Easy on the Eyes: A Wearable, Easy Eyeshadow Look With Purple and Brown

Published in: Eyes, Makeup Tips/How To

easy on the eyes purple eye makeup tutorial

As Usher so famously said, “These are my confessions.” πŸ™‚


I have three of them today…

1. I’ve been bopping in my chair all afternoon to this song by Canadian singer, Lights

So catchy!

2. My obsession with Jeremy Renner just reached critical mass…

…and it’s all because of Jeremy Renner’s Arms.

I found out today that his (J-Ren’s) family is from Modesto, which is only about 100 miles East of here.

I’m tempted to drive out there next weekend and walk around downtown yelling, “JER-eh-MEEEEEEEE! I LUUURVE YOU!”

3. I used to be utterly dumbfounded by purple eyeshadow

I just couldn’t figure out what to do with it (this was back when I mostly wore browns and beige), and whenever I tried to wear it, blech! — I looked like the loser in a barroom brawl.

But I’ve never given up on purple, because I like it too much to throw in the towel.

In fact, just this last weekend I gave it another try, setting my sights on something easy and wearable (been burned too many times before), and this is what I came up with…

purple eye makeup tutorial side view

Fun! πŸ™‚ I kinda like the way it turned out.

I’m wearing a brown matte shadow over a shimmery golden beige base with a flash of purple on the lids. I think the thin line of black liner along the upper lash line gives the look some extra depth and makes my lashes look a little thicker, while the shimmer in the inner corners opens up the eyes.

Why purple?

Well, why not? Purple shadows can really do a lot for your eye color. I think they can be super pretty with brown, hazel, green, blue and gray eyes.

I know they can be a little scary, especially if you usually stick to neutral shades, but fear not! This look here is actually pretty wearable. When the eyes are open, you mostly see the brown, but when you blink, there’s a pretty flash of purple.

Could be a good look for a casual (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) Friday.

Plus, it’s not that time consuming or difficult. No heavy duty blending, and the whole eye should take between 10-15 minutes.

First things first

Let’s pull together our ingredients for this little recipe (I’ve been watching a lot of cooking shows lately)…

Here I’m using a few different products from Urban Decay, MAC, Bobbi Brown and Dolce & Gabbana, but nothing here is irreplaceable. Please mix and match with any brands you have on hand or swap out colors that you feel better suit you.

purple eye makeup tuturial products
Clockwise from the purple pan on the left: Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Flash, MAC Eyeshadow in Vex, MAC Paint Pot in Bare Study, MAC Eyeshadow in Soft Brown, Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Eye Pencil in Jet, MAC 219 Pencil Brush, MAC 239 Eye Shader Brush, MAC 217 Blending Brush, Dolce & Gabbana Blending Brush, MAC 266 Small Angle Brush

Starting with your shimmery golden beige shadow (or similar shade)…

Sometimes my lids are like a Chevron refinery (read: oily). When they are, I start by priming them. In this look, after priming, push a shimmery golden beige cream shadow like MAC Paint Pot in Bare Study on your lids and into the crease with a finger, and use your fingers to blend out the edges.

purple eye makeup tutorial 1
That’s RGB Nail Polish in Minty on my nails

I used a shimmery shade for this step because I like how the shimmer peeks through the matte brown shadow. I think the combination of finishes sort of gives the look some extra dimension, but you could always go with a matte golden beige if you’re more into matte looks.

Time to get brown!

Next, grab a blending brush like the MAC 217, and use it to apply your matte brown eyeshadow from your lash line up into your crease.

Try to concentrate the lion’s share of the color on the outer part of your eyelid (the side toward your ear), shooting for a gradient effect that moves from darker (on the outside) to lighter (toward the bridge of your nose). For this I used MAC Soft Brown.

purple eye makeup tutorial 2

Sweep the same matte brown eyeshadow along your lower lash line with a flat eyeshadow brush like the MAC 239.

purple eye makeup tutorial 3

Now, grab a clean blending brush — I used the one from Dolce & Gabbana here — and run it all along the edges to soften everything.

Purple rain!

