How to Pull Off Bold Makeup Looks

Model with red lipstick

Yes, you can pull off a red lip.
Photo: Luca Cannonieri/

Sure, bold, colorful statement makeup looks amazing in the pages of magazines, but when it comes to rocking smoky blue eyeliner or a deep red lip in real life, lots of us tend to shy away. That doesn’t mean it has to be neutrals or nothing — there are plenty of ways to tame those bold makeup looks to make them more wearable. Here’s how to pull them off.

Colored eyeliner
To make brights more wearable, pair them with a neutral liner. Wear blue, green or purple pencil on your lower lash line, and apply brown or black along the upper lashes.

Red lip
Not sure you can pull off a red lip? Try a color a few shades less intense. For instance, coral is a softer version of  a bright red-orange, and is totally on trend this season. Feel intimidated by full color lipsticks? Ease into the look with a semi-sheer, brightly colored gloss instead.

Cat eye
Use a damp brush dipped in black or brown powder eye shadow to create a flicked line. This method is less harsh-looking and more forgiving than liquid or gel liner, and if you make a mistake, you can smudge the line for a smoky look.

Glowing skin
Want a glowy finish but afraid you won’t be able to properly apply highlighter? Use illuminating foundation instead to add just a little summer glow.

Smoky eye
If you’re a smoky eye novice, start with a paler palette of shades. Lighter shades like taupes or lavenders are easier to pull off than inky blacks or navies. Remember, blending is key when it comes to going bold with eye shadow, so use your fingers to smudge any harsh lines.

Bold brows
Use a brow powder or powder eye shadow, which is more less intense than pencil. Make sure the brow powder is the same shade as your natural brows, no darker.

When it comes to rocking any of these bold looks, the trick to pulling it off is to stick to one look. Too many bold looks at once just results in too much makeup.

Read more: How to Wear Metallic Eye Makeup for Daytime

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