Autumn traditionally brings earthier colors and a few unique makeup trends to the forefront, and this year is no different. Metallic eye makeup has officially made its way back onto the scene. Featured during New York Fashion Week and a clear favorite for red carpet looks, metallic eyelids are being flashed all over. Of course, when you think about it, bronze and silver (2015's major color contenders) are quintessential fall colors — bronze representing the fiery autumn leaves and silver hinting at the frost to come. As far as being seasonally appropriate goes, this trend is right on the mark.
Finding a balance between extreme, flashy pigments and your daily comfort level depends on your personal style. Even the most shimmering metallic eyeshadows work wonderfully as an accent for simple ensembles or in tandem with evening wear, though. Personally, I find that the best aspects of metallic eye makeup are how well it blends with inner eye highlights and how dramatically it contrasts with bold eyeliner.
Before you begin experimenting with metallic eye makeup, keep in mind your skin tone and hair color. As with any pigment, you'll have the best success when you choose metallic tones that compliment your natural palette. In this case, contrast is not such a bad thing, as the metallic look is meant to be bold. If you lean towards an autumn or summer palette, however, consider bronzes and golden hues. Winter palettes or those with very light or very dark natural tones, on the other hand, might find they appreciate the striking contrast of silver hues. Here are just five metallic eye makeup trends to try this season.
1. Basic Bronze
When it comes to working with metallic shadows, primer is essential. You want your pigment to pop, so coat your eyelids and surrounding eye area with the primer of your choice. Personally, I'm a fan of Too Faced Shadow Insurance, and used it for this and all of the subsequent looks.
Begin this simple metallic eyeshadow look by brushing on your choice of bronze pigment. I use a local, hand blended mineral pigment that provides a light hue, but lots of fun shimmer. However, what I've discovered is the bronze ends up looking slightly more gold on my skin tone, especially with my current hair color.
Cover your full lid, fading the color as your reach your crease.
Once you've applied your bronze pigment, finish off the look with a bold, black eyeliner and your favorite mascara (I opted for Urban Decay's Perversion Mascara).
I also chose to add a small wing to this look to up the drama ever so slightly and to draw attention to the beautiful contrast between the bronze pigment and the black line.
2. Metallic With A Highlight
Expanding upon the look above — for those days when simple metallic shimmer just isn't enough — this look is all about enhancing the appearance of your eye size with the use of highlights.
To begin, follow the steps above to create a bronzed eyelid and slight wing.
Select a highlight pigment (here I've chosen a locally mixed color called Arctic Gold, which appears white with subtle gold iridescence), and brush it along the edges of your inner eye.
You can extend it further outward for a greater statement or keep it tight to the edges of your eye for a subtle effect.
Once you've lined the inner eye with your highlight, carry the bronze color through from your upper lid by brushing a thin line of bronze pigment just along your bottom lid.
Carry this line out beneath your black wing for a visible patch of contrasting color.
The final effect should be light, shimmery, and well blended, with subtle gradients and bold metallic color. Add a tinted lip gloss and the look is complete.
3. Silver And Gray
For another fairly subtle play on metallic eyeshadow, consider the combination of silver and gray. Without any saturation, these pigments are extremely versatile, so even if you apply a strong pigment, your look is likely to compliment whatever your wardrobe calls for on a given day.
Start by brushing a soft metallic gray over the majority of your upper lid. For the purpose of this tutorial, I've already begun with a simple black eyeliner in place as well as black mascara. However, if you prefer, you can add this as your final step instead.
Once your lightest shade of metallic gray shadow has been laid in place, take a blending brush and add a darker shade of metallic gray to the crease of your eyelid, blending subtly inward toward your inner eye.
Next you're ready to apply a coat of silver eyeshadow to the center of your lids. Keeping the silver centered on the lid will add a highlight and create a greater sense of depth within the look.
Once your upper lid is complete, go in and line your lower lid with the same silver pigment you used above. Be sure to bring the silver into your inner eye corner, as highlighting that area will make your eyes appear more open and balance out the weight on the outer eyelid from the dark gray pigment.
4. Slightly Smoky
Again, expanding on the look above, this slightly smoky variation begins with the gray and silver metallic eyeshadow combination. Keep your lower lid highlights in place, but keep in mind they will be modified as you continue on.
Apply a line of the dark gray metallic shadow you used above around the outer corner of your eye, top and bottom.
Using your eyeliner brush, drag that pigment carefully down and away from your eye on your bottom lid and inward, toward the center of your eye on the upper lid.
Continue to add dark gray pigment until you are satisfied with the effect, but remember to blend out the new color with a blending brush so that the final result has clean gradients and soft transitions.
5. Colorful Metallic
Another benefit to working with metallic eye makeup is that the metallic hues often play beautifully with other colors. Here, we'll be creating a two tone look that essentially divides the eye into thirds, highlighting the metallic pigment in the center.
In my experience, the metallic tones usually work best with a center justification, as they double as a highlight to add depth (much the way we used the silver in our silver and gray look).
For this look, you'll be extending color up toward your eyebrows. To help create a cleaner line, use tape, a makeup pouch, or a piece of paper to cover the skin you don't want excess pigment falling onto.
Apply your primary color to the outer corners of your upper lid, blending into the crease.
For this look, I've begun with a metallic purple from Kat Von D's True Romance Palette.
After laying in metallic purple pigment on the inner and outer corners of my upper eyelid, I began to add a slightly darker purple pigment to my crease, just to define it and create depth.
Using whatever shade you chose as your primary color, you'll want to do the same.
Once your primary color is in place, begin brushing in your metallic pigment. In this case, I've chosen a golden hue.
Continue adding metallic pigment and blending the edges where the metallic pigment and your primary color meet. If you're so inclined, you can also create a slight gradient within your metallic pigment, with the strongest pigment closest to your eye line.
Once you've completed your upper lids, apply a thin line of pigment to your lower lid, again, splitting the eyelid into thirds, with your primary color in the inner and outer thirds, and your metallic color in the center.
Once your lower lids are complete, touch up your eyeliner by adding a clean little wing below the extending color on the outer corner of your eye. Then, step back and admire your work.
Clearly, the world of metallic eye makeup has much to offer. If you're a fan of all the glimmers, this autumn is your time to shine.
Images: Jen Schildgen