Be Bold, Be Bright: How to Wear High-Pigment Makeup

Janell M. Hickman


‘Tis the season to step out of your comfort zone! Up the ante for your next holiday party with a bold, bright and unexpected look. From high-impact fuchsia to deep ocean blue, you’ll be sure to turn a few heads your next night on the town. Shrinking violets fret not—we’ve got expert tips to help you along the way. There’s no shying away from colors this hot!

Know What You’re Working With: “Makeup that is defined as high-pigment is really just makeup in its purest form,” shares Pamela Faller, makeup artist for MEHRON. “When formulating makeup a lot of additives, fillers, and binders are added and often times too much of this will take away the intensity of the raw pigment.”



Find a Complementary Color Palette: “One of my favorite tricks for quick makeup on any skin tone is to pair a cheek and lip that go together,” explains Jenny Smith, Lead Makeup Stylist for NARS Cosmetics. “An example is to try a pink cheek and lip or a red cheek and lip for a balanced look with any tones. There are no rules so mix and match—forget what you’ve heard in the past.”

Sing The Blues: “Everyone can boost their holiday season look with a bit of navy and deep cobalt blue,” recommends John Stapleton, Senior Artist M∙A∙C Cosmetics. “The perfect shade instantly brightens the whites of the eyes and adds an unexpected color when accompanied by neutral makeup.” Replace your black pencil with a navy blue, like M∙A∙C Cosmetics Prussian Eye Pencil, for parties and gatherings.

MORE: The Eye Makeup You Need to Balance Your Bold Lip



Don’t Count Anything Out: “There really aren’t colors that any particular skin tone should avoid,” Faller explains. “What it comes down to is choosing the correct shade of a color that best suits your skin tone. Gold happens to be one of my favorites to work with, not just for this time of year, but for all skin tones. It really is universal and there’s such endless possibilities to use it – powder form, glitter and cream.”

Layer It On: “Cream and powder textures work differently, but also work best together in a layered effect of cream followed by powder to set it. This layering technique is like Velcro!” explains Smith who works with model Lily Aldridge and the legendary DJ Kiss. “For longer wear, apply cream eye shadow and set with powder shadow or use cream blush (like NARS Multiple) then dust powder blush over it.”

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Use Glitter With Caution: “General rules for using glitter on eyes [is to] start with picking glittered pigments that are see-through or made up of light refracting particles,” says Stapleton. “When you use glitters that are sheer (like M∙A∙C Cosmetics Reflects Pearl Glitter), anything that falls on the cheek bone can look more intentional and pretty—opposed to opaque options that tend to create an unwanted mess.”

Put The Focus On One Feature: “If you’re hesitant about color, you can definitely follow a few of these tips to tone it down,” shares Faller. “First, try a neutral soft look on the lid and add the pop of color by lining the lower lid then blending it out. Alternatively, you can pair the same neutral eye with color on the outer corners of the eye, then blend out. Remember, bold colors blend great with soft browns or greys.”

MORE: Holiday Party Makeup Mistakes to Avoid

Practice A Little Lip Service: “The best thing about the holiday season is that bold and bright colors come in every tone and sparkle! “ says Smith. “A berry or lilac lip is one of the hottest shades of the season along with berry tones for the eyes.” She recommends NARS Dual Intensity Eyeshadow in Desdemona and Audacious Lipsticks in shades such as Greta, Charlotte or Bette (for a deeper option).

Make It Pop:Mehron’s INtense collection of pressed powder pigments deliver pure, intense color because there’s very little added to the raw materials,” explains Faller. “A little tip in making super bright neon colors pop is to use a white eye shadow base or cream first then apply your colors.”

Take It Off: “It’s always great to use a gentle eye makeup remover, like M∙A∙C Cosmetics Pro Eye Makeup Remover dabbed on cotton before washing your face with a gentle cleanser,” Stapleton explains. “For one stop shop, swipe away eye and face makeup with face wipes if you can’t make it to the sink.”