You CAN Pull It Off: Unexpected Colors for Summer

When it comes to beauty and style, some of the old rules of thumb are just that: old. The reasoning behind many forbidden looks is decidedly unclear (I’m sorry, why can’t I mix brown and black leather?)—and when it comes to makeup, just plain deceptive. We know blue eyeshadow has practically become punchline, but done correctly, it lands just right. The same goes for any number of fun shades that are perfect for summer experimentation. Read on for our tips & tricks:


Let’s start with purple, the misunderstood shade that’s simultaneously feared by and flattering for most. Purple’s advantage lies in its status as a secondary color, which means it can be found in both cooler (blue-leaning) and warmer (red-leaning) shades. The result? There’s truly a purple for everyone, and we beg you to try one for it’s amazing eye-brightening, outfit-emboldening capabilities.

Try a cool, grey-green eggplant hue or an inky plum to make blue eyes look bluer—we love Aveda Petal Essence Single Eye Color in Plumeria. Or consider something with red bloodlines like Aveda’s Eye Color Trio in Plum Mist to make the green tones in hazel eyes really pop.

Pro Tip: If you choose a red-based hue, line the inner corner of your eyes with a beige pencil to keep eyes from looking bloodshot.

Wear With: Black and white combos that feel natural and not too graphic or 60s mod. The goal is to look stylish, not art-directed. Try this breezy tunic for starters.


If you believe blue eye makeup is acceptable only in 1970s photographs of Great Aunt Dottie, you’re not alone. Luckily for you, we’re here to set the record straight. All blues, from teal to cobalt, counteract redness so that your eyes look brighter and clearer. And while you should probably reserve a lash line to brow bone swath for Dottie, there are few things chicer than a subtle but pigmented pop of blue.

If we were you, we’d try a sharp, clean line in a matte, midnight blue (hello, Petal Essence Eye Definer in Indigo) with a nude lip. That, or a tiny shadow cat eye (try Aveda Color Options Transformer to intensify the pigment).

Wear With: Stay away from blue (too matchy) and any whites that feel crisp or proper (too nautical). We’d look for subtle patterns in light, understated shades, like the palm print motif we’re seeing all over the place (try this fun take from Elizabeth and James). Or, pair with a muted floral such as the one found in this sheath from Zara.


People tend to shy away from green simply because they’re not sure what to do with it. The good news is that green is pleasantly grounded by the family of earth tones that have likely already taken up residence in your makeup bag.

Eyeliner is the perfect way to achieve a pop of blink-and-you-miss-it color that won’t leave you at risk of being confused with the entertainment. Try Petal Essence Eye Definer in Tidepool, a deep turquoise we know you’ll find surprisingly wearable. If you want to try your hand at blending shadow, Aveda makes it easy: Petal Essence Eye Color Trio in Sweet Grass transitions from a warm, satiny yellow to a deep, mossy green.

Wear With: Dark wash or black skinny jeans with a breezy white tee and brown/tan/nude accessories. When nothing about your outfit is “trying too hard,” your makeup can take center stage without making a spectacle of itself.

Our last tip? When experimenting with these colors, always make sure to start with your eye makeup and move on to everything else afterwards. Noticeable eye makeup on a fully done face can look, well, alarming. Have a colorful summer!

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