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28 Purple Eyeshadow Looks That Anyone Can Pull Off

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Photo by Neiza05/Instagram

When experimenting withcolorful makeup, it can take some trial and error—and a few unintentional rainbow looks—to determine which colors work best for you  (be sure to check our guides to makeup for pale skin and makeup for dark skinif you need guidance). While your skin tone certainly plays an important role when it comes to lipstick and blush shades, your eye color is key to determining which eyeshadow shades will be the most flattering. Shades of pink look stunning when paired with green eyes and blue eyes. Shades of amber also help golden-brown eyes glow. But if you're looking for one colorful shade that will flatter every single eye color, look no further than purple. Even better? You don’t have to be a pro MUA to rock the purple look—it’s something that eyeshadow beginners can pull off, too.

“Anyone can wear purple eyeshadow; the key is finding the shade that is right for you,” says celebrity makeup artist Jamie Dorman. “If you are concerned about looking like you have dark circles, go for a more violet hue like BUXOM eyeshadow in Posh Purple. If you have green or blue eyes and want to emphasize them, go for a warmer purple, like MAC eyeshadow in Sketch. To avoid looking tired, ground the look with super black mascara like WESTMORE Bold and Beautiful Mascara.” Another tip Dorman shares is to “wear a bronze-toned purple like RITUEL DE FILLE Ash and Ember Eye Soot in Serpent de Mer.” She says the shade is a good way to ease into wearing a purple shade if you’re hesitant. 

Makeup artist Denise Bugarín-Escamillaechoes Dorman’s sentiments, adding, “A lot of people are concerned with the plum shades looking bruised, but purple eyeshadow really is for everyone.” For those on the fence, she says, “I always encourage people who are afraid to go in with something sheer.”

Whether you want just a pop of this purple or are craving something more dramatic, this timeless shade offers an easy, fun, and flattering way to liven-up your eye makeup.

About the Experts:
Jamie Dorman is a celebrity makeup artist who has worked with Gigi Hadid, Anne Hathaway, Camila Cabello, and more.
Denise Bugarín-Escamilla is a born and bred Los Angeles resident, who represents SKINN® as its Global Makeup Artist.

28 Purple Eyeshadow Looks for Every Occasion

Eyeing that unused vibrant purple shade in your palette but need some inspo on how to get started? You're in luck. Below, we're highlighting 10 purple makeup ideas in all different styles and for all different skin tones, from pretty pastels to more vivid hues. Read on for helpful tips on how you can recreate each look at home and which beauty products we suggest using for seriously IG-worthy results.

1. Glitter to the Extreme

Lady Gaga rocking shimmery purple eyeshadow and glossy lips on the red carpet
Photo by Gareth Cattermole / Staff/Getty Images

If you’re not afraid to go big and bold with your eyeshadow, take a page from Lady Gaga’s book and do a full-on purple glitter look. Use the deepest purple shade from HUDA BEAUTY Haze Obsessions Eyeshadow Palette in Purple as a base, and don’t be afraid to go in heavy-handed. Line with a kohl black pencil eyeliner and smudge it out, then top off the entire lid with a thicker glitter, like E.L.F Liquid Glitter Eyeshadow in Supernova.

2. Flip and Reverse

If you fell in love with the reverse winged eyeliner trend, you’ll love this unique purple eyeshadow look. Use a neutral shade up top, like ITTSĒ COSMETICS The Fulton Magnetic Eyeshadow Palette, and follow up with a clear glitter. Then, use a purple eyeshadow stick, like BOBBI BROWN Long-Wear Cream Eyeshadow Stick in Violet Plum on the bottom, right underneath the lash line. Finally, extend it outwards to create a totally gorgeous and unique wing.

3. Up in Smoke

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Who says that a smoky eye always has to be in the neutral department? This stunning look proves that purple is just as compelling. Paint your lid with M·A·C Cosmetics Eyeshadow in Darkroom for an alluring spin on the traditional makeup technique.

4. Glow In the Cut

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A cut-crease eyeshadow look is even bolder in a purple theme. You’ll want to get a few different purple shades to play with, so the MORPHE 39S Such a Gem Artistry Palette is a good choice, Or if you want something smaller that gets right to the purple point, the MORPHE Lavendaze Artistry Palette is another option.

