We are all guilty of treating our make-up products like a security blanket. We have that one black/ brown/ grey eyeliner that you know looks good. A lipstick that looks great but isn’t too overwhelming. We even create entire looks that we can then recreate time after time, with the same products, in the same order almost in a ‘painting by numbers’ sequence. For a glam night out chances are you have your version of a muted tone, smoky eye with a nude lip, or an eyeliner flick that you’ve mastered over years of practice with the red lipstick you don’t feel self-conscious in. And even when it’s not about a show-stopping look, and just make-up for the school run, to sit at your desk in, to do the weekly shop, you stick with the same processes.
And look, there’s nothing wrong with that. Steady and reliable is what makes the world go round and gives us our signature look. But isn’t there something exciting about the idea of shaking it up just a little? Adding in a flash of unexpected colour. Using a hue where you’ve never used it before. That is what this season’s catwalk was about. Moment of unexpected blasts of colour teamed with make-up you genuinely would do yourself. Yes, there were the crazy shows where colour was used like face paint, creating wild but totally unwearable looks. But this season, more than any other season for years, colour was being used in a way that was bold yet very beautiful but most importantly, that made you want to do it yourself.
However, there’s one problem with using bright colour on the face. It requires putting our make-up security blanket down and embracing a whole new, much brighter world. And whilst we don’t believe in rules when it comes to makeup there is no denying that there are certain tones and hues that work better against certain skins and eye colours. Not only that but the old adage of either focusing on an eye or a lip, not both at the same time, also comes into play here. For this is about wearing colour for your everyday life. This is not about looking like you’re going to a costume party. Therefore keep your base as simple and clean as possible. Decide on what you’re going to wear, the colour and let that be the focal point and the star of the show but not in a hugely ostentatious way. Choose your colour, apply it with confidence, in the same way you would apply any other product. Just because it’s a slightly bolder shade doesn’t mean you should do anything different. Then hold your head up high and be prepared to be inundated with compliments.
Read on to discover this season’s explosions of colour and how to make them work best for you.
Pretty in pink
What’s my inspiration? At Dries Van Noten, make-up maestro Peter Philips, kept the make-up relatively simple and then clumped lashes together in bright fuchsia pink (along with seven other bright colours). “I kept the skin and lips clean so that the colour was the impact,” he explains of his look. At Dior, Philips created a very similar look and again kept make-up proceedings fairly simple with the models sporting a simple, block line of pink liner along the bottom and top lash lines. Marni girls were given a whisper of pink shadow over the eyes also with very little other make-up. And not forgetting the show-stealing crystal-bedecked look from Prada that also came in hot pink.
How do I wear it? Pink is a tale of opposites, in that the palest of complexions and the darkest of skins look amazing in the brightest and most fluorescent pink you can find. Any skin tones in-between those are better of with more pastel options. There’s another element that also needs to be considered when wearing pink. If your skin has natural undertones of pink, it’s best to tone those down with a colour correcting concealer or base before applying more pink. Otherwise your whole complexion can end up looking too flushed and the pink you’ve added has less impact. And don’t forget to think out of the box when looking at products. If you can’t find a bright enough pink shadow, look at blushers.
If you can’t find a poppy pink for your cheeks, rifle through the lipstick selection instead. When wearing bright colours, all rules are made to be broken.
What do I use?
What’s my inspiration? Known for pushing sartorial boundaries and not being afraid to clash colours, it’s not a huge surprise that Maison Margiela hopped on the bright and bold colour make-up trend in the shape of orange, matte lips. And for the non blue eyelined models of Ferragamo, orange was the next option worn across the lid and on the lashes too.
How do I wear it? Orange is one of the few colours where actually one tone works best for all. So if it takes your fancy hunt down the most citrus looking shade you can find. Orange needs to have as much punch as it can pack otherwise it can end up making even the strongest of skin tones look pallid. Of course, one could argue that peach is the shyer, less obvious sister to orange but when we’re talking about colours that can be seen from a foot away, peach pales into insignificance and it’s all about wearing the orangest of orange.
What do I use?
What’s my inspiration? Well, at Elie Saab blue liner was swept just under the bottom lashes and the waterline, leaving the top with just a wash of neutral browns. For Salvatore Ferragamo, make-up artist, Lucia Peroni devised a cobalt blue eye on just the top lid. And at Prada, Pat McGrath’s make-up look stole the show with blue (and pink) bejewelled elongated eye shadow flicks.
How do I wear it? If you’re an 80s or 90s child then this colour might not seem like too much of a challenge for you. The trick to getting blue right is to actually do the reverse of what you do with most other colours. The fairer your skin, the brighter you go. Blondes with fair skin look phenomenal with a flash of neon blue, whereas dark skins can really rock a shimmering pastel blue. It’s best to keep blue to the eyes with shadow, liner and mascara. On the cheeks and lips it looks like hypothermia has set in, and that’s not a good look on anyone.
What do I use?
What’s my inspiration? There were a few different looks at Kenzo, but the strongest was the models with a sweep of block yellow all over the eye and almost up to the brow bone. At Jason Wu there was a mere flash of yellow underneath the brow bone and for those models that weren’t rocking a pink for Dior, they had been blessed with yellow liner instead.
How do I wear it? This is a colour where the general rule is: the fairer the skin, the paler the hue. Therefore black and darker skin tones get all the fun with bright yellow whilst paler, fairer skins have to settle with buttery and daffodil tones of yellow. Those with the highest levels of confidence could try a yellow lipstick. But for those that want to incorporate colour as they did on the catwalks, then it’s all about the eyes.
What do I use?
What’s my inspiration? At Peter Pilotto, models sported a range of two-tone eye looks. There was yellow paired with orange, pastel blue with a rusty orange, soft lilac with a complimenting pink. Similarly at Christian Siriano it was blue on the bottom deck and pink on the top whilst at Anna Sui pink and purple were used together but combined to the top lid. And it wasn’t contained just to the eyes. Self Portrait make-up artist, Thomas de Kluyver used a new Maybelline lip kit to create a two tone lip of green fading into purple.
How do I wear it? Ironically if you find the idea of wearing one bold colour intimidating, then wearing two makes it less so. Mainly because you find the focus is taken off one and put equally onto the other, diluting it down somehow. And embarrassingly for the make-up artists at the A/W 18 shows, it seems they all had the same idea this season by creating two tone eyes with predominantly one colour being on the top and another on the bottom. And if you don’t think of yourself as having much make-up artistry skill, this is a look that is far simpler to achieve than a smoky eye or a perfect eyeliner line. Simply choose two colours that appeal to you – open up every palette you own and choose that way – and sweep one above and one below. Don’t be too neat and tidy about it and finish with lashings of black mascara.
What do I use?