Remember that bright blue eyeshadow you first swiped on your lids as a kid? Dig it back out. We’re abandoning our “I woke up like this” bare faces for a graphic splash of showy shadow across our lids. But since vivid eye makeup intimidates even us, we spoke with Jenny Smith, lead makeup stylist for Nars, to find out what brights pair well with each eye color, to keep the look cool, not clownish.
Finding our most complementary color became much less intimidating once Smith suggested using a basic color wheel. “Color wheels are an easy way to put together which colors work best together,” Smith tells InStyle. “And they’re only a few dollars at any arts and crafts store.”
For Blue Eyes
For blue or blue-green eyes, Smith (and her color wheel) says go orange to make eyes look lighter and brighter. The same way a spray tan highlights blue eyes, warm orange and gold tones, like those in the Nars Mediteranee Duo Eyeshadow ($35; narscosmetics.com), make cool blue eyes pop. Avoid black line (it can make the look appear “Halloweenie,” says Smith) and accent with brown liner and mascara instead.
For Brown Eyes
Brown is a mix of all the colors so it pairs with color easier than other iris shades, but a sweep of blue shadow is exceptionally flattering. Unlike blue or green eyes, brown eyes tend to remain one shade regardless of the colors accenting them. The contrast of an electric blue, like Nars Outremer Matte Eyeshadow ($25; narscosmetics.com), will help to really bring out your best brown, says Smith.
For Green Eyes
If Christmas has taught us anything, it’s that green and red work well together. Smith suggests channeling the same spirit to make green eyes glow. Although, she says, muddling the red with a little white and going pink instead of full-on fire-engine red is fine. The pink tulle and bright pink shades in the Nars Bouthan Duo Eyeshadow ($35; narscosmetics.com) make a good starting point.
For Hazel Eyes
“They’re more light brown, but they’re a little more gold,” says Smith of hazel eyes. And the yellow tones of gold make purple the most flattering match for hazel-eyed girls. Periwinkle and plum shades, like those in the Nars Jolie Poupée Duo Eyeshadow ($35; narscosmetics.com) especially give brown-green eyes an extra je ne sais quoi.
As with all bright makeup, Smith suggests practicing the look. “Don’t try new shadows in the morning; try it on at nighttime,” she says. “You can practice and make mistakes and wash it off.” And, of course, always start with less and gradually add more.