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Spring makeup celebrates colors of the season

Bright pops of color, used sparingly, can give your face a real lift. The key is finding the right shades for you.

April 18, 2010|By Alene Dawson, Special to the Los Angeles Times
  • LIP COLOR: "A great, easy way" to change your look, Bobbi Brown says.
LIP COLOR: "A great, easy way" to change your look, Bobbi Brown… (Bobbi Brown )

Springtime heralds a feast of color, the earth energized with blossoms of pink, yellow, violet, orange and myriad shades that burst forth to adorn the planet in prettiness — millions of little gifts for the senses wrapped as flowers adding up to an indulgence of happy color. Likewise, makeup this season takes a cue from Mother Nature, offering a garden of pretty shades for our pleasure.

"This spring is all about bright pops of color in shades like coral, purple, pink, and aquamarine," says Bobbi Brown of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, who answered our questions while she was travelling in China on a recent trip. But be alerted, this trend doesn't mean that now's the time to paint your face á la a Peter Max painting or load on a cornucopia of color as if you've channeled an over-the-top 1980s pop princess. Instead, Brown recommends using bright pops of color sparingly, on only one or two parts of your face. "Nothing gives your face a lift like a pretty pink cheek or a colorful eye shadow," she says.

What single makeup item can make the biggest difference in updating your makeup for spring? "Trying a new lip color is a great, easy way to instantly change your look," Brown says.

"The best way to find a lip color that will work for you, regardless of color is to first figure out your everyday shade, which should be close to the natural color of your lips, maybe one shade lighter or darker," Brown says. "Once you've identified your perfect natural shade, you can start to create a lip wardrobe that includes more dramatic and brighter shades. Lip colors that have the same undertones as your everyday lip shade will look the most flattering on you."

Makeup artist Carmindy of "What Not to Wear" has a few rules of thumb when picking lip color for her clients: "Porcelain- and fair-skinned ladies should use pinky nudes, cool pinks, pinky corals and cool reds. Medium- and olive-skinned beauties look best in tawny nudes, warm pinks, warm corals and true reds. And golden- and deep-skinned gals can use toffee nudes, deep pinks, orangey corals and blood reds."

Coral lips are very big for spring. "A lot of women are cautious about wearing coral because they're worried it will look too chalky or bright," Brown says. "But I believe there's a perfect shade for every woman. The secret is finding the right coral shade that will work for you."

Carmindy agrees. "Believe it or not, women can wear coral lipstick. They're afraid because they think of ‘Grandma Coral,' but the new trend and the new texture and the new shade of corals are almost like pinky, geranium sheer kinds of a coral — almost like shimmery glosses… and coral works on every skin tone."

When it comes to coral lips for pale skin, Brown recommends "light shades of coral like my Calypso Coral Pot Rouge, which won't overpower the rest of your face." Medium, more olive-skin tones "look great in corals with a little bit more orange and can pull off more bold shades than pale skin," she says. "And for deeper golden-skin tones, I love to use darker orange shades like Cabo Coral Lip Color, which will look really pretty without being too bright."

Note that it's understood that we live in a world where the categories "pale," "medium," "olive" and "dark" don't come close to describing the varied characteristics and nuances of individual beauty — just as every flower is unique, so are you. So have fun. Play! Use the advice from these experts as a jumping-off point; then mix and dabble to arrive at the perfect shade most flattering to your unique coloring.

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