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Orange Eyeshadow Is About to Become Your Beauty Staple—Yes, Really

Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer / Staff/Getty Images

If you're feeling stuck in a makeup rut, one of the best (and easiest) ways to reinvigorate your beauty routine is to play with a new shade of eyeshadow. While we may default to classic colors like gold, champagne, and pink, bolder, unexpected colors can often surprise us and help us expand our beauty horizons.

But which shade to experiment with first? Right now, we're all about orange eyeshadow. This often-overlooked color isn't just for editorial or runway looks. It can be as subtle or dramatic as you want it to be; it can complement any skin tone, and it's a super easy way to add warmth or a bright pop of color to any beauty look.

Below, we share six makeup artist-approved tips on how to wear orange eyeshadow. We've even highlighted a handful of orange eyeshadows that will suit a wide range of skin tones.

About the Expert:

Jaleesa Jaikaran is an NYC-based makeup artist who has been featured in publications including Elle, Glamour, Teen Vogue, Essence, L’Officiel, Vogue Italia, and Refinery29.

How to Wear Orange Eyeshadow Like a Pro:

Not sure how to pick the right orange shade or how to style it? Here are some pro tips from makeup artist Jaleesa Jaikaran to get you started.

1. Pick an orange that complements your undertone.

"If you are a fairer person with blue or pink undertones, go for a shadow that is cooler with pink hues like a peach or salmon. If your undertone is warmer, opt for a burnt orange or terracotta, the shades will compliment your skin’s own color palette," says Jaikaran.

She continues, "If brighter orange colors are your jam, follow the same guidelines; bright oranges that look like sunsets are perfect for warmer undertones, while those that look like coral or tangerine can be a great option for cooler undertones."

2. Keep the lips neutral.

When using orange eye makeup, Jaikaran says she often likes to allow the shade to be the centerpiece of the overall makeup look by using flesh-toned nudes and glosses to complement the color. "If you are after a bolder look, mix a nude lip color with a coral lip for a pop," she says.

3. Create a monochromatic makeup moment.

An easy way to create a cohesive makeup look using orange eyeshadow is to incorporate touches of orange into your cheek and lip color for a monochromatic effect.

Jaikaran suggests lining the lips with a subtle orange lip liner and adding a touch of orange eyeshadow to the center of the lips. Then, press them together and top with a clear or nude gloss.

For the cheeks, Jaikaran says, "Mix a touch of the orange shadow with your favorite blush and tap onto the cheeks. Get adventurous and make a custom shade!"

4. Define with eyeliner.

To really make orange-tinted eyelids pop, Jaikaran says she likes to use a liquid or cream-based eyeliner across the upper lash line to create a sleek, defined look. "Graphic lines always up the ante on bolder colors," she says.

5. Be selective about your color palette.

If you're combining an orange eyeshadow with other eyeshadow shades, be selective about the colors you choose to ensure a harmonious effect. Complementary colors (like blue) or analogous colors (like red and yellow) are always a safe bet.

You can also get a bit more experimental. "Try earth tones with warmer oranges like browns or forest greens," Jaikaran says. "For cooler orange shades, opt for pinks or yellows."

6. Don't forget to add a little bit of illumination.

To keep the eyes looking open and bright, Jaikaran says she likes to add a pop of shimmer shadow to the inner corners of the eyes. "Also, highlight under the brow bone to really allow your orange shadows to have their moment," she says.

How Celebs are Wearing Orange Eyeshadow:

1. Creamsicle

Margot Robbie rocking a soft orange eyeshadow look and floral shirt
Photo by John Sciulli / Stringer/Getty Images

If you primarily wear nude or minimal makeup, don't be afraid to try orange eyeshadow. Sure, it can be statement-making but it can also easily be incorporated into a neutral makeup look.

This delicate orange eyeshadow style uses just one shade of sheer orange across the eye and then focuses mainly on illuminating the eyes by adding a touch of bright orange shadow to the inner corners of the eyes and a shimmery white shadow along the lower lash line.

To recreate this look at home, try using an eyeshadow like the TOM FORD Cream Color For Eyes in Sphinx as your primary shade.

2. Soft and Shimmery

Emily Ratajkowski looking fierce in a peach monochromatic makeup look
Photo by Frazer Harrison / Staff/Getty Images

Emily Ratajkowski's glam orange eyeshadow offers a look that's a little bit bolder than Margot Robbie's, but still totally wearable. Take the drama up a notch by using a shimmery orange-tinted gold shadow (like KOSAS' 10-Second Eyeshadow in Warm Glittery Gold) on the upper lid and along the lower lash line. To really make those eyes pop without taking away from the shimmery shade, try tightlining the upper and lower lashline.

