How to Choose Eyeshadow Colors With Confidence

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Eyeshadows are one of the best ways to show your creativity when it comes to makeup. There are so many eyeshadow options to play with! Although this is in general a great thing, it can also make it a bit difficult when trying to decide which ones to use.  

While there are no hard and fast rules per se’, not all eyeshadow colors work well together.

This article answers the question; “How to choose eyeshadow colors that work the best for ME.”   That last bit is the important part isn’t it? Once you learn these guidelines, you’ll be able to look at any palette or website full of eyeshadow shades and know which ones are for YOU and how to combine them to look and feel fabulous.

In this article, we share some of the best tips that will help anyone know how to choose eyeshadow colors. And of course, we are sharing some amazing Red Apple eyeshadow suggestions. Keep on reading to find your perfect eyeshadow colors.   

Why Neutral and Nude Eyeshadows are so popular.

Neutral and nude eyeshadows are so popular because they easily look good on most everyone and they’re a crucial shade in a palette.

It’s important to choose the correct shades but nude and neutral eyeshadow shades are a must-have in one’s makeup arsenal. They are perfect for everyday simple eye looks, and equally for classic and timeless eye shadow looks.  

A common question Is – Is there a difference between “Neutral” and “Nude” eyeshadows? Or are they one and the same?

Many women believe Nude eyeshadow and Neutral eyeshadow are the same thing. This is a common mistake I used to make too.

  • Nude eyeshadows are colors you’d naturally find in skin colors and tones like bones, beiges, tans, and browns
  • Neutral eyeshadows are often muted complex colors that have various underlying hues and will change in appearance depending on the light. Examples: beige, taupe, gray, cream, brown, black, and white.

Nude Eyeshadow Colors


Neutral Eyeshadow Colors

How do you choose the correct shades of neutral and nude eyeshadows? A general guide is to pick colors that are about 2 shades lighter or darker than the natural color of your eyelids.   Here’s some extra tips:

Nude and Neutral Eyeshadow for Fair/Light Complexions:   

Nude colors will look best on the lighter complexions. Choose eyeshadow colors like rosy beige, taupe, rose gold, and champagne. Even softer shades of gold and bronze are also good options.  

Nude and Neutral Eyeshadow for Medium & Olive Complexions:   

Warmer colors will usually look the best on these complexions. Choose eyeshadow shades in the brown family; golden browns, coppers, bronze, honey, and peachy colors are great options.  

Nude and Neutral Eyeshadow for Dark & Deeper Complexions:   

Darker complexions will look the best with deeper eyeshadow colors. Choose deeper eyeshadow shades of warm golds and bronze, even shades of burgundy will look great as neutral colors on deeper complexions.  

Check out some great Red Apple Lipstick neutral eyeshadow suggestions by clicking here and here.  

Check out some great Red Apple Lipstick nude eyeshadow suggestions by clicking here.  

How To Choose Eyeshadow Colors That Look Best On YOUR Eyes

We believe the best way to choose eyeshadows is to base it off your eye color. The color wheel guides us to complementary shades (opposite your eye color) and monochromatic shades (same as your eye color but in a different hue).  

  • Complementary Shades (opposite your eye color) will make your eye color POP and really stand out
  • Monochromatic Shades (same as your eye color) will flatter your eyes and look lovely

Once you know how to choose the right eyeshadow colors – you will be able to create eyeshadow color combinations and know exactly what to wear to feel gorgeous and confident. Which means no more ruts! Let’s look at the color wheel.

How To use a Color Wheel to choose eyeshadow shades? 

The color wheel is a circular chart of the primary colors (red, yellow, blue), secondary colors (colors you get when mixing primary colors together), and tertiary colors (the colors on the sides of the secondary colors).   

The wheel shows us what colors complement each other by looking directly across from any color.

