The Style and Beauty Doctor reader Nayomi wrote in asking, “Hi Danielle, I’m a bit of a newbie to makeup and what I struggle with is coordinating my makeup so that my eyes, lips and cheeks work together in an overall look. For instance I’ll do some eye makeup but I’ll have no clue what lipstick to pair it with and then I put together a combination that looks crazy bright/clownish. What tips or techniques do you have for creating a cohesive makeup look? Thank you in advance for taking the time out to read this email. Also I just wanted to tell you I really enjoy reading your blog!”
Deciding how to coordinate your eye, cheek, and lip color can be a bit daunting in the beginning, but once I give you the tidbit I’m about to give you, you’ll be breezing by it in no time.
So two words: color. wheel.
It’s awesome because it tells you exactly what colors go together. You’ll find harmony in pairing colors either right next to each other on the wheel or those across from each other. And it works for both your makeup AND your wardrobe. I wrote a few post detailing this that you’ll definitely want to check out: The Color Wheel: How to Combine Colors in your Wardrobe.
Here’s a further breakdown on how the color wheel works:
1. Colors directly next to each other (i.e. yellow and yellow-orange; yellow and yellow-green; violet and blue-violet, etc.)
2. Colors that form right (90 degree) angles with each other (i.e. yellow and red-orange; blue and violet-red; green and orange, etc.)
3. Colors directly across from each other (i.e. yellow and violet; blue and orange; red and green, etc.)
4. Colors that form a T (i.e. blue, orange, and violet-red; yellow, violet, and red-orange; yellow, blue-green, and red-orange, etc.)
5. Colors that form an X (i.e. blue, orange, violet-red, and yellow, violet, blue-green, and red-orange, etc.)
Colors that are a part of a “color family” also apply. So for instance, you can substitute pink with red and still be able to pull off the combos based on the color wheel
What’s genius about the color wheel is not only can it help you pair your lip, eye, and cheek colors, but it can also help you with making color combos for eyeshadow looks and it helps with color correcting (colors across from each other cancel the other out—i.e. purple cancels out yellow or sallowness).
So here’s how you make it work for your conundrum: figure out your eye and lip color combo. So for instance say you want to wear purple eyeshadow. Looking next to purple is red, so something in the red family (don’t forget pink and berry) will go great. Now for blush since those colors are pretty bold on their own, go for a more understated blush (although you could still pull off a bright blush if that’s your style—staying within the same color family as your lip color will give you a more harmonious look). One blush color that looks great on all skin tones and works with any eye/lip combo is peach—just go for bolder versions of peach if you have darker skin.
*Go bold with both lips and cheeks and keep the eyes neutral
*Go bold on the eyes and cheeks and keep the lips neutral
*Go bold on the eyes, neutral on both cheeks and lips
*Go bold on the cheeks, neutral on both eyes and lips
A celeb that comes to mind who wears a lot of bold makeup looks and always gets it right with her cheek-lip-eye harmony is Vampire Diaries star Kat Graham.
See? She gets it right so often!
Need help picking out makeup shades that work for your complexion? Check out Your Best Makeup Colors.
Have a style or beauty question? Contact me!