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It’s March, and the winter-weary denizens of the farther reaches of the northern hemisphere are starting to see signs of spring. Days are longer, the sun is warmer and the snow pack is sagging — a sure sign that it will melt away soon, giving way to fresh green growth.

March also brings St. Patrick’s Day -- the one day when everyone not lucky enough to have a drop of Irish blood in their veins is able to raise a wee dram of Irish Mist or Guiness in praise of Yeats’ poetry, U2, the Book of Kells and the glorious rhythms of Riverdance. Of course, you must be decked out in green whilst indulging in this revelry.

However, green is one of the most difficult colours to wear in clothing or makeup.

Going back to colour wheel theory for a moment (September 2004 column), you’ll find that green is opposite red. Unless you’re a lab rat, it’s unlikely that you’ve got red eyes to emphasize, so the trick is finding a green shade that suits your baby blues ... or browns.

The No.1 best-selling item in Cargo Cosmetics entire line is “Green Bay” -- a shimmering lime green eye shadow that looks great on blue and brown eyes alike. A yellow-based green like this will highlight any green in blue eyes and add depth to browns.

Green eye shadows work best on brown eyes, especially when the green has an earthy tone to it; think olive and khaki rather than lime or emerald. I am a recent convert to green eye shadow, using MAC’s “Sumptuous Olive” with “Naked Lunch” (a rich peachy pink shade) and “Teddy” (shimmering brown) eyeliner. Other shades to try: Lorac’s “Olive”, a shimmering light green; Pout’s “Miss March” duo of light and medium olive shades; or Lancôme Artliner in “Olive”.

Blue-eyed beauties should consider Lorac’s “Kiwi”, the NARS “Wicked” duo or Revlon Colorstay Eye Glide in “Jade” and Pout liner in “Eye Envy You”.

If you’re thinking of honouring the Emerald Isle with emerald eyes this month, try: MAC’s “Humid”, Stila’s Smudge Pot in “Emerald” or a surprise sweep of Too Faced “Shock” mascara.

Having green eyes yourself does not mean that you cannot wear this colour. Select blue green shades from palest aqua through turquoise to peacock blue. Try MAC’s “Swimming”, Too Faced “Fantasy Island” duo, Paula Dorf Eye Color Glimmer in “Dreamboat” or Laura Mercier “Mermaid”.

Part of the secret to successfully carrying off a green eye shadow look lies in the colour you pair it with. Peach, pink and gold are your best bets for highlight shades -- think NARS’ “Night Star”, Clinique’s “Whisper” or MAC’s “Ambering Lights”. Use deep brown or plum liners, never, black, for greatest “oomph” factor.

Finally, for all you true lovers of green eye shadow out there, there is the Pixi Eye Beauty Kit in “Muse”. Along with a neutral eyelid base and under eye concealer, are six shades of green and gold shadows: golden reflex green, avocado green with gold base, deep golden olive, rich sparkly cream-gold, shimmering yellow green, and olive bronze. (Available at Sephora for $28 US)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all!

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