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Warm Shades Are the New Neutrals

By Renée Batchelor

Tung Pham. Styled by Michelle KokClockwise from top: Fenty Beauty Snap Shadows in 3 Deep Neutrals, S$39; Chanel Les 4 Ombres in 354 Warm Memories, S$96; Tom Ford Beauty Eye Color Quad in De La Crème, S$127; Nars Afterglow Eyeshadow Palette, S$90.

While seasonal eye makeup trends can run the gamut from baby blues to rich purples, neutral eyeshadows tend to be the safety blanket of most makeup users. In any given eyeshadow palette, users often find that they hit the bottom of the pan when it comes to their fail-safe shade. The trick is finding a versatile and wearable palette that updates the usual browns, nudes, golds and peaches with new pigment-rich formulas and a range of finishes for a richer, more multi-dimensional look.

Nars’s Afterglow Eyeshadow Palette is a limited edition item with 12 different shades. They come in matte, satin, shimmer and metallic finishes but all have warm undertones that complement most complexions. While the palette contains mostly safe shades like “First Taste,” which is a pale gold, and “Crushed,” a matte apricot, it boasts an unexpected pop of colour with the addition of a metallic fuchsia as well as metallic shadows in different tones of bronze and gold. The brand also uses a special pigment suspension technology to ensure that all 12 shades have high colour payoff — what you see in the pan is close to what you get on the skin.

If 12 shades seem too daunting for everyday use, a more curated selection of shades is also an option. Chanel’s Spring/Summer ’20 makeup collection was inspired by the desert, thanks to its global creative makeup and colour designer Lucia Pica, who made a trip to Namib, a coastal desert in Namibia. “I was looking for something poetic, like a memory – a natural filter that makes everything look dreamier,” says Pica, who noted that beyond the peachy rose tones and cool browns that one would typically find in such a setting, one unexpected shade that popped up was mauve. The Warm Memories palette goes beyond the usual neutrals. “The key colours of the collection are a beautiful mauve, a nice cold brown, a peach and a light pink, which are all found in Les 4 Ombres. I wanted these colours to evoke a calm state of mind, but they are not neutral. It’s still a choice to create this muted, mauve mystery around the eyes. That will make the eyes stand out in an attractive way, just not in an obvious way,” says Pica.

For Fenty Beauty, its Snap Shadows are mini palettes with six shades, that can either be carried around solo or be snapped together, back to back. Founder Rihanna’s mission was to deliver just the colours that people wanted to use, so that there would be no wasted shades. The Deep Neutrals palette has a good mix of dramatic shades like a copper plum shimmer, but balances it out with more basic colours like a matte espresso and a matte latte, that can be used as a base or for contouring. The brand recommends applying the metallic shades with the fingers for more intensity.

To cap this list, Tom Ford Beauty’s offer of an extension to its Eye Color Quad with five, new combinations. The palette De La Crème has all the must-have shades for the perfect, neutral eye: a shimmery nude, a sparkling bronze, and two tones of matte brown. The shades can be applied dry for a sheerer finish or wet for more intense, full-bodied colour and the kit comes with customised, mini sponges and a brush, for more precise application.