How to choose the best eye makeup for your eye colour

Makeup artists reveal the most flattering eye shadow, eyeliner and mascara shades to enhance your natural eye colour.

Colourful eye shadows, liner and mascara can be mixed and matched to create all manner of looks.

But if your goal is to enhance the eyes, makeup artist Melanie Burnicle says “makeup colour selection will be primarily dictated by the natural colour of your eyes”.

To understand why some colours are more flattering to certain eye colours, makeup artist Dale Dorning says it comes down to colour-wheel theory.

“The most complementary shades to your natural eye colour are the ones that sit directly opposite on the colour wheel, because they create the greatest contrast,” says Dale.

“You should also consider analogous colours to your natural eye colour, which refers to colours that sit side by side on the colour wheel.”

Best makeup colours for blue eyes

Eye shadow: Warm gold, bronze, apricot, rust

Orange-based shadows are a knockout with baby blues.

“These warm shades really bring the blue in the eye to life,” says Melanie.

“I like to place a gold shadow on the lower lid near the lash line, in the centre of the eye or above the iris to really bring out the blue even more.”

Eyeliner: Deep copper, warm gold, browns, dark blue

For eyeliner, deeper orange-based hues are again the expert’s pick – but blue liner also works as a striking alternative.

“A blue metallic liner with blue eyes is fun and enhances the natural colour,” says Melanie.

Mascara: Brown, navy

Although black mascara is considered universal, it doesn’t always fare well against blue eyes. “Opt instead for a softer brown or even navy mascara,” says Dale.

Variation for blue-grey eyes

Often mistaken for blue eyes, blue-grey eyes contain flecks of gold and brown.

In this instance, Dale recommends a slight adjustment to the above colour recommendations by also “using the naturally present gold and brown flecks as inspiration for matching shadow or liner shades”.

Best makeup colours for brown eyes

Eye shadow: All colours! Try purple, dark green, blue, gold, rich browns

“The colour brown sits right in the middle of the colour wheel, meaning there are not really any shades that it doesn’t suit,” says Dale.

Melanie also thinks brown eyes can also afford to experiment with shadow finishes.

“Mattes or sheen shadows can create a striking effect with brown eyes,” says Melanie.

Eyeliner: Again, most shades. Try black, brown, purple, gold

A variety of liner shades stand out against a brown eye backdrop.

“The deeper the brown eye, the more vivid the liner choice can be because this brings out the natural eye colour even more,” says Dale.

Mascara: Plum, dark green and black

Black is perennially popular for brown eyes but a coloured mascara is a creative option.

“Because brown eyes have natural depth, I ensure I frame them well with mascara to balance out the shadow colour,” says Melanie.

Variation for light brown eyes

Some of the more out-there shades suited to dark brown eyes may be a little intense for lighter brown eyes.

Instead, Melanie recommends sticking within the spectrum of “warmer tones” – from orange-based hues through to deep browns.

Best makeup colours for green eyes

Eye shadow: Gold, rust, orange, plum

Blue and green are colour wheel neighbours, so there’s crossover in the complementary shades for blue and green eyes – but beware of cool tone shadows.

“If you have warm green eyes avoid cooler colours as they will look misplaced on the eye,” says Dale.

Eyeliner: Warm to cool browns, burgundy

“Green eyes look brilliant framed with eyeliner,” says Dale.

“I lightly smudge a gel-based pencil along the lash lines to really enhance the green eye colour.”

However, Melanie advises against using a green eyeliner with green eyes because “it just doesn’t seem to have the wow factor you might expect”.

Mascara: Brown, plum, black

While black mascara can be harsh with blue eyes, Melanie finds it impactful on green eyes.

“I love black mascara as it adds strength and definition to a green eye,” says Melanie.

Best makeup colours for hazel eyes

Eye shadow: Soft to dark browns, rust, gold

“The warm or cool green flecks naturally present within a hazel eye are your best indicator when choosing eye shadow colours,” says Dale.

“These will also guide you on whether to choose cool or warm tone eye shadows.

Melanie adds that “wishy washy colours” generally aren’t effective with hazel eyes because “they won’t add dimension to the eye”.

Eye liner: Black, brown, burgundy grape

Burgundy or brown liner are Dale’s picks for hazel eyes because “they won’t take away from the natural eye colour, but instead frame them and makes the colour really pop”.

Melanie adds that lining “both the top and bottom eyeline really draws forward the colour of a hazel eye”.

Mascara: Black, brown, plum

Black mascara is a simple way to frame hazel eyes.

However, if coloured flecks in the eye are particularly prominent, Dale suggests a coloured mascara is more effective for highlighting the eye’s natural multi-tonal quality.

Written by Sharon Hunt.