The cold, gray days of winter are finally loosening their grip on the year, making way for the soft showers, gentle breezes and green growth of spring to rustle up a new batch of seasonal makeup colors. Gone are the intense, deep hues associated with parkas and snow; now, vibrant, rejuvenating shades of yellow, pink, green, purple and the like are ushering in warmer weather, lighter clothing and a new attitude for a new season.
“The colors for this spring really are more energetic,” says Alphonse Wiebelt, makeup artist, co-founder and vice president of development for Being TRUE Cosmetics. “Spring brings a new type of energy, exclaiming that it’s a new season, and the colors are hot, vibrant and more optimistic. There is a new direction in color that is leaning toward warm tones—vibrant shades of orange, bright yellow-gold and striking green—bridging seasons’ past trends of pinks, purples and silver.”
Erika Bosley, marketing manager with Sormé Professional Cosmetics agrees, saying, “Shimmery silver, lavender ranging from soft to sharp, and pink-orange are all hot for spring 2008.” Wiebelt adds, “Pink will always be a hue that women are drawn to and feel comfortable wearing, but this season, we will begin seeing a stronger influence with the nuances of orange, be they neon, soft coral or hot cayenne. There will be more play and pairing oranges with pinks.”
The rush of new greenery on trees, bushes and lawns is also pairing with recent environmental awareness to push the natural shade as a hot seasonal hue. “The green colorings can be seen as an extension of the whole natural theme, and in particular, yellow-greens represent that,” says executive director of the Pantone Color Institute and author of More Alive with Color (Capital Books, 2006) Leatrice Eiseman.
Todd Taubman-Walker, professional makeup artist and national educator with Iredale Mineral Cosmetics, also is seeing some throwback in the spring shades, saying, “There’s a little bit of whimsy in some of the color, with the eyes and especially with liquid liners—they’re so retro. Whenever you do something that’s retro, it’s all in fun—we just want to have a good time right now.”
That draw toward fun is a definite focus for the whole season, says makeup artist and beauty expert Candace Corey. “Spring is a great time to not have a lot of fuss going on, to show off the skin and to use different colors to create looks that are pretty,” she explains.
Helping to create that fresh, pretty look, effervescent, lively colors in shadows and liners are giving the eyes a reason to shine. “There’s a lot of color in eyes, and they are bright colors that are usually reserved for summer,” says Taubman-Walker. “We’re trying to get people out of the cloudy winter days and to move into that sunshine, letting them know that summer is just around the corner.”
To get the refreshing look, a few of the season’s most popular shades typically reserved for the mouth and cheeks are being used. “Bright pink and orange are showing up on the eyelids,” Eiseman confirms.
Vivid and stunning, Wiebelt says an easy touch on these hues is the key to making them really pop. “Makeup this season will become lighter in weight,” he explains. “Although these shades have, in the past, been almost too heavy for eyes, applying them as sheer washes makes them weightless, wearable and more modern.”
Other colors that are showing up on the lids are also encouraging the sunny disposition of spring and summer. “More gold and yellow is being introduced for the eyes,” says Laura Craig, a licensed esthetician and makeup artist with von Natur, and Bosley agrees, noting, “An edgy palette exists that gives a wave of freshness, such as shades in golden coral, jade, steel blue and bronzy browns that work great in the spring’s sunlight.”
Bosley also notes the inclusion of a myriad of other spring standbys. “Soft, shimmering silvery taupe and lavender eye shadow in lilac and purple palettes—flirting with these soft shades shows the romantic side of a woman, and they are becoming new basics,” she says.
Of course, for those looking to add some drama to their makeup via the eyes, a sexy signature look from autumn is still sticking around. “We’re keeping that smoky eye leftover from the fall, as well as a lot of liquid liner,” says Taubman-Walker. “There’s a mix of that smoky look and color; a soft, transparent, matte eye shadow in shades such as toast, peachy pink and rich chocolate brown.”
