15 Bright Eyeshadow Products That Pop On Dark Skin

by Mecca James-Williams
Originally Published: 
A model with short hair and dark skin, wearing bright eyeshadow in blue and yellow

Growing up, my mother wasn’t strict about too much... but makeup was the exception. We weren’t gifted glitter makeup cases or a rainbow-hued assortment of nail polishes, as my mother had certain colors that were deemed “too grown." Anything red or dark didn’t really fly in our household. With those "rules" in mind, my sister and I didn’t really care to venture into makeup until later in the game... and eventually, I found several bright eye makeup products for dark skin that would be worthy of my mom bending the rules a little bit.

When I first started wearing makeup, I only wore red lipstick (MAC Cosmetics Retro Matte Lipstick in Ruby Woo and Sephora Collection Cream Stain Liquid Lipstick in Red Velvet, to be exact) and a small cat-eye everyday. That was my look for years... until I saw the magical I-D Magazine Winter Warm Up Issue No. 316 in 2011 with cover star Jourdan Dunn glowing in the richest pigments of pink and red. I was mesmerized by the hues, and how they saturated her deep brown skin. From that point, I was meticulous about finding the right bold and vibrant colors for my almond eye shape and buttery brown complexion.

Mecca James-Williams

Now, I'm super confident in my eye makeup game. From strong eyeshadows to abstract lines on my lids, I've found my niche. And I've also learned the tricks of the trade from celebrity makeup artists who have mastered bright eyeshadows on dark skin. "Pair your bright shimmery eye shadow with a deep rich matte shadow to create contrast and dimension," Sean Harris, go-to makeup artist for Kristen Noel Crawley and Normani says. "I love using deep amber and deep honey matte tones to contrast bright colors." And if you're still hesitant about completely coating your lids in a bright shadow, Harris suggests still incorporating a pop, especially during the summer months. "A bright fun eyeliner or mascara is a great way to incorporate color into your routine," he says. "Try replacing your normal black formula with a pop of rich cobalt blue."

But while the industry offers bold colors for varieties of skin tones, at times, I still find it difficult to nail down rich pigments that don't have loads of glitter in the mix. I've made way too many Sephora and drugstore run-ins with colored products that just didn't work... but at the same rate, I've also found a number of products that stand out and stay on all day long.

Check out my favorites below.

Eyeshadow Palettes

Liquid Eyeshadows

Cream & Gloss Eyeshadows

Colored Mascara

Bright Eyeliner

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