Purple eyeshadow is back—here's how to wear it now

Refresh your look with purples and periwinkles.

Harper's Bazaar India

Warm, earthy tones have dominated the eyeshadow sphere for some years. Responsible for creating that contoured while soft, smoked-out look, these shades will always have their place. But for 2023, cooler tones have clawed their way back. In line with the '00s revival, shades of silver, grey and taupe are back–and when it comes to colour, purple is the 'it' shade.

"Of course, there will always be the warm spices and cosy nudes," says Dominic Skinner, global senior artist for MAC Cosmetics. "But to mix things up, purples–being opposite to those rich, warmer colours–allow people to have a break from the norm." The resurgence in this particular colour has been seen on recent runways, where swathes of violet shadow made an impact at Blumarine, Emporio Armani and Saint Laurent, while at Ambush, metallic dashes of purple lit up the models’ lids. Proving its wearability, several A-listers have been experimenting with purple pigments, too. Take Ana de Armas at the premiere of her latest movie Ghosted. "We took a twist on 'natural make-up' and played against Ana's beautiful green eyes by applying a wash of light purple on her eye lids," said de Armas' make-up artist. 

Elsewhere, Cara Delevingne’s aubergine smoky eye offers sultrier inspiration, while Simone Ashley’s bold amethyst liner further proves there are several ways to tap into this trend to suit your own style. Below, Skinner shares how.

Which shades of Purple suit which eye colours? 

“Purple is a really interesting colour because it’s classed as a secondary colour, meaning it’s made up of two primary shades,” says Skinner. In this instance, that’s red and blue. “By mixing red and blue, purple can actually be warm as well as cool–which is why it works so well with most skin tones and eye colours.”

The key is finding a purple shade that will make your eye colour pop. “Purple can vary in tone depending on the amount of red and blue in the mix. If there’s more red, this will make the purple rich – complementing green and brown eyes. If there’s more blue in the mix then this will make the purple cool which looks beautiful with blue or grey eyes,” suggest Skinner. Experiment with shades like damson and puce. Also opt for lilacs and violet to make it edgy. 

How can you make a statement with Purple eyeshadow?

Swap out a classic black and brown smoky eye for something that packs a purple punch. “Start by applying a black eye pencil along the lash line before smudging it out with a finger or short blending brush,” instructs Skinner. “Then take a bright purple eyeshadow and sweep this across the eyelid from inner to outer corner, only going as high as the crease line. Follow this with a dark purple matte eyeshadow and start blending the outer corner in circular motions, working up to the socket, just above the crease.” To finish, Skinner suggests pressing a frosted lilac onto the centre of your lids. “Add your mascara and you’re ready to go!”

Is there a subtle way to wear Purple on your eyes? 

If a full-on purple smoky eye feels like a step too far, opt for a subtle take on this trend instead. “A great way to stay on trend without it being ‘too much’ is to utilise the eye pencil,” says Skinner. “Do your make-up as normal and then add a little inner or outer corner dash of a purple pencil. This will add enough interest to get noticed, without standing out.” If you’re feeling brave, take the pencil across the entire lash line and team it with lashings of mascara.

Another way to experiment with purple is to try out different textures. “A simple wash of purple over the lids with a good stack of mascara would look so chic and effortless,” muses Skinner. 

How should you do the rest of your makeup?

“My vibe with this purple trend is to give it a full supporting cast with the rest of your make-up,” says Skinner. A soft natural plum lip and a hint of rosy, mauve blush will keep the look cohesive–and current.

This piece originally appeared in Harper's Bazaar UK