The best eyeshadow color to make your eyes pop

If your eyes are the windows to your soul, then eyeshadows are basically the curtains. The colors you choose, and how you choose to wear them, conveys a lot about your personality. Are you a sultry, smoky-eye kinda girl? An exotic bird drawn to bright colors? Or perhaps a natural, low-key, girl-next-door type? Regardless of what you want your eyeshadow to tell the world about who you are, whether you choose blue or purple, orange or yellow, the color may not be as important as you think.

I spoke with Keka Heron, the in-house key glam (i.e. makeup artist) for Revolt-TV, and she was quick to point out, "No matter what your skin tone or eye color, you can wear any color of shadow. However, it depends on the shade. Your complexion – whether you're fair, medium or dark — will help determine the best shade or tone that's appropriate for you." In other words, blue eyeshadow is always an option, regardless of your skin tone or eye color, but for some, navy blue may be a more appropriate option than electric blue. If you really want your eyes to pop, here's what you need to know.

Back to basics: The color wheel

According to Keka Heron, one of the easiest ways to select an eyeshadow color based on your own eye color is to reference the color wheel, "There will always be colors that will bring more attention to the color of your eyes. In order to make your eye color pop, go back to basics, think about the color wheel. Choose the color on the opposite side of the wheel from your own eye color."

Of course, most of us don't have bright green, red, or yellow eyes, so at first glance, this advice doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. But if you find and use a color wheel like the one available from Sessions College, you can actually adjust the tone of the color wheel until you can select a shade that closely matches your own eye color. Then based on on that shade, you can find a complementary tone on the opposite side of the wheel. For instance, my eyes are hazel — they're primarily green, with an edge of brown and a very dark, almost black rim. When I use the color wheel to select a complementary shade of color, it appears that dark blues, mauves, and dark plum eyeshadows are the best options for my eye color.

Brown eyes

Brown eyes are deep, often mysterious, so playing up the mystery with a smoky eye is a great option for brown-eyed girls. Keka Heron suggests, "Shadows with hues of blue, green, and gold are great for brown eyes. A dark blue smoky eye with gold near the tear duct is very attractive. You may also want to try a gold/brown shadow combo with navy blue eyeliner."

Based on the color wheel theory, blues are often opposite the brown tones, and the deeper the brown, the darker the shade of blue that complements it. This is why navy and dark blue shades are such a great option for those with brown eyes, and why applying these shades closest to your eye is so effective. But don't overlook the impact of a shimmery gold, too.

Hillary Kline, a freelance makeup artist living in Minneapolis told me, "Put a hint of gold on your lid if you have brown eyes — it makes the eyes look bigger and bolder." Then she went on specifically to suggest mixing shades from Lorac's eyeshadow palette, Unzipped Gold.

Blue eyes

Beautiful, blue eyes do all the "popping" on their own, so you really don't need to resort to over-the-top eyeshadows to give your eyes a kick. Keka Heron says, "In order to make blue eyes stand out, I recommend using warm shadows. I love a smoky brown or bronze eyeshadow with blue eyes. A burnt orange shadow, with hints of gold, is also beautiful and will make blue eyes pop instantly." Hillary Kline agreed, also suggesting tones of gray, copper, pink, and slate. She said, "If you want to create depth to the eye, pick a slightly deeper shadow and put it in the crease – it makes a strong statement and makes the blue pop."

But it's not just about the eyeshadow you blue-eyed ladies choose, it's about the whole look. Kline suggests toning down your lipstick color, "If the color is too bright or too dark, it takes away from your eyes. I tell my clients to wear matte shades in the peach or pink family – it allows the eyes to take center stage." If you're looking for suggestions, Kline points to Tarte's Amazonian Butter Lipstick in the shade "Coral Blossom."

