Fried Green Wednesdays: Color Intervention 101

February 6, 2008 at 10:41 pm 10 comments

blue eyeshadowBlue eye shadow.

Admit it, you just got chills reading that, and not the good kind either. Those words can strike fear into women’s hearts the world over. The reason is really quite easy to understand.  After all, who among us hasn’t seen blue shadow gone horribly, horribly wrong?  Oftentimes we haven’t just seen it, we’ve lived it!

So today I want to talk about color.  And no, I’m not counting your plum eye shadow as color, though it’s a good start.  In my years selling cosmetics to the average American woman I have seen one constant…brown eye shadow. There are all different shades of brown, from the lightest taupe to the darkest sable, but almost everyone is a brown offender on some level.  What’s wrong with brown you ask?  Well, on the surface of it, nothing.  However, brown is a comfort color.  It’s not threatening, it goes with almost everything, you can find it anywhere, and there is just about no way to screw it up. Plain and simple, it’s just too easy. But why don’t I count plum as a color?  Well, plum seems to be either the first step towards brown, or the first step away from it. Either way, the two are closely related.

Go take a peek in your cosmetics stash and tally how much brown eye color you have.  Be sure to include eyeliner and mascara.  You may have one or two shadows in there that border on sandy or gold, count those too. Go ahead, I’ll wait.  Now count up the rest of the colors you own.   If you have more in the color pile than you do in the brown pile, subtract any plum colored shadows. Now, of the remaining colors, pick out the ones you have actually worn in the last two weeks. Do you have 5? 3? Less? It’s time for a color intervention.

Heaven help me, I have just about seen it all. From the woman who never removed her mascara except when I took it off (about once a month), to the woman who drew her eyeliner to connect with the outer end of her brows, I cease to be amazed. When you walk around the mall looking at women like this, it’s only natural that your first thought would be, “Knock me dead if I ever end up looking like that.”  It’s the fear of becoming “that lady” which keeps many of us from testing the waters and trying new things. That being said, if you like connecting your eyeliner to your brow line then be my guest. biscuits

Whatever butters your biscuits honey, go for it.  However, if you want to add a dash of color to your repertoire and aren’t sure quite how to do it, feel free to peruse further.

Okay, there are people out there who would greatly disagree with me on this, but I believe just about anybody can wear any color. Yes, I believe that you can wear blue eye shadow and not look like you just leapt from the pages of a 1980s yearbook or a street corner.  The one thing that needs to be determined is exactly what kind of blue you should try.  With so many brands to choose from in the store and online, the choices are endless. The lightest shade of powder blue, royal blue, electric blue, indigo, teal, deep navy…you get the idea.  If you can imagine it, it’s out there somewhere. But surely you don’t feel the overwhelming urge to run out and buy every variation of blue eye shadow you can find. It would be exhausting, frustrating, and expensive.

  1. So start with a pro. Schedule some time at the nearest MAC counter. Really you could go anywhere, but try to stay with lines that have a broad range of shades in the color you want to try. Sephora is also an excellent place to start, since they have so many wonderful lines all in one place. Instead of bouncing from counter to counter and store to store, you can try anything that strikes your fancy without developing blisters on your feet or a permanent impression of your rear on the car seat.  Just remember that the goal here is to get outside of that comfort zone. Whether you want to barely nudge the boundaries or are ready to take a flying leap into the unknown is totally up to you. If you find that you’ve been wearing a path to the same counter space for years, try walking around and scoping what everyone else has to offer.  Buy something refreshing to sip and leave the kids at home.  The departure from your norm will be exciting enough without added stress.  It’s a fun, cheap way to spend some “me” time.
  2. Before you take the plunge, start looking around. Tear pictures from magazines with looks you’d like to try. Scan the promotional materials each line has for their newest collections, often they have the most flattering color combinations in print. Do you have a swatch of fabric with the perfect color? Bring it in and see what comes close. There are really no limits to where you could go for ideas, even if the only thing you know is what you don’t want.
  3. When you’re ready to go the options are amazing.  One big, bold color.  Soft, subtle color with just a flash of crazy in your lash line or your crease.  Remember, there is more out there to spruce up your look than just eye shadow.
  4. Don’t discount the value of a good eyeliner.  A bare eye that has a brilliant line of color can make just as much of an impact as a glammed out one.
  5. Adding more color is easier than taking some away, so start small and ask them to add more according to your comfort level.
  6. Communication is key, don’t be afraid to say you’re not comfortable with something or that you just don’t like it.  Any artist worth their salt will respond nicely and try again. After all, it’s their job to help you find what’s right for you. You may leave with a purchase that day, but if you don’t leave happy then you’re not likely to come back. Trust their instincts, but trust yours too.  Ask how to incorporate some color into your usual routine, they’ll generally have recommendations for using things in ways you might not have thought of.

blue eye shadow What if you really, really don’t want to wear blue eye shadow? Well, these tips could work for any color.  Don’t want Kelly green? Try something softer like ‘Acid Rain’ from Urban Decay.  Not so into orange?  Try a nice peachy color like ‘X’ from Urban Decay orKitten Heel from Lancôme instead. There are so many purples and pinks out there, it’s enough to make your head spin. I’m not even starting on shimmer vs. matte colors yet either. 

