx i need this tip i haveto ware a lot of colors thati look bad in so thnx i needed that:) :) :):) :) :) :) :) :) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  67. molly

    ilove my blue eyes but it stinks all mt sisters have brown eyes me and my dad have blue eyes and my mom has brown …….. what should i do???

  68. mika

    i have blue/grey eyes and dark brown hair what color would go good???

  69. Steph

    I have Turqouise eyes and I’m not quite sure what to use far as colors go for eye shadows. My Eye color does change depending on what I wear so that makes it a little tougher. Help?

  70. Chauntel

    Hey uhm… I have really weird eyes, there sorta dark green, but they change to blue, and. Lot of times they look gray. I also have dark brown hair and red tips. Please help!

  71. Cassidy

    blue eyes i look better in dark silver!

  72. am happy with that agree but with brown eyes I think dark blues suite aswell as glittery ones.

  73. nicole

    I have fair skin,dark hair, and Green Blue eyes.When there are kits for eye colour it always comes in for green eyes, or hazel, or brown.What about combination eye colour?

  74. Kel

    Couldn’t girls with brown eyes wear a purple eye shadow?!

  75. Ramona

    I have medium brown eyes and browns, bronzes and greens do usually look pretty good on me. Purples and certain pinks also look really good. I find that any reddish color makes me look sick, so if a brown is too warm and red it looks bad. Really I only wear darker cooler toned browns. Some blues also look really good with my eyes. I think skin tone has a lot to do with what looks good, too.