And it feels so good. πŸ™‚ When you’re ready for some color, load your 239 with a purple eyeshadow like Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Flash. Tap off any excess against the edge of the sink or a paper towel (we don’t want any fallout!), and apply it along your upper lash line.

I find it helps to think of the purple in this step as a really thick eyeliner that’s at its thickest in the outer corner and gets progressively thinner as it moves in toward the bridge of your nose.

purple eye makeup tutorial 4

Right here, use a clean blending brush to soften and diffuse the edge between your purple and brown eyeshadows.

purple eye makeup tutorial 5

Line please?

Next up, liner! Load a small angle brush with some pigment by running it down the tip of a black pencil liner a couple of times. For my look here, I used the MAC 266 brush and Bobbi Brown’s Long-Wear Eye Pencil in Jet.

Take that brush of yours, and draw a super thin line along your upper lash line, and when youÒ€ℒre done, run however much liner remains on the brush along your lower lash line.

Guess what. You’re almost there! πŸ™‚

Now, to give your eyes more depth, grab your black eyeliner pencil again, and line your upper lash line, getting it all the way in there between the roots of your lashes. Ideally, you want a solid black line here without any skin peeking through.

purple eye makeup tutorial 6

My, what big eyes you have!

Using a pencil brush like the MAC 219, we’re going to cast a kind of spell here that appears to enlarge our eyes, using a light shimmery shadow like MAC Vex applied in the inner corners.

purple eye makeup tutorial extra

Pat your purple self on the back

Because you did it! Finish with your favorite mascara along your upper and lower lash lines.


All done. πŸ™‚

purple eye makeup tutorial final

Additional makeup worn in this look…

So what do you think about purple eyeshadow? Do you wear it very often?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 62 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Joyce says:

    You look so pretty Karen! Officially my second time to comment πŸ™‚ had to because I love me some purple eyeshadow! I tried to do the purple/lavender lip inspired from your post awhile back and got a revlon lip butter but sadly it washed me out. I think I’ll have to try out the exact color you had instead. But I love UD’s flash. It’s such a vibrant, pretty purple. Thanks for the continued beauty inspiration!

  2. Heidi says:

    I just did a purple eye the other day and got a lot of compliments on it. It really makes my green eyes stand out!

  3. gio says:

    What a great look! I love purple eyeshadows and they really suit you! πŸ™‚

  4. Hannah says:

    Speaking of Jeremy Renner’s arms, did you see them in “The Hurt Locker”? I was pretty darn impressed! The movie was not bad either πŸ˜›

  5. This is gorgeous! I already loved the look when it was just Bare Study and Soft Brown, but the addition of that stunning purple is just beyond! Love this!! I am definitely going to try and recreate this one tomorrow πŸ˜€

    • Karen says:

      Hi Becca,

      The Bare Study/Soft Brown combo works on it’s own too, for sure. Just add a little liner and/or mascara and you’re good!

      Let me know how the purple look goes. πŸ™‚

  6. Vonvon says:

    Love how you used the purple eyeshadow! Haven’t been using purple for the eyes in a while…..

  7. Lulle says:

    Beautiful look, soft and wearable with a (purple) edge!

    I love purple, and I started wearing it early in my makeup life. Probably because I have green eyes and all the magazines convinced me that purple eyeshadow makes the green pop!

    However, I have to admit that purple shadow in general is plagued with a pigment deficiency… I don’t know what makes purple a difficult shade to create, but it’s often the one and only problem color in a range of perfect shadows… think about Ransom and the rest of UD Deluxe shadows for example!
    Lulle recently posted … China Glaze Pink Plumeria

  8. Lora says:

    Very pretty look!

  9. YAAAY I’m so glad you didn’t give up on purple, Karen! You look SO gorgeous here!

    Purple is the one color I’ve been obsessed with, and with all the nuances I’m sure everyone can find some shades in the color family that work for them!
    Sunny @ Mostly Sunny recently posted … Mostly Sunny Summer Favorites: Heat/Humidity-Resistant Makeup

  10. KPrice says:

    Wow this is gorgeous. I wear purple almost every day. And it’s funny that you used MAC paint pot in Bare Study because I just went to a MAC counter this weekend where the MA fitted me with Bare Study with blackberry over it. I’m wearing it today!

