For most people, taking a survey of their makeup bag would be a tell-all about their daily routine and consistent product choices. When it comes to wearing neutral eyeshadows, all of us have certainly made a dent—or hit the bottom of the pan that is—on colors we tend to repeat without realizing. There's nothing wrong with neutrals, yet there are so many shadow looks you're really missing out on if wearing color hasn't been your go-to. Thanks to some really talented makeup artists and the power of Instagram, we've gotten a lot of inspiration as to how you can start to wear color and feel good about it.
Ahead, read our top picks on colorful eyeshadow looks if you're really having a hard time putting down the nudes—we have a feeling you're going to be into this.
A coral look can be bright or lean more towards the neutral side for a wearable look that still packs an impact. When wanting to wear these shades, use an eyeshadow palette with some variations in the same color family so you're able to experiment until you get it right. This palette from ColourPop ($14) has all the orange and coral you'll ever need.
Sky High Blue
A nice cornflower blue hue is a great way to steer away from neutral shadows without having to make a crazy color commitment. The soft blue on the lids is enough pigment without taking any risks. One shadow can work for this look, like Glossier's Skywash Matte Eyeshadow Tint in Pool ($18).
Pink is always a good idea, whether it's worn on the eyes, cheeks, or lips—from dusty rose to sheer mauve, you can make a pink moment work for you any way you want. The monochromatic rose color on these lids equipped with subtle shimmer is such a refreshing switch-up for the daytime. RMS Beauty Eye Polish in Embrace ($20) is a rose-quartz pink that blends easily on the lids and lasts.
Eyeshadow can be any shape you want, which is why this red-winged shadow look is a key example of how color can be fun and innovative. Trace your wing out first with a red eyeliner like Anastasia Beverly Hills Norvina Chroma Stix Makeup Pencil ($18) and then set it with eyeshadow in a similar color on top to ensure it stays put.
A Sea of Color
Why settle for just one color when you can wear as many as you like? The mix of jewel-toned greens and blues here have us really inspired to mix colors we wouldn't normally wear all at once. Apply blue and green shadows on the eyelid and crease, blending them out until they look cohesive. This eyeshadow palette from Violet Voss ($42) has a nice mix of both colors.
Blissed out on blush tones, this look is an entire mood. A monochromatic makeup look works for people who want to wear one color and wear it well. The eyes, cheeks, and lips coordinate together for a really fresh feel. Using a multi-use product for eyes, cheeks, and lips like ILIA Beauty's Color Haze Multi-Use Pigment ($32) can help you recreate this in less than five minutes.
Lilac, violet… the gang's all here with this glistening display of iridescent purple shades. Deeper violet is contoured in the crease, while the lighter lilac steals the show placed directly on the lids. Ofra Cosmetics Eyeshadow in Ultra Violet ($15) is the perfect shade for the lid color.
This dreamy metallic look is serving us all the inspiration we need for a good excuse to play with makeup (but honestly, do we ever need one?). The best way to try this look out for yourself is to use some metallic eyeshadow shades—like these from Huda Beauty's Mercury Retrograde Eyeshadow Palette ($34)—and practice by putting them on different areas of the eyes. It doesn't need to look as abstract as this; you can opt for using one to two shades if that's more your thing. The key here is to get you in the habit of trying out new colors.
Brighter Is Better
Bold colors on the lids paired with fresh skin and a soft lip is a beautiful way to execute wearing bright colors, and this pink shadow look has us wanting to try it out immediately. Blend an electric shadow on the eyelids and underneath the bottom lash line like Urban Decay's Eyeshadow in Woodstock ($19) to tie this look together. Skip the eyeliner if you please and finish with your favorite mascara.
The Golden Rule
Gold shadow is beautiful by itself, but even better when partnered up with other colors. The thing about gold is that it can truly add something to almost any color combo you've planned to wear. These icy mint green, blue, and gold shadows are worth trying. Apply the gold and green colors on the lid and in the crease, then follow up again by placing a cream gold eyeshadow like Laura Mercier's Caviar Stick Eye Color in Golden ($29) in the center of the lid and under the brow.
Blown Out Teal
A teal blue smoky eye works no matter what your skill level is. All you need is a good set of blending brushes and an eyeshadow formula that's fool-proof like the Dominique Cosmetics Beautiful Mess Liquid Eyeshadow in Cold Heart ($20), which adds the perfect amount of chrome and dimension.
The Emerald Way
Used to wearing smoky eyes that only consist of dark gray or brown tones? Replace these colors with emerald instead, and you'll be hooked on creating colorful smoky eyes from here on out. The gold and slightly bronze tone popped in the center of the lid is magic. Lancôme's Hypnôse 5-Color Eyeshadow Palette in "Kaki Electrique" ($38) has all the shades to help you accomplish this look.
