24 October 2017Last updated

Beauty | Grooming

Let’s get tropical

Dare to wear the brightest hues on your face this summer? Louise Emma Clarke discovers the shades and application tricks to suit every skin tone

Louise Emma Clarke
7 Jun 2016 | 10:20 am
  • Source:Supplied

Summer has definitely arrived – and alongside maxi dresses, beach waves in hair and strappy sandals comes the re-emergence of a trend for brighter, bolder, tropical shades in our make-up bag.

But admittedly, pulling out that bright palette and getting creative with our complexion can be daunting if we are more used to wearing muted, nude tones on our face.

‘Over 80 per cent of our turnover is on beige and browns,’ says Millie Kendall of cosmetic brand Ruby and Millie. ‘People love colour when they see it in magazines, but they think of it like wearing a short skirt. They want to hide under a mask, not stand out in a crowd.’

So why should we fight our fears and embrace bright, tropical colours during the summer months?

‘Summer is the perfect time to experiment with colour due to the hot weather and bright colour trends in fashion,’ says Dustin Lujan, colour development director at Le Métier de Beauté. ‘Adding a pop of bright or neon make-up is a perfect way to showcase or define a feature with minimal make-up and maximum impact.”

What’s the key to wearing colour confidently? The experts are in agreement that it’s all about knowing the shades that suit our individual skin tone. So from wearing hues of purple on blue eyes, to picking a bold orange lipstick for medium skin tones, to wearing the brightest turquoise liner on the darkest complexions, we discover the best ways to pull off some va-va-voom colour combinations throughout the hot season.


Wearing tropical hues on the fairest skin tones is possibly the most daunting, as the colours look brightest and mistakes are very visible. But don’t let it scare you, as there are shades out there made for the palest complexions – and it’ll be the perfect way to pull off a fun, fashionable look this summer.

Lips ‘On fair skin, red lipstick with orange and pink undertones looks fantastic and makes a real statement,’ says Joy Castro, make-up artist at Pastels Salon Jumeirah.

To find the perfect red lippy for your skin tone, the general rule is to work out whether your complexion has warm or cold undertones.


Warm undertones will tend to suit gold jewellery, tan fairly easily, and have visibly green veins. The perfect bright red lipstick for you will have an orange undertone, such as Gucci Audacious Color Intense Lipstick in Ardor (Dh210, Paris Gallery).


Cold skin undertones will look better in silver jewellery, rarely tan, and have visible blue veins – look for red lipsticks with blueish, pink undertones. An ideal lipstick is Yves Saint Laurent Couture The Mats Rouge Anarchy (Dh186,


Eyes When it comes to choosing bright colours for your eyes, first consider your eye colour. Sephora Middle East beauty expert Salma Elsaadany says, ‘For blue eyes, cool colours like purple and mauve are ideal, while maintaining a natural look.’ ColourPop Eyeshadow in Leopard (Dh40, is a bold, but easy-to-wear choice.


‘If you have green or hazel eyes, eyeshadows with shades of green will make your eyes sparkle,’ Salma says. Go for Clinique All About Shadow Single in Pacific Coast (Dh186, Clinique stores) with its hint of shimmer.

And to apply brighter eye colours on fair skin tones, Joy Castro at Pastels says she first applies a shade that is lighter than the natural skin tone, then tops it with a bright colour.


Cheeks Finally, when it comes to blusher, look no further than hues of peach. Make-up artist Suzy Gerstein says, ‘Orange or bright peach will warm up your complexion the way a bronzer would. If you’re fair-skinned, bright peach will make your skin look healthy without wearing bronzer, which can end up looking a little dirty on the palest skin.’ With two different hues of peach, Guerlain MKU 12 Fall Blush Duo in Peach Boy (Dh243, across all counters) is the ideal choice.


If you have a medium or olive skin tone, wearing bright, tropical hues is easier – but you still need to pay attention to what you choose.

