Honestly, not everyone can pull off brightly coloured shades of makeup; bright blue eye shadow can make some ladies look approachable for the wrong kind of date and a poorly chosen lip colour can really ruin an otherwise lovely look. Luckily, there are suitable ways for women to incorporate colours—even blue, purple, and yellow—into their makeup routines.
I will suggest which shades suit particular hair and skin colours, but don’t feel discouraged from trying out any shade if you want to wear it. There’s no harm in trying different styles, and you’ll never know how they look unless you give them a test run. Be honest with yourself in assessing the results, though; if you don’t look good in a particular shade, don’t wear it. There are endless others available to try.
Cool it—Blue, Green, and Purple
Fairer skin tones can most easily wear the brighter blues, greens and purple, but dark skin tones can often also wear the more vibrant shades; blue-green colours like aqua and teal look beautiful against deep brown skin. The trouble with bolder shades of cool colours is that most skin tones in between the very light and the very dark aren’t very compatible with them; women with medium-toned complexions or tanned skin usually look trashy—or like they fell out of the 80s—in brightly coloured eye shadow. But fear not, mid-tones! Though brights may not be for you, darker shades of the same colours look fantastic with your skin. Try a slightly deeper blue or purple, or even an emerald green shadow or liner to better compliment your skin tone.
Blue, green, and purple tend to look good with most hair colours, but green is especially lovely with red hair, and brown hair is great with purple. Also, all three look great with brown eyes, but if you’re looking to make blue or green eyes pop, similarly coloured eye makeup will do just the opposite.
Though perhaps not given as much recognition as red or pink, purple is lovely on the lips; dark skin tones look great with a deeper shade of plum, and lighter skin tones match beautifully to fuschias. For the fair-skinned, be careful of how dark you go, as very dark lips can create an unattractive contrast with your skin.
Summery, Sunny Orange and Yellow
Neither of these colours is seen with much frequency as far as eye makeup goes but that doesn’t mean they can’t be worn. Fairer ladies may be able to wear either colour across the whole lid but for most wearers orange and yellow are best used in combination with other colours; with a colourful lid, yellow is nice by the inner corners of the eyes to brighten the area. As shadows, yellow and orange look best with darker hair colours but can be flattering for both light and dark eyes.
For most skin types, yellow and orange are better incorporated as gold and copper. The more metallic versions of the bright colour pair are more neutral in colour and are much more wearable. Gold is especially nice against dark skin and copper really brings out the green in light-coloured eyes. Redheads beware, however, as copper eye shadow is a bit of an odd match with fiery hair colours.
Orange has also been a popular lipstick colour for decades and is surprisingly wearable. Darker-skinned women will pull off a true orange shade best, but there are shades of orange to suit any skin colour. Ladies with lighter hair and skin are better paired with more of a coral colour, an orange with a pink undertone. Peachy lip colours are also an orangey option and have a calmer hue.
Red Hot / Hot Pink
When it comes to red lipstick many say they have a hard time finding the right red, but women with any skin tone and hair colour can wear it; it’s simply about complimenting the undertones in your skin. Complexions with yellow or olive undertones should opt for a red with a bit of a brown or an orange tone; those with red or pink undertones look best in a red lipstick that has pink or blueish tones to it. Similar rules apply for pinks the many pink lipsticks out there, but anyone can easily wear a sheer, rosy pink gloss.
Red and pink are also great for blush and, if done properly, can be worn on the eyes. For blush, just a touch of rosiness is endearing and sweet, and it works on most skin types. As for eyes, some may be able to wear a solid red lid, it’s generally a good idea to leave red eye makeup alone; it’s easy for red eye makeup to give you the appearance of an eye infection, or that “just cried” look. Pink eye shadows are a more wearable option and can be wild and hot or subtle and pretty depending on whether you choose a highly pigmented hue or a warm, dusty one. That being said, be cautious with pink as well as the wrong pink can also give the look of an affliction. And that’s attractive, right?
You’ve Got to Have Technique
It’s not only about the colours you choose; you have to place them properly. Focus the colour on one feature—eyes, lips, or cheeks. Having colourful makeup on multiple features will be too much and conjure images of circuses, so just focus on one and use more subtle, neutral colours elsewhere.
Also consider how you apply products. For coloured shadows, especially bright ones, keep the colour focused on the lid and allow a little blending into the crease. Brushing shadow above that point (or up to the brow!) is much too much. For lips, don’t go too far outside of your natural lipline. A colourful lip demands attention so there’s no need to get dramatic with the shape.
Don’t be afraid of colour—experiment with it!