Colour Theory: Choosing Eye Makeup

Your exact eye colour will determine which shades of eyeshadow, eyeliner and mascara will suit you and give you the wow factor.

When it comes to choosing eye shadow colours, look at the exact shade of your iris and what the opposite (complimentary) colours on the colour wheel are as they will suit you best. If you have a different colour on the outer iris, such as a darker shade of your overall colour, play this up and use it as an eyeliner colour. Also look to see if you have any other colours in the iris, known as flecks (often gold, yellow or white) as they can be accentuated for an extra hint of colour such as to highlight.

Eye Makeup for Brown Eyes

Brown eyes can be many shades of brown from copper to black, warm or cool. Not on the colour wheel, brown eyes can wear any colour they like; but in particular plums, blue, navy and browns suit them.

Copper (reddish, warm brown) eyes

Use cream and taupe browns for a natural base. Plum shades will bring out the warmth and gold tones of your eye colour. Copper and golden brown shades (similar to your eye colour) will also suit you. Try navy or plum eyeliner. Choose a black mascara.

Warm brown eyes

Muted plum and violet, olive and moss green look super on warm brown eyes. As do bronze and gold shades for an evening look. Also warm brown shades, peach and creams make for a natural or subtle look. Try navy, plum or warm brown eyeliner. Choose a black mascara.

Cool brown eyes

Muted plum shades, teal blue, denim, charcoal, steel, silver and cool blues usually suit cool brown eyes. You can also go for cool shades of brown similar to your eye colour. Try a cool brown, charcoal or dark plum eyeliner. Choose a black mascara.

Black eyes

Black eyes suit charcoal, black and cool dark, brown shades. If you have dark or black skin, most and even bright colours will look fabulous on you; blue, plum, bronze or copper make for a fun evening look. See our article Natural Makeup for Black Women.

If you are asian, pastel shades (for pale skin), browns, navy, plums and green can all look great.

Use black eyeliner and mascara.

Eye Makeup for Blue Eyes

Blue eyes range from light blue, through to grey and navy.

Light blue

If you want to accentuate the “blue” in you baby blues, shades of gold, light warm browns, mauve and lilac are your most complimentary colours. Grey and light blue eyeshadow can also look great. Use warm brown (for warm shades of eyeshadow) or grey eyeliner (for cool shades of eyeshadow). Silver and white can be used as a highlighter shade. If you have a dark blue outer iris, navy eyeliner will also suit you. Try brown mascara for a softer look.


To bring out the blue in grey eyes, opt for light grey eyeshadow (a similar shade to your eye colour) as blue will make them look greyer. Steel grey is the most flattering shade. Salmon pinks, corals and beige will also suit you. A cool tone purple/lilac can also be flattering. Use a grey or navy eyeliner and black mascara.

Greeny blue

Purple and lilac will bring out the green in your eyes, while gold and copper will bring out the blue and enhance any flecks. Sea green shades of blue and emerald green also complement greeny blue eyes; it is best to match the shade to your iris. Opt for navy, plum, or brown eyeliner. Choose brown or black mascara.

Dark blue/navy

Dark blue eyes suit deep bronze, copper and burnt orange shades of brown. Both light and dark blue shades also suit you. Charcoal, warm brown, burgundy and plums are also complimentary. Choose black, grey or navy eyeliner. Use black mascara.

Rosy pink and bronze eyeshadow also looks stunning on blue eyes.

Eye Makeup for Green Eyes

Choose warm shades such as burgundy, orange, rust, bronze or violet (pinky purple) to enhance your eye colour. Green, gold and copper shades also work well. Use warm base tones such as cream, peach, apricot and biscuit.

Match or mute the exact shade of green for a flattering effect. Bring out any flecks in the eye such as brown, yellow, white or gold by matching the shade.

Warm brown eyeliner suits green eyes. Brown mascara will create a softer look.

Eye Makeup for Hazel Eyes

Golden and moss greens are gorgeous on hazel eyes, as are plums and purples; especially purpley blues. Warm browns create a natural look. Brown eyeliner and mascara is most flattering but black can also work well.

Hazel eyes can be one colour or have multiple flecks of warm brown, copper, blue or green. Match any flecks for a fun eyeliner or splash of colour in the centre of the eyelid.

TOP TIP for all eye colours

For a more natural look, add a little brown to your complimentary eyeshadow colour to mute it and create a more natural shade.