Come on, Don’t Be (Color) Shy: A Beginner’s Guide to the World of Color

Published in: Guest Post, Just For Fun, Makeup, Makeup Tips/How To

SunnyAbout the Author
The following guest post was written by Sunny of Mostly Sunny blog. You can also find Sunny on Twitter and Facebook.

A Beginner’s Guide to Color

Do you remember your first pieces of makeup? I do. I remember one of them. It was a Maybelline trio with three matte neutral shades in it, and I got it when I was a freshman at university.


That’s really when I started venturing into makeup, and my friends had some very good advice: “Just use something that doesn’t scream ‘color’ but gives your eyes some dimension.”

If I remember it right, that trio was roughly the equivalent of Urban Decay Foxy, Naked, and Buck.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Even professional makeup artists would tell you not to underestimate the power of good neutrals, and I remain a fan of them to this day, but what if you’ve been dabbling in the neutral waters for a while and feel like making a colorful change?

You may not feel comfortable leaping from Naked palettes to peacock colors and mermaid eyes right away. So what can you do to make the transition a little easier?

Below are a few tips to help beginners ease their way into the fantastic world of color! 🙂

Products mentioned today

Tip 1: Try a colorful eyeliner on your lower lash line

A Beginner’s Guide to Color
Products: MAC Macroviolet, UD Rockstar, UD Ransom, UD Mildew, UD Stash, Eyeko Skinny Eyeliner in Emerald Green

A Beginner’s Guide to Color
From left to right: MAC Macroviolet, UD Rockstar, UD Ransom, UD Mildew, UD Stash, Eyeko Skinny Eyeliner in Emerald Green

If you feel like keeping most of your eyes neutral, a pop of color along your lower lash line is one easy way to spice things up. You can even go over the eyeliner with a neutral eyeshadow to bring the intensity down a notch.

In this photo, for example, I’m wearing Urban Decay Half Baked on the inner half of my lids, Darkhorse on the outer half, and the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Eyeliner in Mildew on my lower lash line.

See how that green snap gives an otherwise basic look more character?

Tip 2: Look for neutral colors with pizzazz

Products: NARS Paranaribo, Wet n’ Wild Comfort Zone, MAC Shale, MAC Sumptuous Olive

From left to right: NARS Paramaribo, Wet n’ Wild Comfort Zone, MAC Shale, MAC Sumptuous Olive

Are they neutrals, or are they not? Many shades could really be both, which makes them versatile, approachable, and extremely user-friendly. Whether it’s a bronzy gold with an olive sheen or a dark brown with a green sheen, these are shades that you can either pair with non-neutrals if you’re comfortable with that, or with neutrals if you’re not (like for something office-appropriate).

In this photo, I’m wearing MAC Sumptuous Olive on the inner half, and the darker shade from NARS Paramaribo on the outer half. Sumptuous Olive flashes green from some angles. It’s beautiful, and a very understated way to wear color.

Tip 3: Throw a colorful eyeshadow into the neutral mix

Products: Wet n’ Wild Comfort Zone, MAC Humid, UD Mildew, UD Purple Haze, MAC Satellite Dreams

From left to right: Wet n’ Wild Comfort Zone, MAC Humid, UD Mildew, UD Purple Haze, MAC Satellite Dreams

Much like a game of “spot the odd one out,” incorporating a colorful eyeshadow into a look with neutral shades is a great way to start wearing some color. It’s a little bolder than the previous two tips, but not as “in your face” as going full throttle with brights.

In these photos, I’m wearing MAC Woodwinked on the inner half of my lids and MAC Satellite Dreams on the outer half. My lower lash line is lined with Urban Decay Zero, and then smudged out with Satellite Dreams.

It’s fun! It has some color! But it’s manageable, too.

