The Modern Take On Coloured Eye Shadow

Michael Brown

Beauty Expert

It’s true. The coloured eye shadow look has taken a decline seeing trends have been so focused on contouring, using neutral highlight and shade tones to build structure and shape for the eye.

But this doesn’t mean we can’t mix these tones with pops of colour to be a little more playful with our makeup looks.

ririImage via pinterest 

Gone are the days of such definite placement of each shade you apply to the eye. We used to be able to see every exact shade perfectly, no layering, no blending, just rounded or stripe like eye shadow application and if you got it wrong, it was a mess!

Now, we love a good layer and blending is key for success!

This allows us to be more experimental and create our own colour combinations by mixing and layering shades together, following the traditional highlight and shade principles.


Just a reminder for the newbies out there:

Highlight – For the eyes, we don’t want to use too much as it can bring forward unwanted areas like puffiness. Light shades are great for under peak of the brow, inner tear duct and a medium highlight shade or a metallic texture is perfect for the mobile lid.

Shade – This is the tone that will give structure and shape to the eye. It is used most on the top and lower lash lines, outer corner of the eye and blended into the socket line to recede and lift the eye.

When to Add Colour?

Coloured eye shadow, as an entire look, has been on the way out for a while. It can pull too much focus, not photograph well and if the incorrect colour is used, it can make the eyes smaller when eye shadow should bring them out in contrast.

The contouring craze has meant the application of bronze, browns, and earthy neutrals have dominated beauty trends lately, with only the bare minimum of colour added to beauty looks.

There are many reasons why adding a hint of colour can still give great effects to the eye:

– If your outfit is quite dark and/or plain in design, a hint of colour can dress up what could be a casual or dull look.
– When your eyes are light in colour, add rich shades like plum, navy, copper, and khaki to bring them out and contrast.
– When your eyes are brown in colour, any colour you choose will always contrast your eye colour, but you can play with intensities and design to get better results.

Where to Add Colour?

Colour can be added over your general neutral shades, more into the centre of the mobile eyelid. When you don’t want it to be a big focus it still gives great contrast to your eye colour.

Because your eyes are mainly open, you only see it when the eyes move, so it becomes less visible, but layered over your neutrals to lift the look.

Another great way to add colour in a more visible way is a coloured liner. This can work on the top lash line, however only when the top eye line is quite lifted, visible and does not have any puffiness. For this look, depth is always best.

Keeping the coloured liner visible on the lower lash line is far more effective for the majority. Still use your everyday shades as normal, add a little depth on lower lash line, but then go over the area with a coloured liner and/or shadow of your choice for a little pop and eye colour contrast.

Eye shadow Geography

Every (good) eye shadow palette should have a good mix of highlight to shade tones and a play on texture being matte to metallic.

This is how we can build and give structure to the eye.

Deeper colours are shaping shades and add structure, use on your socket line, top and lower lash lines. These colours are normally on the matte end of the scale.

Medium shades are good base shades, all over wash of mobile eyelid to socket. This is a lighter version of structure shades.

Metallic shades will be a finishing, night shade and when you want to bring light to an area. Commonly used on mobile eyelid and inner area of the eye, depending on its depth.

Here are some examples of good colour palettes to add to your neutrals and/or use alone. Each have a stand out colour within them that can be used either as the mobile lid pop, or under the lower lash line.

Blue Eyes Try:


Charlotte Tilbury – The Vintage Vamp – RRP $78

Green Eyes Try:


Charlotte Tilbury – The Glamour Muse – RRP $78

Brown Eyes Try (Can also wear any other colour shade):


Charlotte Tilbury – The Rebel – RRP $78

Lastly ladies, makeup is about balance.

Only add colour if there is no other big focal point on the face or in your outfit of choice. We don’t want to over do it, but when adding colour correctly, it can be a big hit!


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