A Beginner's Guide to Pairing Makeup Shades

Monday, March 7, 2016

There are several things you have to consider when pairing makeup products: textures, formulas and my favorite: colors. This one is probably the most difficult part of choosing your makeup cocktail for the day, but it's also the most fun. While celebrities may be wearing monochromatic makeup looks down the red carpet and in photo shoots, it can be harder to pull off day to day (also, it kind of takes the fun out of makeup, although it's certainly easier to figure out!) Personally, there are a couple rules I like to follow everyday when applying my makeup (although I definitely break them from time to time and there are some exceptions!)


The way I see it, there are two ways to choose your cheek color: you can coordinate it to your lip color or you can choose something that looks like a natural flush in your cheeks. I personally love matching tones to my lip color, and while I'll sometimes match it exactly (which is easiest when I have a double duty product that works on both my lips and cheeks, like Maskcara's blushes), I usually opt to get a close match with my Makeup Revolution blush palette. Of the eight pans in the palette, the colors I turn to the most are the mauve, bright pink and apricot shades.

If you'd rather keep it simple, finding a natural-looking blush is a great way to always have your makeup look on point (even if you have a million other blushes, I still think it's a good idea to find that perfect match, especially if you love wearing bolder lip colors that might look funky on your cheeks.) The goal is to find a color that mimicks what your cheeks look like when they're naturally flushed, which can vary a lot between different skin tones and undertones. There are a lot of guides on Pinterest that can help you out, although any sales associate at Ulta, Sephora or a makeup counter should be able to help you out as well.


Whether you choose to match your lipstick to your blush or go bold, you'll still want to make sure your lip color doesn't clash with your eye makeup. I personally like to take Marlena from Makeup Geek's advice and use warm and cool tones (watch the video below for more details.)

It's also generally a good idea to make sure you only go bold on your lips or eyes so you don't look overdone (i.e. don't wear a smoky eye and rep lips, although there are definitely ways to pull that look off too, they're just harder.)


When you're choosing eyeshadow colors, one of the biggest factors to take into consideration is the color of your eyes. A lot of books or websites will have exact color schemes for each eye color, but I think it really boils down to personal preference and what effect you're going for. I highly recommend familiarizing yourself with color theory to find what color combinations you like best. According to Maskcara, colors opposite of your eyes on the color wheel will make them stand out while similar colors will make your eyes appear larger. I have pretty big eyes already, so I usually choose warm tones to make my eye color pop, however if you have smaller eyes, you might prefer complimentary colors.

When it comes to pairing different eyeshadow colors, one rule you'll usually come across is to use at least one neutral and at least one matte (personally I usually use my matte in the crease because it looks best on my eye shape, but you may have to play around to see what works for you.) The easiest thing I've found to do is stick to one makeup palette when I'm trying to create a look, because those tones usually all go together well (there are some great drugstore options for as low as $5 out right now.) If you have a pretty popular eyeshadow palette, you might be able to get ideas for it here, although you should also be able to find plenty of looks on YouTube and Pinterest for just about any palette. (If you're only working with singles, don't worry: you can see if any of yours align well with a specific palette or are dupes of popular MAC or Makeup Geek shades.)

Thanks so much for reading! If you have any favorite makeup shade combinations, let me know in the comments below!

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