Every year, when the weather begins to warm up, there's no escaping the pastel trend. It seems that every makeup brand puts out a gorgeous palette of soft-hued pastel shadows, reminiscent of florals and fairies, and promising a romantic, ethereal look. If you have a warm-toned complexion — whether your skin is fair, dark, or in between — these shades might fill you with dread. Some of them can end up making you look ashy, washed-out, and exhausted... a common complaint among Latinas in particular. If your skin has warm undertones, and you'd love to indulge in the pastel makeup trend, here’s your fear-busting guide to making the pastel trend work for you.
First Things First: Prime Your Lids
Since pastels are by nature so light, they tend to “absorb” the darker color of your eyelids, which in turn changes the shadow color. Combat this with an oil-free matte finish primer like Urban Decay's Primer Potion in Eden. The neutral color helps balance out uneven skin tone on your lids and keeps your pastel shade true to its own color.
Use the Right Shade of Pastel
James Vincent, celebrity makeup artist and director of artistry for The MakeUp Show, offers up his pastel shadow survivor tip: “The trick is to work with the undertone of the skin. If you have a yellow undertone to your skin, try cool pastels in blues and purples. If you have a warm red tone, try pink or yellow pastel shades.” Be sure to choose a super-saturated color with a duo-chrome or shift finish, which will reflect light and keep you from looking dated. If you run neutral (meaning you have equal doses of red and yellow in your skin), Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Crème Colour Concentrate in Newt is a pastel peach that's great all over your lid for a fresh, wide-awake, no-makeup makeup look
Use a Pastel On Your Lid Or As Your Liner — Not Both
A block of mint green shadow from your lid to your brow bone is straight out of the '80s. The key to success with a pastel liner is knowing where to draw the line, no pun intended. “Keep the color concentrated on the lid from crease to lash,” says Vincent. “Leave the brow bone bare to make it modern and avoid a telenovela look.” For a subtle pop of color, work that pastel as an eyeliner: A lavender or mint green wingtip is luminous and unexpected.
Balance the softness of your shadow with a strong dose of black liquid liner, either on your lash line or your inner rim, and a very full lash. For a fashion forward look, Vincent recommends pairing the soft pastel with a taupe eyeshadow in the crease. "Add a line of liquid along the lash line in bold black or in a deeper, richer version of the shadow you’ve chosen,” he says. It provides just enough edge to keep your look balanced and modern, plus it keeps your pretty shade of pastel from looking chalky.
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Photo: Courtesy of MCV Photo.