I received an Isetan mailer recently which had pictures of the new Bobbi Brown Nude eye and lip palette (RM210). I also saw the palette in person last week and the shadows were 4 similar colored nude or neutral eyeshadows. It reminded me of a question I used to ask before – Why would anyone want to use neutral eyeshadow or eyeshadows that look nude? Isn’t the purpose of eyeshadow having colour on the eyes?
Clockwise from bottom left: Bourjois Brun Irrel, Bourjois Beige Rose, MAC Coco pigment, MAC Naked Pigment,
Shu Uemura ME Silver 945, Stila Kitten, Wheat, Oasis, Sun
I’ve since worked out the answer for myself. There are some days or some occasions when having other colours on your eyes won’t do. Examples are strict work places or serious events or even just when you want to be taken seriously like if you have to attend meetings or meet new customers or clients or business partners. If you are in a serious sort of job, having beautifully made up eyes with coloured eyeshadow just won’t do because people just don’t take you seriously otherwise (unfortunate but true). (Read more after the jump) There are also times when you don’t want to look like you are too dolled up to go out like on a weekend or on holiday.
So, enter neutral eyeshadow.
N ude or Neutral eyeshadow is simply, any eye shadow colour that matches the colour of your facial skin to create the impression of not having eyeshadow on. It might seem contradictory, but believe me, having some color actually sometimes helps you look better.
Contrary to common perceptions, neutral does not always have to mean beige or champagne or brown or bronze. On people with fair skins, browns can actually look muddy and make you look tired. If you have a darker skin tone you might be able to pull off browns and bronzes better. Beige and champagne are common and easy colours to stick to, but variations in shades can help make or break a look. A rule of thumb I use is to choose a “nude” shade that is one shade lighter than my natural color of my eye lids- that way I always look awake even when I’m tired after a late night!
I’ve found that a good neutral eye color for me is Bourjois Beige Rose shaded with Bourjois Brun Irrel. There is minimal shimmer (yet the color isn’t flat) and the final effect is of “my lids but better” because my lids look smooth with a slight definition but not so that I look made up. Another nude look that works for me every time is MAC Naked Pigment with Coco pigment for depth. Some days, I push my luck with Stila Kitten (champagne with shimmer) topped with Shu Uemura ME Silver 945 (taupe) for a slightly more shimmery eye catching look. (Color examples in picture above) Kanebo T’estimo‘s brown Layered Impact palette too is perfect for me, although a bit shimmery. On yet other occasions when I want a truly no-eye makeup-look I use Stila Launey. The color in pan is an orange but it goes on like nothing on my lids yet makes it look smooth and even with very slight shimmer.
What does not work for me is straight brown shades. Brown on my eyes make me look like I have not slept in 3 days. If its a red-based brown, its even worse. I look like I’ve cried then not slept in 3 days!
Now, after applying your neutral eyeshadow, finish off with eyeliner and lots of mascara to create an wide-eyed natural look for the eyes. If you’ve had a bad night, this is one of the best ways to look like you haven’t; and its wonderful for those days when you don’t want to look like you have makeup on yet want to look polished. Interestingly, guys dig this “natural” look and you know you’ve found the perfect nude eyeshadow color when your guy friend/partner tells you “I don’t know why you bother with eyeshadow when you look good without anyway!” ;)
So, the moral of the story is to try to find a nude color that works for you. Just because an eyeshadow palette calls itself a nude palette does not make it the perfect nude for you. Out of 4 colors, you might find 2 that work and 2 others may not. Or as in the case of Bobbi Brown’s nude palette, 4 colours that look exactly the same. So, what’s the point really eh?
What’s your favourite Neutral or Natural colored Eyeshadow?