- Reflect light by choosing a cream-based shadow or a powder with subtle gold flecks
- Peach blush can help counteract grayness and brighten up dull skin
- Matte lipstick can make lips look dry. Instead, choose a creamy, hydrating lipstick or gloss
Want to brighten up your face without looking like you're wearing too much makeup? Use shades that warm up your skin, like peach, coral, and earthy green.
These fresh neutrals are flattering for all, says Channing Barnett, M.D., a New York City dermatologist. "They're variations of earth tones," Barnett says, "so when you apply them correctly, they light up your skin."
Even better, they complement the colors we gravitate toward in spring, from pastels to bolder brights. Here's how -- and where -- to use them for a softer, prettier pop of color.
Wake up your eyes with green shadow
"Green is a neutral just like beige, only more pigmented, so it adds more dimension," says New York City makeup artist Suzy Gerstein.
Look for gold (just subtle flecks) in a powder- or cream-based shadow. It reflects light and draws attention away from fine lines.
Buy one green shadow, not a whole palette full. "It's more modern to lightly dust one shade of green over the lid, stopping at the crease," says Gerstein. "Three different colors along the base, crease, and brow bone can overpower your face, especially if you're over 35."
Don't match liner to your shadow. Line your eyes with brown (for a soft look) or black (if you need a bit more definition).
Find your most gorgeous green
- If you're fair: Use a pastel, like mint. Try NYX Eye Shadow in Kiwi ($5; nyxcosmetics.com).
- If you're medium: Go with khaki or olive. Try Shiseido Shimmering Cream Eye Colors in Moss ($25; shiseido.com).
- If you're dark: Seaweed or forest greens will pop. We like L'Oréal Paris Studio Secrets Professional Eye Shadow Single in Spring Leaf ($5; drugstores).
Wake up your cheeks with peach blush
More flattering than the pinks so many of us wear out of habit, "peach is the color of health," says John Stapleton, a senior makeup artist for MAC Cosmetics. "It counteracts grayness to brighten up dull skin."
Choose a blush with a hint of shimmer. "Many women think shimmer is too young, but it makes your cheeks appear fuller and prettier," Stapleton notes.
Go (a bit) darker with this shade. "Peach blush always looks lighter once you apply it," Stapleton says.
Find your prettiest peach
- If you're fair: Keep it soft with a light peach-pink, like Maybelline New York Dream Bouncy Blush in Candy Coral ($8; mass retailers).
- If you're medium: Go with a shade like melon or apricot. Try Tarte Maracuja Blush & Glow Brightening Luminizer and Cheek Tint in Sunlight ($32; sephora.com).
- If you're dark: A red-based, almost bronze shade will flatter. We like Sally Hansen Natural Beauty Sheerest Blush in Beaming ($9; drugstore.com).
Wake up your smile with coral lip gloss
"Coral is a blend of pink and peach that works on every skin tone," says Collier Strong, a consulting makeup artist for L'Oréal Paris. "It has a vibrancy that helps fill out lips."
Don't go matte with your lipstick; it can make lips look dry. Instead, choose a creamy, hydrating lipstick or gloss.
Go for a soft liner that matches your natural lip color, not the color of your lipstick. "It's difficult to find the perfect shade of liner to match coral lipstick," says Strong. Plus, sticking with a neutral keeps the look less "done."
Try a fresh stain effect by using your index finger to press the lipstick onto your lips. Never apply coral straight from the tube. "When you drag lipstick across your lips, you can apply too much, which ages you in a bright shade," says Strong.
Find your best coral
- If you're fair: A soft peachy-pink will brighten your face. Try Wet N Wild Silk Finish Lip Color in Sunset Peach ($1; drugstores).
- If you're medium: Vibrant orange-pinks are your perfect coral complement. Try Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in N41 Watermelon ($19; 877-757-5175).
- If you're dark: Try fiery red-brown corals; look for names like spice or sienna. A good choice: Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Ultra Lipstick in Coral Vibrations ($23; elizabetharden.com).