After several seasons of barely-there makeup and the naked face, color is making a strong comeback.
And that doesn't mean caking it on. While spring's palette yields stronger tones, the true inspiration comes from pale shades of the ecology. Coral, peach, banana, powdery pink and even soft blue lend a rich, natural look to the face.
The fresh approach comes just in time. With all the rage in '60s fashion, cosmetics companies have developed color lines that are more complementary. The heavy liquid eyeliner, clunky false eyelashes and the chalky pale lips that made up last season's face are giving way to a softer look.
Marianne Diorio, executive director of public relations at Perscriptives, describes the season's palette as a "return to the '60s aesthetic, but we don't want a retro victim.
"We're trying to marry the spirit of the '60s to the '90s to allow the person to have fun with this trend and to look her best."
Guy Lento, national makeup director for Chanel, says, "I'm glad the natural look is over because it takes a lot of makeup to look natural. It's important for women to buy makeup that has harmony and balance with their clothes. Since clothes this spring are in cooler shades, the makeup should be cool too. You can wear any color as long as it's blended properly."
Diorio says Perscriptives lip shades come in "very hot colors like orange pop, tutti-frutti and flamingo but the wonderful thing is they are also matte. These bright colors simply bring light into the face."
Top makeup artist Bobbi Brown, whose debut line of lipsticks will be carried this spring at Bergdorf Goodman, says muted pink is the spring story for lips. But for well defined lips, she recommends muted red and orange.
"The reds and oranges have been mixed with brown for a toned down effect so they don't look like they are falling off of your face."
And this spring marks the return of blush.
"Cheek color is still very subdued in a pastel pink like petunia, giving you a softer, rosier cheek," says Brenda Long, a national makeup representative for Lancome. "It still looks very natural and you're not using a lot of color."
Brown says that cheek color should be natural noticeable but subtle.
"The cheek color should look healthy and work with your skin tones. The desired look should give the cheek the color you naturally get after a vigorous walk."
Eyelids should be treated to gentle sweeps of highlight colors such as sky blue and banana, and even grays, taupes and browns. "The look is a little more high fashion as opposed to the dark, smoky look," Mr. Lento says.
And while excessive mascara and eyeliner is out this season, a moderate use of both products complement the new soft tones and keep the face from looking washed out.
At Chanel, there is new liquid cake liner in blacknavy and bluecharcoal that should be lightly applied with a brush, Lento says.
The lined eye is also important to the spring face at Perscriptives. The eyeliner in its "Dangerous" collection "lines the eye like a felt tip marker and can be adjusted to make precise lines around the eyes or bolder ones," Diorio says. "It also smudges easily for a smoky look."