Orange and coral are hot in makeup this spring

The idea of orange makeup may conjure up images of circus clowns or overly tanned women sporting neon coral lipstick on a sweltering day. But this spring, orange and coral hues are looking fresh, modern and totally wearable.

From highly pigmented poppy lip lacquer to sheer and lightly sparkled coral blush, orange and coral beauty products are everywhere. Bobbi Brown has a coral collection that includes numerous variations of the hue, from earthy to ultra-feminine sheer with a pink cast. Make Up Forever’s orange lip gloss and lipstick are an extreme take on the trend but can be diluted with softer shades or used as is to make a real statement.

For an example of how orange is making a splash this spring, just peek inside the front pages of a fashion magazine and you can’t miss the electric orange pouts on the models in Prada’s current advertisements. With the season’s minimalist nude and white clothing trend, a vibrant orange lip or nail polish provides a nice balance between subtle and strong color.

But slapping on some opaque orange gloss and coral highlighter isn’t going to get you the right look. It’s about picking the right shade and applying it sparingly when choosing to wear these juicy colors.

Chanel celebrity makeup artist Kara Yoshimoto Bua breaks down the tricks and techniques for wearing the season’s hottest makeup shades.

“The easiest way to work with orange and coral tones is by using it as blush,” she says, noting that she likes the way coral can bring out blue eyes and also flatter olive and tan skin. “Corals on the lips are also really nice to brighten the skin, but make sure the gloss is more sheer and not something with too much shimmer.”

Focusing on the cheeks and lips, Bua gave a step-by-step lesson on how to wear coral in a soft and everyday way and also how to pump up the lip color to a bolder shade if you’re looking for more impact.

For a peachy-coral glow, Bua starts with a clean face consisting of natural, “everyday” foundation, a light application of brown eyeliner in the outer corners of the eye for definition and brown mascara applied sparingly to lashes for a clean look.

Using a nude lip liner pencil, she defines the outer rim of the lip and then fills in the entire lip with the pencil to create a base that makes lipstick and gloss last longer.

Bua is a big fan of mixing colors. “I’m an artist. I like to mix things like paint,” she says, combining two colors of lip gloss — a sheer pink-peach and coral — to get the right shade. Bua uses the back of her hand as a palette and dabs the combined colors in the center of the lip, patting and working the gloss onto the lips lightly with her finger. “You want the color to start from the center and work out to the edges of the mouth,” she says. “This way, excess gloss doesn’t gather at the edge of the lips.”

On the cheeks, Bua first contours with an earth-toned bronzer that contains no shine or shimmer. She hits the cheekbone area but also swipes the bronze hue across the eyelids and down the nose to add more warmth to the face. Then, using a coral blush with hints of gold flecks, Bua brushes the apples of the cheeks to get a pop of coral that complements the lips and gives an overall sheer coral glow.

To pump up the lip color to a juicy orange stain, Bua mixes two lip colors, using a strong coral-pink Rouge Allure lipstick in Genial and a Gloss Fluo de Chanel in Pop. Again using the back of her hand to get a perfect shade, she dips a lip brush into the color and applies it directly to the center of the mouth. Patting the color out from the center to edges of the lips works especially well with a brighter color to ensure the lips aren’t just one solid block of orange. Instead, the technique gives them a glowing, romantic stain that stands out much more than the average lip color.