Nothing thrills us more than experimenting with a new makeup routine for the change of season—especially when that season is autumn. Fall brings cooler temps and even cooler eyeshadows. Whether you’re into minimal eyeshadow or want to wear sultry smoky eyes, there’s definitely room to play. While summer makeup touts bright pops of color and bolder hues, fall brings warmer, spicier tones that are flattering for every eye color.
For fall eyeshadow inspiration, we tapped a duo of makeup artists to break down this season's trends and share their expert tips on how to recreate them yourself.
Meet Our Expert
Alex Byrne is a makeup artist and men’s groomer.
The '90s are back, and we’re not mad at it. Makeup artist Tiffany Tarazi predicts, “We'll see a lot more '90s matte browns taking the lead this season!” This is excellent news for all who love collecting eyeshadow palettes, as a flattering matte brown is usually included. No matter the shade of brown, applying shadow with a fluffy brush and blending well on the lid and crease is an application technique anyone can benefit from. Tom Ford Beauty Eye Color Quad Eyeshadow Palette in “Desert Fox” ($90) has an array of gorgeous brown shades to recreate this look.
While rich matte browns might be taking center stage this fall season, Tarazi adds, "Pops of color will not be forgotten” with the transition. Emerald greens, deep blues, and plum are all tonal hues that correspond with fall colors; this emerald green shadow paired with liquid liner is a look we’ve bookmarked for our next special occasion.
“For fall 2023, fashion designers and celebs are simplifying glam, updating iconic moments from the past with a fresh modern twist,” notes makeup artist Alex Byrne. “This fall, we will see more of a low-key shimmer on the lids versus the Y2K obsession with sparkles and glitter.” Byrne is a fan of adding a metallic or sparkly finish as a last step to shadow application, “I’ll first place an open tissue under the bottom lash line and across the cheeks to catch any fallout, then use my finger to press pigment or glitter into the eyelid gently and wait for a few quick blinks before I take the tissue away.”
This sculpted, shimmering eye look is perfect for any special occasion this fall; fine glitter is pressed onto the lids, beginning at the inner corners and extending to the outer corners. Apply your shadow look and add the shimmer as the finishing touch. Victoria Beckham Lid Lustre in shade “Chiffon” ($36) is easy to apply and gives a soft-focus glitter finish that sparkles in all the right places. Paired with falsies and winged liner, this fall glam shadow look is at the top of our list.
Natural Fall Beauty
Pairing a natural tone shadow with liner and lashes is critical to elevating an everyday shadow look into something visually interesting. Tarazi loves a natural shadow look for fall and emphasizes the ease of creating it, “To keep it simple, I love a singular wash of color all over the eye. No matter the finish, it always looks so pretty and understated. Go for a light to mid-tone brown applied with a fluffy brush. Pair with a brown mascara, and you’ll be good to go.”
Elevate your neutral eyeshadow palette by smudging some dark liner at the lashline before adding a few coats of your favorite mascara. Tarazi recommends amping up your shadow look for the change of weather, “The cooler temperatures mean less sweat and potential smudging, allowing for more longevity in your makeup application.”
If smoky eyes are your thing, fall is the season to start wearing them regularly. “I always start with the darkest color first," says Byrne. "Whether a coffee-stained brown or deep black, I go straight in at the base of the lashes with a tight line inside the upper water line and a cream-based pigment at the roots of the top lashes, blending into the shape I need. Then I press deep eyeshadows over the top to intensify the darkest pigments, add lighter tones to blend the edges, and press in delicate iridescence for a glow.” Chanel Beauty Multi-Effect Quadra Eyeshadow in “Modern Glamour” ($68) has both matte and shimmering smoky shadow shades.
Another way to rock a chic smoky eye is to emphasize the liner and use softer shadow tones on the lids and creases. Think deep black liner paired with a gray shadow palette. You can’t go wrong with experimenting with different smoky looks, and Byrne agrees that fall is a great time to ramp up eyeshadow. “As we layer up clothing, it’s easy to update glam with simple eyeshadow combinations and try a few new colors that emphasize eyes and complement personal style.”
“This autumn, brights are neutrals; From a kitten line to a color extravaganza, pop colors are paired with everything from casual to formal style on runways and red carpets,” explains Byrne. This is why royal plum tone shadow is ideal when switching up your hues this fall season.
