The Warm Eyeshadows I’ve Been Wearing Lately Are Anything but Neutral

These eyeshadows mean business, stepping out of brown's shadow and proudly being the bold colors they are.

For a long and sad time, I labored under the premise that makeup should be flattering. That it was supposed to "enhance" my "natural beauty" (ha) while remaining "barely there" and "unnoticeable." This was not only weirdly self-restrictive, but exceptionally boring. Every day, my face looked pretty much the same. Sometimes I look back mournfully on all of my wasted make up opportunities.

Warm eyes are a great way to break out of a "flattering" makeup rut. They can be neutral — typically brown — but they can also be slightly more exciting. Think of them as a gateway drug to a more experimental you.

Warm eyes can be broadly fitted into three color subcategories: yellow, orange and red. Quite by accident, I epitomized these three options in my self-created Make Up For Ever three-piece Artist Shadow Custom Eyeshadow Palette. It contains Speculoos (a mustard-yellowy brown, and a dupe for MAC's much-mourned Uninterrupted), Sienna (an orange) and Auburn (an... auburn). These shadows are top-quality, and if you can talk yourself into buying three, the price considerably drops. I see what you did there, MUFE, and I don't hate it.

These three shadows are matte and perfect for spicing up a duller eye look, in the crease or smudged along the lower lash line. Despite what you might imagine, warm shades tend to work quite well for all eye colors, contrasting with blues and greens while emphasizing browns and hazels.

But if you really want to up your warm-eye ante, a shimmery one-color look is super-beautiful. For this, your best bets are the up-and-comer from ColourPop called Game Face, the stunning orange from the NYX Avant Pop Palette called Art Throb, or the deservedly hyped L'Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Glistening Garnet.

These three adhere to my three-shade theory, too. Game Face is a golden, coppery brown. The NYX is a true rusty-nail orange. Glistening Garnet is an almost-berry-toned red.

These eyeshadows mean business, stepping out of brown's shadow and proudly being the bold colors they are. Sweep them all over the lid and blend at the crease, then smudge under the lower lashes. It looks HOT (no pun intended).

Some words of caution: warm eyeshadow can make you look a touch on the diseased side. While I don't hate that look, it can be a bit disconcerting when your hard beauty work is met with concerned stares and questions about whether you are feeling alright. And I speak from experience.

To avoid this, it's important to make it abundantly clear to the non-warm-eyed philistines that this is a deliberate makeup look (and not an unintentional side effect of some overenthusiastic eye-rubbing).

The best bet to aid this is a lot of mascara. Put on as much as you think you need, then put on some more. I've just bought the Maybelline The Rocket and I'm way into it. Subtle it isn't, but subtle is not what a warm eye calls for.

Another Top Expert Tip (lol) is putting a pale eyeliner in your waterline. If that part of your eye isn't red, then that shows that the redness of the rest of your eye is by choice. My top option also comes from Maybelline: the Eye Studio Lasting Drama Waterproof Gel Pencil in Soft Nude. It's a very pale, brightening color, and lasts pretty well. I also favor the NYX Slide On Eye Pencil in Platinum. It's silver, but in the waterline just looks brightly reflective, and a touch more alien-esque than a nude. Drag it right up into your tear duct for a nice inner-corner highlight.

A great thing about these shades is they exude a lack of regard for actually looking good, while still most definitely looking good. That's a hard balance to strike. These shadows are a perfect expression of "I don't care for your unrealistic beauty standards. Now look at this beautiful color and my beautiful eyes." Warm is most definitely the new "cool."

  • Where do you fall on the important warm/cool debate?
  • Any warm shades I seriously need? Enable me, please!
  • Have you ever elicited "are you ok?" comments on account of an experimental makeup day?