Purple eyeshadow is probably the hardest to get right, but when you make it work it is gorgeous. The royal color can make you look creative and daring or it can make you look ill, so it must be approached thoughtfully. By choosing the right shade of purple, and applying it with a few tips and tricks in mind, you can create something truly stunning.
To help you achieve gorgeous purple eye makeup looks, we’ve selected the 17 best purple eyeshadow singles and palettes in a variety of shades, finishes, and undertones. We’ll help you figure out which purple, lavender, or lilac eyeshadow will be most flattering to you based on your skin and eye colors. To finish things off, we added some general purple eyeshadow application tips and tricks, along with a list of inspiring ideas.
Purple Eyeshadow Guide: Contents
- 17 Best Purple Eyeshadow Singles & Palettes to Go for
- What’s the Perfect Purple Eyeshadow for Your Skin Tone and Eye Color?
- Makeup Tips & Tricks to Nail Purple Eyeshadow
- Purple Eye Makeup Ideas
Finding high-quality purple, lilac, or lavender eyeshadow can be difficult because natural purple pigments are so hard to obtain. This is why we did the work for you, by scouring the stores for the perfectly buttery, pigmented and blendable purple eyeshadow palettes and singles for you to add to your collection.
1. Huda Beauty Obsessions Eyeshadow Palette in Amethyst
There is a near endless amount of purple eyeshadow looks you can create with this gorgeous palette. It features a lovely blend of mattes and shimmers for a variety of intense beauty looks. This palette contains 9 buttery, pigmented shadows in shades of lilac and purple that are either cool or neutral. Buy it from Sephora!
2. MAC Cosmetics Eyeshadow in Stars ‘N’ Rockets
You cannot go wrong with a MAC eyeshadow, but this deep lavender is especially fetching. It is a neutral purple tone that will look beautiful combined with many other colors. It is a frosted shade with an iridescent shift that is perfect for the lid. It is well pigmented and long-wearing. Find it at MAC Cosmetics or Nordstrom!
3. NARS Single Eyeshadow in Sultan
Are you wanting to feel electric? Sultan is the purple eyeshadow to pick up. It is a matte, electric purple shadow with a warm tint that can be combined into a many different colorful looks, or worn alone as a wash over the lid. It has a buildable pigmentation so you can layer it or blend it to achieve different effects. Order it through Net-a-Porter!
4. Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Psychedelic Sister
Despite the intense shimmer, this purple eyeshadow is buttery smooth. Its intense shimmer is great for layering over other shadows, and it can totally transform any look. The shimmer itself is a cool lavender tone, but the base is a warm plump that’ll wear well over browns. You can get it at Sephora.
5. Anastasia Beverly Hills Eyeshadow Single in Gemstone
Gemstone is one of the most beautiful shimmery purple eyeshadows you will find. It has a bit of a plummy tint that will look marvelous against deeper skin tones, with a reflective sheen that really does make it look like melted metal. It is well pigmented, with some cool-toned flecks that will help it work with both warm and cool eye makeup looks. Pick it up from Ulta!
6. Kosas 10-Second Liquid Eyeshadow in 333
This metallic lavender eyeshadow also functions as a skincare product, giving the eyes some oomph while also nourishing them with jojoba oil and orange flower extract. It’s a liquid eyeshadow that you apply with a doe-foot application, kind of like a gloss. It dries down very quickly, and you end up with a beautiful cool lavender tone that is ideal as a lid shade. It is available at Revolve.
7. Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eyeshadow in Plum
It’s hard to resist a deep metallic plum. With this non-creasing cream stick eyeshadow, you can achieve a perfect purple smokey eye in seconds. Just swipe it on, blend out with your brush or finger, layer a bit of mascara, and you’ll be good to go. This shade is also great in the outer corner or as an eyeliner. Purchase it from Sephora!
8. Lancôme Ombre Hypnôse Stylo Eyeshadow in Amethyste
If you have oily eyelids, then this is the best purple eyeshadow to try. The color is a vibrant neutral purple that can work as a transition shade, lid shade, base, or as an all-over color for a fashion look. It comes in the form of a roll-up pencil that is a tad thicker than an eyeliner, making it a good fit for eyeshadow. The formula sets quickly and doesn’t budge, so it is fabulous on its own, as an eyeliner, or as a primer for other purple shadows. Since it’s quick-setting you will have to work quickly with it. Grab it at Nordstrom!
