How to rock bright eye shadow: 9 commandments for the bold and the beautiful

Earlier this year on my Instagram I declared it the year of bright brows, and while it is a trend that is yet to catch on,  it inspired me to do more with vibrant shades. So consider this the first post in my mini series all about bright colors and how to rock them without looking like a five year old. If you’ve followed my instagram, you’ll know I am no stranger to glitter wings, intense colors and bright brows (however if you aren’t following me on Instagram come find me already @theshineyapproach!) and when I leave my house looking like a Bowie-Gaga groupie who needs to pop to the shops and buy some bread, I find I often meet people who tell me ‘they could never wear that’ for whatever various reasons they always give me, but the prime stand out is always whenever someone says ‘I don’t think I could pull it off’.
I’m always like – sorry what? Excuse me? You…did you say you, you can’t….- wear bright colors? 

My face when someone says they can’t wear bright colors…

Yeah, sorry sister, but I’m not buying that excuse. 

There are some real simple and easy ways to rock bright colored eyeballs without looking like you rolled out of bed and got ready in the dark. Understandably, with new territory comes new fear but practice makes perfect and if you don’t try you never know, and while I could probably make up some more empowering quotes to help encourage you to rock that purple wing, I’ll share some lessons I have learned from my years of my wearable and wild styles:

    1. Bright eye shadows are like throw pillows
      Say it after me ‘bright eye shadows are like throw pillows‘. Just like decor, matching shade for shade can blend into one another and your statement pop will get washed out in the sea of a single solid color. It is kinda like adding throw pillows to a bedspread, you never get them in the same color or pattern of the bed linen. Instead we do as Vogue Home tells us and add contrasting or accent pillows to compliment the whole room.  If you apply this idea to your outfit and eye shadow game you will come out stronger; imagine you have a multicolored striped shirt, or a floral dress with lots of colors and accents in pink or yellow, try rocking one of those colors into your eye makeup instead. They will stand out, look coordinated and polished-  just like the Bed, Bath & Table floor display
    2. Don’t be scared to make it pop 
      Colored shadows in the pan may look bright and sparkly, but sometimes they need a little help to create a total magic look on the eye. One of the best way to achieve a totally bright, long lasting color pop is to invest in an eye shadow primer or eye shadow base. There are so many options at various prices; while fancy brands like Urban Decay and Too Faced offer specific eye shadow primers at around $25AUD a tube, there are plenty of cheaper alternatives out there; one of my personal favorites, is NYX Cosmetics Jumbo Pencil in Milk – this creamy white base adds brightness and intensity to any color you put on top, it also retails for around $12AUD and is available from most Priceline making it a sure fire drugstore winner!  A great way to get the same result without spending coin, is to simply apply some concealer sparingly to your eyelid and blend it out – concealers are usually yellow based making them perfect for highlighting, and being designed to brighten skin, reduce creasing and last long, concealers can easily be your cheap alternative and easy access gateway to eye priming and color popping glory!
      If you want to get really creative and make an impact, try using a colored mascara to rock around your lashes and bring the color to the forefront; mix it with a neutral eye and create an instant statement look! Makeup giant Estee Lauder recently released a range of colorful mascara like this one on the divine Cara Delevingne retailing at $42AUD. A cheaper alternative would be from drugstore giant BYS Cosmetics who make a pigmented blue mascara retailing at around $10AUD! The possibilities are endless! 


  1. It is easier to cruise in neutral 
    One great way to get colorful colors to pop, is to start with a neutral base. Building on your current go-to eye look and adding a vibrant hue can make a huge splash: whether it be a smokey eye, everyday neutral or simple crease color, adding a hot red or bright blue to the mix can really jazz up your look! Your neutral base can be a great start to add a dashes of color to the center of the lid to test drive how wild you want to go, it can even be a great place to consider rocking glitter wings or a pink eye liner! More importantly, a neutral base can add depth, definition and polish a look making it easier to transition to your wild and wonderful side
  2. Bold isn’t always beautiful and all that glitters isn’t gold
    First lemme say nothing wrong with neon – personally, big fan – but bright does not always equal neon. Brighter shades could include hues of gold, caramel, soft umber, burnt oranges, subtle pinks, lilacs, gentle blues and so many other potentials! Pair a bright color with a brown or black liner to tone it down, and when adding mascara or false lashes consider less is more: you don’t want to hide all your stunning bright work behind big lashes! For extra oomph you could consider adding bright shimmers and glitters as a great way to brighten and add intensity to your eye look without looking like you stuck craft glitter on your face. Adding a dash of shimmer to the center of the lid, or topping the lid color with mica powder or a pigment dust can add extra shine. NYX Cosmetics make a stunning champagne colored fine pigment dust that you can pile on or use sparingly, retailing for around $14AUD these neutral shimmers add glitter without the fuss 

    Mica glitter is the perfect addition of sparkle and subtle color


  3.  Blend, blend, blend!
    Blending is key – and that may be the understatement of the year, but the key difference between looking like a five year old using a kid’s makeup palette from Kmart and looking like a sassy babe who is rocking that orange eye shadow like a boss, is simply to blend!  Blending the edges of your colorful application will make it look neater, polished and purposeful. If you want to use multiple colors (say a pink and purple combo, like below) blending the colors together can make or break the look; simply apply the darker shade to the outer portion of the eye, and add the brighter color from the inner corner, across the lid and towards the darker color, while paying close attention to blending  joining lines together for a flawless finish
  4.  For extra vibrancy contrast with your skin tone 
    Contrast is key for working with colors in general, especially bright colors. Choosing colors with the same undertone as your skin tone will not only reduce their vibrancy, but can make you look washed out and mismatched – which if you haven’t picked the vibe;  isn’t what we are going for. While I personally don’t like listing shades to stay away from,  if you’re concerned, consider the following:  if you have pink undertones, minimize your orange-reds and baby pinks, yellow undertones are advised to avoid yellows and yellow based blues and greens. On the contrary darker complexions tend to rock most colors but deep red undertones can find it hard to work with intense browns and red based oranges. Remember while these are just recommendations check out which colors you love rocking and look great with your skin tone; chances are if you feel you rock it, you probably do
  5. Less is more when going bold 
    If you want to rock a bold and bright eye look, it is usually a rule that everything else is a little toned down. There is an old makeup rule that bold eyes works better with nude lips and a natural eye works best with a bold lip; but to be honest – do whatever feels good. While bright and bold eyes do look great with nude lips, if you feel your purple and red eye look would look best with a plum lip then go for it! Usually this rule is for toning down the base, meaning a vivid orange blush may look a little extreme with red lips and orange eyes but it is a trial and error match for your to match what suits you best! You do you boo!
  6.  Test the water first if you aren’t ready to take the plunge 
    Wearing bright colors can be intimidating for some, and if you aren’t prepared to rock a full eye of turquoise then try small accents to see how you feel rocking vivid brights. Using colorful eyeliner in your lower lash line adds vibrancy without grabbing too much attention. Alternatively, adding a splash of color to the inner corner can really brighten up an everyday eye look or for those on the braver side, try creating a colorful crease and a neutral lid to push your own envelope and see what really suits you best! And finally:
    Vivid green lids, glitter wings or a pink cut crease will never stand a chance without a health dose of confidence! If you want to go bright, you have to commit, feel it and rock it! You can’t pick a neon hue and blend it into oblivion or use so sparingly it is non existent – let your eye color be as bold, strong and beautiful as you! 

    Does this inspire you to rock bright colors? Let me know in the comments below! And until next time, stay shiney! 




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