They may appear soft and pretty, but don't be fooled. This season's pastels are a lot more hard-edged than they appear. The good news is that they work on every skin tone and at every age. Seriously pigmented, rich, and tempting – why ever would you resist?
Clockwise from right (see image below):
Tom Ford Mink Brulee, €31
Even since I discovered Chanel's mushroom-coloured Particuliere, I've had a soft spot for a nude nail. As you'd expect from the Tom Ford brand, its formula seriously delivers with a long-lasting, high-shine finish. Apply two coats for a chic, opaque look.
Dior Cherie Bow Palette Eyeliner & Gloss in 002, €75
Trying to get away with something you shouldn't? Then this sweet palette is just what you need to work a wide-eyed, butter-wouldn't-melt-in-my-mouth look. The slimline case opens to reveal gorgeous eye-shadows in shimmery white, palest pink and a brighter candy shade. All three go on smoothly with little or no fallout, thankfully – sparkly cheeks don't exactly work for me! – and are well complimented by a soft black liner and a very flattering peachy gloss. A sophisticated play on girliness.
Revlon Brilliant Strength Nail Enamel in 040 Enamor, €11
This cheery shade makes me smile every time I see it. It sounds like a contradiction, but it comes in a kind of muted shade of bubblegum with a really good colour payoff. And the wide flat brush with its curved edges is very handy when it comes to applying that all-important first coat. Although the creamy formula comes with its very own built-in top and base coats, make sure to take the time to apply a second coat to stay chip-free for longer, as well as strengthening nails.
Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Lilac Rose, €42.50
A mix of bright pink, golden pink and icy pink shades, this soft, cool-toned highlighter double-jobs as a subtle blush. The frosted rosy finish may not be to everyone's taste, but I like the light, shimmer effect, which lasts well and leaves medium and fair complexions with a lovely glow.
Benefit Fine One Day Blush, €25
Apparently this works on lips as well as cheeks, but I'm not entirely convinced, although the coral colour is quite pretty. The three shades blend well together for a rosy, natural glow. I found the middle watermelon shade to be particularly flattering. The retractable stick form encased in the brand's typically adorable packaging is dead handy for when you're out and about. It's expensive though and staying power is only so-so.
Rimmel Traffic Stopping Eyeshadows in Speeding, €7.59
Not all pastels come in pink or peach, I adore the leafy tones and gold shades of this palette. And the price is pretty fab too.
Clarins Instant Smooth Crystal Lip Gel in Crystal Rose, €22
Yes, it looks intimidating, but that scary cylinder of colour in the middle of this lippie actually translates to a very wearable pink with a balm effect, a sheer luminous finish and a flattering yellow undertone that should work for most skin tones – and ages. So (wo)man up, pucker up and apply as often as you like. Available in four shades, but this one is particularly cute.
Bourjois Little Round Pots, €8.99 each
Available in 12 oh-so-cute shades, sweep the sweet Rose Macaron across the lid for a flattering glow, Rose Dragee is a lovely highlighter and Turquoise is perfect if you can't resist a more vibrant pop of colour.
Armani Spring Collection 2013 Eye & Face Palette, €65
This warm palette opens up to display a soft, subtle and blendable bronzer with a golden shimmer. There's a slight metallic finish, and it looks really lovely on skin. A second level reveals three eye shadows working the spectrum from frosted golden white to pearly peach and a dark-ish brown. They go on smoothly without any fading or creasing and last several hours.