5. Vintage Violet

Lily Collins looking retro in a purple eyeshadow makeup look, glossy and frosty nude lips, and white headband with flowers
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris / Staff/Getty Images

Love a retro vibe? Take inspiration from Lily Collins’s 2019 Met Gala look and go for a serious ‘60s-inspired look that will make you feel like a purple-licious Priscilla Presley. Use a lilac shade, like M·A·C Cosmetics Powder Kiss Soft Matte Eyeshadow in Such A Tulle all over your lid and extend high up above so it reaches your brow bone, then top off with a sharp-as-heck cat-eye and full, Bambi-like lashes.

6. Lavender Whisper

Saoirse Ronan rocking shimmery lavender eye makeup and silver dangling earrings on the red carpet
Photo by Amy Sussman / Staff/Getty Images

Need to dip your toes into the purple pool before committing? No problem. A subtle lilac shimmer, like the one seen on Saoirse Ronan’s lids, is a gorgeous way to try out the shade if you’re hesitant. We all have to start somewhere! With a light hand, softly brush on a shade like GLOSSIER Lidstar in Lily, and you’ll be good to go.

7. Minimal Mauve

Another simple yet effective purple look requires only two products, a mauvey shade and lush lashes. Apply a light purple shade, ESSENCE I Like to Mauve It! Eyeshadow Palette, all over the lids, up to the brow bone, and underneath the lash line, then blend it out. Then top off the look with a set of glorious false lashes, such as ARDELL Demi Wispies.

8. A Hint of Grape

Another subtle way to wear purple eyeshadow is by applying it only in the corners of the eye, seen here on Avani. Do a neutral eyeshadow look, using something like DIOR 5 Couleurs Couture - The Atelier Of Dreams, then dab a purple shade, like COLOURPOP It’s My Pleasure Shadow Palette, right into the corners.

9. Subtle Shimmer

Close-up image of a smiling Rihanna wearing a shimmery lavender eyeshadow makeup look and silver dangling earrings
Photo by Luca V. Teuchmann / Stringer/Getty Images

This allover purple eye makeup look is soft and subtle while still being a total showstopper. Even better, this style is super beginner-friendly if you’re just starting out with purple shadow. Simply apply a light shimmery shade of purple (we love to use the Enchanting shade in REALHER I Feel Beautiful Eyeshadow Palette) all over the lid. Then use your favorite liquid liner to create a quick cat-eye. Finish up with a lengthening mascara and voilà! Whether you have fair, medium, or dark skin, this cool color will help to illuminate and draw attention to your eyes. Bump up the brightness of your look even more by dabbing some shadow in the inner corners of your eyes and along the lower lash line.

10. Glow Get ’Em

Close-up image of Demi Lovato rocking a purple eyeshadow look and bold lashes
Photo by Neilson Barnard / Staff/Getty Images

Loved the last look but want to add even more drama? Simply use the same application techniques, but with a deeper, more vibrant shade of purple. Our rec: Try using something saturated like the shade Chill in the DOMINIQUE COSMETICS Sweater Weather Eyeshadow Palette as your allover shade, then blend that out with a lighter purple along the brow bone. To make your eyes really pop, buff purple shadow generously along the lower lash line. The perf finishing touch is your favorite pair of lashes—either wispy or dramatic could work here. 

11. Purple Smoke

Close-up image of Winnie Harlow rocking a purple smokey eye look
Photo by Andreas Rentz / Staff/Getty Images

Colorful eye makeup and smoky eye makeup looks don't have to be mutually exclusive. Case in point: This flawless look from Winnie Harlow. On her lids, Harlow is wearing a rich, vibrant shade of purple that looks gorgeous against her skin tone—but what really sets this look apart is how her shadows are blended with darker neutrals on top and along the lower lash line to create a smoky effect that’s equal parts sultry, dramatic, and stunning.

Use a versatile eyeshadow palette like the LAURA MAKEUP LABS Moods Eyeshadow and Highlighter Palette to copy this look at home. It comes with a rich, jewel-tone purple as well as two neutral colors you can use to create a purple smoky eye of your own.

