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Colored Mascaras to Make Your Eyes Pop

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Tori loves trying out new makeup looks and sharing her expertise and tutorials with others.

Make your eye color pop with colored mascara.

Make your eye color pop with colored mascara.

Pairing Colored Mascara With Your Eye Color

I enjoy experimenting with different makeup looks. For that reason, I jumped on the opportunity to test out different kinds of mascara and research different looks to apply in real life as opposed to the runway. To start, I want to say that you should wear whatever color mascara you like the best because there are no set rules for fashion and makeup. But, if you’re curious about how different colored mascaras pair with your eye color based on color theory, or you're looking for different ways to execute a colored mascara look in your daily makeup routine, look no further!

The Theory Behind Colored Mascaras

To figure out the best colors for your makeup, including colored mascaras, it helps to understand the science behind those decisions. This is called color theory. I could go down an entire rabbit hole on color theory because I use it all the time for dying my hair. But for now, I’ll simplify it as much as possible!

There are three basic categories of color theory that can help make decisions when it comes to colors: color harmony, the color wheel, and color context. (Source)

A Basic Color wheel that includes primary, secondary, and tertiary colors.They can become more complex from here.

A Basic Color wheel that includes primary, secondary, and tertiary colors.They can become more complex from here.

Color Wheels

There are many different versions of the color wheel, but in general, it is a wheel of the rainbow that arranges colors in a natural order. This is where you’ve probably heard the terms primary colors, secondary colors, and tertiary colors. Check out the wheel above for an example.

Color Harmony: Six basic color schemes as examples using a color wheel. From here, you can also add in color wheels that add white, gray, or black to adjust tints, shades, and tones.

Color Harmony: Six basic color schemes as examples using a color wheel. From here, you can also add in color wheels that add white, gray, or black to adjust tints, shades, and tones.

Color Harmony

Color Harmony means that colors are arranged in a way that is pleasing to the eye. There are many different types of color harmony that you may have heard of, such as monochromatic (shades of the same color), analogous (colors that are next to each other on the color wheel), complementary (colors that are directly across each other on the color wheel), or triadic (colors on the wheel that create a triangle).

When considering color harmony, professionals also consider color temperature (warm vs. cool tones), shades (adding black), tints (adding white), and tones (adding gray). (Source)

Color Context: The red box appears differently on each of the colors above.

Color Context: The red box appears differently on each of the colors above.

Color Context

Color context is very complex, but in a nutshell, it is how colors react when used with other colors. It can change your perspective and opinions about certain colors when they are paired with other colors, as in the example above.

All of these are taken into consideration by many industries. In particular, the cosmetics industry uses them to make recommendations to customers and develop new products. And that is where colored mascaras, as they relate to eye color, enter the room.

How to Incorporate Colored Mascara Into Your Makeup Look

Colored mascara can be a little intimidating! But in general, here are some tips to make it stand out.

Is Colored Mascara Tacky?

Personally, I don’t think any makeup look is off-limits or tacky. There are makeup looks I wouldn’t try for myself, of course, just like anything. But if you like the style and it makes you happy, do it! There is nothing wrong with experimenting to find your perfect makeup style, and you can incorporate colored mascara if you decide that you like it!

Use a Good Lash Primer

Many colored mascaras on the market today tend to dry much darker than the color you see in the bottle or on the packaging. For this reason, I absolutely recommend investing in a white lash primer, which helps the color stand out brighter. My favorite is Tarte’s Opening Act Lash Primer, but L’Oreal’s Voluminous Lash Primer is a great inexpensive alternative.

Here's me with a monochromatic red and burgundy makeup look using the Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette and L'Oreal Voluminizing Mascara in Burgundy.

Here's me with a monochromatic red and burgundy makeup look using the Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette and L'Oreal Voluminizing Mascara in Burgundy.

Monochromatic Makeup Colors

One of my favorite ways to wear colored mascara is with a monochromatic color scheme. Your eyeliner and eyeshadow should be of a similar color family, like the photos I’ve shared above. Not only does this makeup look accentuate your eye color, but it is a cohesive look altogether.

For this monochromatic red/burgundy look I used:

  • Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette
  • Tarte Opening Act Lash Primer
  • L’Oreal Voluminous Original Mascara in Burgundy
A complementary color look of gold and purple on my eye, using the Urban Decan Naked Honey Palette with L’Oreal Volumizing Mascara in Deep Purple.

A complementary color look of gold and purple on my eye, using the Urban Decan Naked Honey Palette with L’Oreal Volumizing Mascara in Deep Purple.

Complementary Makeup Colors

Another way to wear colored mascara is with a complementary makeup scheme. Complementary colors are across from each other on the color wheel. Great pairings of complementary colors are:

  • Yellow and Purple
  • Orange and Blue
  • Red and Green

Complementary colors are also a great tool to determine your best makeup shades for your eye color too! This could mean your favorite shade of red or purple makeup for green eyes, pink or orange makeup for blue eyes, green or blue makeup for brown eyes, and more.

For this complementary makeup look, I used:

  • Urban Decay Naked Honey Palette
  • Tarte Opening Act Lash Primer
  • L’Oreal Voluminous Original Mascara in Deep Purple
A bright neon pink mascara look I created using neon pink eyeshadow from Urban Decay's Wired Palette with Tarte Opening Act Lash Primer.

