No woman is born knowing how to wear makeup that perfectly complements her outfits. And believe me, there are rules for how it’s done.

Now, “rules” imply finite yes and no directions, but I use the term rules more as “guidelines” for how you can look your absolute best. They aren’t meant to be limiting, because every woman has the right to express herself the way she sees fit. However, these are the standard methods from industry professionals on how you can look perfectly stunning all of the time.

For these rules, I need to make a clear distinction between matching and complementing. Now, let me explain the delicate balance of each.

Matching implies picking out a bright blue eyeshadow to match your bold blue sweater. This is a DON’T.

Complementing means pairing a coral dress with a light sweep of coral blush onto your cheeks – simply pair a coordinating subtle shade of blush to your outfit. This is a DO.

Makeup is a fun way to express ourselves and to literally put our best face forward. Makeup can be bold! It can also be subtle. And, either way, each is perfectly appropriate if done right and paired with the right clothing. Let’s get into how it’s done.

Never, ever match your eyeshadow with the color of your outfit.

Rewind your thoughts to school year photos from the 80’s, each girl with her big hair and bold eyeshadow that perfectly matched her silk blouse. Eyeshadow, whether it’s a bold look or not, should never be matched with the color of your outfit.

Think green eyeshadow with a green shirt. Exactly. That’s a no-no.

Striking colors, color blocking, and patterns are fabulous choices for clothes, so if your outfit is adventurous, stick with neutral eyeshadow shades: brown, gold, beige, or soft pink.

If your outfit is neutral shades of black, brown, or gray, it’s perfectly okay to try a smoldering smoky eye, in brown, black, or plum shades.

Never match, but you can complement. For example, wearing pink can be complemented with brownish gold shades.

The bottom line:

Bold clothing: delicate eyeshadow shades

Neutral clothing: feel free to spice up your shadow

Distribute colors evenly.

Tip: While matching eyeshadow is a huge no-no, there are chic ways to match your lipstick and blush to your outfit.

Loud outfits and daring makeup are both fine, just not on the same day. So, let’s say you want to wear a bright red lipstick. Instead of pairing red lipstick with a red dress, pair it with a red bag or red shoes. See how different those two outfits are? You can pull off matching lipstick to a bold accessory, but not to an entire outfit.


You can match parts of your outfit to your lipstick while remaining polished and elegant. The trick is just to not go overboard.

If you’re wearing a t-shirt and jeans, you have more freedom to wear bold makeup colors. If your outfit is already loud, downplay your makeup.

Lastly, remember this essential tip…

It’s important to follow these tricks to look flawlessly put together, but the most important makeup rule is to find the shades that complement your unique skin tone and eye color.