It’s around this time each year when beauty houses release their autumn makeup looks, deepening the summer colour palette, adding a little more polish, laying the groundwork for party season. All of which has about as much relevance in 2020 as a record attempt for the most people in a hot tub. Is there any point in ringing the changes when life for many people currently seems to be one interminable Sunday spent in a hoodie and pants?
Predictably, I think there is. A new colour, an extra bit of effort, a nudge out of one’s comfort zone is cheering for many of us, and it’s good to feel as if you’re still in the game. Lipstick may now be tricky outdoors, where it’s hidden or made fuzzy by the on-off-on hokey cokey of face masks. But I’ve been enjoying a slash of autumnal colour in my own home. MAC’s Marrakesh (£17.50) – the ultimate iconic 90s shade, relaunched – is an orangey-brick hue that’s perfect if you fear a true red but are bored with safe nudes. It’s technically a matte, but not by modern standards; it feels silky, looks vibrant, not flat, and manages to straddle the line between flattering and cool. It’s one of those rare shades that looks good on every skin colour. I love it with a brown eye pencil and some peachy blush.
Foundations, too, can migrate from the face to the fabric within minutes of leaving the house, so I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the new Ultrawear All-Day Comfort Flawless Finish Foundation by Chanel (not historically my favourite brand when it comes to base makeup). This new offering (£40, and available in 30 inclusive shades) does a very good job of staying put, while at the same time feeling airy rather than skin-suffocating.
Eye makeup is enjoying a moment right now, because it’s the only product that is visible and unspoiled by essential PPE. And it’s possible to make more impact than effort. Stila’s Suede Shades (£24) are exceptionally good liquid eyeshadows that deliver serious opaque pigment while being endlessly blendable and practically idiot-proof: there’s nothing else quite like them. I love six of the eight shades, but my favourite is Sassy, a malted pink that’s converted me to warm eyeshadows after a lifetime of thinking they made me look like a diseased mouse. Just stroke on to the socket, then blend outwards with a clean, fluffy eye brush.