How to wear red eyeshadow: 9 Beauty Panel tips for mastering this dramatic fall makeup trend

red eye makeup
red eye makeup

Spring may have brought back cool blue tones for eyes, but this season the trend is something much more dramatic: red eyeshadow.

Essentially drama meets punk chic (think Kristen Stewart at the 2013 Met gala), red makeup may be one of the hardest colours to master when it comes to the eyes. However, with Gucci’s cranberry-red shimmer and Emporio Armani’s subtle-yet-flirtatious red eyeliner, we can’t help but want to give this look a try. But before we jump to the punch and risk looking too costumey, we asked the Beauty Panel to share some of their tips and tricks on how to make red eyeshadow work.

Challenge 27: How do you wear red eyeshadow? See the answers now! »

Many of our Beauty Panelists agree that the red smoky eyes is one of the scariest trends to try, but being fearless as they are, they took up the challenge and showed off dramatic looks in their own unique ways. While Ellie Somfelean of My Beauty Box shows us how to tone down the rest of the makeup to complement the red eyeshadow, Janella Panchamsingh from Bold n Beautiful Makeup gives us some tips on how to find the perfect shade to best match our skin tone. Still having trouble getting the look right? Fear not because This Was Forever’s Emily Chan and A Lovely Allure’s Michelle Louie break it down for us on how exactly they achieved the red makeup look for their eyes. Follow theses foolproof steps and we’re sure you’ll be able to recreate the look perfectly.

Have a beauty question you want to see the panel answer? Send it our way at [email protected]. Read on for the answers to this week’s challenge and for more goodness, get to know all contributors on our Beauty Panel hub page.


red eye makeup michelle

Michelle Louis
Toronto | A Lovely Allure

If you’re afraid of wearing red makeup, know that you’re not alone! Red makeup is probably one of the hardest colours to wear on your face, and especially on the eyes. I hate to say it, but I have a fear of red lips. A bold red just doesn’t suit my full lips or skin tone, but I am slowly trying to get into it! Because red makeup is trending for fall, I created a smoked out look on my eyes using Cover Girl’s Flamed Out Shadow Pencil in “Red Hot Flame” as my base, all over the lid. I then used a few browns from The Balm’s Meet Matt(e) Nude Palette in my crease. Applying browns over Cover Girl’s Shadow Pencil in the crease gave it a dark burgundy tone. I also added a shimmery burgundy from my 252 Coastal Scents Palette over the lid which reminded me of red velvet cake and added a bit more vibrance to the look! You can also apply Nyx’s Eyeshadow in “Fahrenheit” over the Cover Girl Pencil to achieve the same colour on the lid. Lastly, I applied Nyx Jumbo Pencil in Milk in my inner corners, and Smog by Urban Decay on the bottom lashline in the outer corners. I completed the eyes with my ultra thin eyeliner and waterproof mascara. I finished the lips with a hint of coral, using L’Oréal Colour Riche Lipstick in “Sunset Angoria.”

Products used: Cover Girl’s Flamed Out Shadow Pencil in “Red Hot Flame,” The Balm Meet Matt(e) Palette (Crease), 252 Coastal Scents Palette (1 Colour), Nyx Jumbo Pencil in “Milk,” Urban Decay Smog, Cailyn Black Gel Liner, Maybelline Rocket Volume Waterproof Mascara, Revlon Colorstay ‘Buff’, Nyc Bronzer ‘Sunny’, Nars Blush ‘Orgasm’ and L’Oréal Colour Riche Lipstick in “Sunset Angoria.”

red eye makeup janella

Janella Panchamsingh
Toronto | Bold n Beautiful Makeup

Red is a very hard colour to pull off… Or so some people think. I think every lady needs at least one of item of makeup that is red. We just have to find our perfect shade. The best way to determine what shade is red will complement you is to determine what your undertone/skin tone is. Most skin tones that are deeper will tend to gravitate towards blue-based reds where as skin tone that are more fair gravitate to reds that are more of an orange-base. Needless to say you are not limited to wearing just one shade of red and if you are confident enough you can make both wearable no matter what your complexion is.

