Two top makeup artists show how to play with soft pastels and vivid brights for bold summer makeup.

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Some of the spring 2016 fashion shows suggested a colorful counterpoint to “no-makeup makeup.”

Chanel models wore dusted-on masks of icy blue. Makeup at Roksanda and Alexis Mabille relied on a sea-foam palette. And at Giambattista Valli, makeup artist Val Garland popped neon pink, green and blue onto the brow bone.

But the thing about pastels and brights is that they are even better together. Alone, pastels can be girlish. Brights add edginess and depth.

Here, makeup artist Elisa Flowers and nail artist Miss Pop illustrate how to play a game of opposites, pairing soft pastels with vivid brights on eyes, lips and nails.


On the model

Flowers insists on priming the lid with Sephora Perfecting Eye Primer ($14 at Sephora) before adding color.

“A matte pastel will not pop without primer,” she says.

First, she pressed on layers of soft green with a flat brush. (Fluffy brushes disperse pastels.) Then she lined the eye with the gel MAC Chromaline in Genuine Orange ($20 at

“I kept the lashes soft, just a couple coats of mascara and no liner,” she says. “This eye is all about looking fresh.”

More to try

Tarte Limited-Edition Clay Pot Waterproof Shadow Liner in Cobalt ($21 at Dense cream pigment delivers intense color that can be worn as a liner or buffed over the lids as a shadow. Flowers also likes the mint shade for the eyes. Both work on all skin tones.

Make Up For Ever Aqua XL Eye Pencil in M-30 and M-92 ($21 each at Sephora).

Draw these pastels close to the lash line, and add a vivid purple or green shadow for dimension.

MAC x Chris Chang Eye Shadow in Royal Woo ($17 at Nordstrom). Designer Chris Chang’s eccentric style is translated into a colorful collaboration with MAC. A lemon-yellow matte eye shadow in the collection builds from muted to intense with layering.


On the model

For “Popsicle-stained” lips, Flowers tapped vivid orange Le Métier de Beauté Moisture Matte Lipstick in Cinema ($32 at into the center of the lips and lined them with a ballet-pink Sephora Rouge Gel Lip Liner in The Nudest ($12 at Sephora).

Press lips together to blend.

“Ombré is a sexy way to wear bright lip color, but it’s not overwhelming because the brightness is diffused,” she says.

More to try

Maybelline Color Sensational Vivid Matte Liquid in Electric Pink ($8 at drugstores). Temper this fiery pink with a soft rose liner blended toward the center of the lips.

Chosungah 22 So Tiny Lip & Cheek in Peach ($14 at Sephora). One of many innovative formulas from Korean makeup artist Chosungah’s namesake line. Press into the lips with fingertips, and add hot pink at the center.

Dior Addict Milky Tint in Milky Plum ($35 at Nordstrom). Lavender that is glossy without being glittery is key for successful ombré lips.


On the model

Squares are the of-the-moment nail art design, says Miss Pop, who suggests pairing tonal colors, like peach and electric orange polishes.

“Peach is popular this season,” she says. “Plus tonal combinations are foolproof. They look cool but aren’t so loud that they’re overpowering.”

To keep contrasting colors wearable, use a pastel as a nail-art base. The Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab Pro in Peaches and Cream ($20 at Bluemercury, U District) is rare for a pastel, as the formula goes on smooth in one coat (but do apply two).

Then add brights for accents. Sally Hansen’s Miracle Gel in Electra-cute ($7.59 at Target) is a long-lasting polish that’s relatively thick (as no-lamp gels tend to be), so keep the nail art simple — like dots or color blocking.

Another to try

Whim Nail Lacquer in Blue Sky Melody ($10 at A milky blue hue couples well with grass green and sunny yellow.