From Van Morrison’s ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ to Elton John’s ‘Blue Eyes’, eye colour has long been the source of inspiration for love songs, poems and sweet nothings. Whichever shade you were born with (or whichever coloured contact lenses you enjoy experimenting with), our simple guide will show you how to amplify your irises with different types of eyeshadow.

Tom Ford eye shadow palette

Eyeshadow is available in every finish and texture imaginable. To narrow down your choices it helps to keep in mind not just your eye colour, but also skin tone.

Regardless of your actual skin colour, your tone will either be cool or warm. Warmer skin has gold or yellow undertones while cool skin has blue or pink undertones. So how does this affect your eyeshadow picks? It’s simple. Warm skins are flattered by warm shades (think chestnut, coral or ivory) while cool skin tones are flattered by cool shades (think grey, pastels, teal or turquoise).

Not sure which you are? You can get a clue by looking at your jewellery collection. We tend to be drawn to the pieces we look best in, so you’re likely to have subconsciously developed an attraction to either gold (warm) or silver (cool).

Lancome ombre hypnose stylo eyeshadow stick in turquoise

Investing in an eyeshadow base or primer is your first step towards effortless application. It creates a clean, smooth canvas to work on which will make your application easier, and any product applied will appear more vivid and last longer.

The fortunate thing about putting on eyeshadow primer is that unlike, say, winged eye liner, it doesn't require precision. All you need is a finger to apply a light layer from your lash line all the way up to under your eyebrow to brighten and even out the area, ready for the next exciting step of ocular enhancement.

Eye shadow palette

Eyeshadow makeup brushes can produce a professional looking wash of pigment or seamless blends between tones. If you intend to combine multiple shades together, keep a few brushes on hand and use one for each tone to prevent colours transferring over. There are many different types available, but you could start with the following :

  • Fluffy brush: These are large with a rounded top and can be used to add colour to large areas of the lid.
  • Blending brush: These have tightly packed, rounded edges. They’re perfect for blurring out blocks for a natural line of diffused colour.
  • Tapered brush: Need to apply a concentrated pop of colour to a specific area without product fallout or smudging? Then choose this brush.
  • Smudging brush: Create a smoky or soft line of colour with this small, curved tool.

With that sorted, all you need is an eyebrow kit and a high quality mascara in black or deep brown. These will frame your face and enhance your features against strong eyeshadows.

Givenchy dark purple eyeshadow pot

Now that you have a better idea of which shades best suit your complexion and how to apply the eyeshadow, it will be easier to narrow down the perfect match for your irises

What colour eyeshadow for green eyes?

Green eyes are naturally bright and require just a dash of pigment to bring out their full potential. Shades that look best with green eyes are purples and reds – think wine, rose and berry. You can tone it down with muted hues or ramp it up with vibrant ones to make a bold statement. If your green eyes have gold or brown specks, intensify them with complimentary shimmers to match.

What colour eyeshadow for brown eyes?

Brown is a toasty, neutral shade that pairs well with contrasting blue and green to balance it out. Of course, neutrals such as gold and bronzes will also look divine. If your eyes are a darker brown, try a deep, rich purple (with a hint of blue for contrast) in metallic or gunmetal variations for a simmering evening look.

What colour eyeshadow for blue eyes?

As a naturally cool colour, blue eyes are thawed with orange, bronze and terracotta. For more formal occasions, use these same shades with added golden or silver shimmer to flatter your skin tone. You can even opt for jewel hues that provide a hint of contrast, such as emerald, to accentuate the sapphire in your eyes.

What colour eyeshadow for hazel eyes?

Uniting both brown and green, people with hazel eyes can opt to draw attention to either the warm or cool aspects of their eyes. Autumnal and soft forest greens will bring out the green in hazel eyes, while flushed golds can emphasise any flecks of brown or gold. Alternatively, go for royal purples for an attractive contrast.

What colour eyeshadow for grey eyes?

One of the rarer colours, grey eyes can be made up of various degrees of blue, green and even yellow, so your options depend on your own special blend. To bring out the blue in your grey eyes go with intense oranges, and to highlight the green opt for berry shades. Make the most of your unusual colour with a dramatic eye mask of smoky greys and blacks.