Monochromatic makeup looks can be hard to pull off, which is exactly why I’ve always been too intimidated to try it out. What happens if I look like a clown? Or my skin is just… ick in multiple shades of the same color? So, instead, I’ve done exactly what they say NOT to do: wear dramatic eyes with red lipstick.
Sue me. Green is scary.
But as a beauty editor, it’s important to learn about the things that make you want to hide. So today, I’m explaining how to wear monochromatic makeup and not look absolutely ridiculous, no matter your color choice. And spoiler: it’s a LOT easier than you (cough, I) think!
How Monochromatic Makeup Became Popular
Monochromatic makeup became popular in 2021. Makeup artists have been doing monochromatic makeup looks for longer than 2021, sure, but when you have celebs like Rihanna, Selena Gomez, and Priyanka Chopra doing something, trends tend to explode. And ‘twas the case in 2021, though with more bronze and gold looks than out-there, loud-and-proud color matching.
It’s super simplistic – you put one color on your face, and you have makeup sections across the board (aka your face) that complement one another. There’s no deciding whether your gold lip gloss goes with your blue eyeshadow when one color just works together. So, it can be a no-brainer when deciding on what to do or how to dress up.
How to Wear Monochromatic Makeup
Pulling off monochromatic makeup is super easy when it comes to neutrals – swipe on some bronzer, or some gold, or some beige/brown, and you have a tan complexion, which is in for spring of 2022. It’s also great when wearing crazy patterns, since you don’t want your face to battle with a statement outfit. Not only are you staying neutral, but you’re pulling off another trend at the same time – can you say in?
But if you’re feeling bold, it’s possible to go a little wild with your makeup. For example, try wearing a blue-tinted lip gloss with blue eyeshadow and blue eyeliner. Or, create a smokey eye using purple tones, then swipe on a lilac highlighter. Pink can be neutral, but why be that when you can go neon? And if you want to feel #Fierce, try matching your makeup to your outfit, like Rihanna.
One way to make pulling off monochromatic makeup easy: finding multi-use products. That way, you have one color that goes on everywhere, so there’s no mixing and matching colors and hoping that the orange tint in your bronzer doesn’t clash with the blue tint in your lipstick.
Monochromatic Makeup Products
I own Fluide’s Universal Gloss, and I’m obsessed with it. I pop it on my cheeks, my lips, and my lids, and I have a rosy flush that gives me life – even on days I’ve woken up at 5 am to work. I have it in Roxy (thank you Laura!), but I also love the fiery color that is Marz, because who says you can’t wear deep red on your lids? Fight the rules, Fluide, it’s what you do best.
Give yourself a tan touch, a chocolate-y chisel, or a shimmering sable with W3LL People’s Supernatural Bronzer Stick. Coming in four shades, you can choose how deep you want your bronze to be, using it wherever you’d like. It’s packed with hydrating jojoba oil, vitamin-filled sunflower seed oil to retain moisture, and green tea to protect against free radicals.
Cheekbone made a palette specifically for your entire face, and you can pick from shades of brown to give your face depth. OR, you can choose one color and use it anywhere you’d like for a fully monochromatic face. Whether you’re feeling a deep bronze or a trace of beige, there are multiple palettes available to give you the monochromatic look you’re aiming for.
I love Pangea for many reasons, but mostly because it makes the choices for the Bronze + Sculpt stick so inclusive. There isn’t just a light tan – there’s a deep, “decadent cacao with neutral to slightly cool undertones” so every skin tone has a chance to deepen, not just those with porcelain skin. It’s filled with squalane and vitamin E to hydrate and protect, with a creamy texture that glides right on.
Glow, baby, glow. While I of course love the gold in this – and it’s GOLD, not just a subtle glow of gold – my favorite part is the ingredients, which are there to totally nourish the skin anywhere you apply it. Say hello to fatty-acid- and antioxidant-filled olive oil, the antimicrobial coconut, hydrating jojoba and rosehip seed oils, healing vitamin E, and anti-inflammatory neem seed oil… among a bunch of other ingredients that will love up on your skin.
Don’t be afraid of green! I know concealer is green to hide redness, but green should be celebrated for what it is, not just what it can hide. Rituel de Fille’s Metamorphic Highlighter is perfect for eyelids, thanks to the strong pigment; lips, because lime is a nice tint on top of neutral puckers; and cheeks, which will light up like never before with a fun color mixed with glitter.
I’m obsessed with anything holographic, so I had to include both of Milk’s tones. The first is more neutral – still holographic, but it goes on beige, so it’s not as out there unless you catch the light. The lavender, on the other hand? Wear it if you want everyone to know you’re wearing highlighter without light, because, yeah, everyone is going to notice.
This highlighter looks like foil, but it’s simply super glittery, giving you a glow that can’t be beat. I wanted to include one that wasn’t a stick or cream, because I want to prove that you can still have a monochromatic look without a heavy hand. The nude pink comes through with a non-oily shine, and it’s buildable – something a few other options here are missing. Sheer or statement, it’s up to you.
Unicorn Snot has made it, obvs. So you don’t want color, you just want glitter? A goddamn unicorn sneezed, and the result is meant for your entire face (and body). I personally love Unicorn Snot because it’s the most glitter-y of the bunch, and the gel will ensure that it stays on all day. Plus, the glitter is vegan, cruelty-free, and biodegradable, so you can feel totally ethical.
Do you like monochromatic makeup looks, or are you more into mixing and matching colors? Tell us below!