How to Use the Abandoned Colors in Your Eye Shadow Palette

compilation of urban decay naked palettes


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A common issue we have with eye palettes is finding ourselves desperately scraping away at the final dust of our favorite color while others remain completely untouched. While the beauty of purchasing a palette is that you can experiment with a bunch of different shades without having to purchase several individual compacts, there's something safe about sticking with a color or two you know and trust. Well, not anymore—we're tossing that "safe" notion aside and venturing into the unchartered territory that is those untouched shades in our eye palettes (we're a dangerous bunch, aren't we?). All kidding aside, we found some great inspiration for how to wear the more obscure colors in your Naked palette or other favorite collection of shadows.


Close-up of woman wearing black eyeshadow

Black may seem like a scary color to dip into, but we promise it's much less intimidating than it seems. Take this look for example: Using a small, fluffy brush like Sephora’s Classic Precision Powder Shadow Brush, dust a V shape along the outer corners of the eyes and halfway into the eye bone area. This creates definition and sets a moody tone without being too heavy.

Close-up of subtle smoky eye

Thinking about trying a smoky eye? Try this updated, subtler version: Dust a light layer of black from your palette (or really any deep hue, like purple, brown, or bronze) just below the lash line and up into the crease.


Woman wearing pink eyeshadow

Another intimidating color is pink. Well, news flash: Pink eye shadow doesn’t have to read “Barbie”—go ahead and gently dust some onto your lids, especially if it’s a light, shimmery color that can be brought down into the corner of the eye. Pink can also be subdued with other shadows in your palette, like champagne and nude, in case it's showing up a bit too bright.

Close-up of eye wearing brown shadow

How glam is this double-winged brown cat eye? In the above example (hi, Gigi!), a brown shadow is dusted along the crease of the eye and just below the lash line for a smoky effect, while two wings were created on the outer corner. Dip a wet, thin brush into your shadow to create this look sans eye pencil (try the MAC 210 Precise Eyeliner Brush, $21).


Woman wearing white eyeshadow

Brighten the inner corners of the eye with a white, preferably shimmery shadow like the example above, or try placing it all over the lid like this high-fashion look.


Woman wearing gold eyeshadow

We're swooning over this shimmery metallic gold eye. Placed all over the lid and up into the eye bone, as well as into the inner corner of the eye and below the lash line, this gilded look is the perfect answer to How am I supposed to use the gold shadow in my palette?

Gold eyeshadow close-up

Lightly swept into the tear duct area, gold opens up and brightens your eyes in the subtlest way. 


Woman wearing green eyeshadow

Green's a color we usually reserve for Halloween or St. Patrick's Day, but the above image proves that it can be used as a substitute for the classic smoky eye without looking like costume makeup.

Woman wearing forest green eyeshadow

The forest green happening on the lids here is absolutely to die for. We imagine this hue complementing every eye color and skin tone, so why don't you give it a try and let us know how it goes?


Close-up of eye with purple liner

Not sure how to wear purple eye shadow? Try placing it just below the lash line as a subtle pop of color. As mentioned before, wetting an eyeliner brush will allow for a more vibrant, pigmented color.

Woman with a chic, purple cat-eye look

Or, reverse the liner and bring it up to your top lash line for a chic purple cat-eye. 


Blue shimmery eyeshadow

Blue is another color that looks stunning as a smoky eye—especially a slate-blue metallic shade like the look pictured above. Not into a smoky eye? A thin blue liner beneath the lower lash line is another great option for an unexpected pop of color.

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