Robert Jones’ ‘Learn Make Up Color Theory’

Color Wheel

Do you ever find yourself thinking, “Man, I just wish those little green flecks in my brown eyes would stand out more!” but you’re not quite ready to go full tilt with tinted contacts? Or perhaps your blush is looking way harsh and you don’t know where to go next. Or, maybe, you’re fed up with not knowing what kind of red lipstick (blue-tinted? orange?) is right for your skin tone. Well, we’ve got some answers, courtesy of Robert Jones, a makeup artist and former art student who gives an in-depth lesson on the color wheel and how it relates to makeup. It's our slightly academic, but really informative how-to video of the week!

The Color Wheel (0:00 – 3:00)

First and foremost, you need to reacquaint yourself with the color wheel—you know, that little rainbow circle that hung in every art classroom of your educational career. Remember when you first learned how to mix red and blue to make purple? That’s what Jones will re-teach you. If you’ve dabbled in the arts and are already familiar with the color chart, go ahead and skip to just before the three-minute mark, where he starts to talk about…

Eye Shadow (3:00 – 8:00)

Here, it’s all about “complimentary colors.” In place of wearing a shadow that matches your iris, it’s best to look directly across the color wheel to achieve a real boost in eye tone. For instance, if you have blue eyes, blue eyeshadow isn’t going to do much to help those peepers pop, but bronzes, coppers, and other warm hues will really pump up your natural sapphire.

Blush (8:00 – 12:35)

Key words of wisdom: “[Blush is] not to contour your face with. It’s not to reshape your face. It’s to add life and color to your face.” Jones’ rule of thumb? Don’t use a blush darker than your own natural flush. Where blushes are concerned, skin tones fall into one of two categories: ivory-beige or bronze-ebony. While some blushes can work with either side of the spectrum, lighter, ashier shades should be reserved for those with ivory-beige faces, while darker, richer, warmer blushes will benefit darker skin tones.

Lipstick (12:35 – end)

The most important factor when deciding on lipstick is lip size. Though we’re the first to tell you to bend the rules in this department, generally speaking, the darker the lipstick color, the smaller your lips will appear. So if you’re sporting a microscopic mouth and are looking for natural enhancement, Jones suggests sticking with a light color. Now you know!

In the end, makeup color theory is all about intensifying your best features. While Jones lays out some hard-and-fast suggestions, they’re just that (suggestions). If you find that an emerald eyeshadow makes your hazel eyes worthy of becoming the subject of a Coldplay song, live your dreams. If your little lips look luscious in a deep oxblood stain, go and smear it on that sucker. You do you and hopefully Robert Jones will help that you get just a smidge better and brighter.

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  • Paula

    Fantastic!! What a great lesson in color!

  • erin

    these are the definite fundamentals of color theory as it relates to beauty. i use them on clients all the time!

  • Rebeka Osborne

    That video is informative and awesome, I feel like I could go pick out some makeup that would look amazing on me right now!

  • Ginger

    Very informative, it's impressing.

  • Little Parisienne

    Very informative (while I thought that would be redundant with the 10569 videos I watched about eyes:shadows pairings...

  • Anne

    This is really helpful. Great article!

    -Anne's Scribbles and Doodles

  • Lilly

    Great video! He explained everything so clearly.

  • Lana

    I love how direct this article is. ZERO fluff. Adore.

  • Luciana Micaela

    I loathe color rules. For me, paying attention to them, is the most unerotic and less chic thing to do.

  • Stephanie

    Wow! He did an amazing job explaining it!!!!! Sooo cool! Thanks ITG!

  • frostedfields

    Re: eyeshadows - consider also that your overall colours (i.e., seasons) influence your eyeshadow colours. I'm a soft winter, and gray may be one of my best colours in clothes, but gray eyeshadow makes my hazel eyes look dead. While I have flexibility with my eye colour, I have few practical options because my particular colour palette is delicate. I stick with cool earth tones on my brow but use either purple or sheer pinks for my eyelid, closest to my iris. My eyes and colours are in harmony, and it complements whatever I'm wearing.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but is blue eyeshadow difficult to wear because it enhances the blue circles under the eyes?

    This article has good information to keep in mind; I have a mini colour wheel on my dresser and it helps me to take more colour risks.

  • I

    you're thinking of a different colour wheel...there's more than one type

    • KC

      Yes, but the Prang color wheel is very outdated and doesn't actually look at scientific color (light involved). If we're talking makeup, you want to use the correct color wheel otherwise you'll have olive green makeup on St. Patrick's Day instead of a nice true green. Just an example.