Sure, neon eyeliner is fun, but let’s face it, sometimes, we want makeup that’s a little more natural. Now, nude makeup is getting a major update in sleek palettes of pink, lavender and demure, metallic tones.
Forget the chalky pastels of years past; these lend a radiant (read: youthful) glow thanks to sheer formulations and light-reflecting particles. These expert-approved picks may look safe—but they’re hardly boring.
This pure mineral cream shadow leaves lids looking supple and moisturized, not cakey. “The pearly finish makes your eyes seem larger and brighter,” says Los Angeles makeup artist and YouBeauty Makeup Contributor Emily Kate Warren. Sweep the lighter hue all over from lashline to crease.
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Apply this light-reflective highlighter under browbones, on cheeks, and in the inner corners of your eyes to create loads of dimension—and that won’t leave you looking washed out. “It brightens and shows off the natural planes of your face while making you appear as if you’re not wearing a thing,” says New York City makeup artist Carmindy, who is also a regular on TLC’s “What Not To Wear.”
The surprisingly wearable, ultra-shiny, lavender-pink gloss adds tons of dimension while creating the illusion of fuller lips. “When you’re not using a lot of color, it’s a good idea to highlight shape and volume,” Warren adds. “Otherwise, the overall look comes off looking too flat.”
Sweep this glimmering shade over lids for a high-impact evening style that won’t smudge or require frequent trips to the ladies’ room. “Pair it with a black liquid liner and nudey-pink lips for a modern finish,” Carmindy says.
Give dull, sallow complexions a healthy flush in seconds using this cool-toned primer with soft pink and purple undertones (and a bonus SPF 16). “Wear it alone, or mix a drop or two into your regular foundation to help brighten dark spots and camouflage blemishes,” says Warren.
Use the tips of your fingers to press this creamy, translucent, shimmering blush into cheeks. “When wearing a natural look, try to brighten up just one feature with a touch of color,” says Sebastien Tardif, a makeup artist and creator of Veil Cosmetics. “A vibrant shade in a very sheer formula lets skin shine through.”
A universally-flattering pick, this super-rich balm has adaptive color technology to leave lips the perfect, subtle, pinky hue. “It makes it so easy to look polished even while you’re just running errands,” Warren says.
Ideal for mirror-free touch ups, this slick gloss hydrates lips while depositing light-reflective particles. “Unlike glitter, which is obvious and aging, shimmer is subtle and looks luminescent,” Carmindy says.
Use the gemstone-inspired, ombré shades in this multi-purpose palette over eyelids and brow bones, or swirl them all together and place over cheeks. “This range of color looks great on any skin tone,” Warren says.
Like pixie-dust for grown ups, this luxurious, loose powder casts an ethereal glow. Dip a large, soft-bristled brush into the jar, “Then sweep it over your décolletage, arms, and legs for lit-from-within skin,” says Carmindy.
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