As a makeup artist, I am often asked what the best eyeliner colors are for different eye colors. Let me first say that I don’t believe in any strict rules for what you can and can’t wear. I believe that the most important thing is that you feel confident in whatever makeup choices you make.
However, there are definitely certain shades of eyeliner that will enhance your individual eye color more than others. Today I’m going to share those choices with you. I hope these makeup tips will help you find the best eyeliner color for your eyes.
To get started, let’s think about the basics of color theory, and how that might relate to choosing eye liner colors. Above is a picture of the traditional artists’ color wheel, a representation of how colors appear in relation to each other.
Colors that lie directly near each other on the color wheel (orange and red for example) are called analogous. When used together, analogous colors create a combination of colors that are visually harmonious.
Complementary colors are those which lie opposite each other on the color wheel (orange and blue for example). Pairing complementary colors together create the most striking color combinations because of the dramatic visual contrast of the colors to each other. Think of how dramatic red and green look together, yellow and purple, and so forth.
To apply color theory when choosing an eyeliner, first establish where your eye color would lie on the color wheel. As our eyes have many different colors within them, choose the most dominant color in your eye to begin with.
Then find the opposite, complementary color on the color wheel, and choose this as your eyeliner color. Wearing a complementary eyeliner color will bring out the color of your eyes more than other shades because of the striking visual contrast.
Here is a picture of a model with green eyes wearing three different eyeliner colors:
In the first photo, the model is wearing black eyeliner. Black eyeliner is dramatic and demands your attention because of its intensity, but it really does nothing to enhance eye color. In the second photo I have added green eyeliner to the model instead. There is nothing wrong with this choice, its just a softer look. Wearing eyeliner near the same color as your eyes just blends in more.
To really enhance green eyes, we need to use the complementary color of red. And since true red is not a very popular eyeliner color, we choose an eyeliner from the same red-violet color family instead.
The third photo shows a wine colored eyeliner on the model. And because of its warm, red-violet undertone, the eyeliner provides the most contrast to her eyes. This enhances her eye color more than the first two choices. Therefore, the best eyeliner color for green eyes is red-violet.
Here is the same dynamic when working with blue eyes:
The first two photos are shown with the model wearing black eyeliner and then blue eyeliner. The third is of the model wearing a warm brown eyeliner. As the complementary color for blue would be orange, choosing a brown eyeliner with a warm orange-brown undertone will bring out her blue eyes the most. So, the best eyeliner color for blue eyes is warm brown.
To enhance brown eyes, we need to choose the closest color to brown on the color wheel, which would be gold. To contrast gold, I chose a violet eyeliner as the third color below, comparing with black and brown eyeliners again:
As you can see, the violet eyeliner draws the most attention to the model’s eye color. Because of this, the best eyeliner color for brown eyes is violet.
I saved hazel eyes for last, because there are so many different shades of hazel eyes. Some people have hazel green eyes, some hazel gold eyes and so forth. For hazel eyes, pick one of the colors in your eyes that is either the most dominant, or one that you would like to enhance. Then, you can use the tips above to bring out that color.
So, for example, if you have hazel green eyes, then you would use a red-violet eyeliner to bring out the green. But if you want to enhance the gold in your eyes, then you would would choose a violet or blue eyeliner.
A great way to test out new eyeliner looks is by using the Marie Claire Virtual Hairstyle and Makeup Makeover tool. I highly recommend this program because you can upload your own picture to the site. Then you can try out different makeup looks without having to purchase any cosmetics first.
This is just the the beginning of an exploration into color theory and how it applies to choosing your makeup colors. I hope these tips give you a starting point, and will help you find the best eyeliner color for your eyes. To learn some more great eyeliner tips, make sure to read Three Tricks to Keep Eyeliner from Smearing.
Do you have any makeup questions I can help you with? Please visit my GetGlam page, or tweet me @GuideGetGlam. And if you liked these makeup tips, I would love it if you would share it with your friends below!