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Set Your Sights on the Right Eye Makeup Colors

Bold can be beautiful in a magazine model's eye makeup. But in the real world, get yourself noticed with neutral shades. Going for a subdued look will keep your makeup from upstaging your eyes, says self-described "cosmetics cop" Paula Begoun. Beauty expert Bobbi Brown agrees, and in her book Beauty Evolution presents these additional eye-opening tips on choosing right-for-you makeup colors that are simultaneously subtle and sexy.

  • All-over eye-shadow base. The color, which is applied from the lashes up to the brow bone, should blend with your skin tone. Eye dos: White, bone, toast, sand or banana. Colors to avoid: Red-toned shadows — they can make you appear tired.
  • Lid shadow. Use neutral shades to enhance your eyes. For blue eyes — ashy taupe, gray or heather. For green ones — yellowy taupe, camel or heather. And for brown — rich taupe, sable or mocha. Want to complement your eye shadow with an optional contouring color, to further define by day or add a dramatic touch by night? Go with a shade that's not too dark, such as brown, slate or mocha. Brown's word of warning where contouring is concerned: "Smoky black lids are for rock stars and supermodels only!"
  • Liner. Go for darker shades, not bright ones — mahogany, charcoal or navy can be nice.
  • Mascara. Black is makeup expert Brown's favorite, but not for women with fair skin and light-colored hair and eyelashes — for them brown mascara can create a look that's less harsh.

What about going beyond the basics to try trendy for a change? That can be OK, but only if the color doesn't clash with your skin tone and hair and eye color. And if you're older, bear in mind this added pointer from Rockville, Md., makeup artist Barbara Roybal: Stick with matte-colored eye shadows — and stay away from frosted ones — to minimize the appearance of wrinkles.

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