9. Stila Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow in Sea Siren
Stila’s liquid formulas are some of the most long-lasting on the market, so this shimmery lavender eyeshadow definitely delivers. It is a duo-chrome metallic with a pearly blue shift, so it is quite cool-toned. Because this shade is so reflective, it could work beautifully as an inner corner highlight for those with skin tones that are tan or darker. It has a doe-foot applicator, for a precise application, and it sets quickly. It is sold at Sephora.
10. Marc Jacobs Beauty Eye-Conic Longwear Eyeshadow Palette in Provocouture 710
This is a wonderful purple eyeshadow palette, with soft and cool lavender eyeshadows as well as deeper plums and eggplants. There is a deep brown, a mauve, a soft pink, and a lilac thrown in for good measure. Most of the colors are matte, but we do get a few shimmers for variety. Because the palette combines cools and warms you can really get creative with it. Find it on Net-a-Porter!
11. Make Up For Ever Artist Color Eye Shadow in M-924
True purple eye makeup is easy to achieve with this deep yet vibrant eyeshadow. It is a neutral-cool purple with a matte finish that will look great in the outer corner or as a transition shade. As with all MUFE shadows, it is richly pigmented, soft and blendable. You can get it as a single, or combine it with a few other shades to make your own palette through Sephora.
12. Chanel Ombre Première Longwear Powder Eyeshadow in 30 Vibrant Violet
We love this deep purple eyeshadow, even if we think Chanel is way off with how they named it. It’s a darker, plummy shade with a warmer undertone and a silver-blue shimmer flecked through it. It is dark enough to be a crease color on most, but the sheen means it will also work nicely on the lid or as a smokey eye. You can buy it from Nordstrom.
13. NYX Professional Makeup Prismatic Eyeshadow in Volatile
Volatile is a gorgeous lilac eyeshadow with a vibrant sheen. It may look cool in the pan, but it actually has a warm undertone that’ll pair well with bronzes, mauves and plums. The shimmer in it is silvery-blue, so it’ll still work with cooler tones. It goes on beautifully, though reviewers like Temptalia mention that it works best with a damp brush. It is available at Ulta.
14. Pat McGrath Labs MTHRSHP Subversive La Vie En Rose Eyeshadow Palette
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better purple eyeshadow palette. Since launching her line, Pat McGrath has set a new standard for eyeshadow quality, with saturated and vibrant tones. This palette has one deep cool purple tone with a metallic finish, one matte deep eggplant tone, and one metallic medium plum, and then a complementary fuchsia, gold, and peachy-pink. There is so much room for play with this palette, since all color combinations look amazing. Get it from Pat McGrath!
15. Buxom Customizable Eyeshadow Bar Single Refill in La-La Lavish
It may look like a bit of a silver in the photo, but this is actually the most delicate and lovely lavender eyeshadow imaginable. It has a gorgeous silver-blue shift, and it can work wonderfully as a lid or even a highlight shade. The formula is super soft and goes on very opaque in a single swipe. You can pop it into an existing palette, or buy a compact separately. Find it at Nordstrom!
16. Illamasqua Iconic Chromes in Audacious
Turn your purple eye makeup into something truly intoxicating with this jewel-toned cream eyeshadow. The shade is comprised of a variety of different glittering pigments, so it changes in the light to look more or less vibrant, warmer or cooler. It is a darker tone ideal for liner, crease, or a smokey lid. It is extremely long-wearing and flattering on all skin tones. It is sold online via Net-a-Porter.
17. Natasha Denona Lila Eyeshadow Palette
You can buy all of the purple and lilac eyeshadows on this list, or you can pick up just this one purple eyeshadow palette from Natasha Denona. It’s a palette that will allow you to create as many purple eye makeup looks as your heart desires, since it holds 15 shadows in a mixture of warm and cool tones with both mattes and shimmers. Though purples are the stars here, there are also mauves, plums, bronzes, and roses, which will help you create more complex looks. Purchase it from Sephora!
Before jumping straight into recommendations, allow me a few moments to reflect on the color theory behind purple eyeshadow. If you remember your elementary school art lessons, then you know that purple is a secondary color comprised of a mixture of blue and red. The amount of red or blue in a purple eyeshadow can differ.
Blue is considered cool, while red is warm, so a purple shadow that has more blue tones in it is considered a cool purple, while a purple shadow heavy on the reds is warm. If it has a truly equal amount of each shade, it can be considered a neutral. Shades like fuchsia and magenta are considered very warm purples.
Then we have to consider how dark or light a purple eyeshadow is, as well as what base is making it so. For example, lavender eyeshadow is the result of cool purple mixed with white, while lilac eyeshadow is the result of a neutral or slightly warm purple mixed with white.