  11. Marika says:

    Such a pretty look! I think it would be pretty with a dark green or navy too :). I just wanted to tell you that I picked up Dior Golden Savannah as a little fall splurge and am LOVING it. Thanks for the recommendation, your review was really helpful and let me know that I wasn’t wasting my money. Love your blog πŸ™‚

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marika,

      I’m so glad to hear you’re loving Golden Savnnah, Marika. πŸ™‚ What colors are your faves from the quint?

      • Marika says:

        Hard to choose but the bottom two are really interesting for dark shadows. I’m wearing NARS Lhasa today with the bottom right one as liner and its showing up kinda green! So cool

        • Karen says:

          Ooh, I’ll have to try that combo. πŸ™‚ I love Lhasa and it’s been a while since I’ve said hi to to her. Thanks for the idea! Sounds like something I’d like to wear with a golden coral cheek and lip.

          Happy Tuesday!

  12. Nina says:

    I LOVE this! I have quite a few purple eyeshadows that dont get enough love. I am going to pull the mout and try this!!!

  13. That’s a great look! I’m really not a big fan of purple myself, but you’ve convinced me to go purple for tomorrow’s make-up.. πŸ™‚
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Delushiously brilliant: Lush Emotional Brilliance

  14. Angel says:

    That’s such a gorgeous look! I love purple but I’m never daring enough to wear them! Time to bust some of them out!

    Also.. I’m ridiculously IN LOVE with Jeremy Renner. TOO.HOT. Argh!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Angel,

      You can do it! If you keep it along the lash line it’s relatively tame. You could also make the purple less visible by buffing it down with your blending brush so it’s just a whisper of color.

  15. SSpiegel says:

    Haha, my comment has really nothing to do with make up (tho I do love your blog!), but I just gotta say: I’m glad there are people who are absolutely obsessed with male celebs and aren’t afraid to talk about it. I think my friends are already sick to death with my obsession and will strangle me to death if I start my sentence with “Tom Hardy is uh-mazing”, “have you seen this Tom Hardy video…” or “did you know that Tom Hardy…” ever again.
    That is all. πŸ™‚

  16. Tiffany C. says:

    that purple is so pretty! it reminds me of MAC Violet pigment

  17. Chris25 says:

    You did a great job with this. I usually go all out with purples, even though my big eyes don’t need it. πŸ˜›

    Karen, did you get my email? I am wondering if it wound up in spam.

  18. Lizzie says:

    Beautiful, and like you said, really simple. Perfect for those like me, who don’t wear much makeup. The purple is the perfect splash of color in this look. I tip my hat to you, once again.

  19. Susan says:

    Looks wonderful on you! I love purple eyeshadow because it makes the green in my hazel eyes really pop. (actually, my eyes are two different colors–one hazel and one is green but people only notice on occasion, so it’s not that prominent). I always use a deep plum purple liner, too.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Susan,

      That’s cool how your eyes are two different colors. Mine are too! They’re dark brown with a navy blue ring around the outer edge. You have to look really closely to see it though.

      What deep purple liner are you using these days? My favorite is the plummy end of the Becca’s Cabrera liner.

      • Susan says:

        I’m a Clinique girl, so I like their Starry Plum (has a touch of blue to it), and the kohl liner in Black Amethyst (if I remember correctly, the pencil has been sharpened to a nub and I can’t read it anymore :)). I don’t have a Sephora close by to try much else, really, although our Walmart has just recently started to stock NYC products which I think I”ve seen you review and look interesting…I may have to investigate those for fun.

  20. Kim says:

    Hi! I’m sorry. Were you doing something with makeup? I’m still thinking about Jeremy Renner’s arms. HAHA! I took a 5 second look at the link and knew that it was NSFW (because I’d be on it all day). πŸ™‚

    You know I’m not too shadowy or into color on my eyes, but this is a really pretty look. I love how you have a pop of purple that still looks subtle. My biggest take-away lately is that I really need to line between my top lashes with a black pencil. Laziness be darned. I’m doing it tomorrow!

  21. musical says:

    Lovely look! I also sometimes do the purple+bronze look with my UD Summer of Love palette and enhance it with their purple liner (i forget the name).

