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How to Choose the Best Eyeshadow for Your Skin Undertone

How to Choose the Best Eyeshadow for Your Skin Undertone

Picture this: it’s a Friday night and you’re doing your makeup to go out. Your foundation? On lock (thanks to our ReEvolve Radiance Locking Primer, of course). Your contour? Perfection (again, it doesn’t get any better than our new Skin2Skin Everything Brush and Buriti Bronzer—amirite?). Your blush and highlighter? Glowing. 

But now it’s time to do the eyes…you’ve got a whole host of eyeshadow palettes, individual powder eyeshadows, shimmery 90s-era glittery pots, creamy shades for a concentrated pop of earthy color. But all of them seem a bit…off.

We’ve been told our whole lives to match our eyeshadows with our eye colors using color theory. Color theory is a mix between art and science; where we look at colors and how they interact with other tones around them (in this case, skin tones) using the color wheel. 

Brown and hazel eyes with purples and greens, green eyes with browns and golds, blue eyes with browns. 

It makes sense; if the idea is to make your eyes pop, you want to use a color “opposite the color wheel”, which will bring a colorful bit of contrast to the face. And this advice is not wrong at all.

But what’s missing from knowing how to choose the eyeshadow that’s right for you is an understanding of skin undertone, in addition to your eye color. 
Knowing your skin’s undertone, and matching your colors with that, can help you guide you in making the best color choice possible, so you’re able to curate a collection of products that will serve any and every look—no matter the occasion, season, or even if it’s a Friday night.

Keep reading to learn how you can identify your skin undertone, which eyeshadows are best for each, and how to apply them for different looks.

Skin Undertone vs. Skin Overtone

First things first: there are two types of “skin tones”. There’s skin overtone (deep, rich, light, olive, fair, medium, etc), which is the primary color of your skin. You can describe overtones as pink vs. yellow. You can have a pinky overtone (usually people with porcelain or fairer skin tones) or a yellow overtone (usually people with more tawny or olive overtones).

Most of us are very clear on our overtones, but if you need help identifying it, try trying on a few foundations and then checking the labels. When you play with different foundations, you’ll see whether you’re pinkier or warmer. You can also always book an Artist Advice consultation, and from there we can immediately help you identify both your overtone and undertone—and the products best-suited to meet your needs.

How to Identify Your Undertone 

Undertones are the secondary colors that help define which shades look best on you (this goes for makeup as well as clothing and jewelry).

There are three types of skin undertones: warm, cool, and neutral, and they are separate from your overtones (for example, you can have porcelain skin with warm undertones, and you can have tawny, olive skin with cool undertones).

Warm skin tones have undertones of peach or gold, while cool tones have undertones of blue or red. And neutral is a mix of both! 

To get your undertone without a beauty consultation, look at the veins in your neck (we suggest neck or face because that’s closest to where you’ll be applying eyeshadow…you’re not applying it on your wrist). 

Here’s a good rule of thumb:

  • If your veins are greenish (or olive), you have warm undertones. 
  • If your veins are blue or purple-ish, you have cool undertones. 
  • If you just can’t tell, or if they look different in different places, you’re neutral.

How to Choose Eyeshadow Based on Your Skin’s Undertone

Now that you know your overtone and undertone, it’s time to pick your eyeshadow shade range. 

We suggest first identifying which colors you like best with your eye colors, and then finding undertones to match your skin tone.


The Best Eyeshadow for Warm Undertones

Whether or not you have fair or darker skin, warner undertones look great in shades that are warmer by nature and can emphasize the warmer tone of your skin; golds, richer greens, champagnes, plums, and orange-based reds like rose.

For warmer tones, we suggest the following shades:

The Best Eyeshadow for Cool Undertones

Cooler undertones—again, regardless of whether you have fairer skin or darker skin—look great in shades that are naturally cooler; blues, icy silvers, turquoise greens, and blue-based purples.

For cooler tones, we suggest the following shades:

The Best Eyeshadow for Neutral Undertones

Neutral undertones can wear any shades, so we’ll usually suggest choosing your eyeshadow based on what you’re wearing or what the rest of your look is going for. If you want an earthier, sultry vibe, go with warmer toned eyeshadows. And if you want a bolder, more intense or vibrant look, go for cooler toned eyeshadows. 

How Best to Apply Eyeshadows

Applying eyeshadows depends on whether you’re using a cream shadow (like our Eyelights) or a powder shadow. There are lots of different brushes out there and ways to apply eyeshadow, but these are a few of our favorite techniques:
  • Using your fingers: This is one of Rose-Marie’s, our founder, favorite ways to apply shadow. For sweeping on a base, just use your ring finger to apply a more neutral shadow. Then go in in the center of the lid and pop on a shimmery color or lighter shade to bring depth to the lid.
  • The RMS Eye Polish Brush: This is a great brush for smudging eyeliner as well as applying eyeshadow along the upper and lower lash line. Just tap into your powder, tap off any excess color, and smudge along the lash line or pop it in the corners of the lids.
  • The RMS Skin2Skin Everything Brush: This soft, luxurious imitation goat hair brush has featherweight, dense bristles, and because of its “squoval” shape (square-meets-oval), it’s the perfect shape for covering the lid.  

The Most Important Eyeshadow Rule: Have Fun

Now that you’ve got all the information you need, it’s time to create your look. Don’t be afraid to stray from colors that simply just don’t bring you joy, and don’t be afraid to play with ones that do (even if it’s technically not in your “tonal range”). 

Use icy purples even if you have warmer-toned skin, try rosy pinks on fairer skin to see how you feel. Eyeshadow is all about having fun with your look and experimenting.

And if you ever get stuck, we’re here to help. Just book an Artist Advice Session here.

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