Plum is the result of warm purple shadow mixed with black to make it a little darker. We also have mauve, which is a shade of purple combined with a bit of brown, which makes it earthier.
Eyeshadows are complex, however, since they are made of blends of powder pigments. Sometimes the colors can be better mixed, while at other times a shadow can have flecks in it that contrast the base shade. This is how you can have a plum base with flecks of shimmery lavender, which ends up being both cool and warm at the same time.
Purple Eyeshadows by Skin Tones
There are two ways to look at skin tone: we can look at how light or dark someone’s skin is, and we can look at its undertones. Matching purple eye makeup to your undertone is a fun but complicated game, but matching it to your skin based on how dark or light it is can be pretty easy in comparison.
With eyeshadow looks, the classic technique is as follows: your lightest shade is a highlight that is 3-4 shades lighter than your skin tone and goes in the inner corner of the eyes and under the brow bone. For those with fair skin, a highlight will usually be a shimmery tone or a cream, while those with darker skin can use lavender or pale lilac tones for highlight, especially if they’re metallic.
Next, we have a middle shade that goes on the lid, and is supposed to be just one shade lighter than our skin tone or a shade that matches our skin tone but has a sheen that makes it reflect light. A transition shade is just one or two shades darker than our skin tone, and finally our darkest shade is 3 or 4 shades darker.
Depending on how light or dark your skin tone is, a lavender shade could be a lid color, a transition shade, or even a highlight. In other words, when you look at a purple eyeshadow and try to figure where it should go on your eye, don’t judge it in the pan – judge it in relation to your skin tone.
If you have a darker skin tone, I have one more tip: look for purple eyeshadows that are more saturated with very intense pigmentation. If the pigmentation isn’t great the eyeshadow will totally disappear into your skin.
Thankfully, most of the purple eyeshadows I’ve recommended so far are very pigmented and intense, so you shouldn’t have a problem! When in doubt, though, always swatch the color in store.
Purple Eyeshadows for Warm Skin Tones
Warm skin tone refers to skin that leans a little bit towards yellow, with veins that look greenish through the skin. Often, cool purples can bring out the yellow tones in the skin in a way that makes you look sallow, especially if you have light-medium warm skin. Stay away from purples that are nearly blue or indigo in color.
Plums and lilac eyeshadows are easily the most complementary choice for your skin tone, since they lean towards cool, but neutral purple eyeshadows will also work nicely. To warm up eyeshadow shades that look too blue, you can always blend them out with a mauve transition shade.
Purple Eyeshadows for Neutral Skin Tones
Those with neutral skin that truly is beige, without any yellow or pink tones, will have the easiest time wearing purple eyeshadows. Both cool and warm purples will look great because there is nothing for purple to bring out or highlight in your skin. You can really play around!
Purple Eyeshadows for Cool Skin Tones
A cool undertone refers to those that have a lot of rosiness in their skin. Their skin is a little more peachy or pink, occasionally with some actual redness in the cheeks. Veins will look a little purple through the skin, as well.
It’s important to look at the chest or forearms rather than the face before deciding you have cool undertones, since the face often has a bit of natural rosiness just because of exposure or sensitivity that doesn’t translate to the rest of the body.
With this kind of skin tone, all shades of purple eyeshadow will work, since purples naturally have the same reddish tones that cool skin tones have. If you’d like a look that will be more harmonious with your skin tone, a cool purple shade is the way to go, which includes lavender eyeshadows and indigos.
Neutral purples will look great as well. Warm purples like lilacs and plums will register as a little more neutral on those with cool skin, so you can even pair them with red-leaning earth tones.
Purple Eyeshadows for Olive Skin Tones
Olive skin refers to those who have a greenish undertone. Veins appear very green through the skin, and in certain lights you may appear more yellow or beige.
Purples are hardest to wear when your skin has olive undertones, because somehow that purple shadow does a wonderful job of making you look sick rather than sexily Mediterranean. Purples that are nearly blue tend to work most beautifully with your skin, while true purples and red-purples will bring out the greenness.
Purple Eyeshadows by Eye Colors
While skin tone matters a lot more when choosing purple eyeshadow shades, you can also take your eyes into account when looking for inspiration. Here are some tips for choosing the right purple eyeshadow shades based on your eye color!
Purple Eyeshadow for Blue Eyes
Warmer purples will stand out a bit more against your eye color, while cooler purples will appear subdued. You can pair purples with other shades that are more complementary to your eye tone if you’d still like a makeup look that stands out. A shadow look that combines purple tones with gold will make for a particularly nice split complementary effect.
