It’s super easy to get stuck in a makeup rut, and super hard to get out of one, particularly in terms of colour. Wanting to avoid brighter tones and stick to fifty shades of beige is a habit we can all fall into. But it’s not a great one – it can really take a lot of the fun out of makeup. Here are some easy ways to dip your toe back into the world of colour and open yourself back up to experimentation.
My first tip is using shades I’ll call off-nudes. These are “colours” that still have one foot firmly in the world of neutrals – either duo-chromes or muted tones. For example, a brown eyeshadow with a blue reflect is a great stepping stone between safe brown and scary blue. Great options for this are the Urban Decay Moondust Eyeshadow in Solstice, or MAC’s Eyeshadow in Club.
Another option is a matte shade in a slightly differently toned shade of brown – an orange-brown, red-brown or pink-brown, for example. My favourite brand for these is Make Up For Ever, whose Artist Shadow range contains every colour under the sun. Shades like Burgundy, Coral and Auburn are all gorgeous options.
If an eyeshadow look still seems a little overwhelming, a great option is a flash of colour in the waterline. A bright kohl liner, whether matte or metallic, can transform a neutral eye look into something a tad more exciting with minimal effort. The Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Eye Crayons are some of the best (try more muted colours to begin with, like Marigold, Blue Me Away or Violet Femme). If you’re looking for a budget alternative, I stand behind the NYX Slide On Eye Pencils. Platinum is a super reflective silver, while Esmerelda is a stunning emerald green.
Mascara can also be a subtle way to introduce colour to your eyes – particularly very deep tones like navy blue, bottle green or oxblood red. YSL Vinyl Couture Mascara comes in great shades like I’m The Trouble (blue) and I’m The Excitement (green), and again, a hot budget option comes from NYX – the Professional Colour Mascara, to be exact.
Another easy way to add a hint of colour to your look is through duo-chromes – particular, duo-chrome highlighters. These look neutral in one light, but flash another when you turn your head, making them a perfect half-colour product. If you love creams, I love the Milk Makeup Holographic Sticks, which come in Luna (lavender), Mars (peach), and Stardust (pink). If powder is more your thing, then Becca has some gorgeous products they call Light Chasers. Opal Flashes Jade is a stunning peachy nude with a hint of minty green, and Rose Quartz Flashes Seashell is a milky pink with a hot magenta reflect.
Lips are often thought of as an easier place to wear colour, but the vibrancy of a full cover neon shade can be quite intimidating. My solution? Stains! Apply the brightest shade you can imagine, then blur out the edges to give a much more “natural” take on a highly non-natural colour. I love the Sephora Rouge Lip Tints – particularly the shades Cassis (a deep purple) and Red (a misleadingly named coral). As an added bonus, they last for hours and never really require a touch up.
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