Which Eyeshadow and Eyeliner Colors Make Hazel Eyes Really Pop?

And what IS hazel, anyway?

One of the nice things about having blue eyes, I'd imagine, is that it’s pretty easy to make them stand out. Just throw on some champagne or copper shadow and a bit of black liner and voila! Dazzling.

I wanted to know if it was possible to make my hazel eyes “pop” like that, so I roped my friend Heather, another hazel-eyed librarian, into helping me test some eyeshadow looks.

The first problem we ran into is that there are multiple definitions of “hazel.” Some people think of hazel as being a light grey-brown or golden-brown color, like the shell of a hazelnut. I’ve always thought of it as being a mix of brown and green, like my eyes. I also watched a video where hazel is described as a mix of blue and green, which is clearly madness.

Even the graphic designers at Almay can’t seem to settle on a single definition of hazel. Their i-color eyeshadows for hazel eyes are calibrated for golden brown “honeyed hazel.” This is the color they use on their packaging, too. But the display in my drugstore shows a green-brown iris!


Make up your mind, Almay! Is hazel golden brown or brown and green?

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Clearly, we needed to do some actual testing.

Heather and I got to work with a selection of colors recommended for green and brown eyes. We even managed to find one product especially formulated our color of hazel.

(Please note that these aren’t finished eyeshadow “looks.” We’re librarians, not makeup artists, and our hands were shaking from too much coffee. We’re not even wearing mascara!)

Look 1: Metallics

These glittery metallics were Heather’s favourite look for both of us. A bit of sparkle really lit up our eyes.

Look 2: Brown & Orange

Usually, I find a neutral brown to be quite flattering, but we were underwhelmed by this look on Heather. Maybe we should have tried an all-matte look instead of this combination of matte shadow and slightly glittery liner.

This orange shadow is fun, especially for summer, but it didn’t make my eyes pop as much as the coppery bronze I wore in look 1.

Look 3: Greens

I have a lot of green eyeliners. I’m eternally searching for just the right one. Heather is wearing a Charlotte Tilbury’s “night time” shadow crayon. She felt it was a little dark and murky on her, but I think it makes her eyes really stand out.

I really love this matte, bright, yellow-based green liner because it’s an unusual color (usually green pencils come in sparkly lime, forest green, and dark olive). But even though I love it, I have to admit that it kind of clashes with my eye color when you look close up.

Look 4: Purple & Burgundy

Everyone always says that purple and burgundy will bring out the green in your eyes. Sadly, I find it also brings out my under eye circles and any red blotchiness, so I tend to avoid it.

The matte burgundy Stila eyeshadow was a nightmare to work with. It went on really patchy and refused to blend. I also think that it makes the skin under my eyebrow look oddly puffy and saggy. Maybe it’s just the photo?

Heather said that this violet liner made her look “like a crazy person.” Personally, I liked the way the matte, almost-pastel purple went with her platinum hair (not shown). She wore the eyeliner home, so she couldn’t have been too worried about it!

In the end, we thought that warm neutrals in metallic and glittery finishes were the most flattering. They’re also the most conventional colors, which isn’t surprising, I guess. Sometimes classics are classics for a reason.

  • Which look is your favourite?
  • Did we overlook any great colors or products for hazel eyes?
  • When I say "hazel eyes," what’s the first color you think of?