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Guide to Classic Makeup Color Palettes

Updated on October 25, 2018
lindacee profile image

Linda has written content for national fashion and beauty websites. She enjoys sharing style trends and tips with her readers.

Classic makeup colors will stand the test of time.
Classic makeup colors will stand the test of time. | Source

Many of us seem content with our makeup color choices. It's difficult make a change when we're overwhelmed with a plethora of new products and shades that come out each season. Not to mention the cost involved in keeping up with latest trends. If you're satisfied within your makeup zone it doesn't necessarily mean you're living in a time warp. However, If you are still using the same makeup colors you used back in high school it’s definitely time for a change.

Luckily there are fail-safe makeup color palettes that work for any age, ethnicity and season. You can find all of these colors whether you prefer upscale brands or inexpensive makeup. You don’t even have to be a makeup artist to achieve a classic look. The good news is most these color combinations will never go out of style.

Buy a kit with lip colors, eye shadows and blush to compliment your skin tone, eyes and hair.
Buy a kit with lip colors, eye shadows and blush to compliment your skin tone, eyes and hair. | Source

A Base for Your Face

Your foundation shade is meant to match with your skin tone so we really don’t need to discuss this one as far as trends are concerned. Although picking the right shade for your skin can be a bit tricky if you rush the process. The main thing is that you don’t want to end up with an obvious line of demarcation where the foundation stops and your exposed skin begins.

Before you plunk down your hard earned cash here is a great makeup tip: do a test spot on the back of your hand and walk outside to check the color match. When applying remember a light touch is best. Wearing too much foundation is never a good thing. Finally, don’t forget to blend, blend, blend the foundation past the jaw line onto your neck.

A translucent foundation will take you from winter to summer.
A translucent foundation will take you from winter to summer. | Source

The Eyes Have It

If you are looking for a timeless eyeshadow color consider a subtle metallic, a neutral taupe, light brown or dusty pink. The key is to pick sheer versions of these colors with a hint of shimmer to brighten your eyes. These eyeshadow colors will look great on everyone and make the transition from day to evening and winter to summer. Accent your eyes with a smudged pencil, smokey shadow or liquid liner then top it off with a lengthening and volumizing mascara and you're done.

Cheeky Cheeks

Warm pinks and peaches transcend all trends, skin tones and seasons. Choose one with a light subtle shimmer to give your face that special glow. Go with a peachy-pink to cover all the bases. If the store has testers are available do a side-by-side test on the back of your hand and step into the daylight to get the full effect.

Avoid mauves and browns or anything with a gray tint. These colors are way too overpowering for most women. Use your blush sparingly. Just apply a hint of color on the apples of your cheeks. If you happen to choose an intense pink or peach tone it down with a bit of loose powder.

Avoid browns and bronzes. Stick with warm rose and peach colors--they'll work with most all skin tones.
Avoid browns and bronzes. Stick with warm rose and peach colors--they'll work with most all skin tones. | Source

A Killer Kisser

Not everyone can pull off a vibrant fuschia or bright tangerine pout, so for the sake of fairness let’s head to safe territory. A timeless, universal color palette for lips includes nudes, deep violet, warm burgundy, soft pink and basic red. These lipstick shades are flattering picks for every woman. Choose a matte, semi-matte or gloss. Just make sure your cheek and lip colors are in the same color family and intensity. Competing colors distract and look contrived. The whole point of a classic makeup palette is to present an effortless appearance.

Avoid crazy trend like super glossy or matte lip colors. Stick to basic colors and a slight shimmer.
Avoid crazy trend like super glossy or matte lip colors. Stick to basic colors and a slight shimmer. | Source

Nail Your Nail Color

For some of us nails are a part of our overall makeup palette. Timeless nail colors are easy. Neutrals, berries, reds, corals and pinks are good options in high gloss or matte finishes. When selecting a nail color don't forget to consider your wardrobe and makeup colors.

To simplify things a good manicure and a quick coat of clear polish is probably your best bet. Another fabulous option is to take a cue from the guys to go au naturale. On your next salon visit ask your manicurist to buff your nails and flaunt a natural sheen. If they become dull you can do a quick buff at home to bring back the shine. It stimulates blood flow and oil production to promote healthier nail growth. It also rids the nails of unsightly ridges and discoloration.

