Neutral eyeshadow shades don't have to be the filler songs of your palettes. It's true that yes, an earth tone is often needed in the background when you're creating a jewel-toned or vibrant smoky eye, but the subtle colors can hold their own, too.
While it might seem that the only you're going to get any impact from wearing a neutral eyeshadow is by sweeping it across your entire lid up to the brow bone, a creative application can make a subtle shade stand out—but not so much that it will defeat the purpose of choosing a soft, natural shadow in the first place.
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1. Jessica Chastain
Instead of using a black liquid liner to draw on a cat eye, use an earth tone shadow for a softer effect. Jessica Chastain chose a shimmery, warm terracotta shade that compliments her ginger hair. For a similar look, try Laura Mercier's Baked Eyeshadow in Terracotta ($25; macys.com).
2. Lucy Hale
If one of your New Year's resolutions is to finally nail the monochromatic makeup trend, chocolate brown is a good place to start. The versatile shade flatters a wide range of hair colors and skin tones. Lucy Hale gave the color a '90s vibe by pairing her tawny lipstick with a slightly darker brown eyeshadow. Brush a matte shade like mark. By Avon's Single Eyeshadow in Wild ($7; avon.com) across your lids and once you reach above the crease, slightly fan it out following your eye shape as a guide.
Another way to pop champagne: on your eyes. Look for a shade that has more of a yellow pigment like COVERGIRL ambassador Zendaya's haloed eyeshadow for a subtle pop of color. Try sweeping COVERGIRL's Eye Enhancers 1-Kit Shadows in Golden Sunrise ($3; walmart.com) along your top and lower lash lines to get the star's look.
4. Kate Bosworth
Edgy enough to feel different than what you'd usually consider a neutral shadow but still subtle enough for day, rose gold is the color you're quickly going to want to add to your everyday routine. For a similar shade to Kate Bosworth's, we like NARS's Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow in Rigel ($29; sephora.com).
5. Olivia Munn
Intimidated by reverse eyeliner? Consider testing the trend with an eyeshadow color that you usually use as the base of your smoky eye. Dip a fine-tipped shadow brush into a bronze pot like Urban Decay's Eyeshadow in Baked ($19; sephora.com), and run it along your lower lash line as you would if you were doing a tightline with an eyeliner.
6. Zoë Kravitz
Yes, a smoky eye can be considered neutral—it's all in the shades you choose when creating the look. In the case of Zoë Kravitz's soft eye makeup, use a warm beige as your base, and smoke it out with a shimmery pewter. Try using Yves Saint Laurent's Summer Night Collector's Palette in Summer Addiction ($60; yslbeautyus.com) for a similar color scheme.
7. Margot Robbie
Proof that taupe eyeshadow can be cool: just smudge it like Margot Robbie. The actress' makeup artist Patti Dubroff used Chantecaille's Luster Glide Silk Infused Eye Liner in Earth ($30; nordstrom.com) and blended it around the rim of the eye to get a lived-in effect. For dimension, she added a touch of the brand's Mermaid Eye Color in Copper ($34; nordstrom.com) to the center of the lid.