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Why Coordinating Your Makeup is Better Than Matching and How to Do it Properly

Why Coordinating Your Makeup is Better Than Matching and How to Do it Properly

We're kind of obsessed with fictitious characters like Elle Woods and Cher Horowitz. You know, little miss perfect types who are always exquisitely styled, groomed and, above all, matching. Sometimes it can be fun to let these fictional ladies inspire your makeup look; nothing screams "fictional little rich girl" quite like lips and eyes that perfectly match. While matching can be fun, we have to admit, we're way more into coordinating.


“Matching” suggests playing it safe and only using colors that go together while doing your makeup. “Coordinating” entails staying in the same color family, but being a little bolder and more daring in how you work with color. Color theory - the study of how colors work together - is a cornerstone of any good makeup artist's practice. To help you get an idea of how you can experiment with bold color combos without creating a total disaster on your face, here are some tips on how to coordinate your makeup properly.

Understand Color Theory and The Color Wheel

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You don't have to go to art school to get a basic understanding of color theory. Go ahead and give the color wheel a quick glance. Look at the pink and purple. These colors match. If you envision it on the face, you'll probably envision something very Barbie or Elle Woods-esque.

However, look at the blue and orange. Since they sit directly across from each other, they coordinate. It doesn't read as simply on the face as matching colors do, but it doesn't read as stark or unnerving, either. A blue eye with a bold matte orange lip would be striking, but it wouldn't be unattractive by any means.

If you can understand this basic principal, you're halfway there to being a pro at coordinating makeup colors.

Factoring In Your Hair, Skin Color and Outfit (To A Degree)

This is tricky, but important. When you're looking for bold color combinations that are striking but not unflattering, it's important to factor in your hair color, your skin color and your outfit. In fact, factoring in your outfit when doing your makeup is a practice that more individuals should be doing anyway.

You can reference that same color wheel when you're deciding on colors in relation to your outfit. A pink lip with a purple dress will be a great look if you want to match. If you want to coordinate, however, a bold matte yellow eyeshadow applied to the lid with a flat brush would create a juxtaposition against the purple of the dress that would be absolutely striking.

When it comes to matching colors to your skin tone, it's less about specific colors for specific skin tones (that would be so boring!), but rather about staying in a general color family. For example, both pale and olive skin tones can pull off green. However, an olive skinned person would do better with an army green, while a pale person would do better with a bright, cooler green.

When it comes to the skin tone rules, however, don't be afraid to break them. Just because you're pale doesn't mean that you can't use an army green eyeshadow. Just be cognizant of the fact that it isn't ideal for your skin tone. Try using it as a transitional color at the outer corners and using a cooler green as your main shade.

When In Doubt, Follow The One Or The Other Rule

This is as simple as it sounds. If you're worried about getting color matching or color coordination right, the foolproof method is to just follow the rule of one or the other. If you're going to do a very bold eye, do a simple lip. If you're going to do a bold color on the lip, keep the eye makeup simple and neutral.

Once you know about this rule, you'll start to see it everywhere. Britney Spears is known for wearing a lot of black eyeliner and mascara, especially when she's on stage. However, you rarely, if ever, see Britney in a bold or red lip. She's perpetually in a baby pink or sheer gloss. This is because her makeup artist knows that a bold lip would be jarring against her heavy eye makeup.

The biggest poster girl for the opposite of this, of course, would be Taylor Swift. At this point, red lipstick is as trademarked to Taylor as black and white face paint is to Gene Simmons. However, you rarely see Taylor in a heavy smokey eye. That's because it would take her signature red lip from "old school elegance" to "old lady at slot machine".

Don't Overthink It

This is probably one of the more in-depth posts we've published here at Frends. Things like color theory are often included in college art classes, so it's certainly a lot of information to take in. When it comes down to it, one of the biggest things to remember is not to overthink it. The color wheel and these basic ideas can be a great starting point on which to pair colors and create looks. But don't think that this means you're forbidden from pairing certain colors in your Z Palette makeup case. Creative artists can always find great and innovative ways to break just about any rule that they come across.

When it comes to your makeup, think of yourself as a poet and think of color theory as the rules of English grammar. Sure, they're probably a good set of rules to base the majority of your works off of. But that doesn't mean that there won't be times when it's appropriate to throw them out the window and turn everything on its head. Some of the greatest poets were known for tossing the rules out the window. When it comes down to it, we want you to use your makeup in whatever way that speaks to you. 

Join us today to save 10% off of your first order on Z Palette makeup or any of the other fabulous brands that we carry. As always, we invite you to play with makeup and create whatever look speaks to you and your unique style.

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