Blonde Ambition: go beyond cliché makeup
Creating the right makeup for a blonde is deceptively challenging. Why? Because it’s so easy to overdo it.
To begin with very few women are real blondes, so finding their real color story based on skin tone and hair color demands some expertise. Is the skin yellow-based, pink-based, tan or olive? Or, since her hair color has been altered and is now a light, reflective halo around the face one can’t just do a “paint-by-numbers” routine. You have to use a light touch and be subtle.
As a makeup artist, color is only half of what I need to figure out. Style is just as important.
The stereotypical blonde we first tend to think of is a Pamela Anderson type. She puts a heavy emphasis on “sexy” with pre-requisite over-teased hair, black rimmed eyes and an erased lip. But there are many other types and styles of blondes: classy Charlize Theron, chic Scarlett Johansson, impossibly hip Kate Moss and unparalleled Tilda Swinton. Do any of these women look the same and wear the same makeup? Absolutely not. The style determines the look.
Here is some general advice for a blonde:
- Do not use a darker foundation to look tan. The makeup would get immediately look heavy. If you want to go the tan way, “frame the face” with a bronzer (see blog post Tip: how to balance your tan) which will give a sunny glow while keeping the skin looking fresh.
- Do not use a black eyeliner and eyeshadow as a default mode. Black tends to look quite hard on blondes and can make the eyes look smaller. Unless you are going for a sophisticated evening look, stick to dark brown, dark grey, gunmetal and navy, which will look dark and deep but act softer than black.
- Don’t do a strong lip AND a strong eye. If it’s badly done it will look cheap and if it’s it’s well done it will just look retro. If that’s the theme you’re going for that’s fine.
- If you need to turn up the volume on the Glamo-meter, rather than make a heavy, dark statement on the eyes, try playing with texture. A shimmery eye, or a high-shine gloss can achieve just as dramatic an effect and still look chic.
- In general, avoid blue eye shadow just because it’s such a cliché. There are many other shades to choose from so try and expand your horizon. Dove, lilac, suede, pewter, peach are great options.
- Think of a head of blonde hair as a luminous frame for the face, and work to pick up even more light with the makeup: use highlights on the skin and shimmery finishes on the eyes.
- If you’re fair use a palette of soft pastels for anything on and around the face:
baby pink, dove grey, apricot, blush.
- If you are tan, choose brown, camel, sienna, copper and gold.
- Vivid and deep lip colors look great on blondes. Just make sure to ease up on the eye makeup and style your hair so it’s the lesser dominant. Pulled away from the face in a ponytail or a fashionable bun is the way to go.
all makeup by Brigitte Reiss-Andersen