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How to Master the Monochromatic Makeup Trend

Photo by Frazer Harrison / Staff/Getty Images

Creating show-stopping beauty looks is often all about choosing the right colors for different elements of your makeup–an eyeshadow shade that makes your blue eyes pop, a red lipstick that helps your skin tone glow… Sometimes though, you can use just one color to create an entire makeup look and still end up with something absolutely stunning. Case in point: monochromatic makeup.

Below, we dive deeper into what exactly monochromatic makeup is and share a few examples of how celebs are wearing it on the red carpet. We've even highlighted a handful of our favorite multipurpose beauty products that make mastering this beauty trend a total breeze.

About the Expert:

Lavonne Anthony is a professional makeup artist with two decades of experience under her belt. Anthony has created makeup looks for editorial publications, red carpet, and runway shows.

How to Wear Monochromatic Makeup Like a Pro

First things first: Let's make sure we really understand what monochromatic makeup is. Makeup artist Lavonne Anthony describes the trend simply: "Monochromatic makeup is when you keep the color palette of your makeup the same for your lips, eyes, and cheeks," she says. "I love taking it further with nails and also clothing."

This style of makeup can be sweet and simple or statement-making depending on the color you choose. One common misconception about monochromatic makeup is that using just one color on the eyes, cheeks, and lips will make the makeup appear flat overall. To avoid this from happening, Anthony offers a simple solution: "Pick shades that complement your complexion and skin tones. Red, pinks, and browns look beautiful on everyone," she says. "When going with violets, aubergines, and oranges you will get amazing pop if you aren’t afraid of some bright colors!"

Overall, monochromatic looks are a super easy way for both experts and beginners to quickly create a professional-looking face of makeup. But before you dive right in, Anthony has one final word of advice for those who are new to the beauty trend: "When it comes to cheek and blush color, you have to blend out and diffuse the color so it doesn’t appear too clownish," she says.

Our Favorite Monochrome Makeup Looks

In need of a little inspiration before you get started? Here's how five celebs have recently worn monochromatic makeup on the red carpet.

1. Minimal Monochrome

Close-up of Lili Reinhart wearing a minimal monochromatic makeup look
Photo by Frazer Harrison / Staff/Getty Images

If you're under the impression that a monochromatic makeup look is more for highly editorialized red carpet looks and less for everyday wear, think again. Here, Lili Reinhart shows us just how wearable this makeup trend can be.

2. Perfectly Peach

Close-up of Selena Gomez in a peach-colored monochromatic makeup look
Photo by Tibrina Hobson / Stringer/Getty Images

When you're looking to boost your skin's warmth but you don't want to go fully bronze, opt instead for a peach-hued makeup look like Selena Gomez is sporting here. Peach-colored shades can look good on any skin tone. They can illuminate just like gold can while being less traditional than rosy hues. It's the perfect modern makeup moment.

3. Rosy Raspberry

Priyanka Chopra wearing a berry-colored monochromatic makeup look
Photo by Mike Coppola / Staff/Getty Images

If you've already tried a subtle pink monochrome look (see Lili Reinhart above) and you're ready to take the intensity up a notch, try this monochromatic makeup look that features rich berry hues, like Priyanka Chopra. This monochrome color scheme is ideal if you're looking for a bit more saturation.

4. Warm Neutrals

Zoe Kravitz sporting a neutral monochromatic makeup look and dangling pink diamond earrings
Photo by Neilson Barnard / Staff/Getty Images

Here's the perfect happy medium. The soft, bronze neutrals that Zoe Kravitz is sporting here on her eyes, lips, and cheeks are glowy but not golden, soft but not quite pink. In short, this look showcases a perfect melody of true neutrals. The key to copying this look at home is to keep it sweet and simple.

5. Retro Glam

Lily Collins sporting a deep brown monochromatic makeup look
Photo by Pascal Le Segretain / Staff/Getty Images

If you're all about those vintage-inspired shades of brown that are trending right now, why not create a full monochromatic '90s moment around the color? This makeup idea uses rich shades of brown to create a look that perfectly mixes old and new. Lily Collin's shimmery smoky eye is dramatic but still illuminating thanks to a mix of champagne and deep browns.

Multitasking Products for Monochromatic Looks:

Now that you're fully briefed on the trend, it's time to give it a try. Use any of these multitasking makeup products to easily create a monochromatic look in minutes.

1. BENEFIT COSMETICS Posietint Cheek & Lip Stain

BENEFIT COSMETICS Posietint Cheek & Lip Stain

This multipurpose product is perfect for creating a sweet, rosy beauty look that lasts for hours. The poppy-pink tinted stain can be swiped onto the lips or dotted on the cheekbones and blended in to brighten and add a harmonious color to both areas of the face. The formula even hydrates your skin while you wear it thanks to the inclusion of squalane.

2. TARTE COSMETICS Confessions of a Maneater™ Eye and Cheek Palette

TARTE COSMETICS Confessions of a Maneater™ Eye and Cheek Palette

More into powder formulas than liquid tints? We got you. This eye and cheek palette makes it a breeze to create monochromatic looks on the fly. Try pairing the pink and berry eyeshadow shades with the "Smitten Kitten" blush shade, which looks nice and warm on the skin. Pair neutral or champagne-hued eyeshadow looks with the "Cattitude" blush shade, which is lighter and more illuminating.

3. GLOSSIER Cloud Paint

GLOSSIER Cloud Paint
Courtesy of GLOSSIER

This fan-favorite product is primarily a blush, but it can also be used for so much more. In addition to applying the pigmented "paint" to your cheekbones, try blending it with your favorite lip gloss for a harmonious boost of color. Need a little touch of color on your eyes? Simply dab and blend.

4. ILIA Color Haze Multi-Use Pigment

ILIA Color Haze Multi-Use Pigment
Courtesy of ILIA

The possibilities for this creamy lip and cheek pigment are endless. On the cheeks, it allows for truly buildable color. Add just a touch for a soft wash of color or built up for a more dramatic effect. On the lips, the coordinating shade dries down to a matte lipstick that keeps the skin hydrated while you wear it. Like Cloud Paint, you can also try dabbing a touch of this on your lids to tie the monochromatic look together.

Want to discover more new beauty products that help you take on today’s top beauty trends? Sign up for an IPSY Glam Bag. Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

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About the author
Cortney Clift
Cortney is a New York-based freelance writer who has written about beauty and wellness for more than six years. She was previously the senior writer and special projects editor at Brit + Co where she covered a wide range of news and lifestyle topics.
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Article Last Updated February 11, 2021 12:00 AM