I Figured Out How To Wear Pink Eyeshadow Without Looking Like I Have A Disease

What good is a trend if it makes you look like you belong in a sick ward?

As a beauty writer and expert, it’s my job to take the beauty looks that parade down the runways and translate them for the real world. But one spring makeup trend that has been particularly challenging for me to convert to real life is pink eyeshadow. And not because it’s too theatrical, but because it can make even the most beautiful model look seriously ill. I’ve even seen celebs flaunting pink eyeshadow on the red carpet who, instead of looking trendy, just look like they are in desperate need of a Claritin.

To make matters even more difficult, pink shades are particularly challenging for someone like me with ruddy undertones. It doesn’t take much for me to look red-faced, so anything pink can be risky.

But after some serious testing, I navigated my way through the wide pink field of products to find what does and doesn’t work when it comes to pink eyeshadows. And since there is a very big difference between a pale pink and a deeper shade, here are some tips I learned during my testing process, broken down by dark and light.


Go for a cream: Cream eyeshadow has more pigment than powder, so a sheer wash of pink will actually show up.

Wet the brush: If you're using a powder shadow, wet your brush before applying -– this makes the pigment look more intense.

Beware the shimmer: Unless you’re going for a super (super) sweet look, steer clear of pale pink shadows with shimmer. Baby pink + shimmer = childhood dance recital. Or Glinda the Good Witch.


Get the red out: Whether it’s allergy season, or you had one too many drinks last night, if you have even a hint of redness in your eyes, use a few eye drops before you start applying your makeup. This eliminates the "is she just sick?" question.

Prime, prime, prime: When a nude or brown shade bleeds during the day, it makes a smokier effect. When dark pink shadow bleeds during the day, it takes you into "diseased" territory faster than you can say "Ew." Set your color with an eye shadow base first to make it last.

Try it with liner: Defining the rims of your eyes and the shadow helps establish that look as makeup versus bad skin color, so make sure you line both your upper and lower lids (This was big for me, because I usually only line my top lid.)

And lastly, there's another way to wear pink that I love: I use it to line my top lid instead of wearing it across my whole lid. Here, I applied black liner first then traced the pink shadow right next to it. It's very dramatic without being too campy.

Anybody else brave enough to dabble in pink shadow? What tips have worked for you?