5 Tips for Wearing Pastel Eyeshadow Like a Pro

by Meghan Carlson | 1 Comment

Mint, peach, lavender, lemon… No, we’re not making our next grocery list. We’re naming some of the most popular shades of spring! From fashion and hair color to makeup and nails, pastels are a huge trend this season, and one of the most flattering and fresh ways to embrace the trend is with your eyeshadow. But if you’re used to wearing mostly neutral tones on your eyes—or having scary flashbacks of all that bright blue shadow in the 80’s—swiping on a sherbet shade can be a bit daunting.

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

But it doesn’t have to be! And the results are well worth the risk, or end up looking like no risk at all, as the lovely Ms. Rachel Bilson demonstrates for us with her lavender lids.

Here are five tips for how to rock a pastel eyeshadow look that’s fresh, modern, and of the moment:

Prime, prime, prime! An eye primer will not only make your eyeshadow last longer, but it will also help the shadow stand out more and stay true to color. This is especially important for ladies with warmer or darker skin tones, but pastel shadows are so light to begin with that they’re more at risk for fading, and any eyelid discoloration can affect how they look. Our Blank Canvas Mattifying Eye Primer provides a smooth, bright foundation that’s perfect for a pastel eye.

Work with your skin’s natural undertones. It’s important when wearing color on your face to complement, rather than clash with, your skin’s natural color scheme. If you have yellow undertones, you’ll probably look best wearing cool pastels like greens, blues, and purples. If you have warm red undertones, pinks, oranges, and yellows will likely look the best. But there are lots of exceptions to this general rule, and many ladies have a naturally neutral tone that looks great with all sorts of pastels, so the best advice is to try before you buy. You might be surprised how different (and beautiful!) an eyeshadow looks in the pan versus on your lid.

Use a light hand—especially with your foundation. When you amp up your eyeshadow, you’ll want to achieve balance by dialing back something else, and paring down your foundation is the easiest and most effective way. Whether it’s a light layer of DD Crème, tinted moisturizer or spot-targeted concealer, pairing your pastel eye with a soft, sheer face will create a decidedly modern look.

Stick with one color. With pastels, it’s best to stick with a wash of one shade versus blending multiple shades together—that can kill the softness that makes the look so gorgeously ethereal. And the secret to an effortlessly coordinated pastel look is to apply the same shade on your eyes, lips, and cheeks, but in different textures. For example, you could wear a matte lilac lid with a shimmery, purple-toned pink blush and a glossy magenta lip. Or a shimmery creamsicle eye with a peachy bronze glow and a matte coral lip. For shades like lemon, mint, and periwinkle, when in doubt, keep it simple and soft with a petal pink blush and a nude lip, so the focus stays where you want it—on your eyes.

Add definition. Keep the shadow concentrated on the lid itself and resist the urge to blend the color above the crease. Leaving your browbone bare will help you avoid any unintended retro associations. Finishing the look with crisp black cat-eye liner will add an elegant edge. Our Ink Gel Eyeliner will give you that intense, jet-black line to balance out the softness of the shadow. And don’t forget to define your brows! Think of them as the picture frame for your makeup masterpiece.

Lastly, if pastel eyeshadow just isn’t your speed, why not try the color you’ve been craving as eyeliner instead, or as a highlight in the inner corner of your eyes? The concentration of color will add a more subtle but still totally fun pop. And that’s what this look is all about—fun!

  • Rachel Mason

    I purchased my eyeliner online using gift cards from Giift. Very hassle-free!