    What’s on your lips? Looks lovely!

  22. Laura H says:

    This is so lovely, I want to try it this weekend ! If I do I’ll tweet you a photo !

  23. Stef Smith says:

    I love this look! It’s simple and put together, two things I like in a makeup look! I hate black eyeliner on myself, I can never get it right, but I’m going to try this. Wish me luck!

  24. Purple looks wonderful on you, Karen esp when teamed up with that lip color. Mac Vex is such a lovely taupe, it’s like a staple. Purple and brown should be married, they look so good together.
    Sue – MakeupMew recently posted … Top 5 London 2012 Nail Art Looks

  25. Bethany says:

    Hi Karen….I always enjoy reading everything you write and keeping up on the adventures of Tabs! Also, LOVE the ring….where did you find it , if you don’t mind my asking?

  26. Katherine G says:

    This is a really beautiful makeup look! Purple has been one of my favorite shadow colors for quite a few years, probably because of my green-gold hazel eyes. I think it can be hard to find a good purple shadow or shadow kit but I really love a lot of the UD purples (like the purple-gray AC/DC, and the vibrant Ransom), the NYX purple smoky eye kit (some nice and different colors in there), the MAC purple shadows out of their new Electric Cool collection, and lastly, one of my new favorite purple shadows, Victoria’s Secret in Taboo (a shimmery duochrome purple that plays well with other shadows and does pretty good at lasting with my UD primer).

    I think the purple looks stunning with your pretty brown eyes πŸ™‚

  27. Mary Babicki says:

    I’m right there with you about Jeremy Renner! I saw Bourne Legacy this weekend and the crush has returned full-force. πŸ˜‰

  28. All the while I was reading this post, I was wondering which lipstick you’re wearing here. Speak Louder has been on my wishlist since some time, I think I should run to MAC and pick it up tomorrow! It looks fantastic on you! Lovely tutorial and I loved your minty nails and the bow ring!

    Speaking of purple, I absolute adore purples especially smokey blackened ones and jewel toned ones of course. It happens to be one of my favorite shades for eye shadows! I love a full blown purple smokey eye, I’d love it if you can have a look at something I’d done a long time ago which continues to be one of my favorite looks –


    If you find difficulty in pulling off purples, I’d highly recommend MAC Plum Dressing and Inglot 446 Pearl eye shadows, I think they look fabulous on warm complexions!
    Ankita@corallista recently posted … MAC Tuesday : Blue Brown Pigment Review, Swatch, FOTD

  29. Michelle says:

    Lovely look! Just did a version of this after reading this post πŸ™‚

    Vex on inner 2/3 of my lid, Fashion Groupie on outer 1/3 and into crease, Soft brown to blend just above crease, Teddy e/l on outer edge of lower lashes with Fashion Groupie smudged over, Dazzlelight in inner corners as as brow highlight. Browndown fluidline to line upper lashes.

    Love it! Thanks for the idea πŸ™‚

  30. virginie says:

    Very pretty!

  31. Melissa says:

    The idea of wearing purple eyeshadow use to baffle me. Now I’m more open to experimenting with it. I prefera darker purple, but the look you came up with is very cute and wearable.
    What’s not to love when it comes to Jeremy Renner? He’s a good actor and he’s not hard on the eyes.

  32. Liz says:

    You look amazing. What blush are you wearing?

  33. Thanks for this, Karen! Purple is the only eye shadow color I’m afraid of. I have cool toned skin, but when I wear cool toned purples I look bruised. I am going to try this.

  34. Nadege says:

    I absolutely LOVE Jeremy Renner since I saw The Town! Everyone thinks I’m crazy when I say this, but he seriously has the “look” lol

    Btw, that last picture is gorgeous
    Nadege recently posted … Mac Viva Glam I Lipstick Review + Swatches

  35. mn says:

    Karen, you look amazing and I really love this lipcolor- so grateful that you listed it.
    Give Tabs lots of tummy rubs from me.

  36. Awe Karen, always such an inspiration!

    Extra motivated to try this look because I have the same Urban Decay eyeshadow in Flash but don’t give it as much love as I should!

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