Tip 4: Use a base to pump things up or tone things down

Products: L’Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Perpetual Purple, Maybelline Color Tattoo 24 Hour Eyeshadows in Bold Gold & Bad to the Bronze

From left to right: L’Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Perpetual Purple, Urban Decay Sin over L’Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Perpetual Purple, Maybelline Color Tattoo 24 Hour Eyeshadows in Bold Gold, Urban Decay Mildew over Bold Gold, Maybelline Color Tattoo 24 Hour Eyeshadows in Bad to the Bronze, MAC Sumptuous Olive over Maybelline Color Tattoo 24 Hour Eyeshadows in Bad to the Bronze

From drugstore to luxury brands, nowadays, there are countless excellent cream and cream-to-powder products to play with. Whether you’re looking for a neutral eyeshadow to tone down the color in a base, or using a neutral base to make the colorful shades more wearable, you have a lot of options.

For this look, I actually want to show how dramatic you might eventually get. I used L’Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Perpetual Purple as a base, blended Urban Decay Purple Haze over it, and added some darker purple from the L’Oreal Metallic HiP duo in Electrified in the outer corners of my eyes. Admittedly, it’s not a look I’ll wear on a daily basis, but it’s a lot of fun sometimes.

Tip 5: Hybrid products can pave the way to wearing bold lips

From the left: NARS Mexican Rose, Guerlain Coque d’Or, Dior Plaza, Revlon Cherry Tart, Dior Riviera

What if you want to sport bold lips, but every time you try on a brighter shade than you’re used to, you freak yourself out a little? Again, don’t expect to go from “my lips but better” to MAC Morange in a day. Give yourself time to practice!

Luckily, there are many balm/lipstick/gloss hybrid lip products on the market, from drugstore to luxury. Whatever your budget, you can find something to help you ease into that hot pink lip, like, try dabbing a bold lipstick on as a stain, or wear your lip balm underneath it to make it more wearable.

I hope these tips helped! Don’t forget, it’s about baby steps. Remember, you’re beautiful whether you wish to sport a classic neutral look or a bright look blazing with color, as long as you feel comfortable in whatever you’re wearing. 🙂

Lots of success, ladies!

Sunny, your beauty culture translator xx

SunnyAbout the Author
The following guest post was written by Sunny of Mostly Sunny blog. You can also find Sunny on Twitter and Facebook.


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So far, 48 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Phil says:

    Looking gorgeous Sunny! Definitely keep doing the colors for spring & summer, it really suits you.

  2. Hi Sunny [waves] – great post! I love color 🙂
    Emi at Project Swatch recently posted … Illamasqua Neutral Palette Review, Swatches, Photos

  3. Teri says:

    Congrats Sunny on your great guestpost! I love it so much! I’m kinda getting into more colourful make-up aswell lately and you really showed us some great tips! Amazing post girl!
    Teri recently posted … Press Days Brussels with Pure and Tan-Dem

  4. Brooke says:

    Yayyyyyy Sunny!

  5. Great tip! I need new ways to force people into wearing colour 🙂

    • LOL Don’t force anyone into wearing colors! It’s something that people have to gradually get used to. I think I started with Sumptuous Olive, and then I found a whole bunch of Urban Decay pencils. The rest is history 🙂

  6. Rads says:

    This is perfect for baby-stepping my way into brighter a little more confident about lip colours now – eye makeup, I still cling to the bronzes and browns 😀 And congrats on your guest post 🙂

    • Thanks Rads!

      I am a bit braver with eyeshadows, and shier with lip colors! But I think I’m getting better with all these hybrid lipsticks that are available nowadays. I have definitely tried shades that I would otherwise not be able to pull off!

  7. Amy says:

    Great tips Sunny! Such a lovely post with all the pictures! I wear neutrals for the most part but occasionally I like to add a pop of color and my favorite is that first look where you used mildew on the lower lash line. I just love that look.

  8. Advah says:

    I love your post, Sunny! I’ve been wanting to give this lower lash line colour thing a try for ages! Do you recommend prepping the area with a primer first, or does the colour stay there without fading anyway?
    These looks are beautiful on you!

    • Thanks so much Advah!