12. Line It Up

Close-up image of Olivia Culpo rocking a purple eyeliner look and bold lashes
Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez / Staff/Getty Images

If you’re not fully ready to commit to color and you just want to add a hint of purple to your eye makeup, a purple eyeliner is your best bet. Using a shimmery purple pencil like the IL MAKIAGE Long-Wear Eye Pencil in Cosmo, you can leave your lids bare and instead tightly line your eyes for a minimal, yet vibrant, look. Or, you can do as Olivia Culpo does here and combine a purple-defined lower lash line with a shimmery neutral lid. From far away, the purple is barely noticeable, but up close? It's a fun, unexpected splash of color that everyone will be complimenting you on.

13. Big and Bold

Close-up image of Solange Knowles rocking a bold purple eye makeup look
Photo by Ilya S. Savenok / Stringer/Getty Images

Sometimes the most dramatic makeup looks also happen to be the easiest. This editorial and runway-approved purple eyeshadow look is so simple to do at home, you need to try it for yourself. First and foremost, you'll want to find a vibrant lilac shade like the shimmery purple in the ESTATE COSMETICS X Bailey Sarian Venice Fling Eyeshadow Palette. Using an eyeshadow brush, apply the color liberally all over your eye from the lash line all the way up to your brow bone (just trust us, it’ll all come together!). The key here is to leave the rest of your makeup as natural as possible—this way, those bold purple eyes can really shine.

14. Purple Perfection

Close-up image of Keke Palmer rocking a bold purple eyeshadow makeup look
Photo by Kevin Winter / Staff/Getty Images

Kiki Palmer is serving us the gold-standard Goldilocks of purple eyeshadow looks. Not too bold or too subtle, this amethyst-hued look strikes just the right balance. To replicate the vibrancy you see here, you'll want to reach for a liquid eyeshadow like the DOMINIQUE COSMETICS Beautiful Mess Liquid Eyeshadow in the shade Vibey Vixen. Liquid shadow offers an intense color payoff that will also stay put for hours on end.

Keep in mind that deeper skin tones like Palmer's complement bold, pigmented colors well. If you have super fair skin, you can definitely still rock this look, but you may be able to opt for a purple shade that's a few shades lighter and still achieve the same level of intensity you see here.

15. Petal Soft Purple

Close-up image of Ruby Rose rocking a shimmery lavender eye makeup look
Photo by John Sciulli / Stringer/Getty Images

Here's a stunning purple makeup look with some similarities to Rihanna's red carpet look above, but with some subtle tweaks to flatter Ruby Rose's fairer skin tone. While you'll still want to choose a lighter shade of purple to keep that angelic glow, you can use something less icy to warm up pale complexions. Try creating your own custom purple blend using a variety of tones. After you've applied your shadow, tightly line your eyes and layer on lengthening mascara.

16. Mysteriously Mauve

Close-up image of Zendaya rocking dark purple smokey eye look
Photo by Stuart C. Wilson / Stringer/Getty Images

While Harlow's eye look was purple with a touch of smoke, Zendaya has done just the opposite with some seriously stunning results. Instead of using purple as your all-over lid shade, go bold and use a smoky charcoal shade. Then, apply a mauve-purple (like one of the shades from the DOMINIQUE COSMETICS Celestial Storm Palette) along the crease and use an eyeshadow brush to blend, blend, and blend some more until you've achieved a soft, seamless gradient between the two shades. Apply that same shade of purple along the lower lash line, and finally, line your lower lash line with a jet black liner.

17. Glowing Indigo

Close-up image of Nina Dobrev rocking a dark purple eye makeup look and silver feather earrings
Photo by Anthony Harvey / Stringer/Getty Images

Brown-eyed beauty? Then use deep, shimmery purple shades like those in the ORYZA Astral Amethyst Shimmer Eyeshadow Palette, which do wonders to illuminate your eye color and make your eyes glow like jewels.

Here, Nina Dobrev pairs a highly pigmented purple on her lid and along her lower lash line with a matte, almost eggplant, purple shade. Together, the two colors create a glowy, smoky look with just the right amount of depth and dimension.

18. All Eyes on Blue

Close-up image of Lily Collins sporting a soft lilac eyeshadow look and long spider lashes
Photo by Pascal Le Segretain / Staff/Getty Images

For those with Snow White-like complexions, super vibrant shades of purple may end up looking too saturated for your liking. For something you can wear on a daily basis, try a blue-hued periwinkle purple like Lily Collins is sporting here. You'll find something extremely similar in the NOMAD COSMETICS Berlin Underground Palette.