For example, see how blue and orange are opposites, or straight across from it? This means blue colors will stand out next to orange colors. When we apply this to how to choose eyeshadow colors: ORANGE-toned eyeshadows will complement BLUE eyes. Make sense?

So, let’s break that down below for each eye color – to see the eyeshadows colors that will complement YOUR eyes.

For monochromatic eyeshadow color combinations – you would just choose shades of eyeshadow similar to your eyes but in different hues.

If you’d like a shortcut/easy button – take a look at our eyeshadow palettes for YOUR eye color. We designed eyeshadow color combinations that will look gorgeous and get you looking fabulous faster!

How To Choose Eyeshadow Colors For Brown / Black Eyes 

You’ll note that brown isn’t on the color wheel but don’t despair, you have it easiest – really.

  • Brown / black eye ladies have it easy because brown is a neutral color.
  • You can choose a lot of eyeshadow colors that will all look great.
  • Green eyeshadows will pop on brown eyes with reddish undertones (because red and green are opposites).
  • Purple eyeshadows will pop on brown eyes with light brown eyes, or brown eyes with golden or yellow undertones (purple and yellow are opposites).
  • Then look to all the neutral shades for excellent choices: bronze, gold, hues of brown – and choose eyeshadow colors based on your complexion (as we explained in the first section on neutral shadows)

Eyeshadow Palette suggestions: Shimmer Eye Shadow Palette & Matte Eye Shadow Palette for Brown Eyes  

Noemi Recommends: I have rich dark brown eyes so make them pop using green eyeshadow shades. Olive This Color and Sage Rage are perfect! I also love the Shimmer Eye Shadow Palette for Brown Eyes since I love browns and bronze eyeshadows.  

How To Choose Eyeshadow Colors For Blue Eyes  

In looking at the color wheel, orange is directly on the opposite side of blue. So those with blue eyes should look for eyeshadow colors that have orange undertones. Think of peachy shades, rich browns, terracotta, copper, and bronze eyeshadows to name a few.  

  • Blue eyes always pop with orange undertone eyeshadow colors.
  • Rich browns, terra-cotta, copper and bronze eyeshadow colors never fail blue eyes.
  • Peachy eyeshadow shades complement blue eyes.

RAL Eyeshadow Palette suggestions: Shimmer Eye Shadow Palette & Matte Eye Shadow Palette for Blue Eyes  

How To Choose Eyeshadow Colors For Green Eyes  

Directly on the opposite side of green on the color wheel is red. To make those beautiful green eyes pop choose colors that have reddish undertones.

  • Green Eyes always benefit from eyeshadow colors with reddish undertones.
  • Use eyeshadow colors in the bronze, reddish-brown, maroon, mahogany, and purples like eggplant.
  • For a more subtle look, use pink eyeshadow shades (which are in the red family: red and white make pink)

RAL Eyeshadow Palette suggestions: Shimmer Eye Shadow Palette & Matte Eye Shadow Palette for Green Eyes  

How To Choose Eyeshadow Colors For Hazel Eyes

Hazel eyes are a combination of both green and brown hues. If the brown hue is more prominent then play it up by going with eyeshadow colors that complement brown eyes. If on the other hand, if your eyes have more green, then use colors that will complement green eyes. You can also decide yourself what hue you want to play up and choose eyeshadow colors accordingly.  

  • If your hazel eyes are more brown, they will pop with any and all eyeshadow colors that complement brown eyes (see above)
  • If your hazel eyes are more green then use colors for green eyes (also above)
  • Since your eyes are so unique, you can switch back and forth at will to shift your eye color… like a magical unicorn.

RAL Eyeshadow Palette suggestions: Shimmer Eye Shadow Palette & Matte Eye Shadow Palette for Hazel Eyes  

How To Choose Eyeshadow Colors For Grey Eyes  

Grey eyes are a combination of different colors. Grey eyes tend to usually be either more of a blueish or greenish tone.

