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The Best Makeup for Your Hair Color

Whether you change your hair color as frequently as Emma Stone or have never even added highlights, it’s important to consider shade of your tresses when you reach for makeup.

 “Changing your hair color alters the way light absorbs and deflects around your face,” says Alexa Prisco, star of The Glam Fairy. Which means your bright and sunny summer makeup look could leave you looking a little washed out if you dye your hair come fall, especially since skin tones naturally change as tans fade (unless your golden skin comes bottled).

First, whenever you tint your locks, don’t forget about your brows. Dying isn’t necessary—just be sure to update your brow pencil color, says celebrity makeup artist Pati Dubroff. If you’re a shadow girl, use a small angled brush to apply color where your brows are sparse, Prisco says. As for the shade, brows on brunettes should be three steps lighter than their hair, while blondes should use a color three shades darker. Redheads look best with a color that’s close but not exact, such as a brownish auburn shadow, and if your locks are black, use a shadow that matches your hair as close as possible.

And now for the rest of your makeup…

Brunette

Face: “Youthful, healthy skin is gorgeous on brunettes,” says Marissa Nemes, a celebrity makeup artist who has worked with Faith Hill and Mariah Carey. To get that glowing face, she suggests applying a tinted moisturizer and following it with a bronzer such as Mary Kay Mineral Bronzing Powder in Canyon Gold. “Gently sweep the bronzer brush on the cheekbones, brow bones, and bridge of the nose to add subtle definition, and then apply a blush on apples of the cheeks for a muted burst of color,” she says. Rosy tones are a good choice since it looks most natural with darker hair colors.

Eyes: When the weather cools, think warm and reach for shadows in the gold, bronze, burgundy, and peach families. “These shades help make the eyes look larger and bring out the hues of the hair color,” says New York-based makeup artist Heather Adessa. She advises using the lightest shades, such as gold or champagne, on the upper lid and applying deeper tones on the crease. For your liner, Jill Powell, a celebrity makeup artist and hairstylist who works with Demi Lovato, recommends “tight-lining” your eyes: “Line right at the root of the lashes with a black liner, and then line eyes per usual with brown liner. This will give depth dimension and really make eyes pop without looking too harsh.”

Lips: Brunettes can get away with a much bolder lip than their lighted-haired counterparts. “Unlike blondes, darker-tressed women already have a stark contrast between hair and skin, so darker lips really bring out the tones and depth in the hair,” Adessa says. She recommends plum and burgundy lipsticks.

Blonde

Face: Without dark hair to frame their face, blondes need makeup that really makes a statement, says Sarah Tanno, makeup artist for Lady Gaga. But with so many shades of fair hair (especially the variations between bottled and natural), it can be tricky to pick the best color cosmetics for you. Tanno breaks it down: “If you’re a golden blonde, which has a more yellow-ish tone, stick to warm peaches and neutral pinks. If you’re a natural beachy blonde, think sun-kissed: golds, bronzes, and nothing too pink,” she says. Whatever your degree of blonde, make your face stand out by dusting highlighters such as
YSL Touche Eclat on the brow bone, around the eye, above the cheekbone, and a smidge on top of the bridge of the nose, Tanno adds.

Eyes: Instead of black liner, which can look harsh with golden hair, reach for one of fall’s hottest colors: purple. “Using an eggplant or dark hue, line as closely to your lashes as you can, then smudge and soften the line with a small angled brush,” says celebrity makeup artist Tara Loren, who has worked with Zooey Deschannel and Winona Ryder. Top with a purple shadow about two shades lighter than the liner, being careful not to bring it too close to the inner corners of your eyes. If plum’s not your thing, soft shades of taupe, silver, and charcoal also look great.

Lips: Blondes can try a pop of bright pink on their pouts for an edgier look, says celebrity hairstylist and makeup artist Peter Lamas, who has worked with Hollywood legends like Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, and Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis. Just be sure not to use too much color on the rest of your face or your features will be competing with one another, and bright colors (such as blue eye shadow) can make you look clownish. Adessa suggests a bubble-gum shade since a pink that’s too muted or nude gives towheads a washed-out look.

Red

Face: The biggest mistake gingers can make is going matchy-matchy, Powell says. Stick with neutral or pink tones instead, sweeping just a bit of bronzer on the cheekbones, with some pink blush swirled only on the apples of the cheeks.

Eyes: While the colors may conjure up thoughts of Christmas, when it comes to reddish hair, a greenish shadow is the perfect complement. “Rich colors like green, olive, hunter, and chocolate really stand out on redheads since they’re opposites,” explains Susan Posnick, Cindy Crawford’s former makeup artist. “Apply a light shimmery champagne color shadow just underneath the bottom lashes to really make eyes sparkle,” she suggests.

Lips: While other hair hues may be able to play with different lip colors, redheads have to be a bit more careful. “Many tones will clash with red,” Powell says. Adessa recommends subtle pink or red tones that match your lips' natural color.

Black

Face: “Raven hair is strong and mysterious,” Nemes says, “so balance out its intensity by aiming for a creamy alabaster nude complexion.” To avoid looking like Morticia Addams, she recommends applying a tinted moisturizer to the entire face, then dusting a bronzing powder only in the hollows of the cheekbones. Finish with highlighting powder on the cheekbones to attract light and create definition, and a cream blush rubbed onto the apples of the cheeks with your fingertips for a subtle rosy color.

Eyes: “Black eyeliner is important so the eyes don’t get lost,” Powell says. Layer on several coats of mascara and skip shadow altogether because it’s really not necessary to help eyes stand out. If you’re feeling retro, try a cool cat-eye by winging eyeliner up and outward on both top and bottom lids, Lamas suggests.

Lips: All of our experts agree: Noir-haired beauties can really rock an of-the-moment red kisser. “Black doesn’t clash with any lip color, so vivid tones really make a statement,” Powell says. Any shade of red works, or go darker with plum or berry tones for an equally dramatic look.