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The Beauty Memo

The ultimate eye-makeup guide: how to enhance your eyes

When it comes to eye makeup, forget about safe neutrals and conservative color. The future is bright, says GEORGIA DAY


The festive season is a time to get a little bolder with your makeup. If you usually stick to a strict roster of nudes and neutrals but long to experiment with something more electric, now’s the time to be a little more playful. Essentially, do what you always do but add a little bit of color into the mix. Here’s how…

Choose your colors

While shade preferences should be an entirely personal choice, if you’re a complete novice when it comes to color, it can be difficult to know where to begin. If you need guidance, look to your skin tone and eye color as a starting point to help determine which shades will flatter you. “Deeper skin tones look incredible with jewel-toned shades, such as emerald green, indigo blue, vibrant purples, reds and bright fuchsia,” says makeup artist Cher Webb. “If you have very light skin, go for washes of lavender, soft pinks and rosy tones, or blue shades of aqua or turquoise. Olive skin tones look amazing with mint green, royal blue, rich coral and red.”

Tweak your liner

While most of us are no stranger to the eye-opening effects of some well-placed eyeliner, we might not be au fait with anything beyond shades of black and brown. For a subtle but still-statement look, update your liner wardrobe with a clutch of colored options instead. Deep emerald green, midnight navy and rich burgundy are classics that will suit all skin tones, while metallics such as gold, silver and copper are more playful for evenings. If you feel reluctant to stray from black, try tracing a line of color above your usual shade. It’ll still feel within your comfort zone but add an element of interest. For extra staying power, opt for a gel-based formula.

Accessorize your mascara

“Sometimes, adding color to your lashes is all you need to change up your look,” says Webb. To update your regular mascara with a flash of all-over color, simply apply as normal, then add a few coats of colored mascara over the top. For some fun fringing, just apply a little pigment in the form of colored mascara or loose eyeshadow to the ends of your lashes. “This technique is a great starting point, as your lashes still feel like yours, with all the definition, volume and length, but just with a subtle hint of color,” says Webb.

Consider your placement

While sweeping color over your lids is an easy way to commit to the look, it can feel daunting. Instead, play around with where and how you apply your chosen hue. “Eyeshadow placement and technique make all the difference,” advises Webb. “Manipulate, stretch and enhance the eye shape by placing your eyeshadow in a specific way, tailored to you and the look you are going for.” Apply deeper colors such as dark blues, greens or rusts to the outer corners and gently smoke out for a hazy, diffused effect. “If you are feeling more adventurous, try adding bright color to the inner and outer corners and leave the center free,” suggests Webb. “This is known as the spotlight eye and looks effective with vibrant shades like purple, blue and cherry tones.” For a gentler introduction, use a fine, dome-tipped brush and press pale, shimmering shades such as champagne, lemon yellow or peach into the inner corners of the eyes. “With all these looks, I always recommend applying a few layers of mascara for contrast,” adds Webb.

Dilute bolder shades

To create a softer, sheer wash of color that’s more ethereal than an opaque block, try diluting bright shades with a clear gloss. Simply mix together with a little of the shadow on the back of your hand and press over lids. Alternatively, tap a multi-purpose tinted balm onto your lids instead – the nourishing oils offer a stained finish, making it an easy first step into color, while your fingers provide the ideal application tool. Be warned: it will move and crease throughout the day, but that only adds to its easy, lived-in quality.

Think about the rest of your look

To keep the emphasis on your eyes, pare the rest of your face down with a neutral lip. Great makeup always starts with skincare, so first prep your under-eye area with a reflective serum like Cosmedix Opti Crystal Liquid Crystal Eye Serum, to brighten dark circles. If you’re feeling adventurous, enhance your chromatic creation with hints of complementary color elsewhere on your face. “My favorite combination is a soft pink or rose shade on the eye, paired with a bold red statement lip,” adds Webb.


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