Coordinating Brighter Colors With Neutrals

March 29, 2011

I’m a neutral lover at heart but brights are nice to wear in sheer washes mixed in with neutrals. For coordinating brights I don’t there are any rules you need to stick to. Just experiment with different combinations of colors to see what you’re most comfortable with. I mainly pick out colors depending on the occasion or what clothes I’m wearing for the day (one example here with a yellow top, bright coral cheek, coppery bronze eye and nude gold lip). I usually go for something that is as natural as possible and here are a few things I go by:
  • Brighten the face by applying bronzer first then layer a soft wash of bright pink or coral or peach on top
  • Mixing pinks and peach blushes together can add depth and dimension
  • Can you match your lip color to your blush? Sure! For example using different variations of pink can create a pretty coordinated look
  • You don’t have to match lips and cheeks, having a bright coral cheek with a sheer bright or soft pink lip can work well too
  • If something is too bright, you can sheer it out with a soft blending brush or by adding a paler shimmer color on top
A few ideas – use these for color ideas rather than the specific name of the brand or product.

* Tip – At a national artist event for NARS, the artist blended Goldfinger with Nepal together and it created the most beautiful soft rose gold shadow. When using bronzer and a bright blush, I usually apply bronzer first, but most artists at events apply bronzer as the final touch.

* Tip – For the eyes, layering colors can be done by applying the lightest shade first, then the cream, and finally the bronzey powder on top. For MAC Fleur Power Blush, I find it so universally flattering it will go with either a bright lip and a pale lip, or the bright and pale mixed together for a softer peachy glow.

* Tip – Mix pinks and peaches by layering them on top of each other on the cheeks. Depending on your mood or preference, you can adjust the color by applying one color more heavily than the other.

* Tip – Coral blushes can be coordinated with either bright pinks or bright peaches for lips since many have both pink and peach mixed in.

You may notice there are no nail polishes featured in any of these looks. I think bright nails can be mixed and matched in almost any combination to work with a variety of looks. I hope you found this mini series helpful. Summer collections are about to trickle in soon – so I’m sure there will plenty of inspiration for all of you in the upcoming months!

If you have any tips or want to share how you wear brighter colors, feel free in the comments! Makeup events with a good artist can be incredibly useful for tips, tricks and ideas on how to incorporate new things with well-used loves πŸ™‚

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  • What a great post! Thank you! I am drooling over the Edward Bess mirage eyeshadow, daydream bronzer, and the chanel stresa lipstick. Can't wait until summer arrives (and the Chanel summer collection trickles into stores :))

  • You've outdone yourself with this post, Sabrina.

    I admit to suffering from "palette-itis." I blame it on the era of when I first used makeup. The trio palette did the work of putting together color-combos for me. It was a trap, and I did not "see" new ideas. The thought of using NARS Fez over the burgundy shade of Dior Night Butterfly to make it less muddy — what a concept! My dear daughter showed me that one.

    I have always layered blushes, so nothing new there, and I do apply the bronzer first and then the blush (better control of the "bright"). Today was BB Aruba with BB Coral Shimmerblush.

    I like to apply Chanel Exrait de Gloss in Insouciance over NARS Little Darling, which are not brights, but this idea led me to put Pink Teaser glossimer over paler shades to perk them up.

    Thank you for these tips for the layering of products, especially for eye shadows. Where makeup is concerned, tips are great; rules? Maybe not.

    That blending to achieve a rose gold was truly inspired. I am now nearly over palette-itis, and buy singles of, say, Bobbi Brown, to put together a look. And what is the trend? Palettes!

  • AKB

    Gorgeous choices, as always. You just keep making my wishlist longer and longer!

  • Just seeing all the combinations reminds me of a magazine spread, except it's better, because all the products you chose are ones you would actually use! On a side note, the more I see the EB Daydream bronzer, the more I want it— and this is coming from someone who'd rather not look tan. I'm not sure how to reconcile that thought =P

  • I'm ALL about the brights! love the nars products

  • Lovely suggestions!
    I also love layering peach and pink blushes for a deeper effects. Some of my favorite combos are Nars Deep Throat+Orgasm or Illamasqua Unrequited+Lover for a lovely peach matte cheek.

  • Can't wait to try layering Nars Goldfinger and Nepal! Great tips πŸ™‚

  • milktea

    You spoil us! You really do! πŸ™‚

  • Rose

    Thanks for sharing! great tips!

    I tend to shy away from brights, but am now inspired to try mixing them with neutrals.

    Just last weekend my GA cosmetics guy encouraged me to get a coraly-pinky lipstick. I'll try mixing it with neutrals and pinks this weekend.

  • I love your blog – interesting posts and good quality photos:)

    Best wishes!
    xo xo

  • I love the color combinations. Going to try it myself! Really love the post! My last post went over OPI nail polish, maybe you like to look ;). X love

  • what a great post! and very helpful tips! i love your blog!

  • Thanks for this post! I actually was curious on how to match bright colors…and I've learned a lot. πŸ˜€

  • Hello, I just discovered your blog and I am lovin it! What a great post, I really love to wear neutral or brown eyeshadows with some sheer pink blush.. that is definitely my favorite route to go πŸ™‚