3. Electric Orange

Shailene Woodley smirking and rocking an electric eyeshadow look
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris / Staff/Getty Images

Ready to go fully avant-garde with your orange beauty look? Do as Shailene Woodley did and sport a bold, electric arch of orange. To make sure you get the pigment and saturation you need for an experimental look like this, try using a liquid eyeshadow or apply a powder shade like NARS' Eyeshadow in Persia on wet. To do this, you'll want to dip a small brush in water (or spritz with setting spray). Then pat the pigment on the wet brush before swiping it on the skin. Not only will this make the color appear brighter on the skin, but it will also help to create a crisper line.

4. Tangerine Dreams

Barbara Palvin looking fierce in a shimmery bold orange eye makeup look
Photo by Andreas Rentz / Staff/Getty Images

For an orange eyeshadow look that's bold but more traditional than Shailene Woodley's makeup, take a look at Barbara Palvin's stunning tangerine makeup. The hero of this beauty look is a shimmer-packed tangerine orange shadow that's applied as the all-over shade. (We'd recommend using COLOURPOP COSMETICS' Pressed Powder Shadow in Tangerine Dreams to create a similar effect at home.)

To add depth and complexity, the color is blended with a lighter matte orange as the highlight. This look also manages to illuminate the eyes by dabbing a little bit of champagne shadow along the lower lash line.

5. Sizzling Sunset

Lizzo rocking an orange eye makeup look and dress
Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer / Staff/Getty Images

Lizzo's elegant, vibrant look is a perfect example of how to master sunset-inspired eye makeup. It's also a great look to try if you're using an orange eyeshadow palette and have a handful of harmonious colors to choose from.

To create a sunset effect on the eyelids, begin by applying a light orange, gold, or warm yellow to the inner half of the eyelids. Then apply any orange that suits your skin tone on the outer half. Blend, blend, and blend some more until you've achieved a super smooth sunset-like gradient horizontally across the lid. Top with a thin line of eyeliner and your favorite mascara to define and brighten.

The Best Orange Eyeshadows:

1. The Best Orange Eyeshadow for Fair Skin Tones: M·A·C Eyeshadow in Samoa Silk

M·A·C Eyeshadow in Samoa Silk
Courtesy of M·A·C

If you have fair skin or you're interested in a more natural-looking orange eyeshadow, reach for this pastel peach powder eyeshadow from M·A·C. This classic formula and super wearable shade might just become a new workhorse in your makeup bag. Apply it all over for a subtle wash of color or use it as the soft highlight shade in a bolder orange eyeshadow look.

2. The Best Orange Eyeshadow for Medium Skin Tones: MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Resist Smoky Shadow in Copper

MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Resist Smoky Shadow in Copper
Courtesy of MAKE UP FOR EVER

This shimmery golden-orange is a great pick for those with medium skin tones or anyone with warm undertones. The long-wearing kohl stick makes it super easy to quickly create glowy orange eyeshadow looks similar to the one Emily Ratajkowski is sporting above.

Plus, this super blendable, vegan formula is waterproof, crease-proof, and smudge-proof. Use it before a big event and go the whole night without a single touch up.

3. Best Eyeshadow for Dark Skin Tones: ILLAMASQUA Powder Eye Shadow in Vulgar

ILLAMASQUA Powder Eye Shadow in Vulgar
Courtesy of ILLAMASQUA

Super bright, bold colors like this vibrant orange will absolutely glow against dark skin tones. This formula is highly pigmented, meaning it can create a super saturated eyeshadow look with minimal product. It also works flawlessly as eyeliner or can even be used as a blush for a monochromatic makeup moment.

4. The Best Orange Eyeshadow Palette: TARTE COSMETICS Spicy Betch Pressed Pigment Palette

TARTE COSMETICS Spicy Betch Pressed Pigment Palette

Want to get creative with your orange makeup? This pigmented makeup palette features a wide range of orange shadows you can play with. It includes everything from a bright tangerine to a burnt orange. It even comes with a bold yellow, pink, and red shade, all of which are all great for creating custom colors or creating a sunset-inspired eye makeup look a la Lizzo.

Want to experiment with more bold eyeshadow shades? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get in on the IPSY Glam Bag fun. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

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About the author
Cortney Clift
Cortney is a New York-based freelance writer who has written about beauty and wellness for more than six years. She was previously the senior writer and special projects editor at Brit + Co where she covered a wide range of news and lifestyle topics.
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Article Last Updated February 17, 2021 12:00 AM