Green eyes

If you're one of the lucky few who can boast the elusive green eye, you should do whatever you can to play up your emerald-hued gems. Both Keka Heron and Hillary Kline agree shades of purple are the way to go. Heron says, "For a daytime look, use a neutral matte shadow and a little purple liner in the lash line," while Kline emphasizes you should play up your lashes, "Choose a mascara that creates the effect you want, whether long, full, or both. Apply two to three coats to achieve lush-looking lashes." To get the perfect effect, Kline points to MAC's Eye Shadow Palette, Purple x 9 and Maybelline's Lash Sensational Mascara.

Hazel eyes

Hazel eyes are tricky – your eyes boast multiple colors, and depending on what you're wearing or what environment you're in, one color may appear more prominent than another. How do you know which color to play up? Keka Heron assures you you can't go wrong with a palette of gold, bronze, green, and creme, "These colors will enhance hazel eyes no matter the environment." And Kline offers an extra tip, "Experiment with eyeliner. Colored eyeliner can actually look awesome on people with hazel eyes. Try a deep purple, shades of gold, or browns."

Universally flattering

If all the color options feel overwhelming, and you're just not sure how to select the right shade, there's good news: You can use a universally flattering option. Keka Heron suggests the basics, "Black, navy, gold, and brown can be worn by women with any eye color." And Hillary Kline takes the guesswork out of the equation completely, offering a specific example, "I really like to use champagne tones as a universal color to make all eyes pop. One of my favorite drugstore colors is L'Oreal Paris Colour Riche Monos Eyeshadow in Little Beige Dress 201, which looks great on all eyes." Plus, it's just five dollars, so it fits into just about any budget.

The importance of primer

Choosing the right eye color is certainly important when you're trying to create the perfect look, but if the color doesn't go on smooth or if it wears off within the hour, your eyes will lose their impact quickly. Both Keka Heron and Hillary Kline talked up the importance of prepping lids with a primer before applying color.

Kline says, "Eye primers add vibrancy and can make the color pop. Plus, some primers come in different finishes, such as matte, white, or with glitter flecks." These different bases can help create slightly different effects. Heron, on the other hand, emphasizes that first applying a shadow base helps colors appear their most pigmented. If you don't have an eyeshadow primer on hand, don't worry about it. Heron says, "I prefer to use creme concealer that makes your lid one color and holds the shadow in place."

The perfect eye-popping application

How you apply your eyeshadow can also affect how much attention you draw to your eyes. In fact, it's rare for professional makeup artists to stick to a single eye color. For instance, HIllary Kline admits, "I can use anywhere from three to six shades, depending on the look I want to achieve." And it's not just because she's a makeup artist who likes playing with her palette, "By adding more than one color, you're adding depth to the eye, which helps make the eye look bigger, bolder, brighter. A rule of thumb is to put the lightest color underneath the brow bone and on the inner corner of your lid. Then apply a transition color (like a light brown) along the crease. Use an all over color on the eyelid, and another in the outer 'v' of the eye to add dimension."

Keka Heron's application advice echos Kline's, but she emphasizes a few of the most important points, "Adding a lighter color near your tear duct enhances your eyes. And when you use a color a few shades darker than your skin tone to create a crease, it gives your eyes shape while making your eyeshadow color pop."

Your no-fail eyeshadow tips

At the end of the day, experimenting with eyeshadow and different application methods is a fun and relatively painless way to play with your look and draw attention to your peepers, but if you're wary about taking the plunge, remember these key points:

  • Using a primer across your entire lid provides the best base for applying eye color, while ensuring shadow stays put.
  • You can't go wrong with universally-flattering shades of eyeshadow like black, brown, champagne, gold, and navy.
  • When you want to play with color, try using a color wheel to identify shades complementary to your own eye color.
  • Use multiple colors (or varied shades of the same color) to create dimension and shape for your eyes — use a light color on the inner corner and brown bone of your eyes, and a slightly darker color along the crease of your lid.
  • Don't shy away from eyeliner and mascara, which serve to further enhance your overall look.