Mirror, Mirror: Color me spring

Kharisma McIlwaine's face pops with yellow eyelids and contrasting emerald green liner. Hughes pizzazzed the pout with tangerine. "This is more of a nighttime look," said Hughes. "But fashionistas can confidently pull this off during the day as well."

The spring face is a cool one. It's flushed, but not bronzed. Brows are thick. Lashes are long. Eyes are lined blue. Sometimes, lids are yellow and lips melon.

It's not sultry or dewy, dreamy or pouty, but pastel and pretty - like a doll's face.

"Think light and bright," says makeup artist Kelley Hughes. Hughes is co-owner of Parlour, a hair and skin boutique in Fishtown. "Pastels: turquoises, yellows, greens, tangerines. The colors are pastel, but pigmented for the perfect pop."

With her salmon cheeks, rosy lips and near-alabaster skin, actress Anne Hathaway is the grand dame of the uber clean-faced look.

But the not-so-pale can make it work, too. Actresses Jessica Pare and Mila Kunis confidently wear the brighter base with pops of color on the lips and eyes.

Even Kerry Washington can pull it off. At December's NAACP Image Awards, ABC's Scandal star wore a killer pink and green Miu Miu gown, her face soft with violet eyelids, and pink lips and cheeks.

"It's very interesting how it all comes together," says Andre Richard Baldini, creative director of Center City's Andre Richard Salon. "It's either a clean palette with a pinkish lip, lid and cheek, or the eyes and lips shouldn't match at all: like a grass-green eye and a coral lip."

Sounds funky, but it works - and not just at night.

The trick to success is knowing what cool colors work with your complexion, and that can be tough for the average woman, who doesn't have an on-call makeup artist.

Until recently, makeup experts told us that less is more, a response to our collective working-girl belief that we should look natural. We didn't want to spend hours applying war paint, let alone have it appear Kabuki style.

But last fall, when the first wave of colorblocking styles showed up on magazine pages, we saw the first signs that high fashion was getting bored with the sun-kissed look, and we started seeing makeup lines MAC Cosmetics and Make Up For Ever introduce navy lipsticks, forest green eye shadows and orange blushes. Mustard yellow lids were hot.

Once considered a big no-no, we even saw smokey eyes paired with bold-colored lips.

The color-me-dark look was big on vampire TV shows - True Blood, The Vampire Diaries - but otherwise, it didn't take off with most human faces. However, the idea of a colored lip complementing a colored eye was getting momentum in the fashion universe.

Then, with this season's floral pantsuits and lace dresses looking very minty and lemony, so are our eyelids and lips.

"That fear factor is gone when it comes to makeup now," Baldini says.

Pantone has teamed up with Sephora to create emerald green lipstick, mascara and shadows in honor of Pantone's color of the year. There are even emerald green diamonds in its fake lash lines. Dior is featuring a lilac lipstick, and Nikki Minaj's MAC collection includes a chilly watermelon color. Periwinkle and sherbert-orange eye shadows are popular, too.

So how do you make cool colors work for you if your complexion is warm?

Hughes suggests going for those that are pigment heavy. For example, instead of a light orange lip, go with a darker tangerine.

Blending is important as well: Mixing a fuchsia shade with a paler pink lipstick may be necessary to get the right shade for your skin, what can be the difference between a fresh look or a clown face.

Or worse, a cotton candy mouth.

"The idea is not to look washed out, but vibrant," Hughes says. "This face sparkles."


Contact fashion writer Elizabeth Wellington at 215-854-2704. Follow her in Twitter @ewellingtonphl.