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If Lizzo’s unsurprisingly gorgeous Allure cover and Lily Collins’ throwback-inspired Met Gala makeup are any indications, pastel makeup is back like it never left to remind us that it’s actually wearable. Like frosted makeup, knowing how to apply lighter shades–pastel lipstick specifically–will make or break the final look. In other words, you’ll either look like you stepped off a runway or stepped out the house without wiping away the crust and ash from a deep night’s sleep.
According to pro makeup artist and groomer Tara Lauren, this is the most obvious mistake we make when attempting to wear pastel lipstick and makeup in general. We automatically grab products that are just too chalky or pale because we think that the lightest shades are the only way to pull off the mod vibe. Thankfully, she says “there are ways to get that soft wash of color without looking ashy or drawn out.”
“My first step has nothing to do with the application but with grooming. Using colors like pastels can bring lots of attention to the mouth, making things like lip hair very noticeable,” she says. “I say make sure you are waxed or use my favorite Sally Hansen’s Facial Hair Removal Kit ($6.99) before rocking your fave lip.”
Another key hack for ensuring that pastel lipstick doesn’t leave you looking ghastly is by paying closer attention to the type of finish you choose. Lauren prefers a liquid lip color because “this will avoid the look for needing a touch up which can be especially unflattering when using lighter and sometimes cream-like shades of pastel.” I know matte formulas are top of the totem pole for most, but when you consider the amount of flaking that occurs with all-day wear, it’s probably the worst option for wearing a pastel shade with confidence. Instead, don’t be afraid to experiment with liquid lipsticks and glosses instead.
“Also, pastel lipstick options don’t always have to be opaque in color,” adds Lauren. “They can also be a luster lipstick, creamy and with just the right amount of shine that gives the lips a supple more fuller look.” And when looking for a color that will compliment your skin tone, the same rules that apply to makeup in general apply here. Identify whether your undertones are cool or warm and this will determine what works for you. With that being said, here are 15 newer pastel options that’ll suit a wide spectrum of skin tones.
Colourpop 7 Springs Crème Lux Lipstick
A butter-infused longwear orange that promises to pop on darker skin tones.
$7.50 at Colourpop
Colourpop Confetti Cake Matte Lux Lipstick
If you must have a matte, this vibrant teal goes on creamy and is also antioxidant-rich.
$7.50 at Colourpop
Dose of Colors Lip It Up Satin Lipstick in Mochi
This creamy pastel pink delivers full coverage with a smooth, satin finish.
$17 at Ulta
Fenty Beauty Poutsicle Juicy Satin Lipstick in Motorboat
Rihanna’s latest drop is a limited-edition line of bold lipstick shades, including this electric sky blue tint.
$20 at Sephora
Gucci Rouge à Lèvres Satin Lipstick in Kimberley Rose
There’s no short supply of options in Gucci’s new lipstick range and it includes this ultra-bright pastel pink.
$38 at Gucci
MAC Lustre Lipstick in Highlights
A pale creamy peach with a slightly shimmery, lightweight finish.
$18.50 at MAC Cosmetics
MAC Lustre Lipsticks in LoveLorn
This pastel blue-pink lippie would look amazing on anyone with cool undertones.
$18.50 at MAC Cosmetics
Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick in Dreamer
This matte formula is a top-seller because it stays on all day with minimal flaking or fading.
$6.99 at Amazon
Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick in Loyalist
This nude-pink is a universally flattering tone that would look great on both pale and darker skin tones.
$6.64 at Amazon
RMS Beauty Lip Shine in Sublime
This buriti oil-infused gloss delivers a full wash of color without the sticky feeling.
$25 at RMS Beauty
Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain Liquid Lipstick in Audacious Emerald
This bright green lip stain has a metallic finish for when you really want to sparkle.
$10 at Sephora
tarte Rainforest of the Sea™ Color Splash Lipstick in Pink Lemonade
Though this white beige color does have a matte finish, it’s also infused with conditioners for more comfortable wear.
$21 at Sephora
Tom Ford Extreme Lip Spark in Powertrip
The pink-purple shimmer of this metallic lipstick is unreal and the formula is infused with a vegetable emollient to soften your pout.
$55 at Sephora
Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Twitch
UD’s Vice lipstick is a cult-fave at this point and this purple pastel is one of its most popular shades.
$19 at Urban Decay
Fenty Beauty Mattemoiselle Plush Matte Lipstick in One of the Boyz
This vibrant lilac delivers full-coverage without feeling too heavy.
$18 at Sephora