beauty q & a: makeup for pastel hair

I hope you don't mind, but for this week's edition of Beauty Q & A, I'm taking a little detour and actually answering a question that came up for me last week, in hopes of helping people who might be going on a similar hair adventure.

Q: I dyed my hair a pastel shade! How should I adjust my makeup accordingly?

A: Let's discuss! So last week, I had my hair dyed a dimensional violet blonde by the extremely talented colorist, Rosalee. She took my very detailed request (silvery-blonde that blends with my natural shade around the face and at the ends, with violet woven throughout... oh and no chunky '90s streaks, please) and created a look that was so much better than I could have imagined. Rosalee, I can't thank you enough! I wish I could bring you back to Canada with me when I leave Madison this spring.

When I went in, I asked Rosalee if she thought a rose-gold or violet look would be a better choice. She explained that since my skin has neutral undertones, either would work, but since I was still recovering from my orange hair disaster of this past year, a cool colour would be a better bet. She was so right. Readers, when you find a talented artist whom you trust, consult with her/him and listen to what he or she has to say. They're the expert and can give you the most insightful and inspiring suggestions.

So before we jump into talking about makeup, if you're thinking about adding pastel shades into your hair, it's important to consider if your skin has warm, cool or neutral undertones. If you're unsure, ask your stylist to help you determine what you've got. Choosing a pastel shade that is either warmer or cooler to match your skin tone will give you the most seamless look, and choosing the opposite (e.g. warm skin, cool pastel hair) will give you a bit more dramatic contrast.

If you're changing to a pastel shade that's fairly noticeable or different from your previous colour, chances are you'll have to adjust your makeup to complement this new look. And that's where the fun begins! I usually wear warmer makeup shades (bronze, peach, coral, gold), but decided that leaning towards cool/neutral would probably look better with this hair colour. After all, pastel hair makes a statement and it's best if your makeup can harmonize with it rather than competing.

I dug into my makeup kit and came up with four basic looks to match my violet hair. You could use any of these with any pastel shadeβ€”just adjust the blush and lip colours to be warmer or cooler depending on your hair. Let's explore these four different looks!




This is the most neutral daytime look I could come up with. It's all about using cool brown shades to add depth to the eyes, and choosing a contouring powder in lieu of blush. I also switched to a gray-brown shade to fill in my brows as the brown pencil I was using before now looked too warm.

Products used:
- MAC Omega, MAC Charcoal brown (eyes)
- MAC Copperlite (brows)
- MAC Omega (contour)
- MAC Hug Me + Revlon Nude Attitude (lips)
- L'Oreal Voluminous Mascara (lashes)

This look could work for either night or day, depending on how bold you're feeling. It's a softer variation on a classic smoky eye that uses gray shades instead of black or brown. It's balanced out by pink cheeks, highlighted cheekbones and an icy pink gloss. 

Products used:
- MAC Print eyeshadow + MAC Fluidline in "Blacktrack" (eyes)
- NARS Blush in Gaiety + Benefit High Beam (cheeks)
- NARS Larger Thank Life Lip Gloss in International Velvet (lips)
- L'Oreal Voluminous Mascara (lashes)

In hindsight, I would probably use a slightly darker gloss. This one's a bit too pale for me, but would look great on someone with a deeper complexion!


This is a really simple look that just requires a bit of precision. It's essentially just a flicked liner and deep berry lip. No blush or contour, though you could throw in either with a light hand and they'd look nice too, I think. For tips on applying eyeliner without anguish, you can check out my eyeliner 101 post.

Products used:
- Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion (eye prep)
- MAC Fludline in "Blacktrack" (liner)
- L'Oreal Voluminous Mascara (lashes)
- MAC Lip Pencil in "Nightmoth" + Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in "Black Cherry" (lips)


To get the best results from a deep lip colour, be sure to exfoliate your lips with a lip scrub first or even just buff them with your toothbrush. Oh, and line your lips before applying the lipstick to get a crisp line.


This look is really just a toned-down twist on the previous one! I blotted off the dark lip colour (Revlon Black Cherry), leaving a stain behind. I took a Q-Tip and toned down the eyeliner wings slightly, and that's it. You can see that the lip colour is a bit uneven, but that kind of imperfect finish is what makes a lip stain look natural.


I hope this post was helpful. I'd love to hear if you guys have any other suggestions for makeup ideas that go well with pastel hair :)