While some women seem to have an innate understanding of which eyeshadow color pairings work well together, others (like me), do not. I'd hazard a guess that the majority of the eye makeup–wearing population falls into the latter group—why else would shades like "Soft Sand" and "Hot Toffee" sell their socks off when compared with "Magenta" and "Pastel Sky"? Truth is, it's hard to make a mistake mixing colors when you're working with a sensible earthy palette. But this is the thing—those who err on the safe side when it comes to choosing an assortment of colors are really missing out. Not only is coming up with an unexpected blend of flattering tones deeply satisfying, but it also garners the sort of compliments plain old brown and black just don't.
But if you're at a loss for how to put together an interesting mix of colors while still looking elevated (so, not like a David Bowie impersonator), never fear. With the help of Marc Jacobs (specifically, the brand's Eye-Conic Multi-Finish Eye Palettes, $50), we set out to prove those interesting duos like fuchsia and lilac can be just as wearable as charcoal and navy. We also threw in bright gold and khaki because, you know, baby steps. And you know what? We think the three unexpected color combinations that follow are going to be major.
Keep scrolling to take a peek and learn how to get the look.
Khaki and Gold
Fashion Credits: Anna Quan shirt; Thom Browne TB-109 Glasses.
While the color combination of khaki and gold certainly isn't the craziest mashup out there, together they do represent a positive first step towards venturing away from beige and... beige. As an added bonus, green-based khaki sings on all eye colors—from brown to blue. And, to our knowledge, a bright gold sparkly highlight has never, ever gone unnoticed or unappreciated.
To recreate this look, begin by prepping lids with an eye primer to intensify color and keep everything in place. Use a fluffy brush to create a soft wash of matte khaki shadow, taking it underneath the eyes at the outer corners. Dip a damp pencil brush in a shimmery gold shadow and apply at the inner corners, using a clean cotton bud to blend. (For both shadows in this look, we used Marc Jacobs' Eye-Conic Multi-Finish Eye Palette in Edgitorial, $50) Line the waterline with a chocolate pencil for definition, and add a few licks of mascara.
Lavender and Fuchsia
Fashion Credits: Dion Lee Velvet Polo Skivvy; Reliquia Discus Earrings.
Lavender eyeshadow paired with fuchsia flicks—sounds intimidating, right? Well, it doesn't have to be. To keep things restrained, choose a purple base shade with plummy undertones over anything pastel. (Frosty lilac will make you look like you're headed to an '80s dress-up party.) On that note, keep the punchy pink liner to the outer corners of your eyes only, and you'll have successfully created an understated flash of color.
Use a fluffy brush to buff a small amount of lavender shadow over the lid, keeping the shape cat-eye-ish and compact. Add color until you reach your desired intensity but remember, too much, and you won't achieve the sort of transparent finish that juxtaposes so well with a punchy liner. Next, draw on fuchsia flicks at the outer corners of your eyes using a damp liner brush dipped in shadow. (You'll find both hues we used here in Marc Jacobs' Eye-Conic Multi-Finish Eye Palette in Provocouture, $50). For extra intensity, go over the flicks with a cream liner in a similar shade. To finish, add silver highlights at the inner corners, blink on a coat of mascara, and book your Uber.
Teal and Cobalt
Fashion Credits: House of Dagmar Noreen Knitted Sweater; Shashi Warrior Pendant Necklace.
Arguably the most extreme of our color pairings, this teal, and cobalt combo could skew "rave party" if applied with a heavy hand. While we'd suggest saving this look for a night out (we like to think of it as spring's update on the classic smoky eye), you can tone down the brightness of your blue for a softer day vibe. Word to the wise: For best results (and maximum cool girl vibes), keep the rest of your makeup minimal and your hair undone.
Use an eye contour brush to apply teal shadow as the base of your smoky eye—take the color over the lid and under the eye for maximum smolder. Next, dab a damp flat shadow brush in cobalt blue, and apply to the center of your lid to create a 3D effect. (You can find both the shadows we used here in the Marc Jacobs Eye-Conic Multi-Finish Eye Palette in Smartorial, $50). Line your waterline with a black pencil, and swipe on mascara. Again, go easy on the rest of your makeup to keep things cool, not glam. We suggest skipping shimmer altogether and adding gloss instead via a shiny, sheer lip balm.
Talent: Kerryn Paasila/IMG Models; Photographer: Sevak Babakhani; Makeup: Elsa Morgan; Hair: Anthony Nader for Oribe; Styling: Amanda Stavropoulos; Creative Direction: Lisa Patulny.