Ask Style

Prime skin for pastel hues

How can I pull off pastel shades?

The 2016 Spring Pantone colours include soft hues of Rose Quartz; baby blue Serenity; milky aqua Limpet Shell; as well as a muted yellow Daffodil.

These shades are featured everywhere in the new Spring 2016 make-up collections. And when done right, the colours can brighten the face.

But pulling these shades off on Asian skin can be tricky. The colours may not be visible or even flattering on darker and ruddier skin tones. Here are some tips on how to apply the colours.

  • Pastel-hued colour cosmetics come off very light and subtly on the skin. To make sure the shades are relatively obvious on the skin, first even out your skin tone with foundation and concealer, so you have a perfect canvas to work with.
  • For eyeshadows, use an eye primer that will help the subtle colours look brighter. Some good options are Laura Mercier's Eye Basics, Urban Decay's Eyeshadow Primer Potion and Nars' Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base. Alternatively, layer a complementary cream eyeshadow underneath a powdered one - this will also make the colour pop.
  • Because pastel eyeshadow shades are subtle, blend them with matching darker shades to get a beautiful gradient. For instance, chocolate brown looks great with pink or yellow colours; baby blue and grey make a good pair as well.

One fail-safe method to blend the colours: The darker shades should always be applied close to the lash line while the pastel shades are blended on the lids.

Dab complementary sparkly or shimmer metallic colours on the inner corners of the eyes or the middle of the lids for extra dimension. Use an inky liner and mascara to add definition. Finish the look with a sheer, tinted balm and natural-looking blusher to keep the focus on pastel-hued eyes.

1. Yves Saint Laurent Couture Palette Collector Indie Jaspe 5-Color Ready-To-Wear, $105, from Yves Saint Laurent Beaute counters later this month

The rosy pink and pistachio shades are complemented with sparkly silver, olive green and nude powders.

2. Dior 5 Couleurs Glowing Gardens Couture Colours & Effects Eyeshadow Palette In Rose Garden, $104, from Dior counters next month

This palette of mint green, daffodil yellow, pastel pink, chocolate brown and praline shades are jazzed up with a metallic finish.

3. Cle de Peau Beaute Cream Eye Color Solo, $60 each, from Cle de Peau Beaute counters next month

These easy-to-blend creamy pastel- hued eyeshadows come in both shimmer and matte textures.

Layer the cream eyeshadow under a complementary powder shadow - such as the Powder Eye Color Solo ($60) - to make the colours look brighter and last longer.

4. Bobbi Brown Limited Edition Extra Lip Tint in Bare Pink, $46, from Bobbi Brown counters next month

This balm gives lips a barely there pink tint while moisturising it with an olive oil complex, vitamins C and E as well as babassu palm seed oil.

5. RMK Spring Circus Face Color, $79, from RMK counters next month

Apply a light dusting as an all-over powder to brighten the face or blend it on just the cheek area to give the face definition.

6. Shu Uemura Tint In Gelato Lip and Cheek Colour in Fresh Beige, $38, from Shu Uemura counters next month

The subtle colour of this lip and cheek product with a cream-to- powder finish completes pastel eye make-up.

7. Diorshow Colour & Contour Eyeshadow & Liner Duo, $58, from Dior counters next month

This lilac automatic eyeshadow and liner crayon is packed with plenty of shimmer. Swipe it onto lids for a bolder look or blend the hue with fingertips for subtlety. Available in other pastel shades.


PHOTOS: YVES SAINT LAURENT BEAUTE, DIOR, CLE DE PEAU BEAUTE, BOBBI BROWN, RMK, SHU UEMURA

8. Yves Saint Laurent Beaute Mascara Volume Effect Faux Cils In Bohemian Pink, $55, from YSL Beaute counters later this month

Add drama to your lashes with this metallic pink mascara. Layer inky black mascara underneath to make the colour pop.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 17, 2015, with the headline 'Prime skin for pastel hues'. Print Edition | Subscribe