A bright neon pink mascara look I created using neon pink eyeshadow from Urban Decay's Wired Palette with Tarte Opening Act Lash Primer.

How to Make Colored Mascara with Eyeshadow

There aren’t a whole lot of options on the market for vibrant colored mascaras, so the best way to get a vibrant mascara is by making your own. I know that seems intimidating, but it’s actually really easy with the help of just three supplies:

  • White Mascara Primer: I used Tarte Opening Act Lash Primer.
  • Clean Spoolie or Foam Eyeshadow Applicator: I like to wash off and reuse the wands from old mascaras. I often find these applicators are better than the generic spoolie packs you can find in many makeup stores.
  • Powdered Eyeshadow: Any color you choose. I used Savage from the Urban Decay Wired Palette.

How to Create Custom Vibrant Mascara:

  1. Apply the primer to your eyelashes. Don’t let the primer dry!
  2. Using a clean spoolie or foam eyeshadow applicator, create a little bit of loose powder in the eyeshadow pan and pick up some of the color with the spoolie.
  3. Quickly apply the color to your lashes using the spoolie until the white is completely covered.

Tips and Tricks:

  • You can mix the eyeshadow and the primer separately on a clean surface, such as a piece of paper, and then apply it to your lashes with a clean spoolie. If you know you’re going to be using that color often, you can even put eyeshadow powder on the brush and mix it into the mascara container until you have the desired pigment level, and then you don’t have to mix it each time!
  • It’s important to note that if you do try making your own colored mascara using eyeshadow, it works best with matte colors. I tried a few different types of eyeshadow, and I found that anything with a sparkle had a tendency to look patchy when I stepped back from the mirror, even though it wasn’t.
  • Using eyeshadow can definitely create a lot of powder fallout on your face. While applying the powder, it's a good idea to hold a small piece of paper, tissue, or a makeup wipe underneath your eye to prevent it from falling onto your cheeks. When applying to the top, hold the tissue behind your lashes so that the color doesn’t smear on your eyelid while applying.
  • Be careful if you do this when wearing contacts! You may want to take them out and put them back in afterward so that you don’t get eyeshadow on your contacts.

How to Wear Colored Mascara Based on the Color of Your Eyes

Based on color research and current trends, these are the best colors of mascara for your eye color! When you choose your mascara based on the color of your eyes, try using the analogous, complementary, or vibrant eyeshadow looks mentioned above to complete your colored mascara look!

Brown eyes with purple mascara.

Brown eyes with purple mascara.

Colored Mascara for Brown and Dark Brown Eyes

Based on complementary colors, violet or green mascaras are excellent colors for brown eyes. They will definitely make your makeup stand out in a crowd. For the more adventurous mascara-wearers, try a bright red.

Blue eyes with burgundy mascara and eyeliner

Blue eyes with burgundy mascara and eyeliner

Colored Mascara for Blue Eyes

If you have blue eyes, try burgundy or violet mascara. These colors mimic nature (think red corals in the blue ocean) which means your eyes will be the highlight of your look. If you’re looking for something more vibrant and unique, try pink!

Green eyes with purple mascara.

Green eyes with purple mascara.

Colored Mascara for Green Eyes

Green eyes will look stunning with burgundy or purple mascara! Burgundy and other red tones are complementary to green on the color wheel, and purple is a triad color. You won’t go wrong with either of these gorgeous shades. If you want something super vibrant, go for cobalt blue.

Hazel eyes with green mascara.

Hazel eyes with green mascara.

Colored Mascara for Hazel Eyes

Hazel eyes are a combination of brown and green—so that means that any colors that are great for brown or green eyes will be great for hazel eyes. My favorite shades for hazel are burgundy or dark green. If you want to wear a more energetic shade, I’d recommend a bright green.

Brands of Colored Mascara and Where to Buy Them

There are lots of brands that are currently selling different kinds of colored mascara, depending on what you are looking for!

L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Original Washable Bold Eye Mascara available colors.

L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Original Washable Bold Eye Mascara available colors.

L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Original Washable Bold Eye Mascara

One of the most popular, inexpensive, and accessible lines that I have found online is L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Original Washable Bold Eye Mascara. L’Oreal is sold in many stores, but to have the easiest access to all of their colors, I recommend ordering on Amazon.

The line comes in five great subtle colors: cobalt blue, deep violet, deep burgundy, deep green, and black. The great thing about this brand is that they also know it shows up best with a primer, so they’ve got you covered with a white primer in the same lineup.

I bought two of their colors to try: Deep Violet and Deep Burgundy. I liked the violet, but I have to say the burgundy was my absolute favorite of the two. Tiktok appears to agree with that assessment—L’Oreal’s burgundy mascara went viral on the makeup side of the platform, and it sold out in many places during that time.

ColourPop’s extensive line of bright candy colored mascaras.

ColourPop’s extensive line of bright candy colored mascaras.

ColourPop BFF Mascara

Another great option is Colourpop BFF Mascaras, which come in bright candy-colored shades like magenta, true red, and purple prose. Colourpop is another inexpensive brand available at stores such as Ulta, but I can never seem to find it in stock because it’s so popular. Because of this, I recommend ordering directly from their website to make sure you get the color you want. I love both the pink and red colored mascaras from this lineup as they are fun, vibrant, and unique!

Basic color theory quick reference guide.

Basic color theory quick reference guide.

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