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Skin Deep: How to put some colour on your face even if you're a bit scared of it

Just adding a pop of colour can make all the difference.

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Welcome to Skin Deep with Louise McSharry, my opportunity to put years of obsessing over beauty products and techniques to good use. I won’t tell you something is good if it’s not. I won’t recommend products I haven’t actually tried. As the magical sitar in Moulin Rouge said, I only speak the truth.

When I was a teenager, I was the queen of brightly coloured makeup. Brown eyeshadow was for bores, as far as I was concerned, and my makeup mag was filled with brightly coloured eyeshadow palettes from Urban Decay (I mean, if it could be brightly coloured and sparkly then I was truly living my best life). These days, I still own a lot of brightly coloured makeup, but it rarely makes it onto my face. I tend to put the same browns, bronzes and coppers on my face day after day, and to be honest, I miss the colour.

Recently, I’ve decided to make an effort to add a dash of colour to my makeup routine. I want to make things a little more interesting, and remind myself of the creative outlet makeup used to be for me. I want to get out of my rut and, aside from anything else, use the thousands of euro worth of makeup I have sitting there waiting for me every morning rather than sticking to the same ten products. So, today I thought I’d help you get onboard the colour train and put our products to use.

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These days, I find a pop of colour is all I want, rather than heavily lashing loads of bright colour around my eyes (although obviously if you want to layer several colours of the rainbow on, do you). Coloured liner is a great way to do that. I’ve bought loads of them over the years, thinking I’d find a way to use them. They’re not expensive and not hard to use. My current favourite is from Kiko’s Smart Colour Eyepencil range. It’s Matte Turquoise and costs a whopping €2.50. I start by doing my eye makeup the usual way, with my warm browns, and then add the pencil along my lower lashline. If I just want a hint I stick to the waterline, but if I want to be a little more bold I bring it below my lashes too (as I have in the image above, please ignore the literal bags under my eyes, my baby is ruining my life).

If I’m going for the bolder look I bring the liner a bit beyond the edge of my lashline so it lines up with the shadow on my upper lid, and smudge the whole thing with an eyeshadow brush. Initially it may look a little mad if you’re not used to wearing colour, but mascara will soften the look slightly. If what you have is a load of bright eyeshadow and no pencils, you can apply the same technique, just leaving out the waterline (the inside edge of your eyelids).

Matte turquoise is my go-to, but any colour will work. Purple will look especially good on brown eyes, green is also excellent. A bright orange will be gorgeous on hazel and blue eyes, and a little less bold than other options.

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If you’re happy with your eye routine, and want to introduce colour another way, obviously the world of lipstick is your oyster. Also, I’ll be damned if you don’t have at least one bright lipstick in your collection which you purchased on a whim and have never had the cojones to wear out of the house! The great thing about bright lipstick, is that it can be worn virtuallly on its own, and often that’s when it looks best. With heavy eye makeup it might look a bit much (although, and say it with me now, YOU DO YOU), but if you can’t be arsed with a full face a bright lip will still make you look ‘done’. It’s particularly handy on holidays when, after a day in the sun, your face is glowing and you really are too sweaty to sit applying makeup. I have a pretty intense relationship with mascara, but even I have been convinced to go without when I have the right bright lipstick on (as evidenced in the picture above!).

If you are going to spend some time on this look, spend time on your skin and brows. Give yourself a flawless base, a shapely but not overly groomed brow and a slightly rosy cheek before throwing on your lip. You’ll look like you just stepped out of a summer beauty feature in a high fashion magazine.

Above all else, don’t be afraid to use the products you have in your arsenal. Remember that you’re probably used to looking at your the face made up the way you usually do it, so a new look might be a little jarring initially, but after a couple of hours you’ll be feeling yourself in a major way. Go forth, be brave and wear colour.

New Product

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Charlotte Tilbury waited to release a line of liquid lipsticks because she wanted to perfect the formula, and she’s done a pretty good job of it with her Hollywood Lips Matte Liquid Lipstick (€32). The formula is very comfortable to wear, and lasts really well. The colour range is small, as you might expect from Charlotte. She is definitely someone who sticks to the classics, and not one for bold colours. If you’re looking for a colour you’ll wear loads, this is the place to go.

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