  • If your grey eyes are blue dominate, then choose eye shadow colors that complement blue eyes (see above – each of those palettes will look lovely)
  • If your eyes are more greenish well, then choose eye shadow colors that complement green eyes (see above – each of those palettes will look lovely)
  • Another option is to enhance the grey hue by choosing colors like silvers or brownish greys as you can see in shimmer palette below. Choosing monochromatic greys – give your eyes a steely cool look.
  • Your eyes will shape shift depending on the shadows you choose – so choose based on what your eye is drawn to in all the palettes we mentioned, or choose based on which hue (blue or green) you want to enhance in your eyes.  

RAL Palette suggestions: Shimmer Eye Shadow Palette & Matte Eye Shadow Palette for Grey Eyes  

How to Choose Eyeshadow Colors Based on Your Skin Tone

Using your skin tone as a guide to choosing eyeshadow colors, in our opinion, is secondary to choosing eyeshadow colors based on your eye color. After you’ve narrowed down the shades for your eye color – then decide from those based on your skin tone. Often though, this step is unnecessary because you’ve already chosen the most complementary colors.

  • Fair/Light Skin Tone– the lightest complexions, fair skin falling in the lightest end of the range. Fair skin complexions tend to have cool skin tones while lighter complexions have cool, warm or neutral undertones. .  
  • Medium Skin Tone– medium skin includes a broad range from medium-light, to tan, to olive skin.  
  • Dark/Deep Skin Tone– those with the darkest to deepest of complexions, falling on the darkest end of the skin tone range.  
  • Olive Complexion– olive skin has both yellow and green/gray undertones to their complexion. Those with an olive complexion will usually fall in the medium to medium/tan, even sometimes in the darker skin tone range.  

Fair/Light Skin Tones   

Lighter complexions want to stay away from colors that are too dark and deep as well as anything too bright. Softer and lighter eyeshadow colors will look the best on fairer and lighter skin tones. Lighter shades of gold and bronze will work great, as well as taupe, rose golds, and champagne shades. For more of a pop of color, try softer shades of green and plums. Make sure to use different finishes as well, shimmery eyeshadows can soften the eye look and help the colors from looking too harsh.   

Medium Skin Tones   

Medium complexions can pretty much play with many types of colors, as long as they are neither too light nor way too dark. Most medium skins will look great with warm tones of bronze, coppers, golds, and shades of honey.

Richer colors like blues will look amazing on those with warmer medium complexions, while those with cooler medium complexions will stand out with greys and lavender shades of eyeshadow.   

Olive Complexions  

The hues in olive skin make it very versatile when it comes to makeup. Those who have an olive complexion will look great with either softer colors or bold and rich colors.

Eyeshadow colors like golden browns will enhance the skin’s natural color beautifully. However, if you want to make the complexion pop, try rich colors like greens, royal blue, plums, and orangey shades.   

Dark/Deep Skin Tones  

Darker complexions look the best in rich, even bold, colors and should avoid pale colors as well as anything ashy. For more subtle looks, choose warm shades of gold and burgundy colors.

If you want to go for a bold look, go for vibrant colors such as bright blues and purples. Rich, bold, and vibrant eyeshadow colors will pop against those with dark and deep skin tones.   


How to Choose Eyeshadow Color Combinations

Now that you understand how to choose eyeshadow colors best for YOUR eyes, let’s learn how to put it all together to create a LOOK.

For a simple “one-and-done” wash of color, choose one of your medium neutral shades and apply all over the lid and up into the crease. Don’t forget to start with an eye primer to keep that eyeshadow from creasing or wearing off mid-day.

Most times, though, you’ll want to use multiple eyeshadows for a complete look. 3 eyeshadows are used for most eye looks. So, how do you go about choosing color combinations? Follow these steps:

1. Choose a Base Shade  

Start by applying a neutral matte eyeshadow shade that is close to the color of your skin tone, no more than one or two shades lighter. Apply this all over the lid as the base for the rest of your eyeshadows.

