In a season where neons triumphed, silhouettes got playful and models flashed smiles on the catwalk, the underlying message was simple: the easiest way to spark joy is to wear it. The same logic was apparent in the accompanying make-up looks, where pops of colour were met with glitter, embellishments and figurative flecks of paint. Call it manifesting, call it creative instinct: the current consensus is bright, cheerful and glossy.

Anna Sui SS22
Anna Sui SS22 © IMAXtree

Fluorescent eyeshadows are at the daring end of the colour craze, while metallic glosses across the lid, such as the rosy glitter at Anna Sui, channel easy optimism. At Valentino, hot-pink wings matched creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli’s collection of fuchsia dresses, jumpsuits and capes.

The most popular shade is blue, first seen on the eyes of Mattel’s 1959 Barbie (and arguably the progenitor for looks such as Anna Karina’s eyeshadow in A Woman Is a Woman, Christina Ricci in Buffalo ’66 and more recently Iris Law’s icy-toned Met Gala look). Periwinkle, Pantone’s colour of the year for 2022, is indicative of “a carefree confidence and a daring curiosity”, the company says. Embrace the shade with Byredo’s Colour Stick in Purple Stinger or Sisley’s Silky French Blue. 

Lanvin SS22
Lanvin SS22 © IMAXtree
Valentino’s fuchsia-pink look
Valentino’s fuchsia-pink look © Courtesy of Valentino SpA

At Space NK, sales of colourful eyeliners are up by 40 per cent compared to last year – a direct result of tips shared on social media, says Margaret Mitchell, the retailer’s chief merchandising officer. One such influencer is Filipino make-up artist Sylvina Lopez, who started posting her experimental looks – which call for glitter, gems, gloss and metallics – as a form of therapy, and now works on editorial campaigns, sets and music videos. She says: “I don’t think people sell the ritual of it enough.”

Giambattista Valli’s AW22 eye make-up looks © IMAXtree
Violette_FR Yeux Paint, £27
Violette_FR Yeux Paint, £27

For make-up artist Violette Serrat, whose beauty line Violette_FR is divided into “feeling” and “colour”, the purpose of make-up is to “restore our relationship with ourselves”. In need of creative inspiration? Serrat suggests her blue Yeux Paint, a longwear liner that can be blended into an eyeshadow. To feel “empowered, strong and confident”, she reaches for a velvet-textured red lipstick. In all of her tutorials, Serrat perfects products with her fingertips; the goal is to create easy, on-the-go looks that can be worked into individual lifestyles. 

Seven styles for happy faces

Dior Diorshow On Stage felt-tip liner in Matte Pop Green, £26 
Dior Diorshow On Stage felt-tip liner in Matte Pop Green, £26 
Byredo Colour Stick in Purple Stinger, £28
Byredo Colour Stick in Purple Stinger, £28
About-Face Matte Fluid Eye Paint in Incoming, $24
About-Face Matte Fluid Eye Paint in Incoming, $24
Sisley Les Phyto Ombres eyeshadow in Silky French Blue, £38
Sisley Les Phyto Ombres eyeshadow in Silky French Blue, £38
Chantecaille Cheek Gelée in Lively, $46
Chantecaille Cheek Gelée in Lively, $46
Gucci Éclat De Beauté Effet Lumière gel face gloss, £18
Gucci Éclat De Beauté Effet Lumière gel face gloss, £18
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Infinity Powder, £49
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Infinity Powder, £49

It’s this tactile “play element” that entices make-up artist-turned-psychotherapist Lee Pycroft. “It’s a simplified application technique, as well as being something you could say is self-soothing,” she says. Spurred by the rise of Glossier’s simple make-up line – now worth a reported $1.8bn – buyers are seeking easy-apply products that encourage hands-on application. (Whereas previous logic believed that applying make-up with your fingers would lead to breakouts, the new consensus is that body heat can blend and disperse better than a brush.) “It’s all part of the touch aspect,” affirms Pycroft. “There’s a huge sense of play that can come with that, which is usually therapeutic.” For an easy pick-me-up, apply a cream-based formula such as Chantecaille’s Cheek Gelée or Tower 28’s Luminous Tinted Balm; pot-based products should be warmed with your fingertips before application. 

Pycroft, whose previous clients include Elle Macpherson and Anne Hathaway, has now integrated her ethos into Goldster, an online wellness platform to support healthy, happy ageing. “People often become disconnected from parts of themselves – they forget times in their life when they felt self-assured or confident,” she says. “That’s when we can use make-up to call upon those characters. Your imagination can be put to misuse with things like depression and anxiety, but you can also put it to positive use.” 

When it comes to mood boosting, Pycroft leans towards gloss and luminosity: dewy formulas that impart “the sense of being brighter and more sunny-looking”. At Space NK, lustrous foundations are selling double the rate of last year, with Nars Light Reflecting foundation one of the most popular products. Other good glazes include Gucci Éclat De Beauté face gloss, which gives a glassy effect, and the subtle pigmentation of Hourglass’s Lighting Infinity powder. 

As with any good ritual, a beauty routine has a beginning, middle and end – and the wind-down stage is just as important as the steps before, says Pycroft, who suggests using cleansing as a time to let go of daily stresses. This can be done with rich lathers – Neighbourhood Botanicals offers a great foam exfoliator – or a soothing gel such as Then I Met You’s gentle exfoliator. The formula is based on the Korean concept of jeong, which is rooted in love and empathy. It’s also intended as the second step in an indulgent double-cleansing ritual: time with a few physiological sighs, for extra impact.

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