I tried colourful eye makeup every day for a week (á la Katie Jane Hughes)

Recently the beauty world seems to have split into two teams, we have the high-coverage- I did not wake up like this- Huda Beauty contouring Queens, on the other there is fresh-faced minimal beauty a-la Glossier. This leaves some space in the middle that’s a little bit of both, which is where Katie Jane Hughes steps in.

Hughes is known on Instagram for her light coverage, natural looking skin but really plays up her eyes with vibrant shades and textures you would never think of wearing. Her look made me completely re-think my own makeup. My mission? Change up my makeup with more experimental looks, and ultimately see if they are actually wearable.

Monday: The Reverse Eyeliner Look

I decided to ease myself into the challenge, with something that didn’t feel too far out of my comfort zone, black eyeliner, but with a difference. After drawing in your shape and flick, instead of filling it in you leave the inside empty, so it’s just an outline of a cat eye. This was actually not as difficult to do as I first imagined, it just took a little bit more time. It did prompt a few stares on the DART this morning. I began to worry, did it look like I just hadn’t bothered to finish my eyeliner? It got favourable reviews here in IMAGE HQ, with one comment that it looked ‘high fashion’, not a comment I usually get for my Monday morning look.


Day Two: Blue Cut Crease

A look made popular in the ’60s by icons like Twiggy and Edie Sedgwick, done with black or brown and paired with lots of eyeliner and mascara. For this, I directly emulated a look from Katie Jane Hughes, but instead of using a black or brown she used a soft powder blue. This took me slightly longer than yesterday as I couldn’t get the lines to match on each side (anyone else find one eye is your ‘good eye’ and the other never quite matches?) This one slid under the radar slightly as its only when looking at me at certain angles that the liner is visible. In the morning the line was lovely and crisp but as the day wore on I realised that using eyeshadow was probably not the best idea. It didn’t have great longevity as it bled and smudged and lost the sharpness and definition. Probably one more suited for photographs and editorial than for everyday.

Day 3: 80’s Smudgy Pink

So, after yesterday’s failing, I decided to ramp it up a notch. Instead of applying eyeshadow to my lids I placed it just underneath my eyes and blended right into the tear duct. If this was a nice neutral brown it would look really soft and shapely placed here, but today I’ve gone for an aggressively hot pink! Smudged (I hope somewhat artfully) along my lower lash line I felt my top lid was a little bare so I also added some YSL eye gloss to play a little with texture. It looks playful, not too crazy and a little bit 80’s, but definitely requires lots of mascara. As bright pink is quite an unconventional colour on the eyes my worries today have been- does it just make my eyes look sore? Does it look as though I have been up half the night bawling watching The Notebook? Not according to anyone I’ve asked, but perhaps they’re just being polite? So far this look got the most attention and despite the scary colour I felt really confident wearing it.


Day 4: Sunshine Eyes

Another one direct from the KJH Instagram, the sunshine eye. As an extremely pale gal yellow is not a colour I would gravitate towards in clothing let alone on my eyes. My concern here was that I would end up looking a little bit jaundiced and sickly so it did need to be paired with lashings of mascara to give my eyes some definition. In the end I actually loved it and found this look really wearable. I didn’t hold back with the application and took lots of it underneath my eyes too. All day people kept commenting on how blue my eyes looked, which is never a compliment I usually receive. Out of all the looks so far this is one I can see myself replicating the most.

Day 5: Ultra Girly

As this was final day it was time to go all out and get my lips involved too. I went for an ultra feminine look as everything else this week has been quite graphic. On the eyes I used a baby pink eyeliner from NYX really close to the lash-line and stretched out into a subtle cat eye flick. Once I applied mascara the contrast with the black made the pink really pop! On my lips I went for a classic red, the combo of pink and crimson was so fresh and pretty and totally out of my comfort zone. I would usually wear a black eyeliner with a red lipstick, so to pair it with something equally rose toned and girly felt really different and fun.

So what has this week taught me?

When you are rushing around getting ready in the morning it is far easier to reach for basic neutral shades, they are a no-brainer to apply, take little skill and time whilst always looking good. Vibrant colours, however, take a little longer, as they require slightly more skill to apply them well. I found on some days my makeup took that little bit longer than normal, but nothing outrageous that would discourage me from wearing any of these looks again.


Like fashion, makeup is a way of expressing yourself and having fun. People will often buy a mad pair of shoes or a printed pair of trousers but are less likely to experiment with a coloured eyeliner or shadow. Makeup is not permanent, you can literally wipe it off at the end of the day (or halfway through if you think it’s that awful) so why aren’t we more playful? When we were younger we’d dip our fingers straight into the pinks, the blues, the glitters. The older we get the more we reach for the browns, the taupes, the nudes, and yes these colours are classic and universally flattering, but where is the fun in that? So, I challenge you all to pick up those eye palettes and use those poor neglected shades that have never been touched, be brave! (trust me you’ll feel great).

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Photograph: katiejanehughes

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