We can all agree that we’re having a nineties moment right now, right? I’m not just sitting here in my neon top like a weirdo for no reason? (Y’all, neon green is my color.) Which means that when it came time for our newest hair and makeup series, we wanted to try something a little more now. Before you run away, we fully acknowledge that a lot of our readers probably lived through the horror show of the pastels of the early nineties. Done right, this trend (and tutorial) is not that. Rather, we’ve asked Nikol Elaine, our resident expert in trendy makeup that won’t embarrass you, to lay down some rules of the road, so you don’t end up in a floral bag dress with a scrunchy hat and baby blue eyeliner with your crunchy curled up bangs, wondering at what point you lost the plot.
Before we get into the tutorial, let’s break down Nikol’s basic guidelines for pastel makeup. First, if you’re looking at this tutorial and thinking EFF TO THE NO, that’s totally fine. This tutorial is best for folks who already spend ten minutes or more on their everyday face and think a fun Friday is heading to Rite Aid to buy a pile of the newest crazy products and then taking them home for a night of playing around (followed by a morning of returning what you hate). In short: proceed if your mantra is Your Wedding Is Not Timeless.
Now for Nikol’s rules:
- NO PASTEL MASCARA. I know, it seemed cool that one time in 1991. Let’s just consider that mountain already climbed, and leave it at that.
- Stay away from pastel brows, even though it shows up on Pinterest. Unless you’re an extra from a Capitol scene in Catching Fire, in which case go crazy.
- Start with monochromatic. If you want to play around with the trend, but are looking for a more toned down romantic look, you can use pale pink to a smashingly hip effect. If you prefer super bright, go for it! But you don’t need to be mixing all the colors.
- For a slightly more advanced or modern look, play with two pastel colors. But probably not more than two.
- To keep this trend looking of the moment (and avoid backsliding into Blossom), make pastels the statement piece of your look, not your whole look. Tone down pastel eye shadow with a heavy black lash and a nude lip. Throw in a pastel eyeliner and a matte pastel lip, on an otherwise normal face.
As for Meg’s specific look above, the hard part is picking which colors you like and being willing to play around a little before you find what works. (Staff secret: Meg loved wearing lavender, but when we put this green on her, she asked why Kermit was on her face, while I kept jumping up and down screaming YOU ARE SO FIERCE. YOU LOOK LIKE 60s BARBIE. So. Your mileage will vary. You’re not going to love everything.) After that, the actual steps are cake:
1. Coat your whole lid with eyeshadow primer, up to the brow. Nikol recommends using your ring finger because it is the weakest of your fingers and will be gentlest on the eye.
2. Apply shadow loosely to your lid with a flat brush. You’ll want to put this on immediately after primer, so that the primer is still a little sticky.
3. Next comes what Nikol calls your “best friend color.” This is a shade that is two-to-three shades darker than your skintone, and if you don’t already have it in your arsenal, you should, because it’s what you use to contour your eye (a.k.a. make the shadows deeper and colors pop). Using a puffy brush and very light pressure, apply the best friend color into your crease using small “O”-shaped strokes, starting at the outside corner of your eye.
4. Now for liner. It should be high-contrast, like a black cream. Use an angled brush right at the lash line, starting at outside corner of your lid and moving to the inside.
5. Add a little bit of best friend color as your bottom liner, with a bigger flat brush. This will keep the look softer.
6. Curl and mascara your lashes.
We recommend this tutorial with a sleepover and reruns of Full House. Unfortunately, The Row‘s fall collection is not included.