Make (up) the rules

Beauty insider Cassie Steer explains why spring’s new mood is all about mixing up your make-up bag and injecting some colour

It’s official: after a two-year hiatus, colour is slowly seeping its way back into our makeup bags. For the first time in the history of cosmetics, skincare became our mainstay during lockdown. But now the pendulum is swinging back, full force, and a ‘roaring 20s’ is on the horizon. Get ready to appreciate the world in technicolour again. 

And what better way to add a pop of positivity to our daily lives than with a daub of bright lipstick or a swipe of vivid eye-shadow? It’s essentially the makeup equivalent of donning a power suit – a feeling which can apparently be explained by scientists… “When we wear colours that we love, it can instantly boost our mood, our feelings and how we behave. It can fill us with confidence for the day. That’s the power of colour!” says Karen Haller, a leading authority in the field of Applied Colour Psychology and author of The Little Book of Colour.

But if your usual look is more understated, don’t panic – ‘colour’ doesn’t have to mean brash neons. For example, sumptuous, smouldering jewel tones may not pack the in-your-face punch of, say, a fuchsia, but the effect can be just as emboldening (never underestimate the clout of a brooding, burgundy pout). So, put down the ‘neutral’ eyeshadow palette and prepare to step out of your chroma comfort zone.

‘Playful’ is definitely the key here, as the first rule of colour club is that there are no rules. It’s all about sparking joy with a stamp of colour that has the ability to elevate any outfit. “Every colour has the potential to influence us in a positive or adverse way,” says Haller. “There is no one colour that will boost the mood for everyone. Colour is personal. Don’t follow trends. Pick the colours that you love and that make you feel happy and joyful.” Ready to indulge in some colour therapy? Read on for the names chasing the rainbow…

The catwalk inspiration: Pat McGrath

Image: Courtesy of Versace

Clearly feeling the need to up the ante after a somewhat sombre 2021, backstage make-up artists brought a confection of bright colour to the SS22 catwalks. The stand-out look of the season? Pat McGrath’s electric look for Versace, where she spliced acid greens with lime and azure in a two-toned triumph. For a work-friendly take on the trend, opt for a sliver of emerald eyeliner in place of your usual black, and team with fresh, dewy skin.

The makeup artist: Andrew Gallimore

Image: @andrewgallimakeup

Putting the artistry into ‘make-up artist’, Gallimore is a backstage stalwart with a passion for pigments. The Picasso of face paints, not only does Gallimore have an eye for artistic creation, he is also known for his bold palettes. “Colour is a choice, it reflects personality,” he explains. “We react to colour just as colours react to their surroundings… They can make our retinas vibrate and create feelings on a face; a touch of pink on the cheeks can inject instant health, a bold red lip creates focus and suddenly the mouth becomes an exclamation mark.” According to Gallimore, an easy way to introduce colour into your makeup is to swap it in for your usual black such as wearing a coloured mascara: “For lips and cheeks, variations and dilutions of red and pink will suit most people, as it’s under the skin – it’s the blood brought to the surface… It’s heat, health and happiness.”

The content creator: Celine Bernaerts

Image: @celine_bernaerts

The striking Dutch makeup artist’s Instagram page scans like a joyous ode to colour, with beauty inspiration that serves as visual dopamine. Her legions of loyal followers (436k and counting) follow her for her maximalist makeup looks, which are created using her own face as the canvas. "Using colour in makeup is like approaching accessories to pair with your outfit,” she says. “It can match, it can clash and it doesn’t have to be complicated! It can be as simple as placing a colourful dot of paint with a q-tip, applying a smashingly colourful inner corner colour with shadow or using a bright waterline colour.” Prepare to be influenced. 

The makeup brand: 3INA

Image: @3ina

Pronounced ‘Mee-nah’, the cruelty-free cosmetic brand is the Gen Z to MAC’s millennial. With a tagline that states it’s ‘born with a view to disrupt’, the affordable yet covetable products are the perfect place to start your colour journey. The brand boasts that each of its shades is specifically formulated to suit every skin tone, so as to help democratise the beauty sphere. What’s more, each product is designed with experimentation in mind, encouraging users to approach makeup in a playful way. Our top picks? The Cream Eyeshadow in 793 (use as a sheer wash over the lids or as a bold eyeliner) and The Lipstick in 241 (the perfect orangey/red to lift the spirits and flatter sunkissed skin).