I recently got my aura photographed by Christina Lonsdale, New York-based visual artist and founder of Radiant Human. The process was simple: I placed my hands on two metal sensors and gazed into the camera for about 10 seconds as the equipment captured the electromagnetic energy and translated those frequencies to certain colors (for me, a haze of red, orange, and purple). The tiny polaroid sits proudly on my bookshelf, an emblem of where I was energetically at that particular moment—creative, intuitive, and in the thick of new beginnings. 

Aura portraits are pretty private by nature, but it is possible to communicate your aura colors with others, if you choose. Take aura nails, for example, the buzzy beauty trend that has people glazing their tips in vibrant swirls specific to their energies. As this type of self-expression becomes more popular, I expect we’ll see more aura makeup looks taking center stage. Makeup tells a story, after all—why not share yours? 

“Auras are energy signatures around us,” says Mystic Michaela, an aura reader and medium. “When we embrace the energy that we give off, we can increase our own vibrations.” Different colors are associated with different qualities and emotions (you can read all about them here), and someone’s aura is usually a combination of colors, with one being more dominant than the others. “Your aura is like this little peek inside of what’s happening in your mind, in your body, and what you’re stepping into and wanting to create in your life,” adds aura reader and stylist Susanna Merrick. “Essentially, it’s the truest essence of you.” 

So where does makeup come into play? Well, makeup itself can be a form of self-expression, so it makes sense why people want to strategically match certain shades to their personal aura. “Using the different colors, either our own or the ones we’d wish to ‘borrow,’ we project an immediate impression of ourselves,” Michaela explains. Say, if you’re feeling confident and creative, a swirl of red and orange may strike your fancy; or if a calm, compassionate expression is more your vibe, you may gravitate towards a blue-green hue.

Merrick isn’t surprised people feel drawn to aura-inspired makeup looks—there’s plenty of science behind our connection to color; plus, our society has been starved for social connection these past few years, so it makes sense people want to communicate their core essence with a single glance. And according to Donni Davy, head makeup artist of Euphoria and co-founder of Half Magic, it’s “just simply fun to really bring your mood and your psyche into your makeup.” Merrick would agree: “Connecting to your aura energy gives you permission to just be you,” she adds. Is there anything more beautiful than that? 

How to connect your makeup to your aura. 

First thing’s first: Figure out your aura colors. You can either get your aura photographed during an aura reading; or if that’s unavailable to you, you can also take our quick aura quiz to get a sense of your soul shade. You can also use color itself as a guide, says Merrick. “If you’re attracted to certain colors or repulsed by certain colors, they can tell you what you may be desiring, wanting, or afraid of having,” she explains. 

For example, if you have a sudden aversion to the color orange, she suggests you might be dealing with some social anxiety or fear of taking some sort of risk in your life. As a result, you might gravitate towards blue (the complementary color), which carries the message of trust, purpose, and wisdom. That said, think about what colors you naturally find yourself yearning for and proceed from there. Here’s a full list of aura colors and their meanings, if you need a refresher. 

Next, map out the makeup—and feel free to play up your creativity. “Aura eyeshadow is all about experimenting with the placement of shadow. For example: above the brows, extended to the temples, on the side of the bridge of the nose, and super high up on the cheek bones,” explains Davy.

She recommends layering powder eyeshadows over liquid formulas (like Half Magic’s CHROMADDICTION) for a really vivid, dreamy effect. “The liquid colors will bring the color intensity, and the powders will bring that super soft blending moment that you see in aura photographs,” she notes. “It’s that moment where colors softly blend into different (and sometimes unexpected) colors that gives the signature aura look.” 

While you can use as many colors as you please, it does help to set some sort of intention for your look: Who am I, and what do I want to express today? “You want to be clear about which energy you want to enhance and which you would like to borrow for the moment,” Michaela adds. A multicolored moment looks stunning, don’t get me wrong, but if you’re trying to portray a specific aura combination, “clear and concise is best, whatever that looks like for you,” she says. 

Aura makeup can give others a peek at your essence and translate whatever energy you’d like to represent. At the end of the day, the goal is to activate your aura color in some way: “We activate it through spiritual practices, we activate it by wearing it, we activate it by being intentional and meditating around it,” says Merrick. If rocking aura-inspired shadow (or nail polish) helps you connect to a specific intention in your life, by all means, blend away.