Lips International make-up artist Kate Goodwin at Illumin8 Make-up Studio Dubai ( says, ‘Normally medium skin tones have a mix of yellow and pink undertones, so if you have a medium skin tone you are lucky as you can go with either warm or cool shades and the majority of the colours will look flattering on you. Warmer tones such as warm reds, oranges, and warm pinks look great, but blue-toned red and pink look stunning too!’


Opt for a warm orange hue, such 
as Milani Amore Matte Lip Crème in Craze (Dh43,, which will give a flattering pop of colour to medium skin tones. The cream formula is impressively long-lasting too.

Eyes ‘Medium skin tones can get away with a lot of bright colours,’ continues Kate. ‘I always look at eye and hair colours when choosing. Purple tones bring out green and brown eyes and aqua hues look really stunning with blue eyes. I’m not a fan of pink and reds on the eye as it can make them look sore or tired.’

No need to stick purely to eyeshadows either. ‘Try using bright eyeliners instead of shadow,’ she says. ‘You could wear a feline flick instead of eyeshadow on the entire lid to add a pop of colour to the eye that still looks clean and fun.’


The range of pure ink liners by Wojooh (Dh80, are ideal for this, with a precision tip and a waterproof, long-lasting formula. If you have blue eyes, get creative with the stunning turquoise shade Gulf Azur.

Cheeks ‘The best blushes for medium skin tones are rosy pinks and deep peaches,’ says Soha Diab, regional training manager at Shiseido Middle East. ‘If you choose a colour that is too light it can make your skin look ashy, while anything too dark will make it look too obvious rather than a natural look.’


Clinique Cheek Pop in Pink Pop (Dh89, Clinique stores) will give your cheeks a rosy hue, perfectly complementing tropical eyes and lips.


Are you a dark-skinned beauty? Bright tropical hues are set to become your new best friend – but pay attention to the colours that will work well for your complexion to make that colour pop.

Lips ‘Dark-skinned girls look fantastic with any bright lip colour,’ says Joy Castro, make-up artist at Pastels Salon Jumeirah. ‘In fact, the brighter, the better! It all comes down to the confidence that a girl has to wear a bright shade.’


Go for the brightest tropical pink with Shiseido Perfect Rouge in rs452 (Dh162, Sephora). The flattering formula is both long-lasting and hydrating, promising to improve the texture of your lips for a perfect pout.

Eyes ‘On darker skin, I love using blues and greens,’ says make-up artist Kate Goodwin at Illumin8 Make-up Studio Dubai. ‘Even yellow and orange look great. Block colours look fun and modern – and the brighter, the better on dark skin tones.’

She adds: ‘Try using a waterproof gel or cream liner to paint a solid block of colour on the lid if you are feeling brave! Or go for a slightly more subtle look by using coloured liners to create fun, feline flicks.’



For a bold, all-over look, Elf Cream Eyeliner in Tease (Dh19, is a great choice, offering easy, glide-on application. If you prefer pencil, Make Up Forever Aqua Liners (Dh95, Sephora) offer ultra-bright colours – try turquoise, pistachio, or green for the brightest pop.

Cheeks ‘Bright pinks and bold corals are great for dark skin tones, as it warms up the complexion and makes the apples of the cheeks stand out,’ says Sephora Middle East beauty expert Salma Elsaadany. ‘Corals especially lift the skin and add a beautiful, sun-kissed touch.”


Benefit Coralista (Dh145, Benefit counters) has a warm coral-pink shade to lift your skin tone in a matter of seconds, ensuring perfect, tropical-inspired colour every time.

Learn from the pros

Want to brush up on your make-up application skills this summer? Join international make-up artist Kate Goodwin and her team for the Illumin8 Professional Media Make-up Course, running during Ramadan between June 12-30. Sign up now and you can snap up a 10 per cent Ramadan discount! Find out more at or call 050 872 8374.

Louise Emma Clarke

Louise Emma Clarke