How To Inject Some Purple Into Your Make-Up Look This Season

·5-min read
Photo credit: Imaxtree
Photo credit: Imaxtree

There's no denying that both the fashion and beauty industries tend to have a bit of favouritism when it comes to colour palettes. Bottega or 'kermit' green has been the favoured shade of 2021, splashed across this years' runways in all its verdant glory. Before that, beauty's obsession with millenial pink carried us through the best part of the latter 2010s.

Which begs the question, what colour palette can we expect to dip into next year? Pantone announced their colour of the year 2022 as Veri Peri, a periwinkle blue with a violet red undertone, and for those of you with a keen eye, chances are you've already noticed that purple has been having a beauty moment in its own right.

Between the unconventional purple-toned blusher sweeping TikTok, Lady Gaga's violet shimmering eyeshadow at the House of Gucci premier and Meghan Markle's feline flick at the Salute to Freedom Gala, these cool-toned shades have been stirring up a new found obsession for purple make-up.

Photo credit: Alessandro Zeno
Photo credit: Alessandro Zeno

While we don't all have the luxury of a celebrated make-up artist on hand in the mornings, we are lucky enough to have MAC National Artist Carly Utting and Bobbi Brown's Global Artist in Residence, Romy Soleimani sharing their expertise on how to pack a purple punch with our make-up this season, without looking like a Violet Beauregarde cosplay.

Why is purple having such a big beauty moment right now?

'As a make-up artist, purples have always had a place at the table. It has the ability to create an easy pop of fun and creativity to a make-up look, and the array of purples mean you have the choice of a softer plum or a vivid amethyst,' says Utting.

'I think having so much time at home wearing very little of recent months has meant we're craving more adventure with our make-up and people are using this time to dabble in colour.'

Photo credit: Salvatore Dragone
Photo credit: Salvatore Dragone

Which shades of purple flatter which undertones?

Purple's popularity is certainly due in part to its universally flattering appearance on all skin tones. 'Purples can enhance so many elements of someone’s appearance, depending on which shade or tint of purple you choose will allow varying effects,' says Utting.

Not only does swiping purple on our lids have the effect of making any yellow and green tones in our eyes pop, according to Soleimani, but picking certain shades based on the undertones of your skin will help to make the shade appear more defined.

If you're not sure where to start, Utting suggests pinker-hued purples, such as plum, often look flattering on warmer skin tones. Those with cooler undertones can lean into blue-toned purples, such as periwinkle and lavender, without having to worry about it washing them out.

The classic shortcut to check your undertones is by looking at your wrists. If your veins are green, you're likely to have warm undertones; if they have more of a blue-ish appearance, your skin will have a cooler hue. If you've got both, you're a middle ground neutral.

What colours pair well with purple?

Thought including more than one vivid colour in your look might take it into unintentional drag-queen territory? Think again. 'Purple looks gorgeous with a red lip,' says Soleimani.

'As a make-up artist, we use a lot of colour theory when selecting which colours to use; the correct combinations of colour can really enhance each other,' explains Utting.

'Yellows, golds and ambers work particularly well as they are seen as being "complimentary” to purple. You can also combine a more monochromatic colour combination, so wearing a range of purples on the face. For example, a plum eye with a more violet shade of nude on the lips will create a harmonious monochromatic look.'

How can you subtly infuse purple into your make-up looks?

If a bold statement smokey eye isn't your game, there are more understated ways to wear the royal shade. 'Give your eyes a smudge of purple along the lash line,' suggests Soleimani. 'Bobbi Brown's Cream Shadow Stick in Dusty Mauve or Violet Plum is a classic and gorgeous way to play with purple. They are super wearable and easy to blend.'

Similarly, opting for a coloured mascara, such as Shiseido's Controlled Chaos Mascara Ink can help to accentuate brown, hazel and green-toned eyes.

Photo credit: Luca Cannonieri - Imaxtree
Photo credit: Luca Cannonieri - Imaxtree

Is purple eyeshadow harder to blend?

If you were part of the Youtube beauty community in the heyday of the 2010s (welcome home, friend), it's pretty likely you heard the frustrations over difficult-t0-blend purple eyeshadows. That's because, without getting too deep into the science, purple does not have its own wavelength of light (violet does, but that's another conversation for another day).

Instead it's a mix of blue and red, and taking into consideration some further purple-specific complexities with formulation, this can sometimes mean purple shadows are less pigmented than it's colourful counterparts.

Utting shared her tips for getting the best pigment out of your shadow regardless; 'Gradually build up a purple shade and use a good quality blending brush such as the MAC 224s brush,' she explains.

'Start lightly at the base of the eye, right where your eyelashes grow out. Pick up a small amount of the shadow and very lightly move horizontally across the lash line, gradually moving upwards towards your eye socket until you go just above the socket line.'

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