15-year-old Me stands in front of a mirror inspecting the day’s outfit. It is my favorite, a red cotton collared shirt with sleeves that go past the wrist and a pair of true blue jeans. Which eye shadow should I match with this look? I wonder. Blue or red? Well, red’s too loud for school, so I’ll just go with blue.

It’s funny that I can look back on my mistakes now, but teenage Meadow was convinced she knew exactly what she was doing.

It was a beauty article which opened my over-shadowed eyes.

“Match your eye shades to your eye color,” it stated, “not your outfit.”

Eureka! Of course!

It’s very simple really: your outfit changes from day to day, but your eye color doesn’t (and I’m assuming that most of us don’t have color contacts to complement your outfits). Matching your eye shadow to your outfit seems tacky and worse, your natural sparkle will get lost in all the color-coding. The idea instead, is to match your shadows to your eyes using complementary colors.

I’m not going to include a list of complementary colors, I’m sure you can find it in many places online like here or here. What I’ll give you is the most basic rules of the color theory so you can figure out the best shades for yourself.

Take a look at the color wheel. Complementary colors are directly across from each other on the color wheel.


Say you have green eyes, like me. You can apply a beautiful shade of red to your lids. But if you’re going for a more subtle and wearable look, choose a color with red undertones instead, like pinks or purples. If you’re still hankering for some red, try a rich red lipstick.

Blue eyes are impressively complemented by brown and/or traditionally warm tones (think autumn orange).

Brown eyes (the most common eye color) will pop greatly with a deep cobalt blue
(fun fact: brown is actually a combination of all three primary colors).

Maybelline’s Eye Studio Color Plush Shadows is a great collection of smooth and silky shimmery eye shadows that comes ready made in sets of complementary colors. These shadows glide on smoothly and offer great wearability. But they are extremely shimmery, so using only this palette (with no matte colors) may make your eyes look like a disco ball (but that’s totally OK if it’s the look you’re going for!).