If you don’t really want to start with a big change, consider switching to a shimmer.  Unlike the glitter you might expect, shimmery shadows have the ability to make your eyes shine without making you feel like 12 year old girl.  As an added bonus, shimmer reflects light and can hide some of your less desirable eye features.  Yes, that was a nice way of saying wrinkles.  Many companies offer a nice bronze or gold with the perfect shine to give you a little something extra compared to that plain matte chocolate you’ve been using.  My favorites in the Oomph With Ease category have to be Bronze from MAC and Lounge from Urban Decay.  ‘Lounge’ has the added benefit of coordinating well with green, gold and peach too.

If you don’t feel like eye shadow is your thing than rest assured that these tips transfer well to lip colors also. That Rock Icon Fuchsia from Lancôme might not seem right for everyone, but if you blend it with a darker lip liner (remember to blend well, we’re not Bratz dolls here people) and add a dash of gloss you’ll find yourself with a completely different color . Many things can be amped up or toned down just by adding a layer of lip gloss in whatever color your heart desires.  I’d bet that you could create plenty of different looks using only what you have in your collection right now.

Every day I decide who I want to be and apply my makeup accordingly. I’m known around these parts for outlandish color combinations and a foolhardy devotion to the newest thing. Is it really my expertise that makes these experiments work?  Of course, I’m a genius, didn’t anyone tell you?  Actually, it’s just the fact that I feel comfortable enough to try something new.  A lot of the wearability of a color comes directly from you and your confidence. 

If you don’t walk around thinking, “Holy crap, I can’t believe I’m wearing blue eye shadow!”  Then chances are nobody else will be thinking it either.  Unless you happen to draw it up into your eyebrows…….

Now get out there and play!!!

P.S. If you do decide to take me up on the challenge of adding more color to your life we’d love to hear about it!

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"pink to please a woman… gold to get the guy!": Benefit Cosmetics Giveaway Results: Color Intervention 101

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. tracy m  |  February 7, 2008 at 9:25 am

    Awesome post, Mo! I’m going to give it a go, and try something outlandish. I am guilty of thinking Purple is a color- and I’m going to give something outlandish a try. I hope I don’t look like Mimi!

  • 2. mejojac  |  February 7, 2008 at 9:53 am

    I do own some blues and pinks… now, ask me if I ever wear them. 🙂 I guess I’m just a really simple girl and I like a simple look – which is why I always hit the browns! Maybe I’ll try it… but you are right about not wanting to look like “that lady!” or as Tracy said – MIMI! GASP!!

  • 3. bionicbeauty  |  February 7, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    I just wore green for the first time today. I’m loving it! I’ll be posting photos sometime later this week. It is actually very wearable. Hopefully next week, I’m going to try some bright purples.

    I’ve been in a brown rut forever. But I’m getting a bit more daring.

    Thanks for the great post!
    Bionic Beauty

  • 4. grammhansen  |  February 7, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    This is just too freaking funny. When I count my eyecolors, they are ALL brown. And I mean brown, not gold or tan or sable or beige – BROWN. How boring have I become! I have been inspired! Thanks!

  • 5. jen38  |  February 7, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    Guilty and in need of intervention. I usually go between brown, grey or something purplish. Lately I have tried some soft blues, and even some rose gold shimmer eye shadow. How about that!?

    Thanks for the wonderful post Mo.

    P.S. I did see “Mimi” today, she works at my local Wendy’s.

  • 6. tracy m  |  February 7, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    I did a purple eye tonight!! Whoo hoo! I think it came out pretty, too- and I don’t think it was too Mimi.

    Now I have to figure out what to do with the 27 browns I have. Sigh.

  • 7. jen38  |  February 7, 2008 at 11:22 pm

    I really do love your purple eye, and it certainly is not too Mimi.
    Psst! Mo sent me your picture, and I posted it. Hope that is okay.

  • 8. momommy  |  February 8, 2008 at 10:16 am

    WOW, what a response! I’m glad so many people decided to get out there and play. This is something I’ve been saying for years and I’m thankful that I got to send it out there to a bigger audience. I think every woman deserves to be daring and look good while doing it and I hope you all have just as much fun with color as I do!
    Thanks for the opportunity Jen!

  • […] 7, 2008 This post is in direct response to a post written several months ago by Mo called, “Color Intervention 101.” “Every day I decide who I want to be and apply my makeup accordingly. I’m known […]

  • […] Fried Green Wednesdays: Color Intervention 101 […]


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