What do 2016’s most recognizable tech gadgets, hair hues, accessories, and even book covers have in common? Aside from their shared ubiquitousness, the most sought-after items are cloaked in the soft glow of rose gold. Placed squarely between oft-icy blanched white gold and warm, sophisticated yellow, rose gold is at once modern, romantic, and somehow unexpected-a candy-coated surprise in the midst of often impersonal metallics.
Of course, the color itself is nothing new. The luminous shade has lent its whimsical brand of shimmer to jewelry since its inception in 19th century Russia, when Carl Fabergé (of Fabergé egg fame) opted to blend yellow gold with copper to create the alchemic, blush-toned hybrid, originally termed “Russian Gold.” Cartier’s use of the composite in the opulent tense of the 1920s cemented its popularity within the market, and rose gold has since sprinkled jewelry counters with welcome flecks of pink.
The shade was given full permission to shine this year as one of the first-ever duo of Pantone’s Color of the Year 2016: Rose Quartz. The subtle pink hue plays off the soothing appeal of its partner Serenity (a lilac-imbued baby blue), both colors pairing well with similarly subdued shades across the color wheel.
How to get rose gold hair:
“It’s hard to dislike a color that you will naturally look good in,” Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, tells Allure. “With pink and any of the rose colors, whether used in a ring, a piece of jewelry, or something you wear around the face, it throws this wonderful glow onto the skin.” Which is probably why the color has spread its influence to iPhones, rosé wine, and even dye jobs (think Elle Fanning’s dusty rose lengths back in July): the face-level use of the hue allows its natural warmth to lend an instant, youthful bloom to complexions, which means the color of your iPhone now doubles as an above-the-neck beauty enhancer.
From Eiseman’s point of view, rose gold’s rise through the steely world of tech is unsurprising, as the omnipresent nature of our phones, smartwatches, and other gadgets is made a bit more welcoming when bathed in the shade’s friendly, at times quirky glow. Unlike the cold feel of chrome or yellow gold’s aspirational opulence, tech’s new bestie is bubbly, cheerful, and accessible-favorable qualities considering the all day, every day usage of today’s gadgets.
Which brings us back to beauty. Editorial makeup artist Benjamin Puckey echoes Eiseman’s view of rose gold as a universally flattering shade, adding radiance to any skin tone when applied as a highlighter on the eyelids and tear duct, high on the cheek bones, or pressed into the Cupid’s bow for definition. “I’ve been using rose gold since I started doing makeup. It’s such a beautifying shade, and it looks great in pictures,” says Puckey. “Instead of the strobing and extreme shimmer of opalescent ivory, rose gold gives a soft, subtle, pretty reflection on the skin that doesn’t scream highlight.” To ease into the hue, Pucker recommends reaching for MAC Eye Shadow in Gleam or Jouer Highlighter in Champagne, while avoiding the use of the highlighter under the brow (“I find that too ’80s”) and as a lip option-as the gold-ish sheen can make for an early-Aughts, frosted look.
Whether you choose to incorporate the shade into your tech, beauty, or reading routine-see the cover of Stephanie Danler’s best-selling book, Sweetbitter-it seems rose gold will be rendering all things a bit warmer from now on.