How to use your makeup in unexpected ways

With these genius multi-purpose products, it’s possible to do a lot with a little, says LISA NIVEN


Makeup plays many roles, but undeniably one of the most fun is as a tool for creativity. More and more, makeup artists are throwing out the rule book when it comes to the products they’re using to create a look – applying a lipstick as a makeshift blush or slicking highlighter across eyelids for an otherworldly shine. Luckily, the professionals’ more versatile approach is one you can adopt in your everyday life too. Here’s how to color outside of the lines…

Use lipstick on cheeks and eyes

The SS19 catwalks were awash with beauty looks that saw lip products being used in unexpected ways. Lipstick was used to create bold-colored eyes at Ashley Williams, while, at Richard Malone, it was pressed on top of cheekbones for a healthy-looking flush. “Try to forget the traditional ‘rules’ associated with beauty,” says Ariana Mouyiaris, co-founder and creative director of Make Beauty. “It doesn’t have to be complicated; it’s simply a case of sitting down, using your hands as tools and playing with products at home.” Try Make Beauty’s Tinted Marine Lip Salves to give cheeks a dewy glow, or play around with a gloss such as Pat McGrath Labs’s Lust Gloss for a high-shine alternative to cream eyeshadow.

Contour using concealer

Using makeup in creative ways doesn’t have to mean orange eyelids; subtle tweaks in texture can be just as powerful as vibrant color. Consider using concealer in a darker hue than usual to contour your eyelids, as at Altuzarra SS19, or pat lip balm onto the high points of the face to catch the light. “I love using Nars Radiance Primer pressed on top of the skin when my makeup has been on for a few hours,” says Nars Senior Artist Rachel Hardie. “It instantly wakes up the skin, without disrupting the makeup. Use a small amount in the palm of your hand, rub together and then pat over the skin.”

Embrace multi-purpose products

Of course, there is a huge selection of brilliant products out there designed especially for a more playful approach to makeup. Make’s Dew Pot in Lily adds a pop of luminous pink to lids, lips and cheeks, and can be easily applied with fingers. Rodin’s Luxury Lip & Cheek Oil is another versatile choice, in a number of shades, offering a tinted glow, while Illamasqua’s Aura Multi-Use Top Coat adds a glossy sheen anywhere you want it. And then there’s the OG of the multi-purpose makeup world: Nars’s The Multiple, which Hardie says François Nars created after always doubling up lipsticks on shoots. The best part? You can’t go wrong. As Hardie says: “play around, mix textures and colors and just have fun with it.”

The expert tip

If you have sensitive skin, the best approach to breaking the makeup rules is to go slow. Hardie advises doing a patch test before putting lipstick around the sensitive eye area if your skin is easily irritated; if there’s no reaction, you’re good to go. And you probably won’t have to do that for much longer anyway – according to Mouyiaris, seeing customers using products in unexpected ways inspires her to create new products to meet their needs: “Consumers are creating looks and using products in ways that work for them, and it is our job to translate that into thoughtfully designed and engineered formulas.” And she’s not the only one – look out for eye glosses, lip oils and cheek balms.

The model featured in this story is not associated with NET-A-PORTER and does not endorse it or the products shown.