Ray of Sunshine
A burst of yellow can instantly brighten your mood, not to mention your eyes in seconds. This look proves how a marigold color placed on the inner corners of the eyes, the lid, and set with a shimmery soft champagne color is a great idea. Apply a cream shadow like the orange and yellow shades in Flower Beauty's Shimmer & Shade Sun's Blazing Eye Palette ($16) to the inner corners for maximum color.
All the Blues
Give us all the blue hues. From sky blue to cerulean, these lids pack a serious punch and we're here for it. To recreate this yourself, apply more of a pastel, soft blue color on the eyelids like Clinique's All About Shadow Single in "Lagoon" ($22) and bring in the definition and contour in the crease with a contrasting tone. Blend the soft blue tone under the bottom lash line and finish with a few coats of mascara.
Magenta is another color that can surprise you when used as an eyeshadow, and the contrast between these two colors here is stunning. Periwinkle lines the top and bottom of the eyes, while magenta is blended in the crease and up into the brow. For a stunning magenta shadow color, check out Kosas 10 Second Eyeshadow in Fahrenheit ($28). If you want to wear a more minimal version of this look, keep the colors solely on the eyelids.
It's All Peachy
Peach has the ability to look good on all skin tones, and this soft peach eyeshadow look paired with deep espresso eyeliner is an ideal combo. Not to mention, peach is a great transitional color to get you wearing bolder tones without risking too much when you're just starting out. Blend a peach shadow like Jillian Dempsey's Lid Tint in "Peach" ($28) on the eyelids and crease, and finish with a generous application of Crunchi's Highliner Pencil Eyeliner in "Espresso" ($26) on the top and bottom lash line.
Electric pink shows us how neon colors can look chic and play well with others all in one. We love this look on Priyanka Chopra Jonas and the contrast it presents between the smoky black shadow color in the crease. For some fun neon shades, check out Revolution x Patricia Bright Rich in Colour Shadow Palette ($25).
Fuchsia on the eyes and cheeks is all the inspiration we need to dip into our most colorful shadow palette. Blend a shadow such as Nars Single Eyeshadow in "Domination" ($19) all over the lids and crease—you don't need to add anything else due to how well this color wears for any occasion.
Indigo metallic eyeshadow shows us how purple can become much more exciting when you add some shine to it. Apply a shadow such as Victoria Beckham's Lid Lustre Crystal Infused Eyeshadow in Midnight ($36) all over the lid and continue to pack the color on until you get the desired vibrancy. You can move on to applying liquid eyeliner next and finish up with some mascara.
A simple application of red shadow like Sugarpill's Pressed Eyeshadow in Love+ ($16) on the lids can change your entire makeup look and it barely takes any work. Apply the one color of shadow to the lids and keep the rest of your makeup minimal.
Shimmery Rose Pink
Sparkles add the most fun to any occasion, and neon eyeliner paired with these shimmery rose gold pink lids brings color and texture to the eyes in all the right ways. Recreate this look by using a sheer glitter like Lemonhead's Space Paste Glitter in Mulholland ($22) from the lids to the brows, and finish with a long-wearing liquid eyeliner application on the top lash line to ensure everything stays in place.
Tout Some Tangerine
Bright bursts of tangerine shadow that frame the eyes are vividly colorful and fun. While tangerine isn't the first color you'd think of when shopping for shadow, it's worth a try due to how pretty it is. Apply a tangerine shadow like Nars Single Eyeshadow in Paprika ($19) anywhere you want a fresh pop of color.
Rust is a shadow you might not think to wear, yet is one of the most flattering shades for any eye color. Applied to the top and bottom lashline, it frames the eye perfectly and is seriously the best choice to wear with any clothing color. Blend out eyeshadow on the lids along with the top and bottom lashline with a contouring brush. Urban Decay's Naked Heat Palette ($54) has several rusty warm tones you can mix and match.
Minty Fresh Green
Mint green and blue tones with a pastel finish are delicate and ever so exotic. The combination of both colors is light and fresh without compromising what we're here for—color. Blend a mint green shadow such as MAC's Matte Eyeshadow in Mint Condition ($19) on the eyelids and create to your heart's content.
Shine bright like a diamond—or in this case, your eyelids can. The perfect mix of icy silver and pastel blue on the eyes is a softer interpretation of color yet doesn't back down from making a statement. NYX Cosmetics Prismatic Shadow in Blue Jeans ($6) is a lovely shade for the lid color.