Apply it all over your lid, and then further brighten up your complexion by swapping black eyeliner for white liner along your lower lashes, making sure to also dab a bit into the inner corners of the eyes. White liner is a trusted, makeup artist-approved trick to easily and instantly brighten your eyes and make them pop.

19. Pretty in Pastels

Using the radiant NATASHA DENONA Pastel Palette, Bugarín-Escamillablends purple seamlessly with blue-ish and teal-ish shades, creating a sea goddess-like aesthetic. The slight swipe of yellow in the corner adds additional dimension.

20. Bejeweled Babe

Purple is a recurring theme for Bugarín-Escamilla, who creates a smoky look here by adding a swipe of the shade to the upper corner and outer lid. To kick things up a notch, she adds in peachy pink and tops off the look with jewels, calling it “Euphoria Maddy vibes.”

21. Iridescent Darling

If you enjoy a combination of daring and demure, this iridescent eye look is absolutely perfect. The plum shade on the brow bone and outer corner brings the drama, while the yellow in the corner and shimmer in the middle presents a softer approach. This look was achieved using NOMAD COSMETICS Fêtes de Provence Palette for the yellow and plum shades, while the artist incorporated the ELLIE STARR X LeLe Posh Highlighter Palette for the sparkle. “Purple is the perfect year-round color,” Bugarín-Escamilla says. “There are so many variations, making it one of the most versatile shades.”

22. Bring the (Wing) Drama

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If you’re new to playing with plum, don’t feel intimidated. You can go lighter on the lid, and make the statement with the wing. This artist subtly swiped MAC COSMETICS Powder Kiss Soft Matte Eyeshadow in Lens Blur and Ripened, while going bold with her wing and waterline definition. “I’m a firm believer that colors can be worn by anyone, even the plum shades,” Bugarín-Escamilla says.

23. Juicy Plum

The Juicy Plum trend was huge earlier this year, and for good reason! There were many variations of this look, which actually does appear as the layered shades of the delicious, ripe fruit. This user went for a smoky vibe using all MAC COSMETICS products, and ditched the liner for false lashes, making color the focus of the look. 

24. Purple Princess

Embrace your inner royal with what appears to be two shades of plum for slightly smoky dimension, topped with spaced-apart sparkle pieces. Pair the vibe with a pinkish-purple lip, and you’ve got the look down pat. 

25. The Indecisive Diva

While this look totally brings it, it actually doesn’t appear to need much effort. For the fun-loving experimental makeup maven in you, this is a sure-fire way to turn heads in minimal time if you want a little bit of everything. You’ve got the pastel inner corner, the sparkly middle, and the artistry accent. We’d have to call this foolproof purple glam at its finest!

26. Smoky Upside Down Eyeliner

This unique take on a traditional eyeliner look is equal parts fun and flashy. If you’ve got your wing down, then you’re in luck because this will be relatively effortless. If you still struggle in that department, it’s ok because the black liner portion won’t mess up the remaining eye look if there’s a flub in the process. Practice makes perfect, so grab your MAKEUP REVOLUTION Dreamer Palette and get to it!

27. Glow in the Light

We’ll admit, this one looks a bit tougher to achieve. But it’s fun for inspo, if nothing else! Neon is always a vibe, and purple is a great shade to experiment with in that realm. If you’re aiming for something along these lines, we suggest checking out Halsey’s deeply pigmented ABOUT-FACE matte fluid eye paint shades. 

28. All Purple Everything

We’re big fans of monochromatic makeup looks, especially with shades that complement our skin tone. This look right here is easy to achieve, and even ties in purple earrings for added effect. 

Ready to try a new eyeshadow? Pick up the IPSY Glam Bag fun, and take our Beauty Quiz to get started. Later, refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Join the fun on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

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About the author
Marie Lodi
Marie Lodi
Marie Lodi is an LA-based writer and co-host of Fishnet Flix podcast. She was previously the Senior Beauty Editor at HelloGiggles. Her bylines have appeared in The Cut, PAPER, Fashionista, Allure, Glamour, Buzzfeed News, and more.
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Article Last Updated October 27, 2022 12:00 AM