Five Reasons Not To Be Afraid Of Red Eyeshadow


Red eyeshadow is to the makeup world as Russell Crowe is to the movie industry. A little dangerous, but inarguably versatile and probably right for the role regardless of the situation. It's funny that red in particular carries with it this bad rap—it's classic to the point of being ubiquitous on lips, so why not give it a little more walking room on your face? (Unfortunately we can't in good conscience recommend using that same red lipstick on your lids. A) Bacteria. B) Certain pigments in lipstick actually have the ability to semi-permanently stain your lids.)

Disregarding the common associations for a minute (pink eye mainly), red is warm, neutral, and comes in a wide range of tones...a little something for everyone! So below is something of a beginner's guide we put together with the help of makeup artist Grace Ahn and Athena Wilson's face + transformative haircut. Not sure which kind of red look suits you? Here's how to sub it in for a color you already use. Get outside your comfort zone a bit—it's good for you!

Instead of bronze...


Grace started small here, using Kat Von D's Metal Crush Shadow in Raw Power blended out until the concentration was so slight, it almost looked taupe. Keep the rest of the face bright with this look—neutralize any redness under the eye with something like MAC's Eyeshadow in Omega and bring out the cheekbones with MAC Blush in Prism. Grace used Maybelline's Lash Discovery Mascara in Black on the lashes (“It's a super tiny wand so you can get all the way into the root') to make the look a bit more feminine. Accentuate with Rosebud Salve on the lips.

Instead of orange...


Grace paired a sheer wash of color here with a glossy finish. Start with Nars Single Eyeshadow in Persia. Because the color skews more orange or yellow than it does red, blending below the eye won't look sickly at all–go for it. Then reach for Make's super great product Face Gloss. Any lipgloss will do, but Face Gloss wears longer than most of them, while feeling more like Eight Hour Cream. Best non-lipstick lipstick Clinique Black Honey works for lips... It's as light as the eye, but a little deeper in color to ground the face.

Instead of a standard cat eye...


Grace swears that Make Up For Ever's Aqua Liner in Iridescent Red is the only viable red eyeliner on the market. (Holler in the comments if you've found another option, though.) Layer it directly above a swipe of Surratt Beauty's Auto-Graphique Eyeliner (“the best formula and the best brush that doesn't leak'). For a bit more drama, Grace used Lancôme Hypnôse Drama Volume Mascara (heh), plus a combination of Madina Chic n' Shine + MAC Blunt Blush to contour. Nude lip courtesy of Le Metier de Beauté in Cashmere.

Instead of pink...


Something graphic! The bold color can be found at the center of Dior's 5 Couleurs Palette in Trafalgar. (It should be noted that while the in-your-face-ness of this look is obvious, the Trafalgar palette is supremely wearable and has a lot of not-red in it, too. Well worth the money.) Wet the sponge tip applicator that comes with the package and start outlining and filling in. It's lot on the eyes, so stick with MAC Lipglass on the lips.

Instead of a dark smoky eye...


Rituel de Fille's Eye Soot is a given here—so good, Grace used two, in Nightshade and Viscera. Blend one out on the top, then layer another just on the lid. Smudge Sephora's Diamond Eyeliner in Swagga for some twinkle in your eye.

Athena Wilson (Marilyn) photographed by Tom Newton. Makeup by Grace Ahn.

From bold lids to bolder lips, swatch the very best in orange and purple lipstick. And see more Color Coding here.