Do you remember your first pieces of makeup? I do. I remember one of them. It was a Maybelline trio with three matte neutral shades in it, and I got it when I was a freshman at university.
That’s really when I started venturing into makeup, and my friends had some very good advice: “Just use something that doesn’t scream ‘color’ but gives your eyes some dimension.”
If I remember it right, that trio was roughly the equivalent of Urban Decay Foxy, Naked, and Buck.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Even professional makeup artists would tell you not to underestimate the power of good neutrals, and I remain a fan of them to this day, but what if you’ve been dabbling in the neutral waters for a while and feel like making a colorful change?
You may not feel comfortable leaping from Naked palettes to peacock colors and mermaid eyes right away. So what can you do to make the transition a little easier?
Below are a few tips to help beginners ease their way into the fantastic world of color!
Products mentioned today
Tip 1: Try a colorful eyeliner on your lower lash line
Products: MAC Macroviolet, UD Rockstar, UD Ransom, UD Mildew, UD Stash, Eyeko Skinny Eyeliner in Emerald Green
From left to right: MAC Macroviolet, UD Rockstar, UD Ransom, UD Mildew, UD Stash, Eyeko Skinny Eyeliner in Emerald Green
If you feel like keeping most of your eyes neutral, a pop of color along your lower lash line is one easy way to spice things up. You can even go over the eyeliner with a neutral eyeshadow to bring the intensity down a notch.
In this photo, for example, I’m wearing Urban Decay Half Baked on the inner half of my lids, Darkhorse on the outer half, and the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Eyeliner in Mildew on my lower lash line.
See how that green snap gives an otherwise basic look more character?
Tip 2: Look for neutral colors with pizzazz
Products: NARS Paranaribo, Wet n’ Wild Comfort Zone, MAC Shale, MAC Sumptuous Olive
From left to right: NARS Paramaribo, Wet n’ Wild Comfort Zone, MAC Shale, MAC Sumptuous Olive
Are they neutrals, or are they not? Many shades could really be both, which makes them versatile, approachable, and extremely user-friendly. Whether it’s a bronzy gold with an olive sheen or a dark brown with a green sheen, these are shades that you can either pair with non-neutrals if you’re comfortable with that, or with neutrals if you’re not (like for something office-appropriate).
In this photo, I’m wearing MAC Sumptuous Olive on the inner half, and the darker shade from NARS Paramaribo on the outer half. Sumptuous Olive flashes green from some angles. It’s beautiful, and a very understated way to wear color.
Tip 3: Throw a colorful eyeshadow into the neutral mix
Products: Wet n’ Wild Comfort Zone, MAC Humid, UD Mildew, UD Purple Haze, MAC Satellite Dreams
From left to right: Wet n’ Wild Comfort Zone, MAC Humid, UD Mildew, UD Purple Haze, MAC Satellite Dreams
Much like a game of “spot the odd one out,” incorporating a colorful eyeshadow into a look with neutral shades is a great way to start wearing some color. It’s a little bolder than the previous two tips, but not as “in your face” as going full throttle with brights.
In these photos, I’m wearing MAC Woodwinked on the inner half of my lids and MAC Satellite Dreams on the outer half. My lower lash line is lined with Urban Decay Zero, and then smudged out with Satellite Dreams.
It’s fun! It has some color! But it’s manageable, too.
Tip 4: Use a base to pump things up or tone things down
Products: L’Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Perpetual Purple, Maybelline Color Tattoo 24 Hour Eyeshadows in Bold Gold & Bad to the Bronze
From left to right: L’Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Perpetual Purple, Urban Decay Sin over L’Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Perpetual Purple, Maybelline Color Tattoo 24 Hour Eyeshadows in Bold Gold, Urban Decay Mildew over Bold Gold, Maybelline Color Tattoo 24 Hour Eyeshadows in Bad to the Bronze, MAC Sumptuous Olive over Maybelline Color Tattoo 24 Hour Eyeshadows in Bad to the Bronze
From drugstore to luxury brands, nowadays, there are countless excellent cream and cream-to-powder products to play with. Whether you’re looking for a neutral eyeshadow to tone down the color in a base, or using a neutral base to make the colorful shades more wearable, you have a lot of options.
For this look, I actually want to show how dramatic you might eventually get. I used L’Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Perpetual Purple as a base, blended Urban Decay Purple Haze over it, and added some darker purple from the L’Oreal Metallic HiP duo in Electrified in the outer corners of my eyes. Admittedly, it’s not a look I’ll wear on a daily basis, but it’s a lot of fun sometimes.
Tip 5: Hybrid products can pave the way to wearing bold lips
From the left: NARS Mexican Rose, Guerlain Coque d’Or, Dior Plaza, Revlon Cherry Tart, Dior Riviera
What if you want to sport bold lips, but every time you try on a brighter shade than you’re used to, you freak yourself out a little? Again, don’t expect to go from “my lips but better” to MAC Morange in a day. Give yourself time to practice!
Luckily, there are many balm/lipstick/gloss hybrid lip products on the market, from drugstore to luxury. Whatever your budget, you can find something to help you ease into that hot pink lip, like, try dabbing a bold lipstick on as a stain, or wear your lip balm underneath it to make it more wearable.
I hope these tips helped! Don’t forget, it’s about baby steps. Remember, you’re beautiful whether you wish to sport a classic neutral look or a bright look blazing with color, as long as you feel comfortable in whatever you’re wearing.
Lots of success, ladies!
Sunny, your beauty culture translator xx