5 Tips for Choosing Pigmented Eye Shadows

Pigmented eye shadows are often bolder and brighter than regular versions.
Pigmented eye shadows are often bolder and brighter than regular versions.

The right pigmented hue can really enhance your peepers.

Looking for an eye shadow that offers some serious color? Tired of applying layer after layer of makeup and still not getting the results you're looking for? Swap your old-school eye shadow for a highly-pigmented product. Available in both loose and pressed powder formulas, these eye-catching eye shadows contain a high concentration of color pigments, with fewer fillers and binders than traditional products. That means that with just a single sweep of your makeup brush, you can make eyes stand out, and concoct fierce, fashionable looks that people will notice. Pigmented eye shadows are also highly blendable, allowing you to release your inner artist and create those custom colors you crave. Before you hit the makeup counter, check out these five tips that will help you choose the right pigmented eye shadows.



Pick Your Powder

Before you can even begin to select shadow colors, narrow your choices down between loose and pressed powders. Loose pigments come in small jars, and feature a lightweight, airy consistency. These products are highly concentrated and provide a potent dose of color in a small package. Pressed powders feature a solid, cakelike consistency, similar to traditional eye shadows. So how do you choose? First consider your makeup application skills; if you own a set of high-quality makeup brushes and know how to use them, loose pigments offer the richest, purest colors for your peepers. If you don't want to invest in makeup brushes, or you want something that's easier to apply, look for pressed powder pigments instead. Keep in mind that loose pigments are easier to blend to create custom colors and are also less likely to clump and crease than pressed powders, which contain some oils and fillers that help hold them together.


Pick Colors That Complement Your Eyes

When picking out pigmented eye shadows, your first priority should always be to find colors that show off your eyes; after all, the whole point of eye shadow is to enhance your eye color and help eyes sparkle. There are two basic schools of thought on matching eye color to makeup; from a distance, choosing eye shadow that matches your eye color helps eyes stand out. Scientists call this the spreading effect. When viewed from up close however, eye shadow that matches your eyes can actually detract from your eye color, making it look muddy or blurry. To keep your makeup from competing with your baby blues (or browns, greens, and so on) when you're getting up close and personal, choose pigmented shadows in hues that naturally complement your eyes. Blue-eyed ladies should look for pigments in earthy shades like copper or bronze, while brown-eyed girls can make eyes pop with pigments in blue or violet hues. Got green eyes? Complement your natural coloring with pigmented shadows in shades of plum or reddish-purple.


Work With Your Wardrobe

Wearing the same color from head-to-toe is almost always a fashion don't. Instead of choosing pigmented shadows that match your outfit exactly, look for colors that complement your clothing without going overboard. Not sure where to start? Look for minor accent colors in your clothing, such as a pink pinstripe in your shirt, then choose a pigment in the same shade of pink. Another option is to select a shadow in the same color family as your clothing, but in a slightly different shade. For example, pair a bright purple dress with a shimmery violet or soft lavender shadow to create a coordinated, pulled-together style.

If you simply must match your eye shadow to your outfit, keep the rest of your makeup light and neutral in order to maintain a balanced look.



Don't Be Scared Off By Bold Shades

Bold colors will undoubtedly draw attention to you, but when did that become a bad thing?
Bold colors will undoubtedly draw attention to you, but when did that become a bad thing?

Pigmented eye shadows are known for their highly-concentrated color. Instead of skipping these super potent shades, look for ways to make them work in the real world. Pick a slightly daring shadow and blend it with a neutral powder in brown, charcoal or pale pink to tone it down before sweeping it across your eyelids. Apply bold shades to your eyelid only to create a hint of color, then use tamer hues along your brow bone and at the corners of the eye. Brush a thin line of brilliant blue or shocking chartreuse along your lash line, then smudge and blend to soften the color slightly. If you're still apprehensive about trying out some of the more intense pigmented shadows, choose a matte version of your favorite shades, as matte finishes tend to be more flattering than shimmery ones.


Think Beyond Your Eyes

When you're shopping for makeup, keep in mind that powdered pigments can be applied to places other than your eyelids. Sure, you can apply pigments around your eyes like a traditional eye shadow, but did you know that these products could also replace your lipstick or even your nail polish? Try mixing powdered pigments with clear lip gloss to create a custom lip color, or dip a wet makeup brush into a pot and use it in place of your standard black or brown eyeliner. Have your eyes on a hot new shade of pigment that's just too daring to use as eye shadow? Blend it with clear nail polish and use it to paint your nails and toes for fabulous, stand-out color.


Choosing Dramatic Eye Makeup that Pops

Choosing Dramatic Eye Makeup that Pops

Choosing dramatic eye makeup that pops is a fun way to express your personal style. Learn about choosing dramatic eye makeup that pops in this article.

Related Articles


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  • Editors of Cosmopolitan. "Cosmo's Sexiest Beauty Secrets." Hearst Books. 2008.
  • Marie, Claire. "Long Lasting Eye shadow." (June 24, 2012) http://www.marieclaire.com/hair-beauty/how-to/eye shadow-stay?click=main_sr
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