  • Purpose of base shade: even out the tone of your lids & help the other eyeshadows to blend nicely.  

2. Use a Combo of Light, Medium, and Dark Shade  

Look in your palette and decide on these three shades. Your base shade can serve as the “light” shade if you want.

*Purpose: Adds dimension to your look and creates a seamless transition between your shades when blending them out.

*Where They Are Applied:

  • Light Shade: highlights the eye – can apply to lid, brown bone, and inner part of eye
  • Medium Shade: transitions the light shade to the dark shade – apply this in your crease (if you have hooded lids continue applying above where your crease actually is so that you can see this shade when you look straight ahead in a mirror)
  • Darker Shade: adds definition – apply this to your outer 1/3 in an outward & upward triangle, or for less drama you can use this shade to line your eyes using an angled eyeliner brush

Blend these all together by using a crease & blend brush in tiny circles all over to create a seamless transition from one shade to the next.

To see this demonstrated in a quick video: look here for a classic & timeless look

3. Mix Eyeshadow Finishes  

When choosing eyeshadow color combinations, combine matte eyeshadows with shimmers. Shimmery colors help to emphasize the eyes while matte shades add definition to them. Try using a shimmery eyeshadow on the lids (which can also help make the eyes look bigger) and a matte eyeshadow in the crease.  If you’re not a fan of shimmers – all matte is totally fine. But if you love some sparkle, be sure to mix it with mattes for a polished and sophisticated vibe.

4. Include a Neutral Shade  

When using colorful and bright shades, make sure to include a neutral shade as well. Using a neutral color along with brighter colors will help to balance the overall look, making it more wearable and not over the top.  

For instance, if you’ve determined purple eyeshadow is calling your name – include a light pink, cream or taupe too.

By following those 4 guidelines – you’ll always be able to choose eyeshadow color combinations that look awesome on YOU! Keep reading for additional notes and frequently asked questions about specifics.


How To Do Monochromatic Looks 

A simple way to choose eyeshadow color combinations is with a monochromatic color scheme. A monochromatic eye look uses eyeshadows that are different shades of the same color.

Just follow the same guidelines as above: base shade, light, medium and dark shades, mix finishes – just make sure they’re all in the same shade range but different hues.

The best part is that monochrome looks can range from simple everyday looks by using neutral colors, to brighter and bolder looks by choosing a richer and brighter color family.  Check out this Pink Monochromatic Makeup Look for a detailed tutorial.

Frequently Asked Questions:  

 What eyeshadow colors go well together?  

  • Those in the same color family (monochromatic looks).
  • Golds and nudes
  • Creams and taupes
  • Beige and greys For more colorful and bolder shades, complementary colors will usually look great together for eye looks.  

For bold eyeshadow color combinations – choose complementary shades:

  • Green and Red (think olive & maroon)
  • Blue and Orange (think terracotta & navy)
  • Purple and Yellow (think violet and gold)
How do I choose an eyeshadow combination?  

2 ways – either choose complementary colors or monochromatic colors.

  1. Complementary colors = colors opposite from one another on the color wheel (see above and use your eye color to dictate which shades are best)
  2. Monochromatic colors = different hues of the same shade (all browns, all pinks, all greens, etc – use your eye color to dictate which shades are best)
How do you pair eyeshadow colors?  
  1. Make sure you have a combo of a light, medium, and darker shade.
  2. Pair colors that are in the same color family or that are similar.
  3. If you’re wearing a colorful look, always pair a neutral eyeshadow shade to balance out the look.   
  4. Mix finishes if you’re going to wear shimmer, include a matte in your crease.
How Do You Choose Eyeshadow Color Combinations From A Palette?

We encourage you to choose all cool tones or all warm tones so things don’t clash. Then follow the guidelines above for finish, hue, and application. Here are our favorite eyeshadow color combinations:

When pairing a lipstick, if you have any concerns about lipstick bleeding, try these helpful tips.

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