Products used: Nars Sheer Glow Foundation in “Syracuse” and “Cadiz,” M.A.C Double Definition MSF, Nyx Blush in “Copper,” M.A.C Blush in “Blunt,” M.A.C Eyeshadow in “Passionate,” Make Up For Ever Eyeshadow in “54” and “122,” Avon Ever Lasting Liquid Liner in Dark Brown, Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in “Fiery” and Nyx Lip Liner in “Caberet.”

red eye makeup ellie

Ellie Somfelean
Montreal | My Beauty Box

Red eyeshadow is definitely not easy to pull off. Sure, it looks good on the runway but it would be weird to show up to school or work with red eyes. I mean, most make-up work to counteract redness and make us look as fresh and bright eyes as possible. However, I do love color and I am up for any challenge that involves making unusual colors work. The way I incorporated red into my eye look was by blending some red blush into a burgundy eye shadow in my crease and doing a heavy red line alongside my regular eyeliner as a pop of colour. I actually love this look. It’s trendy, unusual and fun without making me look like I partied hard all night. I decided to finish the look with a sheer wash of the same red blush and nude glossy lip, just to tone it all down. 

Products used: Annabelle EyeInk eyeliner, Lancôme Hypnose Drama and LaFemme Red Blush

red eye makeup emily

Emily Chan

Red is usually not one of those “go to” colours for me in fear that it might be too fierce. However, when I saw the smoky red eyes on actress Kristen Stewart during Met Ball 2013, I couldn’t help but be taken aback by how fresh and classic the colour can look. For this week’s challenge, I decided to add a twist to the classic black smoky eyes by introducing the colour red to it. It’s very simple to create and the steps are easy to follow:

1. Apply a cream eyeshadow over your eyelid to create a base for the rest of your shadows. In this look, I’ve used the Cover Girl Flamed Out Shadow Pencil in “Red-Hot Flame.” I have also extended the base colour to the lower lash line as well. 

2. Use a red eyeshadow, (I used M.A.C Crushed Metallic Pigment in “Spicy Smoke”) and apply it all over your lids. The key is to slowly build the intensity of the colour. I would suggest working light before going too bold.

3. After you have achieved the desired intensity of the red eyeshadow, take a brown eyeshadow and blend the colour into your outer crease and fade it slowly into the red shadow. (I used M.A.C Crushed Metallic Pigment in “Roasted Chestnut”)

4. For the tear-duct, I added a white colour to bring in more light to the eyes. I used the Cover Girl Flamed Out Shadow Pencil in “Crystal Flame”, which I think is great for highlighting. 

5. Lined the top of the eyes with a brown eyeliner to blend smoothly with the eyeshadow. Avon Extra Lasting Eyeliner is guaranteed to last throughout the day without nay smudging.  

6. Then apply two coats of mascara if you have naturally long lashes. If not, you can apply false lashes like what I did here. I used Cover Girl Flamed Out mascara in “Brown Blaze” to match the brown eyeshadow. 

7. Finish the look off with a bronzer and pinky-nude lips to keep the emphasis on the eyes.

Products used: Cover Girl Flamed Out Shadow Pencil in “Red-Hot Flame” and “Crystal Flame,” M.A.C Crushed Metallic Pigment in “Spicy Smoke” and “Roasted Chestnut,” Avon Extra Lasting Eyeliner in “Dark Brown,” Cover Girl Flamed Out Mascara in “Brown Blaze,” Cover Girl Clean Glow Bronzer in “Spices,” Nyx Extra Creamy Round Lipstick in “Circe” and Almay Color + Care Liquid Lip Balm in “Lilac Love.”

red eye makeup shayna

Shayna Wiwierski
Winnipeg | A Pop of Colour

One of the hottest trends this fall is red eye makeup. Although there is a fine line between blood-shot eyes and being chic, the look may be scary to embark on, but it’s so pretty if done right.

Red isn’t a conventional eyeshadow colour in my mind, but certain products make this look achievable.  I love Cover Girl’s Flamed Out Shadow Pencil in “Red-Hot Flame” because you can use it as a cream shadow or a base.  For this look, I used a white cream shadow on my lids, then with the red shadow pencil, I applied this in the crease.  To make the look more edgy, I put a grey cream shadow in the crease, over the red, then applied a black shimmery eyeshadow over top.  Blend it all out and the red becomes less noticeable, but you will still catch a flame of it when you blink.  Don’t forget to line your lower lash line with the red as well, and then paint on some coats of mascara to balance it all out for a super hot look.

