Popular Now


Why you shouldn’t be scared of purple eye makeup

April 13th 2015 / Anna Hunter



Convinced you can’t wear purple? We show you how it can bring out the best in every eye colour...

Purple eyes may be most associated with late nights, unfortunate injuries or Disney princesses, but we promise you that there’s many a way to work purple that doesn’t make you look worse for wear or circa seven years old. From plum to lavender to violet, purple can be ethereal, striking, low-key and incredibly flattering, if you just give it the chance. SS15 makeup artists and designers did, and the results ranged from free and easy festival looks to sexy, smoked out shadow. Their canvases may be supermodels, but us mere mortals can benefit from a wash of wine or smudge of mauve too. Here’s why…

It’s effortless

Is this anyone else’s main concern? Sometimes shaky hands, lack of time or shameless laziness can be a barrier to seamlessly blended shadow or an artful eye flick. If ‘smudge and go’ is your makeup mantra, a soft blot of purple looks modern, fresh and miles from ‘try hard’. Applied with fingers in a tent, back of the car or hurriedly at your desk, it adds something fun and summery to an otherwise neutral makeup look.

On a base note, heed MAC director of makeup artistry Terry Barber’s wise words: “Anything involving colour only looks modern when you take away the skin coverage.”


If the prospect of a barenaked complexion gives you goosebumps, cheat ‘no makeup makeup’ with these tips. Once you’re radiant and ready to rumble, dab on a sheeny, creamy shadow. At Matthew Williamson’s SS15 show, Charlotte Tilbury added a flash of cool lilac over a darker purple base using Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow in Always a Bridesmaid, £15.50, to stunning, grown-up effect. Benefit head trend and makeup artist Lisa Potter-Dixon also sings that shade’s praises in particular:

“For the ultimate summer look, I use a pastel purple. I adore Always a Bridesmaid as the soft metallic formula gives you the perfect pop of colour without being too OTT.”

If you are, indeed, a bridesmaid this summer, this easy peasy makeup move could be your saving grace during frantic preparations. You can even apply it competently after a glass of bubbles or two. We’ve got our priorities sorted here.

If your agenda is more ‘partying in fields’ than wedding party, Kiko Cream Crush lasting Colour Eyeshadow in Pearly Violet, £6.90, looks electric blue in the pot, but comes off as deliciously Dairy Milk on the eyes. It won’t abandon you in a festival meadow either - it’s clinically tested to last for at least 10 hours. Party on.

It’s flattering


...especially for those with green, hazel and brown eyes. These eye colours look especially vibrant when bordered with a rich aubergine or deep plum, while blue eyes sparkle when given the once over with a light lavender or blue-violet. Given the purple branding, it’s no surprise that Urban Decay excels in this hue in particular, and Eyeshadow in Last Call, £14, is intense, satiny and especially complementary for the chocolatey eyed among us. If you’re after a more subtle, shimmery effect, you can’t go wrong with Bourjois Colorband 2-in-1 Eyeshadow & Liner in Mauve, £5.99. If fairies favoured a particular shadow, it would likely be this one - it’s ethereal, long-lasting and can be blended out to create a light-reflective cloud of colour.

It can give your everyday mascara an edge

Coloured mascara may be suggestive of school discos and teenage makeup mishaps, but the key to pulling off an unusual hue with aplomb is to layer it over your usual black number. Makeup artist Tom Pecheux did just this at Derek Lam’s SS15 show - adding a hint of purple to an otherwise everyday base kept things interesting, not to mention sophisticated: “Mauve, lavender and violet were built on top of nudes... it’s twisted colour.”


Lashes were a key part of the purple party, and Pecheux coated classic black with MAC Modern Twist Lash in Tarot from the Isabel & Ruben Toledo collection, £21, on upper lashes only. It’s blink and you miss it, but a flicker of purple can brighten the whites of the eyes and look a lot more natural and subtle than you might think. Try it tomorrow - it’s a touch that makes people notice your eyes, rather than your makeup, which is more often than not the aim of a beautifying regime.

It bends the rules

There’s not too many lipstick shades that you can happily smear over your sockets (red eye isn’t often an intentional look), but Pecheux proved that purple can work at the SS15 Derek Lam show. MAC Artistic Director Lyne Desnoyers encourages us to get playful and think outside of the beauty box when it comes to making up the eyes this season:

“Lip shades on the eyes is the summery interpretation of last summer’s playing with the undertones in the skin.”


Pecheux blended MAC Pro Violetta Lipstick from MAC Pro Lip Palette in 6 Preferred Pinks, £35, from the lashline to the crease of the eye, initially using a brush then fading colour out at the crease with fingers. Bold yet sheer and with no hard edges, the result was diffused and pretty, yet also elegant.

If you’re not keen on buying a whole palette, Bobbi Brown Sheep Lip Colour in Lilac, £19.50, can be used to a similar effect.

Will you be experimenting with purple this summer? How about lipstick on eyes?! Tweet me @AnnaMaryHunter or comment below

Post a comment

Login to add a comment

Agile web development by Byte9