Finally, colour contrasting make-up is back

Written by Morgan Fargo

Fun has re-entered the (make-up) chat. 

Contrast make-up – wearing clashing or disparate colours in different areas of the face – isn’t something reserved only for the likes of Madonna. In fact, much like a little injection of confidence, contrast make-up can easily elevate a simple outfit or complement a hairstyle or colour. 

However, wearing bold colours can feel daunting, especially if you’re new to experimenting with shades outside of the bronze or taupe family. The way forward is not to throw anything and everything on your face and cross your fingers. Those “effortless” colour clashing looks you see on celebrities and influencers are carefully considered, so make sure to take the time to find the ones that work for you. Following these four expert steps will keep you on the right side of clashing. Let’s go.

1980s: model, performer and actor Grace Jones wears shades of red, deep mauve and browns.

1. Use shades in the same colour family

Sculpted by Aimee founder and professional make-up artist Aimee Connolly shares her best advice to getting off on the right foot:

“Playing with the one colour in varying tones and consistencies can be such a lovely way to explore with make-up without going over the top. Peach and orange is a great combination, particularly on blue eyes. Having a peach lip and burnt orange shadow with a soft in-between blush colour is heavenly.

“Another favourite colour pairing is pink and red. It doesn’t just look amazing on clothes, it’s perfect for make-up too. Nothing beats a red lip with a soft flushed pink blush and champagne tones on the eyes. Again, this is playing with varying tones of that shade but together it looks in sync and creates a finished look.”

2020: singer Dua Lipa pairing blues and neutral brown shades.

2. Look at your undertones

Remember, there are no “rules” as to what make-up works for you. Whatever you like to wear or makes you feel your best is the right choice. However, there is a theory to make-up and it can be a good place to start when learning about how colour pairings work. 

“Typically yellow or orange-toned shades (think corals), are more likely to suit those with warmer undertones to their skin. For cool-toned skin, make-up with blue tones (think light pink) is better. Those with neutral undertones have the best of both worlds and can be more flexible in what they choose,” explains No7 colour scientist Jo Watson. 

3. Start light and build

As with a lot of things, it’s better not to charge out of the gate. Instead, starting more softly will stop you from needing to wipe off the excess product you’ve applied and promptly despise.

“Prevent bold and contrasting make-up colours looking ‘clown-like’ by applying the colours lightly and slowly building up,” says No7 make-up ambassador and artist Joy Adenuga. 

“For example, rather than applying a bright lipstick directly to the lips, dab a bit from the bullet onto your finger and apply it in light strokes across your mouth – you’ll get a subtle wash of colour that looks like a stain. You can then add a contrasting colour to the eyes, and it won’t appear too overpowering. Apply this general rule to other aspects of your make-up application – it’s always easier to build as you go along.”

4. Make it joyful

At the end of the day, make-up is meant to be fun. If it’s not, don’t do it. And contrast make-up is no different. 

“My advice would be to have fun – there really are no set rules for make-up. Essentially, it’s all about what resonates with you. Invest in a few colourful eye and cheek palettes, which will allow you to experiment with different colour combinations. You may even be surprised by clashing shades that you never imagined would work,” says Adenuga. 

“If you’re reluctant to go full out with colour, opt for a little burst of colour instead – a dash of purple applied to the inner corner of the eye or underneath the waterline can make a powerful beauty statement.”

Main image: Getty

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