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Your brown eyeliner might be foolproof and reliable for a quick morning makeup routine, but aren’t you getting bored of wearing the same boring colour (or no colour!) every day? If you’re working or studying in a professional environment, it might not be appropriate to rock your lime green glittery shadow, but that doesn’t mean you have to dispense with colour altogether!

Many people don’t realise that wearing colour doesn’t always mean ‘party time’. In fact, coloured eyeshadow can give you a subtle flattering look and make you appear much more put together than wearing bare lids all the time.  Certain shades are going to complement, rather than overwhelm your face.

Of course, brown eyeshadow is a must for any girl of any eye/skin colour. But if you want to stay in the neutral territory with your eye makeup, consider using a bronze, or copper instead. They aren’t so different to brown, but they make a world of difference on your lids. Taupe is a major neutral colour, and deserves its own article – don’t discount the power of taupe!

Image sourced from Instyle.com

Maybelline Eye Studio Colour Plush Eyeshadows in Copper Chic

Any ‘camouflage’ colour is also very work appropriate. Khakhi or olive green eyeshadow is flattering to both green and brown eyes.  Also try a stone/cement colour – it might sound icky but it looks incredible with a bit of practice! In fact, cement grey is a popular colour choice for bridal makeup because it gives a subtly smoky romantic look that won’t overwhelm.

Bobbi Brown Marrakesh Chic Rich Colour Eyeshadow Palette

Purples are extremely wearable, as they look very natural on most skin tones (especially tan!). If you have pale skin, try a sheer wash of lilac shadow with a satin finish – not glittery because it will look too bright. The soft, romantic colour will hide fine veins on the eyelids too! For darker skin tones, try an eggplant coloured wash. Eggplant may seem dark and scary in the pan, but usually applies on very subtly.

YSL 5 Colour Harmony for Eyes – Parisian Sky

If you’re thinking of the blue family, always try navy. This colour is extremely wearable and flattering on almost every skin tone. The only word of caution would be to use it sparingly as an accent colour, because otherwise people will be staring…

Pinks and peaches can be surprisingly difficult to pull off but don’t be discouraged! Most of the colours in this family are sold as frosts (shimmery, sometimes with actual glitter). Finding a satin or matte finish tones down the brightness considerably, and makes these shades very pretty and wearable. If you don’t want to invest in another eyeshadow – use your blush! Blush formulas are usually sheerer, so it is difficult to go overboard when using them as eye shadows. Peaches are generally more flattering on pale skin, and pinks more on tan skin.

NARS Shimmer Eyeshadow in Baby Girl

Some general tips for applying colour for wearable looks are:

  1. Don’t go above your eye crease with colourful shadows.
  2. Using a fluffy blending brush, tap off the extra to prevent fallout and apply using soft window-wiper motions to the lid.
  3. Take a clean brush and lightly go over the edges of the colour to blend them seamlessly. Harsh edges will draw attention to your eyeshadow and make it seem unnatural.
  4. Do not make your makeup match your outfit too closely! This is a bit of a beauty faux-pas – it will make your look contrived and artificial rather than effortless and elegant. The trick is to use colours from the same family without actually using the same colours!
PS. Thanks for reading my ‘Makeup Tips for Students’ series. Stay tuned for one more tip next week, and many more beauty related posts in the future! xx