Purple Eyeshadow for Green and Hazel Eyes
Purple eyeshadow can really make green eyes pop. This is because green and purple are complementary colors, so they look the most intense when paired. With green eyes you can get away more easily with all-purple eyeshadow looks, so you should definitely consider picking up a full purple eyeshadow palette rather than just a single or two.
Purple Eyeshadow for Brown Eyes
Those with brown eyes can usually experiment with all eyeshadow colors, since brown is a neutral. This means that with brown eyes, you can also play around with various color combinations that include purple along with some wilder shades. Pay more attention to your skin’s undertone when choosing the perfect purples for you.
• Get in the habit of always laying down a base before putting on some eyeshadow, especially if we’re talking about powder. A base will prevent creasing and will ensure that your eyeshadow goes on with maximum vibrancy. Eyeshadow primer is best, of course, but cream purple eyeshadows can work really nicely too. In a pinch, a concealer will also do the trick.
• Do note that how dark or light your base is will influence the eyeshadow. A white cream primer will make eyeshadows brighter, whereas layering purple eyeshadow over black cream eyeliner will look pretty dark and intense.
• Use your makeup brushes cleverly! Packing on purple so that it looks intense is all about that stippling effect. For maximum opacity, pick up the color with your finger or a damp brush and then tap it on the skin to deposit the color. Only blend out the edges lest you end up with a muddy tone.
• I talk about smokey eyes a lot, but the truth is that it’s better to break with tradition and keep the edges sharp with darker purple eyeshadow. You can do this by applying your eyeshadow with angled tape along the outer corner of the eye acting as a guide, or you can use a makeup wipe to sharpen the edges when you’re done. This will give your purple eye makeup a very intentional look, and it’ll prevent you from looking like you have a bruised eye.
• Another tip to avoiding the dreaded “black eye” look is by opting for a cut crease, especially if you like your outer corner more smoked out. There are a few ways to do a cut crease, but they all rely on carving out a really clear separation between the lid (especially the inner half of the lid, which can be a half-cut crease) and the crease with the help of a cream product. This gives that same sharpness and intention to your purple eye makeup look.
The looks you can create with purple eyeshadow are truly endless, but we jumpstart your creativity with a few fun ideas you can try.
• To start things off, it’s always good to master the classic purple eye, with shades of purple in either the warm or cool family. Wear a medium-light color on the lid, get darker in the crease, darkest in the outer corner, and keep things highlighted in the inner corner and under the brow bone.
• A purple smokey eye can be really pretty, but avoid blending it out too much or too far out. Choose a purple eyeshadow that is two or three shades darker than your skin tone, pack it on over the lid and lightly blend it out into the crease. Marry it under the lower lash line, as well. If it’s looking a little bruised, sharpen the line in the outer corner as described in the previous section.
• A single shadow look with a vibrant medium purple or lilac eyeshadow can be very fetching, especially combined with a nude lip and berry-toned blush. Pack the shadow on over the lid, and let it fade a bit into the crease. It’s a quick and easy look!
• Be aware that for any looks that rely heavily on colors in the purple family, it’s usually best to match the undertone of the lipstick and blush to your eyeshadow. This means choosing purple, pink or berry tones for the lips, and pink or berry tones for the cheeks.
• You can occasionally break the rules and intentionally choose a warm tone for both lipstick and blush. This will clash, but that in and of itself can make for an interesting fashion look.
• A halo eye in purple can be really gorgeous. Use a deep purple in the outer corner, crease, and inner corner, and then have a brighter shimmery lavender or even a gold in the center of the lid. The effect is sultry but still keeps the eyes look wide.
• Consider combining warm and cool purple eyeshadow tones. There are a few great ways to do it – you can do cool purple shadow on the lid and a warm tone for the underliner or vice versa.
• Another great look is to use a cool shadow on the lid and a warm shadow in the crease – note that it works best if both shadows are about a shade or two darker than your skin tone.
• Try an analogue color scheme that includes purple! If you’re keeping it cool, choose indigo purple eyeshadow along with light blue and teal. If warm suits your coloring better, try a combination of lilac, reddish-plum, and pink.
• Purple eyeshadows are a very important part of sunset eyes. You can lay out the colors in a variety of different ways, but the important tones are purple, peach, orange, and indigo. Sunset eyes look fabulous on all skin tones since they include both warm and cool tones.
• Gold and purple eyeshadow is a beautiful and timeless combination that will allow you to wear warmer cheek and lip colors along with purple on the eyes.
Photos via @thesaraengel, @nikki_makeup, @beautsoup, @ruthiebarone, @kmbrlee_beyoutiful, @nancydreamin, @_joanh