Bellingham Makeup Artist: Color Theory 101

Today we are going back to the basics! Color Theory is something stylists in the beauty industry use habitually, but is a little foreign to the general public. The more we train our eyes to see colors, whether they be complimentary or neutralizing, the more we are able to design everything from makeup looks to outfits to home decor. I'll try to keep it simple, but let me know if you have any questions! 



Primary Colors

This is the foundation of all colors, you can make every single color if you have these three.

Red, Blue, and Yellow.


Secondary Colors

Imagine you had the three primary colors in eye shadow swatches on your arm. Now what would happen if you blended each of the lines where the colors meet? You get secondary colors! 

Orange, Violet, and Green.


Tertiary Colors 

Back to the swatches illustration. Imagine you have each of the primary and secondary colors on your arm, now blend those lines again. Now you have tertiary colors! 

Yellow-Orange, Orange-Red, Red-Violet, Violet-Blue, Blue-Green, and Green-Yellow. 

Fun fact. Each of the tertiary colors are a marriage between one primary and one secondary!

Now you can at least identify the colors on the color wheel! The tricky part is to learn the relationship these colors have with each other. Two ways we use this in makeup is to perfect skin (using neutralizing colors) and making eyes "pop" (using complementary colors). 


Complementary Colors

If you want a certain color to stand out, you surround it with a "complementary color" which is the color directly opposite on the color wheel. Also notice, cool tones are always opposite warm ones.






For example: If someone sits in my chair and tells me they really like the green in their beautiful hazel eyes, I go for the plummy/wine tones for their eye shadow. If they would love to make the blue really come out in photos I go for the orange tones such as copper and bronze. 


Neautralizing Colors

This is how makeup artists get your skin to behave! We don't just keep adding layers of makeup until it fades away, we color correct. By finding those same opposite colors on the color wheel and layering them, we neutralize what we want to hide. 

Example: If during skin prep I notice a little irritation (yay pimples) I color correct with a green toned concealer before moving on to the foundation. If someone has dark under eye circles a little peach/salmon concealer (well blended!) before the skin toned concealer is applied does wonders.

Color correction = neutralizing the colors you don't want. 


What do you think? Make any sense? I'd love to hear your thoughts, so feel free to email me or comment below! 

Much love, 
~Elizabeth Marie