One shade doesn’t fit all


Have you ever been advised that a colour eyeshadow, lipstick, blush or BB cream is universally adaptable – suitable for all? When you think about it, it’s laughable really. There is no way that one colour would suit all, even when it comes to eyeshadow and to be honest on behalf of my friends who have skin colour at the opposite ends of the spectrum (really dark to really light), it’s also a little insulting.

Take for instance brown eyeshadow. If I had a pound for every time a make-up artist or YouTuber has said – ‘this brown/taupe/chocolate is great and suits everyone’ or ‘this brown palette suits all’, I’d be on my way to Spain for a nice little holiday. But brown doesn’t suit all. There are many shades of brown and of course there might be one silvery shade for cooler toned skins or golden shade for warmer skins that would look better than the others but it doesn’t mean it is the best colour for you.

For some reason as soon as we leave school almost everyone forgets colour wheels and palettes that you learn in art class. They also forget that every combination of skin tone, hair and eye colour makes you incredibly unique and made up of different colours. Another reason one colour cannot suit all.

I’ll use myself as an example. I have blue eyes and fair skin. It’s banded about in many magazines and tutorials that blue eyes suit brown eyeshadow. But in my case it makes me look like a zombie. I can just about take a taupe/silver shade that is more grey than brown but the rule definitely does not apply. That’s because my eyes are a navy blue, my skin, whilst it can flush has undertones of yellow and I have dirty blonde hair. A combination that means I look good with pink, peach, silver, blues, greens and golds but not browns and never lilac.  So you can’t always base your colours on warm/cool either as you may have a mix of both in your skin and hair and eyes. 

As I said before – your own mix of colours is unique and it takes time to realise what suits you. It’s taken me a long time on my own to realise what looks good and what looks bad on me. I personally love playing with make-up and I don’t mind experimenting but what about people who don’t want to do that and just want an easy choice?

Well other than experimentation, there is a way of finding out. Take your wardrobe. You’ve had a lifetime of wearing clothes. What looks good? What has given you the most compliments? If you have always looked drained and ill in lilac tops and dresses then its a pretty good bet that you should avoid it on your face too. The same goes for any colour that you avoid on clothes rails.

Once you have discovered what looks good or what looks really bad…(sometimes its easier to just figure that out and just avoid what makes you look ill); there is another issue with colour to think about. Your clothes and make up together.

Have you ever done your make up in a dressing gown or towel and thought ‘yeah it looks good’ but for some reason you looked washed out or garish when you had your clothes on? That’s because you have to think about clashes when you wear your clothes. For instance, with my colouring it is a bad idea to rock a dark purple eyeshadow with a red -orange t-shirt, I just look bruised or a bit like a drag queen. Of course if that’s your bag, go for it!

That’s something else to note, some make up artists talk about an ‘editorial’ look, that’s  a word they use sometimes to refer to make up they might use in magazine shoots but isn’t say what they would use on a bride. Colours clash sometimes in shoots to make things stand out, to draw your eye and often models can take those clashes and rock them and we think they look beautiful and we want to do it ourselves but it doesn’t often look the same on us. Don’t get me wrong, there are people out there who can totally rock colour and texture clashes too but they are lucky and they often know how to do it as well as any make up artist. They’ve experimented and they have confidence. If you want to just enhance your looks and play with make up, the majority of us aren’t out to make people stare, unless it is to give a compliment. It’s total personal preference. I don’t suit clashing colours, especially as I have aged. At least I think so.  So I think about what I am going to wear before I start my make up. I compliment the colours in relation to what I am wearing and what suits me. For instance if I am wearing blue stripes and navy I often wear red lipstick. Those two primary colours don’t clash on me and look good together, it’s something I have learned and I often roll that combination out on a weekly basis!

If you want to wear colour, experimentation is key. As I said, I know I can wear a brown eye shadow, it just has to be more silver or grey than brown, and that even that silvery brown grey would still be bottom of the pile because I know there are other colours that suit me better. I have a friend who thought she couldn’t wear red lipstick, she just needed to find the right colour – and there are so many! It took a while but now she has the colour that suits her. But as I said before, we are made up of so many colours, so many variations, there is no such thing as one size fits all.

My advice? Go with your instincts, listen to compliments, look at photos. Are there certain colours you are wearing in your favourite photos of yourself? Take that on board, remember it…they might be the colours that suit you. Your own unique, special colours.