The color wheel—that circular diagram that shows the relationship between visible hues—isn't a tool used only by color theorists. It can also be a handy instrument for you, helping you choose which shades work best for everything from your skin's undertone to your eyes, lips and nails. "The color wheel can be especially helpful in giving guidelines for your makeup shopping, much like using paint charts when designing the colors for your home,” explains celebrity makeup artist Tim Quinn. Here is how to take the color wheel for a spin to become a master of makeup. Choosing Makeup for Your Eyes Specific eye shadow pigments can enhance your eye color, and the color wheel can ultimately help you decide which complement it best. “As complementary colors are directly opposite each other on the color wheel, choosing a shade opposite of your eye color makes both colors appear brighter,” Quinn says. Quinn often uses eye shadow palettes rather than a single shade. Palettes tend to have different tones in the same color family, making it easy to combine colors and add depth using brighter and darker tones. Selecting Lip Colors The color wheel can be useful when selecting lipstick, as well. First, figure out your skin's undertone. You want to use a shade in the same family (for example, warm or cool), rather than in one opposite it, to brighten your complexion. "In this season of reds, I like to advise that red-orange lips tend to look good on warmer-toned women, including olive complexions, whereas blue-reds are amazing on cooler-toned and pale skin,” Quinn says. Picking Nail Polish Hues When it comes to finding that perfect neutral polish, nail artist and contributor Simcha Whitehill also suggests going with a shade that matches your skin's undertones. Whitehill says you can also look to your outfit when experimenting with the color wheel to find that ideal nail hue. If you are wearing primary colors, for example, dress your nails in a complementary primary color. That means if you are wearing a bright yellow dress, try a bright blue, like Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Force.

Photos: Getty (main); Chad Engle (color wheel)

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