Monday 23 October 2017

Beauty panel: Golden Brown

Browns are having 'a moment', says our beauty expert, but they have come a long way since the grubby hues of the 80s

Pictured, from left, Mac Amber Times Nine Palette; Chanel Le Vernis in Troublante; Estee Lauder Magic Smoky Powder Shadow Stick in Slow Burn; Estee Lauder Pure Colour Envy Liquid Lip Potion in Bittersweet; Clarins The Essentials. Photo: Kip Carroll
Pictured, from left, Mac Amber Times Nine Palette; Chanel Le Vernis in Troublante; Estee Lauder Magic Smoky Powder Shadow Stick in Slow Burn; Estee Lauder Pure Colour Envy Liquid Lip Potion in Bittersweet; Clarins The Essentials. Photo: Kip Carroll

Sarah Caden

If you lived through the 1980s, then the suggestion that brown is back as a cosmetic colour will give you the shivers. And not in a good way. There was a muddiness to the trend for autumnal shades all those decades ago. They tended towards the flat and matt, and it was all about looking as subdued as possible - or maybe that's just in retrospect. It didn't help that we had bad, bad hair, I suppose, but these days, even the least made-up and most casually coiffed of us have a bit more finesse. As do the new browns, you'll be relieved to hear.

Everyone, regardless of their skin shade or tone, can wear brown in some variation. If you have olive or dark skin, you should keep it copper and deep, and even a bit red or plummy. Pale or pink-toned skin types, then, should tend towards browns with a bit of grey or taupe, or even browns with a hint of lavender or blue in them. As a rule of thumb, if a brown looks grubby on you, then it's not for you. What it should bring to your look is a wintry, kicking-up-the-leaves injection of seasonal colour, not the impression that you're wearing traces of yesterday's make-up. Or worse, remnants of the shades you were wearing in the 1980s.

Best Overall

Mac Amber Times Nine Palette, €40, Brown Thomas and BT2 stores

As the amber of the name might suggest, this palette is best suited to warm skintones, but only by a whisker. Nine colours give you plenty to play with and, as it's Mac, there's a lot of pigment power in there. It also offers a range of textures, and you get full glitter, as well as office-friendly matt and velvet textures. "I love the relatively small size of the palette," said one panellist. "It's really handbag-friendly, and I love knowing that I'll use it all before the trend moves on."

Best Moody Manicure

Chanel Le Vernis in Troublante, €23.50, Chanel counters nationwide

We've said it before and we'll say it again - nail colour is the easiest way to try out a colour trend. Chanel might not have the most excellent nail-polish applicator, but they cannot be beaten on colour trends. This is a standout shade; it's brown in essence, but it's opalescent, so you get waves of gold and copper and even purple, as the light hits it. "I found myself entranced by my hands," said one panellist. "An exciting brown - who knew there was such a thing?"

Best Simple Smoke

Estee Lauder Magic Smoky Powder Shadow Stick in Slow Burn, €22.50, Estee Lauder counters nationwide

This is one for those who really can't get to grips with eyeshadow. There are plenty, we know, who find instructions to mix colours and "blend and blend" to be utterly terrifying, which is why products such as this one exist. It's a pencil, but it's chubby, and it's softer than an eyeliner. You just draw it on to your eyelid, smudge, and feel pleased with yourself, as if you've outfoxed the eyeshadow brigade. "This requires minimal effort, but it gives a nice, subtly smoky effect," a panellist said. "Anything to avoid brushes and blending!"

Best Chocolate Kisses

Estee Lauder Pure Colour Envy Liquid Lip Potion in Bittersweet, €24, Estee Lauder counters nationwide

The colour is a burgundy brown; it's deep and dramatic, and quite daring in a world where reds and pinks rule the pouts. A brickish brown like this is remarkably kind to less-than-white teeth, but it's not a friend of the very pale-skinned. We love these Lip Potions. The curved brush applies the rather wet product neatly and easily, and while it starts out super liquid, it settles to a semi-matte colour, which has great staying power. "This initially felt like a risky colour for me, but once I adjusted to its deep richness, I loved it," said one panellist.

Best Chestnut Eyes

Clarins The Essentials, €43, Clarins counters nationwide

Last year's Essentials palette from Clarins suited warm skintones, but the cool kids get a look-in this year. There are taupes and browns that will work for almost anyone, but the more dramatic and smoky-eye shades tend towards the purple, and will do wonders for cool complexions and green or blue eyes. This palette offers a selection of matt colours, mixed in with velvet, shimmer and glitter options. "With the season of goodwill approaching, this is a good buy for those day-to-night situations that arise," said one panellist.

Email thepanel@independent.ie

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