Lovely Look: Sheer Bursts of Color for Spring

by Sonja on February 19, 2009

Image by automatthias

image by automatthias

I’ve had colorful eye shadows on the brain after seeing the YSL Spring Look, playing with the new Tarte Spring Greening Palette, and watching the video for the new Smashbox Muse collection – lots of sheer, vibrant colors. These bring out the artist in me who loves to paint – I love that with makeup I can easily paint every day. But, while these can be great in theory (or on a beautifully lit set), vivid colors can be hard to pull off in real life. Go too far and it’s very easy to look like a clown or, simply, a fool. I usually wear neutral eye shadows. It’s hard to go wrong with them. But I’m drawn to brighter colors so I look for ways to make them work.

Now that I’ve tried Tarte’s new palette, I’m definitely inspired to use more color with my eye makeup. It helps that most of the colors in this palette are on the sheer side so it makes them pretty easy to wear. But they still pack enough pigment to make an impact.

If you’d like to wear more colorful shadows but want to avoid looking over the top, the key is to exercise restraint. Pick just one vivid shade, and then keep the focus on that color by choosing more neutral, subtle colors for the rest of the face. You can always add drama by pairing a brighter shade with strong, dark brown or black eyeliner and/or building up the color by layering on more. This looks gorgeous with a nude lip and subtle cheeks.

Tarte Spring Greening

Tarte Spring GreeningI’m so happy that Tarte sent me this set to try. They’ve created a beautiful, flirty palette with Spring Greening, one that’s wonderfully wearable, great for the skin, and environmentally friendly. After playing with this set, I’ve been loving spring green eye shadow. At first I was reticent about trying the green (called Sparkling Golden Lime – excellent name). But it turned out to be my favorite of all the colors. It has a lot of gold in it so it has a sort of two-tone look with plenty of shimmer. It really brings out my brown eyes – gotta love things that play up one’s natural assets. The copper (Sparkling Copper Peach) has lots of oomph with tons of shimmer. It’s really pretty for lining the eyes or all over the lid. Sparkling Soft Pink is very sheer so it can also be used to highlight the cheeks.

I was really impressed with the formulation of the shadows. Even though they’re powders, they’re very creamy and silky. The glosses (a pink, peach, and clear) also feel very moisturizing and comfortable – sort of like a really glossy balm. They’re very sheer with lots of shine and a touch of sparkle. They contain Tarte’s “t5 super fruit complex,” which has vitamins and antioxidants from ingredients like acai berry and pomegranate extracts. Every purchase of a Tarte product made with the t5 complex supports the Sustainable Amazon Partnership, a collaboration to protect the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest. Tarte also helps the environment by making the reusable case out of sustainable straw and the brush with sustainable bamboo. Big thumbs up. If you want it, get it soon. It’s a limited-edition set. Available at,, Sephora, Henri Bendel, and Bergdorf Goodman for $38.50.

Smashbox Muse Artist Eye Palette

Smashbox MuseIf you want to amp up your eyes, also take a look at the Smashbox Muse Artist Eye Palette. Smashbox is looking to excite our inner artists with its ten vibrant  shadows that look like a set of watercolors. This provides lots of opportunities to experiment with both warm and cool colors, including some essential neutrals (like Biscuit, Chocolate, and Coffee) to pair with the brighter shades. Check out the video for the new Muse collection. Their national makeup artist Hank Hoffman gives a great demo on how to use the shadows with their new eyeliner pencils. Available at, Sephora, Sephora inside JCPenny, Ulta, and Nordstrom for $48.

Do Tell

So what do you think of colorful eye shadows? Do they inspire you? Do you like to play up your eyes with bold colors? Any tips to share? Do tell.

P.S. Check out our regularly updated Beauty Resources page for some amazing beauty deals from companies like Benefit,, and

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