Does Eye Color–Enhancing Makeup Work? The Editors Give It a Try

How to make your eyes pop without looking like you’re going to the disco
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How to make your eyes pop without looking like you’re going to the disco
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When it comes to eye makeup, we are no strangers to the tried-and-true makeup tips for bringing out green, blue, and brown eyes (and all the shades in between): Purple eye shadow brings out green eyes, blue complements brown eyes, and pink eye shadow brings out those baby blues. But here’s the thing: This isn’t the eighties, and no one wants to wear bright colors on a daily basis. So how do we make these eye color–enhancing hues work on the modern woman? We asked Stila makeup artist Jas Lee at Jump Management for some tips.

First, she suggested trying these colors in modern metallics, a major trend this coming fall. “Think copper and rose gold for blue eyes, violet and gunmetal metallics for green eyes, and emerald and navy metallics for brown eyes.” She also recommended staying minimal. “No need for heavy liner of multiple colors or shading. All you need is a little mascara, and you’re good to go.”

Always up for a challenge, Kara, Janet, and Lilly took to their makeup bags and tried these tips for themselves.

Purple & Gunmetal for Green Eyes //

“As a green-eyed gal, I have always hated the suggestion of purple eye shadow—it says ‘kids playing dress-up’ a whole lot more than ‘classy woman’—not to mention it requires what feels like a LOT of eye shadow. But I do like to play up the green, so hey, anything for a Verily article, right?

“I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by this one. The difference is subtle—as anyone with green eyes can tell you, the weather and lighting are what mostly influence how much that green pops—but the eggplant tone Jas suggested is surprisingly wearable. Rather than doing purple on purple, I used a cool pink tone on the inner corner of my eye that blended really nicely into the purple, with a gunmetal color in the outer half of my eye crease. Honestly, even though I’m too lazy to do my eye makeup everyday, I would definitely wear this for daytime and maybe even go a little heavier on the gunmetal for a slightly more dramatic look for a night out. I’m convinced!”

Brown & Copper for Blue Eyes //

“I always knew blue and brown were complementary colors, but I’ve never tried a full-on brown eye shadow before . . . and I have to say, it’s a pretty fun and stark contrast for my blue eyes! Brown eye shadow seemed to both brighten and deepen my blue hue.

“If you’re nervous to apply too much color on your eyes, one trick I found helpful is to start with light layers (also, a cream-based shadow is awesome because it’s easy to blend, and it’s not meant to look perfectly shaded). With my finger, I applied one light layer of a cream-based shadow in a medium, coppery brown over my entire lid and up into my crease. Then, I simply lined my lash lines with a skinny brush in a darker shade of brown. A thick coating of black mascara kept my eyes from looking too washed-out in brown. I can always go lighter for a daytime look, but I’m definitely sporting this dramatic brown shadow again for an event or a fun night out!”

Navy for Brown Eyes //

“I was super-surprised when my blue eye shadow worked out. I think the key is to go for navy tones, not sky blue. The metallic navy resulted in a smoky eye that I would’ve never seen coming (literally)! I didn’t even have to blend any other eye shadow to tone down the blue; I completely covered my eyelids with the navy shadow. Jas told me to apply the shade generously and blend into the crease—sounds intense, I know, but it ended up looking very edgy and modern. I did use black liner close to my lash line and the waterline of my top lid to define.

“Would I wear this look to a Sunday picnic? Probably not. But you’ll definitely see me rockin’ navy eye shadow on a Friday night out on the town!”