Salmon Makeup Is My New Obsession: Here Are the Products I Use to Do It

As someone with really warm undertones, orange makeup has been a longtime friend of mine. While placing cool-toned pinks, purples, and blues against my skin is like trying to make "fetch" happen in a world owned by Regina George, corals, peaches, and oranges look right every time.

Luckily for me, orange makeup is enjoying a bit of a moment: We saw sunset orange hues all over NYFW this September at shows like Alice + Olivia, Rodarte, and Anna Sui. We've seen it on red carpets, like the incredible coral eye on Tracee Ellis Ross at the 2018 Emmys. Recently, I surveyed my makeup collection and realized orange dominates the color scheme.

So before a recent night out, I decided to pile all my tangerine-y favorites all on my face at once. This experiment resulted in the above selfie, which I posted on Instagram, inviting a ton of questions about what I was wearing on my face. I playfully called the look "sushi makeup" since it's basically the exact color of salmon sashimi. "You have to do a tutorial on your sushi look for Byrdie," my co-worker, Byrdie's wellness editor Victoria, told me the next day.

I've been trying out this orange-on-orange look for a few months now and think I've just about nailed down my favorite products to execute it. Keep scrolling to discover my favorite orange products for achieving a "salmon makeup" look.

Amanda Montell - Orange Makeup
Make Matte Finish Eyeshadow in Poppy
Make Matte Finish Eyeshadow in Poppy $25

By far my favorite orange eye shadow of the moment is this ultra-pigmented find from one of my favorite cruelty-free indie brands, Make. I apply this with a slightly wet brush, and it sticks to my lids like glue—no creasing, no fallout. It's rare to find an eye shadow this vivid and fiery, and I'm truly obsessed. 

Make Satin Finish Powder Blush in Czarina
Make Satin Finish Powder Blush in Czarina $25

It could be cool to wear Make's Poppy eye shadow on its own (monochromatic makeup is very in at the moment), but I've come to enjoy layering with other oranges. This powder, again from Make, is technically a blush, but it really doesn't matter—the muted terra-cotta shade blends beautifully into the lid, creating just the color dimension I'm going for.

Starlust Holographic Highlight Palette 0.47 oz / 13.2 g
Stellar Starlust Holographic Highlight Palette $37

The last step in creating your sushi eye makeup is to take the shimmery, holographic peach shade from this face palette and apply it (with a wet brush) to the inner corners of your lids. Adding this final color brightens up your entire face.

Milani Stellar Lights Highlighter Palette
Milani Stellar Lights Highlighter Palette $13

Just want to throw it out there that this Milani palette is a fantastic drugstore dupe for the Stellar one. The shades are far more pigmented than the price tag suggests. And of course, with both palettes, you can use the orange shades on your cheeks as well for extra salmony goodness.

Glossier Cloud Paint
Glossier Cloud Paint in Dawn $18

Glossier's new shade of Cloud Paint, a vibrant coral, must have been designed with salmon makeup in mind. The insanely pigmented liquid formula looks like a lit-from-within sunset on your cheeks and stays put for hours.

Sisley Phyto-Lip Twist in Coral
Sisley Phyto-Lip Twist in Coral $50

Your salmon makeup look isn't complete without a lip. I've really been enjoying a glossier finish for this look, as opposed to a matte one (real-life sashimi has a sheen to it, after all). So, of course, I've been reaching for my favorite lip product of all time: Sisley's ultra-pigmented, crazy-hydrating tinted lip balm in coral.

Milk Makeup Lip + Cheek in Perk
Milk Lip + Cheek in Perk $24

When I'm aiming for a subtler version of salmon makeup, I just take this sheer, blendable lip-and-cheek tint from Milk and tap the coral shade Perk all over my eyelids, lips, and cheeks. The look is subtler, but you still get that cool, modern orange-on-orange effect.

Next up: See the products I use to get "mirror glaze" skin.

Related Stories