Neutral nail shades coordinate with everything.
Neutral nail shades coordinate with everything. | Source

© 2010 Linda Chechar

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    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      9 years ago from Arizona

      Indeed! It's always a pleasure to find a like-thinking friend! I love your makeup routine. I also use a smidgen of primer, especially under the eyes to help my concealer go on smoothly, so as not to damage that delicate skin. The mineral water spritz is a great idea as well. I will have to give it a try. It will also be refreshing on those oh-so-hot days ahead. Thank you again for your kind comments and support. You must write some Hubs as well! It is too bad I can't send some sunshine your way -- it's a dry scorcher here today! Besos

    • profile image


      9 years ago


      Mutual Admiration Society, methinks! :-). Your blogs are so full of wise not-so-common sense that they are a joy to read and follow!

      I couldn't agree more about minimal foundation, though because of my uneven skin tone, I need a bit of help. I use Guerlain's les meteorites primer, then a smidgen of their skin lingerie foundation (which really does feel as its name suggests), but always applied with a foundation brush and a very light touch; then a soupçon of their voilettes loose mineral powder. A TOUCH of blush, and natural coloured eye make-up and lipstick, before a spritz of Avène mineral water, which is cooling, and fixes my make-up for the day, and I'm ready to go. I'm so glad to read the UK isn't the only place where your column should be more widely read (!!). Thanks for a truly great hub, lindacee. I know it must be time-consuming, but amidst a lot of dross on the web, it is oh-so-refreshing! Please don't stop! :-) Bisous from drizzly France, Jenny x

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      9 years ago from Arizona

      Jenny, I will be hitting the 55 mark this year and find the less I put on my face, foundation-wise, the better I look. Here in the heat of Vegas, I'm much better off wearing a mineral veil powder instead of a liquid or cream foundation. I just hit problem areas with a light concealer and finish with the powder, a subtle blush, minimal eye makeup and lip tint. Your description of British women and their grooming and makeup habits could very easily be describing women here in the US. It is indeed appalling what passes as acceptable! I long for the days when people actually "dressed" to go out in public. Just yesterday I went for a pastry and coffee and spotted a gentleman (I use the term loosely) dressed in what appeared to be his pajamas. Que horror! Anyway, thanks for reading my Hub. I enjoy your comments immensely! Best to you.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      This is truly great advice!! You are quite right, lindacee, your picks are timeless....and ageless! I have hit the big six-zero, but still love to look chic and elegant, especially important since I'm living and working in France, where NO self-respecting woman would go to the boulangerie for her early-morning baguette without making sure she was well-dressed and made-up. But she also knows that less is definitely more, and this becomes increasingly true as we mature. Subtle, natural make-up is far more flattering than garish colours can ever be: even on teenagers. Oh, that my fellow Brits could understand this fundamental truth. They think nothing of going to the supermarket in slouchy sweat-pants and trainers, with an inch of dark/grey roots showing in their garishly blond, unkempt hair; conversely, at night, they lay on the make-up with a trowel, along with cans of spray-on fake tan and hair extensions that would make an excellent bird's nest. Okay, all of the foregoing is a sweeping generalisation, and especially true of young women, but, sadly, it's a trend I see every time I return to the UK!

    • Klena profile image


      10 years ago from England

      I would never say otherwise, and you're so right - these are easy accessible colours that just never go out of fashion. My pleasure, I can't wait to read more of your hubs :)

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Chechar 

      10 years ago from Arizona

      That proves conclusively that mother does indeed know best! These color palettes are basic and easy to find, no matter what the latest makeup trends are. Thanks for reading and sharing your comments. Greatly appreciated!

    • Klena profile image


      10 years ago from England

      What an excellent hub. My mother taught me almost everything I knew about make-up and she advised much the same as you did.

      I completely agree with you regarding bronze, taupes and brown eyeshadows. They were the first combination of colours I was confident wearing because they always looked glamourous and stylish.

      Great Hub, I can't wait to read more of your work!


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