The spectrum of eye colors is about as varied as Lady Gaga's red carpet hairstyles. Well, almost. Just look around and you'll see a beautiful array ranging from brown to blue to green to black to gray -- and every shade and combination in between. But hazel eyes have a little something extra. That's because hazel isn't a single color or combination of colors -- hazel simply means there are multiple colors visible in the eyes at once. Hazel is often brown and blue, but it is also sometimes brown and green or brown and gray.
What makes eyes hazel? Genetics determine how much pigmentation the eyes get (and also the skin and hair). So if your genetics say your eyes should have lots of pigment, you'll have brown eyes. If you have a very small amount of pigment, you'll get blue eyes. And for those in between, you'll have lovely green or hazel eyes.
The really amazing thing about hazel eyes is that they appear to shift color depending on the lighting and the other colors that surround them. Hazel eyes reflect light, making them appear to change their shade to suit the environment, or your outfit and makeup colors. And if you're already blessed with stunning hazel eyes, you also get the best of all the eye-makeup worlds because you can wear shadows that complement green, blue or brown eyes without worry. Here are your best options:
Get Back to Basics with Brown -- Hazel eyes have their own interest and appeal, so neutral shades do a great job of adding depth and warmth to the eyes without detracting from their natural beauty. Burnt sienna and chestnut eyeshadow colors really bring out the brown flecks and rings in hazel eyes. Earth tones are a good choice whether your hazel is bluish, grayish or greenish because all hazel eyes have a little bit of brown in them. And this color family looks great whether or not the brown in the eyes is the dominant color.
Bring On the Glitz with Bronze and Gold – Just like brown, shades of bronze and gold complement almost all hazel eyes because they accentuate the eye's brown tones. But you also get that extra shimmer, which makes it a good look for a night out. A dark bronze that tips a bit toward the red or orange scales will look fantastic, since red is a complementary color for blue and orange is a complementary color for green.
Go Groovy with Green -- Hazel eyes have at least a little blue, gray or green in them. So, highlight your non-brown shade by choosing a matching eyeshadow to make sure that color gets noticed. Green, especially olive or emerald green, can really make the non-dominant green tones in hazel eyes pop. And silver can make blue hazels seem bright and crisp.
Be Playful with Purple -- Purple is a great match for hazel that's mostly brown or green because purple is a complementary color for light green on the color spectrum. Dark purples and even maroons work too, because red is the complementary color for dark green.
Banish Blue – The one color of eyeshadow to avoid is blue. It can make hazel eyes appear dull. But with so many other options, you won't even miss it.
Originally Published: Jun 26, 2012