Products used: Cover Girl Flamed Out Shadow Pencils in “Red-Hot Flame,” “Crystal Flame” and “Ice Flame,” Cover Girl Flamed Out Shadow Pot in “Molten Black,” Cover Girl Flamed Out Water-Resistant Mascara in “Black” and Lancôme Art Liner in “Noir.”

red eye makeup marilou

Marilou Moles
Ottawa | Twenty York Street

From Gucci to Armani, nothing could be more dramatic than the red makeup showing on the catwalk and it’s not for the faint of heart.

 Though the look may be too dramatic for the office (unless you work in a purely creative environment, then go for it!), it could be perfect for an evening out. Choosing a deeper burgundy than a brighter red will keep the look from being ghastly. Remember, we are aiming for haute couture, not gore. Keep everything else simple, swipe dark red or deep burgundy on the entire lid and line a significant cat eye with your darkest kohl, followed by two coats of your blackest mascara.
Just when you think you couldn’t be more vivid with the red, pair the look with a rich red lipstick but forego the shine, a matte finish gives you a more sophisticated and completely put together look. 

Products used: Maybelline New York lipstick and Nyx Be Fierce Makeup Palette.

red eye makeup maria

Maria Aguilar

It’s scary—I know! A red smoky eye! (I promise you won’t look like you’ve just been in a fight.) 

I always buy eyeshadow palettes and the reds go unused because of how intimidating they look. Hopefully this will help you get some wear out of yours, too!

I started by applying a light flesh-tone colour all over my lid. Then I used an eyeshadow pencil to trace along the 3/4 outer part of my crease. Then it’s just about adding dimension by blending eyeshadow on that shadow pencil. I added the plum colour first, then the red, and finally – the tiniest use of the matte black. All while blending profusely! I added the red shadow on my bottom lash line and lined my waterline with black eyeliner. Add a liquid eyeliner to separate your eye from the colours (this is important so you don’t look sick). Then mascara, a subtle blush and an even subtler lip (I only used a lip treatment, co colour). 

And ta-da! You can add false lashes for an extra dramatic effect, but here I’m using Benefit’s Bad Gal mascara.

Products used: Urban Decay Naked Skin Shade “5.0,” Nars Eyeshadow in “Key Largo,” Cover Girl Shadow Pencil in “Flamed Out” Red & Plum colours from Coastal Scents 88 Palette, M.A.C Eyeshadow in “Carbon,” Benefit Bad Gal Mascara, Nars Blush in “Madly” and Josie Maran Argan Oil Lip Treatment.

red eye makeup tess

Tess Lopez
Toronto | Makeup By Tess

Inspired by Dolce & Gabbana Fall 2013, my favourite way to wear red is to pair up a red lip with a softer, slightly defined eye. Now that fall is approaching, wearing a deeper shade of red, such as, red wine and oxblood tones will be very flattering. It will also make our teeth appear whiter! Bonus!

Some people are afraid to wear red makeup on the eyes because it can give the appearance of looking sick or tired. But if you choose a shade of red that is flattering to your complexion, you can pull it off and feel beautiful!  

Try using an eyeshadow pencil or eyeliner that is in the maroon or burgundy tone. Start closer to the lash line and gradually fade up and out with a clean fluffy brush. You can soften and make this look more natural by blending everything with a taupe eyeshadow or bronzer.

Products used: Annabelle TwistUp in “Cherry.”

red eye makeup jj

JJ Cowan
Toronto | Secrets From Your Girlfriends

Unfortunately, red eyeshadow is not for me. But I still adore wearing red makeup when it comes in the form of lipstick. My red lip obsession started exactly one year ago and has quickly become my beauty signature. Prior to indulging in a punchy lip, I was stuck in a rut of gloss and nude tones for fear of looking to over done, but it wasn’t until I was encouraged to try Nars Dragon Girl that I was forever converted into a diehard red lip girl. Over the last twelve months, I have transitioned into each season staying true to my love for red lips but I have noticed that one season’s red doesn’t necessarily transfer well to the next. Throughout my experience of sporting the red lip trend, I have come to the conclusion that once a season changes and the temperature dips or increases so should the intensity of your red lips.

During the warmer months, I tend to wear a lip that has more of an orange pop, like Nars Red Square, a color that works well for both day and night. However, as we move into fall it’s all about a red lipstick with deeper, purple tones and my go to red winter color is Giorgio Armani, Rouge Ecstasy because it has the perfect amount of a purple, berry undertones.

Product used: Giorgio Armani Rouge Ecstasy Lipstick

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