Margot Robbie's yellow eyeshadow

Beauty challenge: “I pushed myself out of my comfort zone with these 5 colourful eyeshadow looks”

Colourful eyeshadow is making a comeback this summer, so one writer – who usually never strays from neutral shades – has decided to embrace the brightness.

Are you ready to finally have some fun this summer? I know I am. But I’m prepared to do it in small, incremental steps as we ease out of lockdown. That’s why I’m using my clothing, make-up and hair as little ways to help me feel good. 

I cannot wait to reclaim my pre-pandemic bleached blonde blunt bob when the salons reopen. I’m also ready to wear my brightest clothes, which I’ve perhaps been too shy to wear in previous years. And, thanks to Bridgerton’s Nicola Coughlan continuing to experiment with colourful eyeshadows (did you see that coral shade she wore for the Emmys?), I’ve decided to follow suit and get creative with my eye make-up.

As someone who has always stuck with neutral shades in my very basic make-up routine, adding a splash of colour to it will be my way of shouting, “Hello world!” So, I decided to do a little experimenting in lockdown and take on a five-day bright eyeshadow challenge. 

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“There’s been a massive swing in the world of eyeshadows over the past year or so,” Mac’s global senior artist, Dominic Skinner, tells me. “Gone are the days of over-elaborate multi shade looks where you need an engineering degree to apply it, and in is a more effortless and chic single shadow look.

“The single shadow trend has become more popular in the past few months mainly due to the fact that most of us haven’t been wearing make-up for nearly a year. We’ve simplified our looks and have not been spending so long on our make-up. And this is something that will continue even after lockdown.”

Sharing his tips on how to best apply bright eyeshadow, Dominic says: “The key to this trend, no matter what colour you use, is to press the shadow close to the lash line with an eyeshadow applicator brush and build up to the crease line on the eyelid (the line on your eyelid that folds into the socket). Then use a fluffy blending brush and sweep the colour from the crease into the socket.”

The five-day bright eyeshadow challenge

Without further ado, it was time to start to get creative. I chose five celebrity looks to try and recreate over five days. Here’s how I got on…

Margot Robbie’s lemon and honey eyes

Margot Robbie
Bright eyeshadow challenge: Margot Robbie wears yellow.

First up, I looked back at an earlier look from Margot Robbie. I was skeptical of wearing yellow eyeshadow – it didn’t seem like the friendliest colour for my pale skin and blonde hair. But I love how bright-eyed and fresh Margot looks with her lemon and honey eye.

Hollie wears yellow eyeshadow.
Bright eyeshadow challenge: Hollie wears yellow.

To create the look, I used Morphe’s Jaclyn Hill Palette Volume 11 (£39). I built a white base, dusted on a burnt orange shade, then heavily applied bright yellow on my lids. After blending, I just gave my lashes a quick lick of mascara.

Reader: I am a yellow convert. It instantly made me feel sunnier and happier. And it’s actually quite subtle – the perfect introduction to this challenge.

Lucy Boynton’s ice cream eyes

All hail Lucy Boynton, queen of colourful eyeshadow. Sure, Dominic said the trend is all about single shades – but I’m up for a bit of rule breaking with this one. I adore Boynton’s colourful eyeshadow, which make-up artist Jo Baker based on gelato. 

Hollie wears colourful make-up
Bright eyeshadow challenge: Hollie wears Lucy Boynton's ice cream eyeshadow.

To copy Boynton’s unicorn palette, I used NikkieTutorials x Beauty Bay Pressed Pigment Palette (£25) and applied it using Beauty Bay’s six piece eye brush set (£12.50). I chose three shades similar to Boynton’s, in yellow, red and green, and I just kinda… let loose with them!

I laughed as soon as I started applying the yellow to my inner eye, certain I was going to look like a clown. But when I applied mascara on my top and bottom lashes, I looked in the mirror and fell in love with the look. It’s fun but doesn’t feel OTT. 

Jodie Turner-Smith’s purple haze eyes

Just look at the way that purple eyeshadow shimmers on Jodie Turner-Smith’s eyelids. It makes me so excited to get back on a dancefloor again (one day, folks, one day…). And, hey, maybe I’ll even dig out the nose ring that I stopped wearing a few years back. 

Hollie wears purple eyeshadow.
Bright eyeshadow challenge: Hollie wears Jodie Turner-Smith's purple palette.

The Huda Beauty Haze Obsessions Eyeshadow Palette Purple (£27) is a perfect choice for recreating Turner-Smith’s look. I applied a base, then built up a glittery purple all over my lids and bottom lashes. I thinly lined my eyes with Huda Beauty Life Eye Liner (£21) and layered my top lashes with Huda Beauty’s Legit Lashes Mascara (£24)

I felt like a disco queen (albeit a little overdressed when I popped to my local food market for lunch). I’ll definitely be using this when evening plans become a thing again. 

Nicola Coughlan’s colourful coral eye

Nicola Coughlan has been serving some serious colourful eyeshadow goals recently. I love the simplicity of her single shades and they make her bright blue eyes POP. I have high hopes for this coral shade. 

Hollie wears coral eyeshadow
Bright eyeshadow challenge: Hollie wears Nicola Coughlan's coral eye.

This look was so easy to recreate with Mac’s Sushi Flower eyeshadow (£16). I followed Dominic’s tips and worked on layering from the lashline, then blended it out. I put on a thick coating of Mac’s Haute & Naughty Waterproof Lash Mascara (£22)

This is so, so wearable. It’s such a quick way of adding a bit of colour and I love how you can make it as intense or subtle as you want, depending on how much is applied. I will definitely be getting this eyeshadow pot in more shades. 

Cynthia Erivo’s purple cat-eye

How amazing does Cynthia Erivo look? Because a neon green dress and white leather gloves just weren’t enough, she pushed this incredibly cool look even further with her purple cat-eyes. It is the dramatic end to the week that I want.

Hollie's eyeshadow
Bright eyeshadow challenge: Hollie wears Cynthia Erivo's purple cat-eye.

OK, as you can very clearly see, I got things a bit wrong with this one. I was unable to get my hands on the eyeliner Erivo used here (Armani Beauty’s Designed To Kill Designer Eyeliner, £32), which is key to achieving the look. But I did have Armani Beauty’s Eye Tint Eyeshadow Tint (£28) in dark purple, which I admittedly went a bit rogue with. I lined my eyes with some of the Huda Beauty eyeshadow from earlier in the week and tried to achieve full volume lashes with the Mac mascara.

I mean, it might not look anything like Erivo’s flawless effort, but I’d still go for a look like this on an evening in a post-lockdown world. 

The verdict:

I bloody enjoyed doing this challenge so much. I have had my colourful eyeshadow awakening and will be working my way through a rainbow of hues this summer. I thought I’d be a one-shade gal but, I have to say, the ice-cream look was probably my favourite. I am going to be a walking, talking artist’s palette, and I cannot wait.

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Images: Getty, Instagram, Hollie Richardson