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16 Gilded Eye Makeup Looks to Help You Go for the Gold


If you've checked out our series on the best eyeshadow shades for blue, green, and brown eye colors, you may have noticed that gold eyeshadow made its way onto pretty much every list. That's not us getting lazy on you—it's truly one of the most universally flattering eye makeup colors out there.

The fun part of gold eye makeup is how versatile it can be, depending on the shade you select (anywhere from 24k yellow gold to shimmery champagne hues), where you wear them, and how pigmented a formula you choose. A sheer wash of color makes for a beautiful highlight or natural daytime makeup look. After dark, graphic gold eyeliner and solid swaths of color are sure to keep all eyes on you. Not sure where to start? We've picked our fave gold eye makeup looks to help get you inspired.

1. Lids and Liner

Close-up of a Black model rocking gold eyeshadow and orange lips

Forget everything you think you know about putting a makeup look together. You know, those old school rules about highlighting either your lips or your eyes (never both!) and keeping to one color. This gold eye makeup look proves that more is definitely more. Swipe on your cat eye, paint on your favorite orange-y lip, then pack on the gold shadow (use a flat eyeshadow brush for this). By keeping the pigment focused in your inner corners, it helps that look stay wearable. Bonus points if you pair it all with a bright yellow mani and cobalt blue tip.

2. Grungy Gold

Gold eye makeup can be soft and feminine, but it can also be totally grungy and cool. Exhibit A: This smudged, smoky eye topped with vibrant gold from makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes. Create a classic smoky eye over your lids, then top the centerline of your eyes with gold shadow. Make sure to mimic everything you did on top across your lower lash line to complete the look.

3. Bold Brows

Yes, gold eyebrows seem a bit extra, but that’s exactly why we’re obsessed with this gilded eyeliner and glitter brow combo from makeup artist Ash Walker. To get the ultimate shine, use a wet shadow brush to apply a gold shadow (we love the copper and gold shades in CHELLA Divine Purpose Eyeshadow Palette) across your lash line and over your brows. Want a softer look? Use a wet angled liner brush to draw select gold hairs over your brows for a highlighted effect.

4. Gilded Flecks

When it comes to gold eye makeup in our books, you can never have too much glitter. Seriously, a strategic speckle of gold flecks makes any makeup look feel that much more special, which is why we love how Ash finished her exaggerated cat eye with a dusting of jumbo flecks. Pro tip: If a few glitter flecks fall down (that’ll happen when you use any loose glitter), use a piece of tape to pick up the stragglers.

5. Glitter Underliner

Close-up of Lucy Boynton rocking a smoky eye with a hint of gold makeup look
Photo by Frazer Harrison / Staff/Getty Images

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Lucy Boynton’s red carpet appearances, it’s that taking a few risks with your makeup look always pays off. Her makeup artist Jo Baker is known for thinking out of the box, and this smokey double cat-eye with gold underliner is no exception. There’s a lot going on, but thanks to expertly blended edges and a hazy effect to the lines, it all feels soft and romantic. Plus, the sheen under her eyes (and a bit in the inner corners) makes her eyes look more bright and open.

6. Soft Wash

Close-up of Gigi Hadid rocking a neutral makeup look accented with gold eye shadow
Photo by Jason Kempin / Staff/Getty Images

For every try-anything makeup maven, there’s a minimalist lover. So for all those that prefer understated simple looks, let us recommend this gold eye makeup with a small cat eye. Using a fluffy shadow brush, dust on the champagne shade from ARACELI BEAUTY Eyeshadow Duos in Sun & Cacao over your lids and up into the crease (use the same brush to gently blend out any edges). Trace on a micro cat eye with a liquid liner, then finish it all off with the perfect nude lip like Gigi Hadid.

7. Honey Dew

Hello, ethereal goddess vibes. This is a fast and fun pick-me-up look for when you wake up to dark and stormy weather on a Monday. To put the sunshine back in your face, swipe a powder highlighter over your brow bones and cheekbones (not sure how? Check out our guide on applying highlighter for all our tips). For your eyes, deck them out in slightly warmer shades—try ARACELI BEAUTY Eyeshadow Duos in Copper & Chocolate—sweeping the eyeshadow all the way across your upper eyelid and it into your highlight.

8. Gilded Lids

For a formal event, a bold red lip and a gilded smoky eye are the only accessories you need to make your LBD or tux look extra luxe. And it's surprisingly easy. You don't have to have makeup artist chops to achieve this gold makeup look. For the all-over golden glow, blend a few drops of highlighter over your brow bones, cheekbones, and cupid's bow. Next, dab a few more drops onto your upper eyelids and the inner corners of your eyes. Then use a bronzer to carve out the hollows of your cheeks and your eyelid crease. Finish by coating your eyelashes in mascara and, of course, swipe on your favorite red lipstick.

