Pastel Makeup

The Evolution of Beauty Trends From Victorian Pearls to Modern Pastels

Discover the resurgence of pastel palettes, as Sophia Jaramillo and today's trendsetters blend historical elegance with modern, ethereal charm in the world of makeup.

Sophia's Pastel Prom Party 

On a warm Thursday evening in June, Sophia Jaramillo, a fresh face in New York City from Los Angeles, celebrated her 23rd birthday with a pastel prom party. Her fourth-floor Bushwick apartment gleamed with shimmering tinsel and a heart-shaped cake adorned with wavy frosting patterns. Her nails donned a vibrant mix reminiscent of Jelly Belly candies, and a touch of sky-blue shadow highlighted her eyes. "I adore the Sofia Coppola Marie Antoinette look," Jaramillo shared. "Soft tones have become a trend without any push."

Moving Away from Hyper-Realistic Makeup 

The shift might be seen as a change from the meticulously detailed makeup tutorials on platforms like YouTube and TikTok. We're weary, whether from unsettling environmental changes or the relentless promotion of countless beauty products. The current trend is towards more soft-focused, dreamy makeup looks—a departure from the stark reality we've become accustomed to. It's as if everyone is yearning for a touch of impressionistic art in their makeup.

Pastel's Historical Glow-Up 

But this isn't a completely new trend. Victorians once used seed pearl powders for a glow, and post-World War II saw shimmering beauty products produced on a large scale thanks to the synthetic pearl ingredient. London makeup artist, Phyllis Cohen, recalls the influence of the iconic London store, Biba, which might have set the tone for the glam-rock era. The pastel shades have been sported by legends across decades, from Veruschka, Cher, and Anjelica Huston to Brooke Shields, Madonna, and Cyndi Lauper. For those growing up in the '90s, the allure of Hard Candy, especially its powder blue nail polish, was hard to resist.

The Effortless Elegance of Today's Trend 

Today's look is more about effortless elegance. Sam Visser, a Dior beauty ambassador, believes this softer makeup trend represents the future direction. Jaramillo emphasizes the importance of adaptability over a strict set of tools or skills.

Adaptable Makeup for the Modern Lifestyle 

For Angel Prost, a model and musician, makeup needs to be quick and adaptable, fitting into a hectic lifestyle. "Sometimes you're doing makeup in a dimly lit greenroom or even a closet," she quips. Pastel shades, particularly on the eyelids, make a bold statement. Stylist Turner has noticed the younger crowd embracing this trend with enthusiasm, showcasing their expressive looks.

Blending Innocence and Edge 

The charm of the modern pastel palette blends innocence with a dash of the edgy. It's like a gateway to another world, an escape. Eager to experience this trend, I quickly dab on some lavender Nars shadow before an appointment in SoHo. It's a bit imperfect, a tad smudged, but that's the beauty of it. As I walk, a stranger compliments my eyeshadow. I'm sold.