How do you figure out what colors to use in a look from a pre-made palette?

I usually divide the palette into two or three looks so that I can make sure to test each shade, so it might be by undertone (cool/warm), vibe (neutrals vs. vibrant color), or trying to mix finishes – like darker matte shades for crease/transition shades and lighter shimmers as inner tearduct/brow bone shades and then figuring out what goes in-between. For me, a lot of it is just practice, because I don’t think that much about the combos – they usually just jump out at me when I look at a palette!

— Christine
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If the palette seems to have an obvious cohesiveness in layout, I’ll pick rows of three, or squares of four (depending on the layout) as a starting point, without much regard to color, other looking for a light, medium and dark.

If it’s not laid out in a way that lends itself to rows or squares, I’ll just look for a light, medium, and dark. I’m not religious about the only-mattes-in-the-crease “rule”; I do usually choose with that in mind, though my crease isn’t always the darkest color I wear — that’s just as often my lid, with a medium or transition color in the crease … I’m weird.

If the palette seems more suited to acting as an accent rather than as an all-in-one (UD Spectrum), I take a color from the palette as an inspiration, make a look from other products, then use the inspiration color as the pop (or however it makes sense to use it).

TBH, I don’t much care about colors; I’ll try almost any color with almost any other color, the one caveat is that I don’t like to use two very bright colors together in the same look — I always want one to be the real standout.

I make it up as I go along on days when I have more time. Otherwise I do what’s worked before. I’m not good at making very different shades go together, so there’s usually a clear gradient involved. I always pick a feature shadow and at least two mattes.

Usually starts w one shade I want to try. Like with the ABH Riviera palette above… Seaside is intriguing so that would be my focal point. The other shades I’d choose would support and ground it. The midtone mattes I’d use in the crease.

Whatever I may have learned from art school and personal experience all figures into what I will put together! This may be the using of similarly veined shades for a more “monochromatic” or more typically paired shades type look, or using color wheel theory to go for a look that uses complimentary, though opposite families of colors, ie: orange w/ teal blue, purple w/green.

Since most pre-made pallettes have pretty much been cultivated to work together, and I wear neutrals 90% of the time, I just go with tonal values most of the time. When a palette has more color, I either get inspired by jewelry (my clothes are pretty much all black, and even the few colorful pieces are pretty much solids), or follow my instinct, which comes naturally, as I’ve always had an eye for color. On the rare occasion I get stumped, I just try different things. That said, I’m quite certain I’ve had more than a few “fails” over the decades, but more often than not, it’s trying to coordinate a lip/cheek color into the look, as personally don’t care for monochromatic looks on myself. For example, I did a warm, berry-toned look using UD Born To Run, but it took trying about 7 different lip products before settling on a peachy-pink, which I very rarely wear.

Lots of trial and error! I pick a shade that I think is fun or that I don’t use often and go from there to create a cohesive look. Sometimes I base my color choices on the outfit I want to wear. Occasionally, I ask my 5 year old step daughter which shade I should use and add colors to it.

I tend to be guided about what I am wearing to choose the colour combos of the eyeshadows I want to use. I like to have a bit of fun picking out different combinations to see how they look and one of the benefits of having a palette is that there are often shades you would normally not use and it does give you a chance to incorporate a colour not previously liked. For example the shade In the Buff from the Soft and Smokey palette (bareminerals) – it is a soft peach shade which I have successfully used on my lower lid to emphasise a darker background shade. This is the best part of wearing makeup!

I start out with light, medium, dark and a pop of color. I also try to see the shades on the color wheel. Then if all else fails, I will do a random roulette to help pick out four or five colors and see what I come up with.

Honestly, I start with colors that are near each other, so I can try all the colors. After I’ve done that, if I have my own favorites or ideas, I use them. Then, I might search the palette on YouTube to see what others are doing, and search it here to see what looks you, Christine, come up with. I usually try all the looks I find here and many from YouTube.

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