Dulce de Leche
This shadow look is ideal if you want to dive into fall palettes but need to keep it simple. Byrne emphasizes, “None of us could live without dulce de leche. This stealth wealth glam is timeless, and for the upcoming fall season, it’s updated with softly glowing cloud skin and a range of warm (honey) and cool (taupe) eyeshadows that only add a slight contrast. If you’re a pumpkin spice lover, this is the perfect trend for slipping in warm autumnal browns that make your eye color glow.”
Soft Sparkle Monochrome
This fall season, "celebs are simplifying glam, updating iconic moments from the past with a fresh modern twist," explains Byrne. "It's still polished and somewhat monochrome, effortlessly blending harmonious colors, creating a well-sculpted eye that's relaxed and effortlessly chic."
Keeping in theme with warm browns for fall, this sheer cinnamon shadow look is lovely paired with a thick liner. Bringing definition at the lash line and keeping the shadow tones sheer up to the brow bone is an excellent way to accentuate a hooded eye shape.
“The best way to start a smoky eye is by tightening the whole eye with a chocolate brown or black gel eyeliner," explains Tarazi. "It gives the shadows a base to stick to while blending and smudging it out. But honestly, the messier, the cooler." The chocolate brown palette and smoky application of this shadow look are an ideal way to level up your shadow game for the fall season.
A mix of sparkly and smoky pigments that complement each other is best for this fall shadow look. Shimmer is applied to the inner corners and center of the lid, while darker shadow is blended outward, extending from the crease to the outer corner for added drama.
Eyeliner isn’t leaving the scene anytime soon, so we’re glad it pairs well with eyeshadow to complement the best fall shadow looks. While one might opt for a simple shadow applied all over the lid, Byrne recommends “adding a delicate, extended liner to a monochromatic shadow of your choice and finishing with multiple coats of your favorite mascara” for ways to accentuate a one-shade shadow.
Don't be afraid to make a colorful statement and wear a winged liner with your fall eyeshadow look. Salma Hayek's deep teal shadow and graphic black liner play quite well together. Clé De Peau Beauté Eye Color Quad in “Azure Blue Sea” ($75) has some gorgeous jewel tone shades.
It wouldn’t be fall if we didn’t pay homage to the classic copper shade. The metallic shadow is applied around the eye, accentuating the top and bottom lashline with defining liner and voluminous lashes. Armani Beauty Eye Tint Long-Lasting Liquid Eyeshadow in “Flame” ($26) is a suitable one-shade product for this look
Earth Toned Beauty
Minimal makeup wearers, rejoice! Earth tones are as suitable for fall as any other season, so you don’t need to put away your beloved taupes. A sheer wash of color with tight liner and mascara is all you need; we love an earth-tone moment.
Just because the golden days of summer are over doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy shimmering gold shadow in the fall months. The shadow placed delicately on the top and bottom lash line is stunning and ideal for wearing a metallic shadow that pops.
Bring out your boldest gunmetal and black shadows to create a smoky eye that turns heads anywhere you go! The shadow blended down along the bottom lash line seals the look, making it as dramatic as possible. Byrne has some tips for blending when it comes to dramatic eye looks: “It's important to remember to move your eyeshadow brush upward and away from the outer corner of your eyes. To blend the outer corners, start at the outer 1/3 at the lash line and constantly move the brush toward the temples to give the shadow a subtle, natural lifting effect.”
Classy and Contoured
Contouring your eyes is a thing, and you can significantly enhance their shape. The palette here is more than suitable for fall, with a soft taupe applied on the lid and a deeper hue contoured in the crease, allowing the eyes to stand out. The deep navy liner is a subtle change from the typical black, adding a unique accent to tie the look together.
Milk chocolate shadow supplies effortless autumnal vibes. Plus, is a nice switch-up from the pumpkin spice and cinnamon browns we see during the fall season.
Shimmer and Smudge
Lining the top and bottom lashline with a shimmering shadow in a dark navy, gray, or black hue makes it easy to get a smudged “lived-in” smoky look for fall. The more smudged, the better.
Fresh Fall Beauty
Change things up and use a matte shadow as an eyeliner for a fall look that's natural and easy to replicate. You can choose whichever color suits you best and apply it with an angled shadow brush as precisely as you’d like on the top and bottom lash line—an excellent way to define the eyes paired with a natural matte eyeshadow.
Warm, rusted hues are the ideal shadow tones for fall, bringing out nearly every eye color. This mix of rust and smoky liner is suitable for any event, day or night. PUR Cosmetics On Point Eyeshadow Palette in “Friday” ($22) has a generous selection of rusts, copper, and oranges.
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