Wearing pink makeup without looking too girly

Add some edge to the feminine hue

marie claire Contributor / June 14 2016

It’s one thing finding the perfect red lipstick to suit your skin tone, but figuring out how to wear a certain shade – especially something as feminine as pink – on your nails, lips, cheeks and eyes. 

While you may dismiss pink as a shade that’s young and girly, the colour is fast becoming the hottest hue to try this season. From cherry blossom tones at Christian Dior to flushed cheeks and just-bitten lips at Carolina Herrera, pink ruled the runway at the spring/summer 2016 collections, so it may be time to reconsider it. 

The rosy hue has evolved into “a more wearable shade for the modern woman”, says Victoria Baron, Chanel Australia make-up artist. 

“Whether it’s a tonal stain of colour around the eyes or a bold matte statement lip, there’s a cool-girl edge and an attitude to this makeup.”

So, if you’re game enough to try it, here are four ways to add some pink into your beauty look


Your eyes

Move away from neutrals and dust your lids with a wash of pink shadow.

To make this shade more wearable, “make sure other areas of your face are free of a pink tone if you’re prone to redness”, says Baron. 

Conceal around the nose, chin and along the waterline of your eyes and be mindful of eyeshadow landing on areas other than your lids. 

“Neutralising unwanted pink on the rest of the face makes your eyeshadow look more intentional and less like you’ve been for a run,” adds Baron. 

Those with fairer skin should stick to soft pinks, while those with medium-toned skin can try berry pinks, and those with darker skin tones can get away with more pigmented, punchy pinks – but aim for violet-based pinks.

Try: Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Color Eyeshadow in Iridescent Pink

Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Color Eyeshadow in Iridescent Pink
Make sure the colour intensity is close to the lash line and blended away to avoid a ‘sore eye’ look
Victoria Baron
Chanel Australia
Makeup Artist


Your lips

A matte texture takes pink from sweet to striking.

 “I love a bright matte lip,” enthuses Baron, who suggests experimenting with shades of cerise, magenta and fuchsia this season.

 “Try pushing the [lipstick] on with your pinky finger or blot with a tissue and layer again. This look is low maintenance and the colour will fade evenly.”

 You can also try this technique for a bolder, more vibrant finish.

 Prefer a subtle shade? Choose a colour that mimics your natural lip tone.“Have a look at the skin on the inside of your mouth and colour match that shade,” advises Baron.

Try: Chanel Rouge Coco in Emilienne

Chanel Rouge Coco in Emilienne
TOP TIP: Create the illusion of fullness with an ombre lip – apply a creamy matt formula to the centre of your pout and use a cotton bud to blend outwards.


Your cheeks

A healthy amount of rouge instantly refreshes a dull complexion. Creams or gel formulas provide a sheer post-Pilates blush and can be blended with your fingers. “The heat from your fingertips pushes it into skin evenly and you can build up the colour,” says Baron. 

If you prefer applying a powder blush, layer formulas containing metallic flecks over matte skin for the most natural result. “Applying to a wet or dewy surface will cause blush to sit in pores and look uneven,” says Baron, who also recommends investing in a kabuki brush, as “it has a tapered tip so you can control the size of the brush strokes with the amount of pressure you apply”.

Try: Maybelline New York Master Glaze in Pink Fever

Maybelline New York Master Glaze
Wherever you apply blush is where you’re highlighting your cheekbones, so be wary of dragging down your face or using it as a contour.
Victoria Baron
Chanel Australia
Makeup Artist


Your nails

Pink has always been a popular polish choice, as “it’s easy to wear and comes in every variance from natural to bold – there’s a shade to suit everyone”, says Sally Hansen nail expert Alison Bowhill-Hayes, who adds that today’s on-trend hues are pastel and soft with an opaque finish. If you’re trying a slick of sorbet varnish, stick to a squoval nail shape, while bold colours suit short and square or long, oval nails.

TrySally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Pink At Him

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Pink At Him

Main image photography: Edward Urrutia

Aimée is an established writer and editor with over ten years of experience working for some of the world’s leading print and digital titles. These include Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, New York Magazine and WWD.