4 Ways to Punch Up Pastel Makeup

This season’s on-trend pastel blues, purples, and pinks look picture perfect on macarons and sprinkles, but they run the risk of looking a little too sweet on your face (the words “frosty” and “cakey” come to mind). In an effort to avoid being compared to sugary—albeit, delicious—desserts, we tapped pro makeup artist Blondie for tips on how to make traditionally saccharine pastel shades look surprisingly sharp by choosing the right shades, formulas, and finishes.

Go Smoky

lilac smoky eye

Photo: Style.com/Wenn

Toughen up on-trend lilac by creating a pastel smoky eye, an edgy spring runway favorite from designers like Vera Wang and Derek Lam. Line your top and bottom lash lines with a violet, blendable eye pencil like Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Colour in Orchid and gradually smudge it outward to create a hazy effect—the finish should be soft and dewy, not powdery, says Blondie. Finish with a few coats of black mascara to make your eyes pop.

Draw the Line

pastel cat eye

Photo: Adam Stanley

Graphic eyeliner doesn't have to mean reaching for jet-black pigment. Try applying a bright mint green, lavender, or sky blue liner like Cynthia Rowley's to the upper lash line instead to electrify your usual cat-eye. “The clean, bold swipes will light up your entire face and look edgy, even though the shades are so sweet,” Blondie says. Take a cue from the runways and pair your standout wings with a pretty lip stain, like Benefit's Benetint, to finish the look.

Keep it Simple

coral lipstick

Photo: Getty Images

A soft pastel can be just as bold as a red. To get this spring’s take on the statement lip, Blondie recommends applying a pastel pink or coral lip color—Laqa & Co.'s Sheer Lip Lube Pencil in Bees Knees is the perfect combo of both. With pale pastels, less is more so keep the rest of your look minimal—clean, defined brows, a clean cat-eye, and a breathable BB will get you a natural, put-together finish that won’t compete with your bold lip.

Get Groovy

peach eye shadow

Photo: Beautyblitz/Imaxtree

Give tame pastel shadows a modern ‘60s spin that would do Megan Draper proud. First, apply a wash of warm color over the entire lid, like the lightest Peach Parfait shade from the POP Portfolio Palette, blending it just over the crease of the eye. Finish by loading your top and bottom lashes with black mascara (we love Eyeko’s retro-inspired Black Magic) and creating a modern take on the decade’s bouffant.

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