To make the smoky look more wearable for spring, Eiseman recommends using the season’s newer hues to create a more warm weather-friendly face. “We will continue to see that kind of smudge with a lighter or a more mid-tone color for the spring,” she says. “It won’t be using as much of the darks, but the whole idea is about being very creative on face, so it’s used in a stipple effect.”
And creating a liner look to match gives the eyes an unequivocal boost. “Though the eye really didn’t change that much, there is a little bit more aggression in lining, moving from a fine line to heavy, thick liquid, and enhancing the eye using color in eye pencils,” explains Taubman-Walker. “You can use a white eye pencil to open up the inside of the eye, and the wearability of it is just great—you can use it the same way as you use kohl.”
Corey adds that a great way to play up the eyes at any age is to use a fun, funky lining color, and Craig is also seeing a shift in lining, saying, “There is a trend toward the cat eye. It’s not the 70s diva look, but it comes along with darker lips and lighter eyes.”
In creating a pretty springtime pout, there are two schools of thought this season. “Lips seem to be going one way or the other—either they have more of a prominent color and are almost opaque, or they are a lot lighter, brighter and sheer,” says Wiebelt. “What we will see happen is that women will play with a brighter gloss to achieve sheer color play.”
With lip options at both ends of the spectrum, a variety of shades are popping up. At one end, Eiseman describes the lighter look, saying, “There are the cantaloupe-y shades, vibrant colors with softer tones, and, this spring, colors are going to bring about the possibility of doing more of the subtle, soft lip color,” while at the other end, Craig matches lip hues with the cat-eye look, explaining, “Lips are the more true, deep colors. Pinks seem to be some of the hot colors, as well as mauves.”
However, the looks can be combined with the use of a blotted lipstick and sheer gloss. Explaining the unique application, Taubman-Walker says, “We are seeing that lips are berry-stained. There’s still the red lip, but the look is now making it transparent, like using a red gloss and blotting it off so you end up with just a hint of red.” To keep lips looking lovely, continues Taubman-Walker, coordinate with corresponding hues on the eyes and cheeks. “We’re working with colors that accentuate the metallics and focus more on the eyes,” he says. “The lips are soft, transparent and matte—no shine at all.”
To give a hint of romantically rich color, Bosley recommends shades such as a sweet rose hue in matte or glossy, a matte lavender-pink, shimmery medium brown, dramatic plum brown, or mixtures to create your own signature creamy pinks for a chic, casual, sexy and sophisticated look. For lips that offer a bit more edge, she suggests tones in lilac, rose and raspberry, which appear more animated and vibrant on the face.
Watch out for heaping too much makeup on too many of the face’s features, however. Taubman-Walker warns, “If you are going to see shimmer, its going to be on the eyes, lips or cheeks. You need to choose the area you really want to highlight, otherwise it can look like you went overboard, and it’s almost robotic.”
The idea remains to keep things simple and fun for spring. “Even with the strong lip, you don’t have to think overdramatic ’80s,” says Corey. “Everything is simpler—white can just make the eye area bright, the cheeks can have a soft pink, and you can still have the rich lips—everything is just pretty.”
To complete the full flush of this fresh, springtime look, hints of color on the cheeks should be all you need. “We aren’t seeing too much of that tanned look yet, so keep skin as soft and pale as you can for awhile,” says Taubman-Walker. “Take yourself into summer with color first.”
“Cheek colors are nice and dewy—more of the natural look,” agrees Craig. “It’s not a definite color, but it’s also not that tan shimmer. There’s just a kiss of a blush; it’s a clean, fresh complexion.” To achieve the perfect hint of a hue, Bosley recommends beige-y bronze cheeks for a softer, more natural look, or a bold raspberry pink for those that are feeling daring.