9. Foiled Accent

Try this mixed media look on your birthday, New Year's Eve, Pride, or any other occasion when not slaying is not an option. Purple and yellow sit opposite each other on the color spectrum, which is what gives this burgundy look so much visual interest. MORPHE's Jaclyn Hill Eyeshadow Palette has all the shades you need to create it: use the eyeshadow "Beam" on your brow bone, "Creamsicle" in the crease, and "Chip" or "Soda Pop" on your lid. If your gold foil doesn't stick right on, use a clear latex glue like M·A·C COSMETICS Duo Adhesive. Finally, frame it all under full brows. Bonus: while this look suits any eye color, the purple base means it's especially flattering on green eyes.

10. Gold Gloss

This subtle but unforgettable gold makeup look has a high-shine, glossy finish that photographs beautifully. Wear it to celebrate a momentous occasion, whether it's your graduation day, a baby shower, or even just getting through a long work week, for a makeup look that will pop in-person and on camera. Dab a clear gloss all over your golden shadow, and use your fingertip to lightly feather out the edges until they melt into your skin. Things will get a little sticky (although you’ll look amazing!), so opt for a waterproof mascara with this look.

11. 24K Halo

Close-up of a model's gold eyeshadow look

For a fresh, fun twist on your usual eye makeup, try wearing gold eyeshadow only on the center of your eyes. An angled eyeshadow brush will help you pick up pigment and pack it on exactly where you want it. Dab the color right onto the center of your eyelid along your lash line, and gently blend it upward into your crease and downward into your lower lash line—then stop. The key to this look is just the slightest amount of blending to keep the color bold.

12. Mixed Metals

Forget about being a gold person or a silver person. This year, we’re choosing to be both, starting with this mixed metals eye look. Fully encircling your lash line makes your eyes pop, whether you're chilling under the sun at an outdoor show or gettin' down in a nightclub. Use a vivid gold eyeliner, like AVON True Color Glimmersticks Diamonds Eye Liner in 24 Karat, to rim one eye. For the other eye, experiment with a silver liner (try MALLY BEAUTY Evercolor Starlight Waterproof Eyeliner).

13. Gilded Wings

Close-up of a smirking model rocking a gold eyeliner makeup look

If you like the idea of a bold liquid eyeliner look but aren't sure how it'll hold up, try opting for a gel eyeliner instead. These formulas are just as pigmented but easier to handle, and dry down to a satiny finish that you can barely even feel. To get the look of the sun bursting up through the horizon with a graphic cat-eye twist, use SISTAR COSMETICS Ultimate Define Gel Eyeliner in Bright Bronze. Flick your wing out as large as you want it: go longer for a bolder look, or smaller for a more subtle hint of color.

14. Gold Swept

Close-up of a model rocking a gold eyeshadow makeup look

This is another simple, sunny look that you can wear during the day or for casual events. Try it out for a weekend brunch or Friday evening art gallery crawl. Mix a couple drops of illuminator with your foundation on the back of your hand, then dot it onto your face and blend with a damp sponge for a light, all-over glow. To go full-on earth angel, apply highlighter to your cheekbones and down your nose as well. Next, wet down your favorite precision eye brush and dip it into a gold shadow. Starting at the inner corner of your eye, draw an arc along your crease in short, connected strokes, stopping just above the outer corner. Bring the inner corner color down and around your tear duct, then set it all with PIXI BY PETRA Glow Mist.

15. Gold Lining

This playful look is all about making a statement. The technique takes a steady hand and some patience to master, so give yourself plenty of time to practice. Start with the easy part and work your way up (literally). First, trace your lower lash line with a liquid liner. When you reach the outer corner of your eye, bring the line up and out as you usually would for winged eyeliner. Next, start just above the inner corner of your eye and trace just above your crease all the way out until the line is parallel with the wing. Once you're happy with the placement and weight of both lines, make small "C" shapes around your inner and outer corners to connect them. After that, grab an angled eyeshadow brush and sweep COLOURPOP COSMETICS Pressed Powder Shadow in Paper across your upper crease, blending it into your brow bone. Use a precision brush to bring the upper crease color right up against the liquid liner.

16. Regally Gold

Already mastered the cat-eye? Time to level up. While this wing covers most of your eyelid, you're going to use the same approach you would for a traditional cat-eye. Wet down an angled eyeliner brush and dip it into a golden shadow. Starting at the outer corner of your lower lash line, draw the baseline of the wing up and out toward your temple. Return to the starting point and go up about half an inch, then draw the top line of the wing down and out to meet the baseline so you have a "<" shape. Next, draw a line from your inner corner across your lid, arcing up at the center and then down to meet the wing. One this outline is in place, you can begin filling it in with a shadow brush. Clean up any stray pigment with a Q-tip, then lock down your handiwork with a setting spray.

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Article Last Updated June 30, 2021 12:00 AM