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Color me beautiful: How to wear bright makeup colors

Written By: Brigitte on March 26, 2012 9 Comments

I love working with really vivid colors when I have the opportunity. Bright blues, mint greens and neon orange shades are not for every job nor every client. On the other hand there’s no reason to feel intimidated by a splash of color because there are ways to control the madness.

The good news is that women of absolutely every age can wear brights on their eyes lips and cheeks as long it’s all at the same time. However, sticking to a bright lip only is a better strategy for mature gals.

How about coloring? Well there’s a simple rule: the more yellow your skin tone, the warmer your makeup palette should be. The opposite is true too. The less yellow you have in your skin, the cooler your makeup. There is an exception for women who are extremely pale or extremely dark. They seem to able to wear any strong colors and look fabulous.

Then there’s the question of how strong and crazy can the tones get?
That’s really a matter of choice. The young ones can wear it all but if you’re forty and up an electric blue eye shadow will not make you look younger. So there are ways to navigate these treacherous waters.

Karolina Kurkova for InStyle - makeup Brigitte Reiss-Andersen

For eyes:
– If you are unsure of how to go about this, use a painter’s trick: neutralize. Let’s say we’re dealing with eye shadow. You apply a strong shade first, like royal blue, then take the strength down a bit by layering it with a soft pink/flesh colored shadow to tone it down. Then as you build your confidence you can use less and less of the neutralizer and more of the royal blue. As a general rule, a finish on the matte side is better than frosty/glittery unless you want to look like you’re wearing stage makeup.
– A variation is to use soft pastel shades and use them as a wash of color, just thinly applied like a water color rather than a blast of neon.
– Another way is to use a super-vivid eyeliner like royal blue, aqua and violet and keep the rest of the eye in neutral shades or even better, nude.

For lips:
I have been turning a lot of women on to the first very bright red shade of commercially produced red lipstick that made my heart go pitter-patter. Up until then I used to mix my brightest lip shades with pigment to get the result I wanted. Then Mac came up with Lady Danger. A game changer. Not only was it the perfect red but it seems to suit any type, any skin tone and any age because it’s so frank and matte. However if you’re not into intense shades you can take it down a notch and choose sorbet colored lip gloss instead.

The same rule applies as I mentioned above: oranges and corals look best on yellow toned skin and cerise and fuchsia are amazing on skins than have less yellow in them. As always, very pale and very dark skins can get away with any brights.

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9 Responses to “Color me beautiful: How to wear bright makeup colors”

  1. Evie on: 27 March 2012 at 12:19 pm

    Hi Brigitte,

    I just came across your blog having googled your name, after seeing your work featured in this month’s UK Glamour. I’ve never been compelled to go hunting for a makeup artist before based simply on an editorial- but the looks you created were so fresh, so beautiful, so inspired, I was like “WOW, I HAVE to know who did this!’ (Having read your portfolio, I feel a bit abashed, as I think I should already have known who you are). You made me want to try these looks for myself, but as it was hair feature, there was nothing to guide me. Do you think there’s any chance you could share some of your techniques and/or a product list? (The orange lipstick from the second shot in particular is to-die-for!) You’d make me the happiest girl in the world!

    And I found the above feature super-helpful. I’ve got big big eyes and I’m reluctant to use a bright colour all over, but I just might try the bright shadow as eyeliner trick you’ve mentioned…

    Thanks for sharing all these great insights with the world!

  2. Evie on: 27 March 2012 at 11:27 pm

    I adore Karolina’s look! How did you achieve it?

  3. Brigitte on: 28 March 2012 at 10:23 pm

    Hi Evie,
    Thank you so much for all the lovely things you wrote. I just got the Glamour UK myself so I’ll take a look at what’s there. I would love to give you more info on the looks. I can do it next week. Right now I’m packing to go to Jamaica for a shoot. So, in a few days. I’ll get back to you.
    In the meantime, stay glamorous!

  4. Brigitte on: 28 March 2012 at 10:24 pm

    Just a bright lilac pencil around the eyes and mascara on the lashes. Sometimes simple is best.

  5. Evie on: 28 March 2012 at 11:44 pm

    Wow, funny how many people have the same name! Thanks for the tips Brigitte, and have fun in Jamaica!

  6. Evie on: 29 March 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Oooh, I look forward to it, thanks! And have a fabulous trip 🙂

  7. Brigitte on: 3 April 2012 at 2:07 pm

    OK here it is: Keep the skin as clean looking as possible (no thick foundation, no shading)
    Keep the focus on the lashes with a brown pencil in the top and bottom lash-line. For a more sophisticated look ( as in picture 2) add a matte brown shadow again around the lash-line. Curl the lashes, and apply a couple coats of black mascara. The lips in picture 2 is a very bright coral from MAC Creme sheen called Full Speed. Apply lip color and blot with kleenex.

  8. Evie on: 8 April 2012 at 8:43 am

    This is really appreciated Brigitte. I will definitely be trying it out!

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