Why I’m Experimenting With Colourful Makeup & Where To Find Inspiration

Katie Jane Hughes, Katie Jane Hughes, Katie Jane Hughes…

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There are many reasons why I enjoy documenting life in this ol’ corner of the internet, but right up there at the top is the fact that it acts as a visual archive of my thoughts, feelings and tastes and how they’ve evolved throughout the years. At the beginning I filmed videos with a camera that I’d got for my 20th birthday that was suspended on a tower of cereal boxes and had hair that reached my bum, a complexion that could rival that of an Oompa Loompa and eyebrows that had a 1mm width. The interim years featured brow regrowth that made them look like an upside down Nike tick, more powder highlight than you could shake a stick at and a love for fake tan that just wouldn’t slide. These days I’m on a brow growing journey so I currently look like my Dad’s twin and my love for neutral, dewy, bronzey makeup is as strong as ever. Case in point: This Tanya Burr ‘Marisa Miller’ video was an old fave and I would still wear that makeup today as happily as I did nine years ago. However there has been a shift in the past 12 months. For the ability to use alliteration I would say that colour has made a comeback, but if I’m honest it’s never really had a place in my makeup collection. So how the hell has it trickled in? 

My guess? Instagram. Whereas YouTube has been feeding me brown-eyeshadow, sheer-base tutorials for all these years because it knows FOR SURE that I’m going to click on them (the same goes for fluffy dog haircut videos and ‘Hairdresser Reacts To America’s Next Top Model Makeovers: Season 18989‘ videos), Instagram has been giving me something different. It feeds me videos where it feels like the main aim is to cover your face with goods applied directly from a pipette, brushed up brows, editorial vibes, cut-crease looks, glitter, shimmer, gloss and COLOUR. And more importantly for me because I will no doubtt be clinging on to MAC Eyeshadow in Soba* till the day I die – wearable colour.

Of course wearable as a term is something that is going to be different for everyone and even something that shifts on a daily basis for individuals; but in the context of colourful makeup, it means that it’s something that not only makes me feel at ease when I wear, but it’s a look that’s easy to apply and looks like it’s been easy to apply. I’m not sure I’ll ever feel a green eyeshadow makeup that incorporates multiple shades, a liner and a pair of false lashes on me, but I do enjoy the idea of a green eyeshadow look that uses just one shadow and a hefty amount of mascara. The latter ticks the boxes: I feel comfortable, it would be easy to throw on and it’s colourful whilst still having that whole ‘I woke up like this‘ thing about it.

Thanks to a handful of accounts on the ‘gram, my eyes have been opened to a way of donning shades that aren’t just brown in a way that still feels ‘me’. It’s using a yellow eyeliner incorporated into my everyday look. It’s using a gloss with a subtle silver shimmer all over the lid and finishing it off with mascara. It’s buying a fuchsia pink eyeshadow to wear around your tear-duct because that’s what Katie Jane Hughes did when SHE DID YOUR MAKEUP. Oh yes, name-drop of the century, and yes there’s a video that’s coming next weekend featuring the whole darn caboodle that was my dreams coming true. Speaking of KJH, if you too are in need of some rainbow beauty vibes in your life then whip out your phone and press follow on these accounts…


For a beginner’s guide to everyday colour… Katie Jane Hughes. The posts! The IG lives! The stories! The colour! The glow! The goddess that is KJH. You just have to follow. Scour back through her saved highlights for advice on everything from skin prep to her secret for the perfecting eyeliner for those with hooded lids and then eagerly wait for her IG stories of her getting ready every morning to be uploaded.

For everything you could want to know about glow… Nikki Makeup. Nikki has a knack for making over models with the most incredible cheekbones and bushy brows you’ve ever seen. It’s not necessarily directly recreatable on my football face with eyebrows that now rival Charlie Simpson, but I love turning to her account for advice and inspo when it comes to glow and radiance, because man does she get it right every time.

For editorial looks that feel 100% wearable… Mariah Leonard. MARIAH! I adore Mariah’s YouTube videos and the content she posts on here IG is fab too. I mean, who isn’t here for playful pet content? Her looks often feature colour but in a way that you’ll be like ‘I *think* I could wear that too – let’s try’ and isn’t that what it’s all about?

For inspiration by the bucketload… Byrdie Beauty. I don’t follow many branded IG accounts, but I’m pretty convinced that whoever is in charge of the Byrdie social pages has a direct dial into my brain because it’s somehow always what I *need* to see. A bit of everything is posted here, so get ready to drink the millennial beauty cool aid and be enabled in 5, 4, 3, 2….

For colour play to the MAX… Meghan Nguy. An N.Y.C-based Makeup Artist, Meghan posts editorial looks that have me tapping that ‘save’ button all the darn time. From blue eyeshadow that looks like it’s been smeared on with a finger, to a face of painted on flowers; the looks as a whole are extremely editorial, but there’s always inspiration to be taken especially when it comes to colour.

Photos by Emma Croman

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