However, one of the highlights of this spring’s makeup is allowing the skin to stand out. “The look is not too bronzed up yet—it’s a little fresher and a little softer for a more luminous appearance,” says Corey, and this fresh-faced application works best with natural undertones. “With all skin tones, no matter what ethnicity, peach, pink, bronze or gold hues can be found,” says Wiebelt. So playing up that natural coloring helps make for an incredible complexion.
To really make the eye and lip colors look their best, Wiebelt also recommends a matte touch. “It’s not a completely bone-dry finish, but it’s definitely more on the matte side with soft focus sheen,” he says. “To prepare the canvas for an accent of bright color, the complexion should be neutralized.”
Of course, having beautiful, luminous skin can require special care all its own. “Good skin care is good makeup,” says Corey. “Part of this look is having beautiful skin, so there needs to be a good regimen to have balance for the face. Plump, fresh skin is the big thing right now—it’s pretty, not overly done and not mask-y at all.”
“Make sure the skin is properly prepped,” says Wiebelt. “When you wear a more matte finish, it can sometimes emphasize fine lines and wrinkles, so being hydrated is key.” Craig also indicates the need for skin to be well-prepared, saying, “I definitely think exfoliation, and a serum or moisturizer is necessary to get skin ready. It should always be smooth beneath makeup, otherwise the makeup won’t look natural.”
Bosley echoes them both, touting the need for feature-specific primers. “These primers smooth skin’s texture and add staying power to foundations,” she says. “There are also primers made especially for application under eye shadow for longer-lasting and stronger pigment, as well as lip fixatives to add staying power for lipsticks.”
Finding an individual’s distinct look in all these bright, vital colors may seem like a challenge for the season, but it doesn’t have to be. “Fashion is fun and expressive, but may not be realistic for all—that’s always the challenge with incorporating a trend,” says Wiebelt. “The best way to wear anything that’s bright is to pair it with something that’s neutral. So these colors will be used more as accessories, similar to a pair of bright pink shoes, a vibrant scarf or an orange handbag.”
Eiseman is also a fan of mixing the vivid makeup shades with classic standbys in more muted hues. “Using neutrals, you get something you can wear for several seasons and then accessorize with some of the more trendy pops of color,” she says. “In a time when people are concerned about politics, the election, the war and so on, some vitality in cosmetics can be a lift.”
However, sticking to the classics doesn’t mean you have to bypass the season’s latest trends—just find what works best for each person. “A lot of times people like to try the new colors, but still want to be safe,” explains Corey. “If you are used to wearing just brown or neutral colors but see and like the new green shades, go with what you are used to, but break out of the box with a green, fresh eyeliner. You don’t have to totally change yourself.”
Another way to create personalized looks with spring’s new hues is to focus the bursts of brilliance on particular parts of the face. “In makeup, pair vibrant colors with more classics—it’s the best way to experiment and play with color,” recommends Wiebelt. “Try a bright eyeliner with a neutral face, or pair a neutral and classic makeup with a brilliant, prominent lip color.”
Also important to keep in mind is a woman’s own natural coloring, such as skin tone, and eye and hair color. “Women with deeper skin tones often have problems finding foundations that match, but foundations with warm golden tones tend to melt seamlessly into the skin,” suggests Bosley. She also recommends women with darker skin go for bolder colors, such as burgundies, chartreuses and turquoises.
With its exciting flashes of color and innate glow, springtime is the perfect time to invent a new, refreshing look for your clients—and even yourself. Whether creating a bold statement with brightly lined eyes and whisper-soft lips, or merely using blushes of pink and orange to grace lids and cheeks with touches of warmth, Eiseman recommends seeing makeup as an extension of the woman. “It’s viewing the face as a palette and using makeup in an artistic way,” she says. “There are a lot of women who don’t do that, but makeup as art will be a big influence for the next year.”
That said, it’s also important to remember that makeup should be light and joyful. As Craig says, “Have a super fun time with makeup, and don’t take it so seriously.” So feel free to pick up an eye pencil in bright green, a lipstick in orangey-pink or a blush in gold-flecked raspberry, and have a good time with them.