Monday 24 July 2017

Eyes Right - how to get the best shadows

Our improved eye-make-up skills demand the very best shadows, says our beauty expert, so here are some new finds

Pictured, from left, Nars Duo Eyeshadow in Chiang Mai; Chanel Multi-Effect Quadra Eyeshadow in Codes Elegants; Catrice The Precious Copper Collection Eyeshadow Palette; Clarins 4-Colour Eyeshadow Palette in Smoky; Lov Million Sparks Baked Eyeshadow in Sparkling Nude
Pictured, from left, Nars Duo Eyeshadow in Chiang Mai; Chanel Multi-Effect Quadra Eyeshadow in Codes Elegants; Catrice The Precious Copper Collection Eyeshadow Palette; Clarins 4-Colour Eyeshadow Palette in Smoky; Lov Million Sparks Baked Eyeshadow in Sparkling Nude

Sarah Caden

Eye make-up is something that Irish people have really only mastered in recent years. It's like when you look back at photos from decades past and realise that no one seemed to know how to manage their hair until about 1999. Then we went through a phase of GHD overdrive, and now, everyone seems capable of sporting smooth hair without a visit to the salon. Groomed is a given these days, and we have the bathroom cabinets to prove it.

It's a similar situation with eye make-up. There was a long, long time in Irish history when eyeshadow was blue, it went on your eyelid and it had no companion colours to take the acid sting out of it, or primer to keep it in place. Then, the 1980s introduced us to 50 shades of mud-coloured shadow, and then, in the decades after, we got to grips with smoky eyes, simple effects in two or three shades, and day-to-night looks. Hell, we even learned to manage brushes. And blending.

Your modern Irish woman has eyeshadow skills to match any make-up artist and most of us own palettes to suit every mood, maybe even with a little blue in there. But we can never have enough in the search for the perfect eye kit, so here are some new gems for you.

Best Overall

Nars Duo Eyeshadow in Chiang Mai, €34, Brown Thomas

The strong character of both these colours might go against the grain at first glance. They aren't a combination of light and shade or strong and subtle; both are dramatic, and can be made even more so if you use them with a wet brush. Nars products are loved for their intense pigment content and you get that here, with a sea blue and a deep copper, both shimmery, both near-metallic when used wet. "This pair are stunning together, with the copper really bringing out the sea-green in the blue shade," said a panellist. "Impactful, but not over-the-top."

Best Gold Leaf

Chanel Multi-Effect Quadra Eyeshadow in Codes Elegants, €51, Chanel counters nationwide

Chanel's Italian head of make-up, Lucia Pica, doesn't necessarily believe in seasons. For example, she doesn't restrict a red lip to Christmas, and believes that there's no single colour to suit a season. Hence, this palette in spring, in shades that you might call autumnal, ranging from a pale gold, through a copper to an intense brown, all molten-looking and lovely on the lids. "Like the prettiest autumn leaves," a panellist said, "and velvety to blend."

Best Cool Copper

Catrice The Precious Copper Collection Eyeshadow Palette, €5.50, Penneys; Dunnes Stores

Where would you be going with a price tag like this? Catrice do decent quality products at rock-bottom prices that leave you with no sense of guilt if you buy a few. There are four seven-shade colourways in this line of palettes, and this is the warm-to-golden-brown end of things. The other variations include a line of pinks, nudes and "must haves". "I love how there are seven shades to play with and then 'light' and "sculpt' options to set off all looks," one panellist said. "A palette you'd use to death."

Best Silver Fox

Clarins 4-Colour Eyeshadow Palette in Smoky, €43. Clarins counters nationwide

The national tendency is to stick to shades of brown. Grey makes its greatest appearance in shades of taupe and mushroom, partly because grey can look cold, and we get enough of cold in this country, thanks. This palette might bring you back to the silvers, steels and strong charcoals, though; four shadows that, all together, build to a stunning, shimmering smoky eye. "The lightest colour is very silver and the darkest shade is almost black, but blendability makes this quad work for both day and night looks," a panellist said.

Best Single Shot

Lov Million Sparks Baked Eyeshadow in Sparkling Nude, €9.95, Shaws; selected pharmacies nationwide

A baked eyeshadow is composed of mineral ingredients and pigments that are then baked at a high heat to evaporate all moisture, leaving behind a velvety, high-impact product. And, funnily enough, one that, when it's used wet, is more intense again. There are two other colours in this line, a wearable khaki and a dramatic charcoal. "This is a low-key, lid-perfecting shade when used dry," said a panellist, "but it becomes a foil-like rose gold when wet."

Email thepanel@independent.ie

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