Pastel Eyeshadow: The Bright Makeup Trend For When You Need A Break From Barbiecore

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As "Mean Girls"'s Karen Smith once said, "On Wednesdays, we wear pink." And we've been wearing loads and loads of it lately, thanks to Greta Gerwig's "Barbie" movie, plus the resurgence of both Y2K and Barbiecore. But how about Mondays, Tuesdays, and every other day after Wednesday? Well, that's where the pastels come in, for the days when you want to ditch the pink but still need that extra dose of color.

Pastel eyeshadows are softer, muted versions of bright-colored shadows and pigments. Think of shades like powder blue, baby pink, lavender, mint, and pale yellow. Reminiscent of the '60s with the baby blue and lilac eye looks musicians wore in videos, pastel eyeshadows are a great way to mix several aesthetics: girly, playful, and spring-like.

So, when you need a break from all the pink or neutral looks you wear, it's time to pick up some mint greens and baby pinks and try them instead. And the best part is there are so many ways to rock them on every skin tone. Here's a little inspiration and tips on how to make them work, starting with matching your eyeshadow to a highlighter of the same shade.

Equal doses of eyes and cheeks

Pastel eyeshadows can be fun and playful but can also seem challenging to balance with the rest of your makeup. But not to worry, because one of the ways to make them work is by matching them with your highlighter or blush. Lilac eyeshadow? Match your cheeks with a shimmery lilac highlighter. Baby pink eyelids? Pink blush is perfect. Some highlighter palettes also double as an eyeshadow, like the Fenty Beauty Killawatt Foil Freestyle Highlighter Duo. Just swipe on both your lids and the highest points of your face, and you're good to go.

Graphic liner with your pastels

A simple swipe of pastels on your eyelid might be convenient, but it can get monotonous fast. For that extra wow factor, try some graphic liner in a similar shade or a contrasting one around your lash line or on the border of your outer corner. Our favorite example of this is the pink and red graphic liner look by @makeupwlp. White graphic eyeliner will make a pastel rainbow shadow look pop, like this look from @ajbelarte.

Into the pastel rainbow

Our favorite thing about pastel eyeshadows is how versatile they are. A swipe of one color across your lid can look just as good as a blend of colors, and this is especially true with rainbow eyeshadow looks. For inspo, we're in love with @ajbelarte's other dreamy rainbow eye look which features lavender on the outer corner of one eye, blue in the center, and a bright yellow in the inner corner. Just be sure to blend for a smooth transition between each color.

Unleash the lower lash line

About to apply some kajal to finish the look? Don't. Skip the eyeliner and use some pastel eyeshadow or pigment on your lower lash line instead, except in a different shade from the one on your eyelid. For example, a mint green shadow on your lid with pale yellow on your bottom lash line adds more dimension and character to your eyes. The same goes for color combinations like lavender on the eyelid and lilac on your lower lash line. Whatever your choice, you can't go wrong this way.

Monochrome eyes

Any makeup enthusiast with sleepy eyes knows that for a look of wakefulness, white eyeliner is the way to go. White eyeliner gives the illusion of a larger cornea, widening the eyes and making them look brighter. Pastels, being lighter versions of colors, work with the same principle, and as such, you can use them on your lash line to widen and brighten up your eyes. For this, apply your preferred eyeshadow shade on your lid and then line your lower lash line with the same shade.

Pair with a reverse cat eye

Eyeliner remains one of the best ways to accentuate your eyes, and the reverse cat eye technique reigns supreme, especially when combined with bright pastel eyeshadow looks. Heavily line your lower lash line with a different pastel than the one on your lids and extend the wing to your outer corner. You can also create the reverse cat eye wing with the same pastel on your eyelids, though the effect is less out there. The results are always sharp, elegant, and fresh.

The gradient look

Just as you can blend various pastels for a rainbow unicorn effect, another great way to wear them is by forming a gradient between two pastel eyeshadows. All you need are two colors that make an excellent combo, a small crease brush, and a lot of blending between the colors. Try blue and green for practice: it's a combo that never fails to impress. Another great combo is purple and pink or trying orange and a pastel red. 

Pearlescent eyelids

Pearlescent nails, glass skin, even glossy mermaid hair: the list goes on and on, but why stop there? Pair your pastel eyeshadows in colors like baby blues and creams with some shimmers or gloss on top for an iridescent look, just like Rina Sawayama's shimmery ombre eye look. This glittery look kind of leans into mermaidcore as well, which is a popular makeup trend along with Barbiecore. To finish off the pearlescent look, you could even add some actual pearl stickers

Our favorite pastel palettes

Now that you know just how great pastel eyeshadows are and how to make them work fabulously, here are a few palettes you can start with. Huda Beauty's Pastel Obsessions Eyeshadow Palette comes in three colorways: mint, lilac, and rose. It also contains metallics and shimmers to suit any preference. We are also ardent lovers of the ColourPop Tie-Dye Palettes in In A Trance and All Amethyst.

All in all, pastel eyeshadows are the perfect way to incorporate color and a bit more fun into your makeup routine, and we can't wait to see you try it.