      I do use a primer systematically when I wear eye makeup. The ONLY pencil liner I’ve tried that doesn’t budge/smudge/fade on my lower lash line all day is Diorshow Eyeliner. Other than that a primer really helps everything stay in place. Plus the color would show up much better! 🙂

      Psst a little shameless self-promotion here: if you’re interested in the Diorshow eyeliner, I’m giving two away (along with other great stuff) on my blog at the moment! xx

      • Advah says:

        Thank you! 🙂 I’m going to try that next week, I have a couple of bright eyeshadows I never know how to wear.

        And thanks for the tip, off to check that out and reading more of your posts!

  9. Sunny! Great post! 🙂 This is such good recs for anyone really, not just beginners!

  10. daisy ward says:

    LOVE how easy you make bringing bold bright colours into the make up bag im deffinatly a novice in bright colours 🙂

  11. Kristi says:

    Great guest post & great suggestions! Hadn’t thought abt layering over the Infallible colors – will have to give that a try!

  12. Chris25 says:

    I have UD Mildew and I love it. So happy to see it in the post.

  13. Love your post Sunny!

    I guess it is just me that would wear that bold purple eye for the everyday! LOL

    • Hey Shannon! I’ve always loved the way you play with colors, and I think it suits you very well! It’s just that everybody has to start from somewhere before they can proudly sport peacock/sunset eyes!

  14. Annaham says:

    Great post, Sunny! I’ve been trying to work brighter colors into my everyday routine and this is an excellent collection of tips.

  15. Sophie says:

    Sunny, you have the most beautiful complexion I have ever seen!

  16. maud says:

    for trying out bright lips i recommend lipsticks in finishes like MAC lustres, they are sheer and glossy, almost impossible to overdo.

  17. L says:

    Sunny 😀
    I love that you use bolder colors&you look gorgeous as always!
    lovely guestpost&congrats!

  18. Becca says:

    Love seeing your guest post on here, Sunny! And LOVE the colors/products you chose. Very fun and very summery!
    Becca recently posted … The Sample: NEW Bobbi Brown Treatment Lip Shine SPF 15 in Peach Sorbet Review

  19. Diana says:

    So proud of you, Sunny! I’m loving the tips!

  20. Thanks Becca! I’ve ventured into orange since then, so my collection of colors keeps growing!

  21. Katherine G says:

    Great post! I’ve been venturing into the world of color shadows since high school – the brightest I’ve gone was the Make Up For Ever eyeshadows in a bright yellow and a neon orange (and yes, I wear them together on occasion). I started out with colorful eyeliners as you mentioned would be great to start with, and then the rest is history as soon as I discovered Sephora.

    • Hey Katherine! I like how you said “and then the rest is history as soon as I discovered Sephora” lol

      We don’t have Sephora here, so I had to read a lot of reviews and see swatch pictures online before purchasing something from the Internet. I think that’s a big reason why I started blogging myself to be honest.

      Glad to hear you’re already a colorful makeup veteran!

      • Katherine G says:

        Lately I’ve been reading blogs, mainly this one and few others, before buying. I hate when I have makeup I can’t use because it didn’t work out, so I’m grateful when bloggers take a chance and try out the new stuff.

        Sephora is great, but I feel so much better about purchases when I have reviewed them. I told the salespeople at the one I go to about this blog, and mentioned that many beauty blogs may be influencing people going to Sephora (and Ulta, and other beauty stores).

        Your tips are great for anyone timid about colorful eyes!

  22. Meera says:

    Love your post. Great job incorporating some drugstore products in with more expensive ones for those of us on a budget.

  23. Tina B says:

    Wonderful post, Sunny! I really love the dramatic purple look on you!
    Tina B recently posted … Giveaway: Two Products from Simple Skincare

  24. o0Kellie0o says:

    Hi Sunny

    What colour lipstick/gloss are you wearing?? I really like the shade. I love the purple eye too. Looks fantastic.

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