Take a backseat black, red eyeliner is stepping into the spotlight

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We’ll admit, we weren’t convinced when red eyeliners starting landing on our desks - it seemed a sure-fire way to look at best like we were operating on a sleep deficit, at worst like we’d been smoking a suspicious substance.

But they continued to arrive; Givenchy’s  spring 2020 beauty collection (launching February) holds host to a deep aubergine and an oxblood red liner, while Charlotte Tilbury’s latest Pillow Talk drop has a rich berry eyeliner , and Fenty Beauty’s new FlyPencil eyeliner  comes in a bold red hue dubbed Cherry Punk.

As with many bold makeup looks, red eyeliner filtered down from the catwalk for the SS20 shows as seen at Valentino and Vivienne Westwood and Versace on model Kaya Gerber. Colours normally found on lips were wrapped around the eyes for a fun and unexpected twist. But while it’s easy for striking models to pull off out-there makeup, how can us normal people wear red eyeliner?

Who suits red eyeliner?

“The great thing about red eyeliner is that it can work for everyone,” says Neil Young, UK Givenchy makeup ambassador. “No matter what eye colour or skin tone you have, red either works in harmony with brown and hazel eyes or contrast with green and blue eyes.”

How to wear red eyeliner

1. Max out your mascara

“The key to wearing red eyeliner successfully, especially with paler eyes and skin is mascara,” Neil continues. “Ensure you wear enough mascara to counterbalance the red. Red liner is such a strong beauty statement in itself, allow it to be the focus of the makeup and keep all other features pared back.”

2. Keep the rest of your makeup one colour

“Wearing red liner is easy if you follow a simple rule. Keep the makeup monochromatic. If your liner is bold red, opt for a sheer pink/red stain on the lip and a subtle pink/neutral blush to pull the look together. Alternatively, for the daring, a perfectly applied red lip looks incredible with red eyeliner, just allow a feature to give, leaving the blush and contour out the equation. Keep the rest of the complexion super natural with just a touch of foundation and concealer where needed, " says Neil.

3. Never wear red eyeliner on the waterline

“Avoid red eyeliner along the waterline or inside the eye. It looks great in editorial images but in real life, it will translate as an irritated eye or an infection.”

The best red eyeliners

Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Eyeliner in Berry-Brown , £19

This deep berry hue is the perfect intro to red eyeliner, giving an almost-burgundy colour. It's highly pigmented so gives great colour payoff and glides easily along the lid.

Givenchy Khol Couture Waterproof in Oxblood Red, £18 launching February 2020

This long-wearing eye contour pencil stands up against water and humidity, making it smudge-proof and comfortable to wear. It can also be used as an all-over shadow or a velvet lip liner. It's also available in a more wearable blue/red (Iris) and a pink (Peony).

Flypencil Longwear Pencil Eyeliner , £18

This is out-and-out hot red, for a bolder look and darker skin tones. We learned all about the Fenty Beauty Flypencils when we met Rihanna's makeup artist Hector Aspinal ; he told us that the twist-up mechanism of this pencil was designed by Riri herself to ensure there was no product wastage. He also demonstrated how the pencils set in super-quick time to avoid annoying smudging.

Glossier Colorslide Gel Eyeliner in Disaster Class , £13

This highly-pigmented deep red wine hued eyeliner promises to glide on without snagging and claims to last in your waterline for eight hours.

NARS High Pigment Longwear Eyeliner in Broadway , £19

There's no denying our love for NARS' Orgasm Blusher  and this liner gives a similar level of colour payoff. It applies smoothly for deftly drawn, precise lines.

MORE GLOSS: A makeup artist's crash course in applying eyeliner, from beginners to advanced