Get Makeup Down to a Science

Get Makeup Down to a Science

Want to make people notice your pretty eyes, but not your age or how little sleep you got last night? Use a bit of color theory. C'mon, we'll teach you.

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Your Bright Eyes Guide

Neutrals are the safe bet, but they won't get you compliments. For that, you'll need to check out a color wheel. Picture it as a pizza divided into 12 shades from warmest (yellows and oranges) to coolest (blues and greens). For the most contrast and intensity, go with a color on the opposite side of the wheel from your irises' natural hue — so a red-violet opposes green, and a golden yellow opposes aqua. Picking that contrasting shade can make the difference between eyes that look blue and eyes that look Elizabeth Taylor blue.

Go Subtly Smoky

For eyes that sparkle, choose two colors from the same family using the images below. Brush the lighter one over your lids from lash line to crease, and use a skinny eyeliner brush to apply a thin line along your bottom lash lines, too.

Blend the darker shade onto your lids from the outer corner to the middle of your pupil, fading out the color as you move inward.

Green Eyes

Illamasqua PowderEye Shadow in CanCan ($23, illamasqua.com)
Pixi by Petra Endless Silky Eye Pen in VelvetViolet ($12, Target, available in January)
L'Oréal Paris Infallible Eye Shadow in Burst Into Bloom ($8, drugstores)
Sonia Kashuk Longwear Eye Definer in Dark Purple ($8, Target)

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Hazel Eyes

Lancôme Drama Liqui-Pencil in Paradís ($23, Sephora)
Kat Von D Metal Crush Eyeshadow in Iggy ($21, Sephora)
Butter London Smoke Stick Duo in Flash Fusion ($20, Ulta)
MAC Cosmetics Magic of the Night Colourdrenched Pigment in Tonight's the Night! ($22, maccosmetics.com)

Brown Eyes

Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow in I-220 ($21, sephora.com)
Maybelline New York EyeStudio Lasting Drama Waterproof Gel Pencil in Lustrous Sapphire ($8, drugstores)
Vincent Longo Cosmetics Demi-Matte Eye Shadow in Hypnotize ($24, vincentlongo.com)
Shiseido Shimmering Cream Eye Color in Nightfall BL722 ($25, Nordstrom)

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Blue Eyes

Becca Eye Tint in Vicuna ($24, Sephora)
Almay Shadow Softies in Crème Brûlée ($5, drugstores)
Estée Lauder Magic Smoky Powder Shadow Stick in Cool Ash ($22, esteelauder.com)
Milani Bella Eyes Gel Powder Eyeshadow in Bella Copper ($4.50, drugstores)

A Fresh Flush

Smile and brush blush directly on the apples of your cheeks and along the cheekbones toward your ears, tapering off the color around your temples. Blend, and set with translucent powder for extra staying power.

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Perk Up Your Skin

Blush is the easiest way to energize your whole face, but you want to look like you came in from a brisk walk, not like you're just back from clown camp. Your undertones — either warm or cool — will help you choose a natural shade. You're warm-toned if your skin is peachy, the veins in your wrist appear green, and you may tan if you forget sunblock. Cool complexions look pinkish, have blue veins, and may burn easily without sunscreen. If it's not clear-cut, you're what makeup artists call neutral, and there are particular shades that work best on you.

Cool
Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Color Radiance Blush in Plum Perfection ($26.50, Macy's)
Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion Blush in 400 ($52, giorgioarmani.com)

Warm
Smashbox Blush Rush in Heartbreak ($24, Nordstrom)
Nonie Creme Colour Prevails Bashful Beauty Cheek & Lip Multi Stick in Coy Coral ($13, Walgreens)

Neutral
Artistry Signature Color Blush in Peachy Pink ($18, amway.com)
Palladio Beauty I'm Blushing 2-in-1 Cheek & Lip Tint in Lovely ($8, palladiobeauty.com)

Cover Up Anything, Like Magic

Corrective makeup, which comes in perplexingly bright hues, promises to mask the most noticeable blemish, no matter your skin tone. The idea seems nuts. ("A green concealer? I'll look like a certain witch of the west….") But hear us out. Foundations and concealers that match your skin perfectly can allow things like a red pimple or bluish dark circles to peek through. Tinted correctors use color-wheel principles to neutralize discoloration. Use a tiny dot or two, blend, and then top with regular makeup.

Green

Dermablend Smooth Indulgence Redness Concealer ($20, dermablend.com)

Yellow

Physicians Formula Gentle Cover Concealer Stick in Yellow ($7, drugstores)

Peach or Orange

Jane Iredale Enlighten Concealer in Shade 2 ($29, janeiredale.com)

Lavender

NYX Cosmetics Concealer Jar in Lavender ($5, nyxcosmetics.com)

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Love Your Lipstick

Pick the right bright lip color and you'll look glowy and awake; choose the wrong one and you come off as ghostly, sallow, or ashy. Again, let your undertones point you toward a color that will work overtime to flatter you. Another important note: The color you select can make lips appear bigger or smaller, depending on the shade. Dark hues visually shrink and lighter ones expand. So while a deep plum may be very striking against your skin, you want to avoid it if your goal is to plump things up. In that case, reach for a lipstick or gloss that's lighter or more sheer, or has a little bit of shimmer.

Smile Boldly

Rich lipstick colors tend to fade fast. To help them stay longer, swipe a light layer of foundation or concealer over your lips, then apply one coat of your favorite shade. Blot with a tissue to set, and then put on a second layer to lock in a lasting finish.

Neutral

Smith & Cult The Shining Lip Lacquer in One Word Chorus ($22, smithandcult.com)
& Other Stories Lip Colour in Bowknot Rose ($15, stories.com)
Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in Fiery Flamboyante ($9, drugstores)
Covergirl Star Wars Lipstick in 50 Dark Purple ($8, covergirl.com)

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