Ultra violet is the color of the year according to Pantone, and the Spring/Summer runways were chock-a-block with the pretty yet provocative hue. But this majestic shade, beloved of royalty and stylish rebels, isn’t only for those on-trend Balenciaga heels with a distinctly early 90s disco vibe, or that Gucci Dionysus bag you’ve had your eye on. When it comes to beauty, ultra violet looks fresh and modern for spring after seasons of sunset pink shades and nearly-nude looks. Think of the purple liner and bruise-hued eye colors at Anna Sui’s Fall ’18 show, or makeup artist Pat McGrath’s seminal Vogue Italia 2004 cover; photographed by Steven Meisel and featuring model Lydia Hearst wearing monochromatic purple makeup dubbed “perp-fection” by McGrath.
“It’s easy to play safe with neutral makeup tones, but this Spring/Summer, more unusual, paintbox brights are coming into their own” explains makeup artist Katie Moore. “Ultra violet is definitely the coolest—and it’s surprisingly flattering for all complexions if you find the right hue to suit your skin tone.” According to Leatrice Eiseman, Pantone Color Institute Executive Director, the shade “communicates originality, ingenuity and visionary thinking”. No wonder it’s the go-to color for this year’s influencers and beauty visionaries.
Violets are Blue
While the brave and the beautiful are embracing ultra violet hair, it’s not all about dramatic entrances. A subtly feminine take on the trend calls for softly smoky purple mushroom tones on eyes, a flash of shimmery lilac on upper brow bones, or a dot of metallic violet on the inner corner of the eyes for a modern take on summer glamour.
“I think, in general, it’s a very feminine, soft look and, especially moving into spring, it’s a great color,” agrees makeup artist Nam Vo, who created the much-copied smoky orchid eye for LA-based style influencer Aimee Song, back in February. According to Vo, the trick to pulling off the look in real life is to team violet or lilac makeup with neutral tones. For an elegant look, go for a simple wash across the lids and take the shade right up to your brows, as at Jour/Né at Paris Fashion Week. Alternatively, channel the Prada show with purple eyeliner (and a few well-placed crystals, if you so desire).
“If you’re shy about violet tones, eyeliner is an easy way to incorporate it into your go-to evening makeup look,” says makeup artist Christabel Draffin. “Apply it on top of your brown or black liner for an edgier take on this season’s liner trend,” she suggests. Try SHISEIDO Kajal inLilac Lotus for smudge-free, striking eyes that are easy to apply in just one stroke.
Beauty is not one-size-fits-all and nowadays, following runway trends is more about your own, unique take on a look rather than just playing copycat. So be playful and experiment with textures, tones, and application.
”If you have a cooler undertone to your skin, with a more pinky hue, opt for purples with a gray or blue tinge,” suggests Moore. “Those with golden coloring are flattered by warmer reddish plums and rosy violets”. For a fresh daytime look for cool skin tones - keep skin nearly bare and add just a hint of mascara.
To take your regal look up a notch, pair with shades of peach and coral. “Since purple is opposite orange on the color wheel, these shades look wonderful alongside violet,” explains Moore. Sweep SHISEIDO Face Color Enhancing Trio in Apple onto the fullest part of your cheeks, then apply SHISEIDO Dew in Solar, a striking gold, to your lips for a flash of modern glamor.