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The Makeup Maniac: Brown is the new black

February 19th 2015 / Anna Hunter



Swap charcoal for chocolate this season- it's the most delicious way to define your eyes

A sooty swipe of kohl will always be badass- from Cleopatra to Jack Sparrow, kohl-oholics ooze attitude and command attention. There are times, however, when you want your eyes to stand out, not your makeup (as striking as your smokey eye may be). For these times, brown is your buddy. From café au lait to cocoa, brown hues were used to both subtle and striking effect on SS15 catwalks- whether as a seemingly invisible component of ‘no makeup makeup’ or a rich and sultry statement. Here’s how to master both:

Barefaced Browns

The apparently nonchalant ‘no makeup makeup’ thing is, as anyone who’s attempted to create a model-perfect visage with minimal products will know, more work than it appears. The fundamentals are saintly skincare and a commitment to clean-living of course, but beyond that a buffing of light brown in the crease of an eye can work wonders. Technically eye contouring, take your cue from Pat McGrath at Jason Wu and work a neutral brown (light, medium or dark in tone depending on your colouring) into the outer edges and crease of your eyelids- your eyes will appear brighter and less puffy, but the tools of your trade will be barely perceivable. As brown tones are so prolific in nature, they’re often the best option if the illusion of god given definition is what you’re after. Just adhere to the gospel as spoken by the trendsetters at MAC when you’re aspiring to ‘keep it real’:

“Tonally and in feeling, it’s warm and clean, not grungy”

For a dewy effect (and even less effort) go for a ‘glossy neutral’ as at Chloé and Blumarine, where MAC Studio Eye Gloss in Lightly Tauped, £17, was a staple product for makeup artist Tom Pecheux’s ‘sunkissed’, ‘youthful’ look. To give it a bit more oomph, make like Lucia Pieroni at Chloé and add mascara to the roots of the top lashes for a ‘fresh girl from the 90s’ vibe. Lancôme Hypnôse Drama in Excessive Brown , £24.50, creates the holy trinity of volume, length and curl and is smouldering enough that you won’t miss your regular black too much.


Burnished bronzes

Pat McGrath pushed the beauty boat out when it came to brown makeup- from shimmery and romantic at Valentino to full-on metallic at quintessentially sexy Roberto Cavalli. Gleaming shades of chestnut and copper are also proving popular on awards season red carpets so far, with sophisticates such as Keira Knightly, Rosamund Pike and Beyoncé relying on russet as their only makeup statement. Adding a hint of sparkle not only ups the ‘special occasion’ ante but also brings out the best in every eye colour, making achieving a flattering look a fairly simple task. The key is to add drama at the lashline- line upper lashes and trace a third of the way along the lower lashline with Tom Ford Eye Definer Pencil in Espresso, smudging out with a blender or cotton wool tip. Then create a graduated halo of bronze using Urban Decay Naked 2 palette, £38, using darker, deeper brown at the edge of the eye and lighter, twinkly tones near the inner eye. With 12 graduations of taupe shades (FAR more interesting than 50 shades of grey I promise you) in a mix of matte and shimmer formulations, Naked 2 is all you need to go barefaced or more bold on the brown spectrum.


Is brown your daily staple or a do you go back to black every time? Tell me on Twitter or send me a picture of your barefaced and bold brown makeup looks on Instagram

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