For those of you who think pink is a confection of your childhood (light-as-meringue tutus, plastic Barbie heels, sugary sweets), think again. The color that dominated your dollhouse can now be a staple in your makeup bag―in the form of eye shadows, blushes, lipsticks, and nail polish. “Pink instantly lifts and brightens any skin tone,” says makeup artist Bobbi Brown. You can either apply it subtly in places or go strong and play up one feature. Here you’ll learn doable, wearable looks and find the right shades for you. Meet pink at its best: pretty, practical, and all grown-up.
2 of 5Amy Neunsinger
Pink for the Eyes
A sweep of soft pink shadow over the eyelids gives skin a dose of healthy, well-rested color. For a more defined look, line the lashes with a dark pencil, too, says makeup artist Denise Markey, who created these looks: “The liner will give this ultrafeminine color a little edge. Plus, if your eyes tend to get red, the darker pencil will prevent the pink from picking up any of that redness.” She used Max Factor MAXeye Shadow in Premiere Pink ($5.50, Wal-Mart) here.
Pale pink shades are the most universally flattering, says Markey. Pat on a cream formula with a slight sheen (1) to brighten eyelids or highlight brow bones. Or simply dust a matte shadow, either pressed (2) or loose (3), across the lids. Use more saturated shades (4) on darker skin or complexions with a yellow undertone, as deeper pinks can pick up redness in and around the eyes.
Almay Pure Blends Eye Shadow in Petal, $7.50 at drugstores.
L’Oréal Paris Bare Naturale Gentle Mineral Eye Shadow in Bare Rose, $10 at drugstores.
“Everyone has a little rosiness in their skin,” says Markey. “So brushing on a pink blush actually looks more natural than wearing the earth tones you might usually gravitate to.” Here, Markey used Chanel Powder Blush in Narcisse ($70, amazon.com). In general, the lighter your skin, the lighter your makeup shades should be. But with blush, even a bright (yet sheer) fuchsia delivers beautiful color to any cheekbone.
Bluish pinks (1) look best on darker skin or pale skin with a rosy undertone. Lively candy pinks (2 and 4) flatter most skin tones. Just don’t get scared off by the color in the compact: It often goes on sheer and diffused. A cream formula allows you to build that color and also use it on lips. Peachy pink blushes (3) are ideal for olive skin. Enlist a light, shimmery pink to highlight dark cheekbones or enhance fair skin.
Physicians Formula Talc Free Mineral Wear Loose Blush in Classic Glow, $11 at drugstores.
“A pink painted lip can really freshen your look,” says Markey. And the color options are endless. If it suits your personality, there are bright, hot pink lipsticks and matte stains that make a statement (wear them with mascara, a touch of blush, and little else on your face). If you want to stick with subtle, there’s a gamut of sheer shades and glosses that add just a kiss of color (pair them with stronger eye makeup or a bolder pink blush).
Those with fair skin can ease into bolder pinks with a peony-colored lipstick (1) or go for it with fuchsia (4―also striking on dark skin). Note: Colors are rarely as dramatic on lips as they appear in the tubes. Subtler pinkish brown shades look good on most. Consider your natural lip color and go one shade brighter or darker (2 and 5). Or try gloss (3) for a little color and shine.
Elizabeth Arden Color Intrigue Effects Lipstick in Pink Pink Shimmer, $20, elizabetharden.com.
Shiseido Makeup Perfect Rouge Lipstick in Tourmaline, $25, sephora.com.
Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupté No. 10 in Provocative Pink, $34, yslbeautyus.com.
Lipstick Queen Saint Lipstick in Saint Rose, $20, spacenk.com.
5 of 5Amy Neunsinger
Pink for Nails
Bright azalea pink polish is an unexpected twist on classic red lacquer and a cheerful turn from the dark enamels of last fall and winter. Stick with a short length to keep vibrantly painted nails out of tacky territory, and make sure cuticles are well groomed, suggests Tatiana Sery, a New York City manicurist. The model is wearing O.P.I. Nail Lacquer in Feelin’ Hot-Hot-Hot! ($8.50, opi.com for stores).
Just like your favorite black pants, certain shades of pink will never fail you―like a petal pink polish (1) for darker skin or a paler version (3) for lighter skin. These are classic colors that show dings the least and look good on almost everyone, says Los Angeles manicurist Melissa Bozant. Vibrant pinks (2) brighten fingernails and toes, and berry shades flatter dark and fair hands alike.
Essie Nail Polish in Sugar Daddy, $8, essie.com for stores.
Revlon Nail Enamel in Cherries in the Snow, $5 at drugstores.