Your gorgeous eyes—whether they’re bright blue, deep brown, almond-shaped, or beautiful monolids—are unique and attention-worthy. If you’re like us, you’ve probably played them up with makeup in so many ways like tightlining for definition, graphic eyeliner for drama, and shimmering shadows to command the spotlight. But if you’re one of the estimated only eight to 10 percent of the world’s population that’s blessed with blue eyes, you might think your eye makeup options are just as scarce. Think again.
There’s a simple way to bring out the natural beauty in your eyes: choosing the right eyeshadow shades. Eyeshadows are one of our most reached-for makeup products for many reasons, and now they’re the secret to making your blue eyes really pop. Keep reading for seven of the best eyeshadow colors for blue eyes, with tips from makeup artist Elena Guzman. Then, go forth and flaunt those beautiful baby blues!
But first, don’t miss our tutorial for finding the best eyeshadow for any eye color:
Time to get artsy. Like many artists, makeup artists often refer to the color wheel (yup, the chart you learned about in grade school) to choose shades that complement one another. Need a refresher? The color wheel groups similar colors together, with contrasting colors across from one another. With a quick glance, you can determine that shades opposite from one another will naturally stand out when paired together.
When it comes to eye makeup, a makeup artist might use orange eyeshadow or shades with orange-y undertones on blue eyes. Guzman says, “When you look at the color wheel, you will see that orange tones are opposite blue. This contrast makes eyes look more stunning.” To find the next most complementary shade, they can look to the right or left of orange on the color wheel, i.e. red and yellow, and be sure that those eyeshadow colors will flatter blue eyes. This doesn’t mean you’re limited to applying these colors—just that you’re guaranteed to turn heads wearing them. There are endless options that blue-eyed babes look beautiful in and we’re diving into six of them—from playful purple to neutral browns—below.
Like we mentioned above, orange is directly opposite blue on the color wheel and will add vivid contrast to your eye color. While you're totally welcome (and encouraged!) to play with a bright, scene-stealing tangerine, like Margot Robbie, any eyeshadow with orange tones will make blue eyes pop.
Orange eyeshadow may seem daunting, but many warm, neutral eyeshadows actually have orange undertones in them and vary from light to dark shades that you can mix, match, build up, and layer. Some of the most universally-flattering colors to bring out blue eyes with any skin tone range from rust and copper (which Guzman says particularly makes blue eyes radiant) to burnt orange. Tip: Fairer skin tones look great in orange shades like peach, while darker skin tones look gorgeous in deeper oranges like terracotta.
Our Picks: Reach for HUDA BEAUTY Obsessions Palette in Topaz—it has nine shades that range from orange to rust, in matte and shimmer finishes. Or, for a pop of bright, metallic color, swipe SUVA BEAUTY's Eyeshadow in Turmeric across your lid for an eye-catching statement look. Pair this pigmented burnt-orange with some bronze eyeliner and mascara, and your blue eyes will shine like never before.
If you’re looking for an everyday eyeshadow that can be built up for extra drama, brown shades are a great option. “For natural day makeup, brown tones and reddish undertones of chocolate brown make blue eyes pop while remaining neutral,” says Guzman. Chocolate hues also naturally have reddish undertones (remember our color wheel!), making it perfect for enhancing your eye color. Deep espressos are a go-to for a smoky look that’s slightly softer than black, but just as dramatic and impactful. For a soft glam look (like Cara Delevingne above), Guzman suggests a hint of gold, “Buff gold eyeshadow over the lid and along the lower lashes. Then, apply brown eyeshadows in the crease and outer corner for depth.”
Guzman’s Pick: ANASTASIA BEVERLY HILLS Soft Glam Palette. Guzman says “I love this palette because it is so universal. I can use it with any skin tone and for any eye color and it’s especially perfect for blue eyes because of the different gold and brown shades.”
Fact: We love rose gold makeup everything. It’s a shade that hasn’t lost its momentum in makeup and looks beautiful on just about everybody. Rose gold has undertones that pull from the purple and orange color families (although subtly) that are known to flatter blue eyes like Elle Fanning’s. Rose gold is one of the most versatile shades in application as well—it can be applied all over lids, on the center of lids to highlight them, on inner corners of your eyes, or smudged along lash lines. Any way you wear it, it’ll make your blue eyes shimmer.
Our pick: URBAN DECAY Naked3 Eyeshadow Palette has a mix of pinks to rose gold to purple eyeshadows and beyond to achieve all your rose gold eyeshadow dreams.
We get it—you may be hesitant to pair black eyeshadow with your light blue eyes, but stay with us. When applied correctly, black eyeshadow can be particularly striking against blue (check out Alexandra Daddario for proof). For an easy black smoky eye that doesn’t involve painting your entire lid, smudge a soft black eyeliner pencil along your waterline or use an angled eyeshadow brush to blend black eyeshadow along your upper and lower lash lines. If you do want some drama, apply a neutral shadow all over your lids and blend black along your outer corners and softly into your eye crease. When in doubt, neutral lids with black graphic eyeliner will win you points for drama.
Our pick: FENTY BEAUTY Flyliner Longwear Eye Pencil in Cuz I’m Black is creamy, water-resistant (so it won’t smudge easily), and highly pigmented—use it to smudge along lash lines, create graphic looks, define your eyes, and more.
From Rihanna to Selena Gomez to Lili Reinhart (above), red-based eyeshadows are buzzing on the red carpet and runway. Red is an exciting way to play up your eye color, but if you’re not feeling adventurous, an easy way to integrate red eyeshadows into your everyday eye look is to choose red-based neutral tones like pinks and reddish taupes. (Love red? Check out our pro tips for wearing red eyeshadow.)
Our Picks: A swipe of ESTATE COSMETICS Eye Shade in Smash delivers a colorful punch with metallic, brick red.
Sunny yellow eyeshadow shades bring out the brightest blues (exhibit A: Rachel McAdams), and with so many color options to choose from, they'll be sure to put a smile on your face, too. While we love a soft or bold wash of lemon yellow on lids, the easiest way to wear this trending eyeshadow shade is in the form of universally flattering warm gold or amber. (Check out our best gold eyeshadows ever for a full list of faves.)
Our Picks: TARTE Chrome Paint Shadow Pot in Park Ave Princess is a gleaming copper that melts onto lids and is guaranteed to make your blue eyes sparkle. For a more bold wash of yellow, swipe on COLOURED RAINE COSMETICS Eyeshadow in Super Star—it’s the perfect, shimmery yellow gold shadow to apply all over eyelids, or as an accent shade on inner corners and along your lash lines.
Always on-trend, purple eyeshadow looks are beautiful on just about every eye color and skin tone—and it’s unexpectedly eye-catching on blue eyes (like on Saoirse Ronan above). Here’s how to add this versatile color option to your eye makeup arsenal.
Which shade of purple you use will depend on your own eye shade: icier blue eye colors that have cool tones might find darker purple shades are best for really enhancing the lightness in your eyes, while darker blue-eyed babes can try lighter lilacs and shimmery lavenders to highlight your eye color's depth.
Our Picks: For every purple shade you could ever dream of, reach for HUDA BEAUTY Obsessions Eyeshadow Palette in Purple. From light, almost-pink shades to shimmering smokey purple, mauve, and deep aubergine, it’s packed with options to create multidimensional purple eyeshadow moments.
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