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Ruminations on Red Eyeshadow… – Makeup and Beauty Blog

I’m seeing scarlet! That’s MAC Eye Shadow X 9 in Red Hot Times Nine on my lids, BTW.

If you would’ve asked me five years ago to talk about red eyes, I would’ve told you about that one time I sat in an exit row seat on a frighteningly turbulent red-eye flight to Maui (Side note: It was terrible.), or about the creepy dude I used to work with who got “pink eye” every five minutes…then proceeded to give all of the other people in our office pink eye every time he got pink eye. *shaking my head*

Yes, it was gross.

But I digress…

In case you hadn’t noticed, red eyes, as in red eyeshadow, are totally a thing now, and I never would have predicted the rise o’ red in a million years. I mean, even Chanel did a collection with red eyeshadow (back in 2016)! If that isn’t a tell-tale sign of how mainstream red eyes have become, I don’t know what is.

chanel le rouge collection no 1
Wearing the quad, blush and cream shadow from Chanel’s Rouge No. 1 collection

And it isn’t only about straight-up crimson. Warm reddish browns and reddish oranges are also having (and have been having) their moment.

I resisted red (and reddish) eyeshadow for very long time, but then Instagram started inundating my feed with all of these artists doing looks with red. I was seeing red in the crease as a transition shade, and red on the upper lash line as winged liner, and somewhere along the way, it started to rub off on me.

Now when I wear red, I don’t automatically feel like I look like death warmed over. Now I think it looks kinda artsy-fartsy, and I don’t mind it anymore.

urban decay elements palette k front
Reds with the Urban Decay Elements palette
MAC Red Red Red collection on my lids and lips
MAC’s Red Red Red collection from 2014

Not to say that red has become my first color choice (NEUTRALS FOR LIFE), but I think it can look super cool if you handle it a certain way… Like for me, on the rare occasions when I wear red eyeshadow, I always do some sort of black or near-black liner and shadow on the water line or the lash line, which was a trick I learned from this Pixiwoo video.

Long story short, the black liner works as a boundary, so there’s something visually separating the red from the whites of your eyes, which in theory reduces the chances of you looking sickly, and for me, it works.

Even though I don’t wear red often, I think it’s cool that makeup lovers have more options now, because when I was growing up, if you wanted to be the girl who wore red eyeshadow, you had to find a way to make it work, because you just couldn’t roll up to Thrifty’s after school to buy an ice cream cone and a palette with a red eyeshadow. But now you totally can!

On that note, what do you think about wearing red cheek or lip products on your eyes? I see makeup artists do it all the time, like using lipstick as a cream eyeshadow, a red liquid lipstick as an eyeliner or a blush as an eyeshadow.

I’ve done blush as shadow before (in the crease as a transition shade), but that’s about it as far as my red cross-product experimentation so far.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


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