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Blue-eyed belles at Marc Jacobs Spring 2014 © Showbit

Quick, let’s play a word association game. What does “neon eyeliner” conjure up in well, your mind’s eye, so to speak?

For me it’d be vintage Madonna circa 1980s, lucite heels, aggressively teased tresses, tacky, tacky, tacky. This damning affiliation with the dubious trousseau of a trampy trollop is a right shame, really, because loud liner has so much potential for greatness.

To wit: The sooty swipe of blue sported on the girls slinking down the Marc Jacobs Spring 2014 show. Or take the scintillating slash of sapphire gracing the lower lids of Kardashian ingenue and Harry Styles’ erstwhile beau, Kendall Jenner, as she glided down the Giles’ Autumn 2014 runway.

See how in both instances the bright eyeliner manages to be both incredibly sexy and impossibly sophisticated at the same time?

Now’s the part where you protest that you’re not an underfed model or an overindulged Kardashian progeny, to which I’ll say, and all the better for it.

Here are some quick makeup maxims that will stand you in good stead when it comes to dipping your manicured toes into hyper-dyed territory:

Breasts or legs, not both. Think of brightly hued eyeliner as the cosmetics equivalent of say, a bejewelled Prada dress from the Spring 2014 oeuvre – piling on your Fred Leighton or Harry Winston haute joaillerie is just overkill.

Translation: Keep it simple and keep it going. Having said that, you don’t want your complexion to be completely nude (that would risk swinging to the other extreme; your features would just look top-heavy) – do as I would and pat on some undereye concealer and a slick of illuminating highlighter on the highest point of the cheek and brow bones to lend your face some dimension.

Pick your poison. Let’s spin our colour wheel of fortune … and the million dollar slot goes to blue!

I find cheery cornflower, deep navy or even metallic midnight aesthetically pleasing in the extreme, for the simple fact that the cool tones make the whites of your eye appear even whiter.  

If blue’s the big prize, then yellows and reds are the Bankrupt and Lose a Turn wedges on our colour wheel – the former because sallow shades can make you look like an unfortunate Victorian-era victim of consumption, and the latter because red-rimmed eyes are only good for when you’ve been weeping in the toilet cubicle.

(Which is not to say pink hues are impossible to pull off; read this handy guide for pointers.)


Now that we’ve got our fundamentals right, let’s just jump straight into it. Cosmetics pouch and steady hands at the ready!

STEP 1. First order of business: Line your upper and lower lids with a standard black. I’m currently obsessed with the supremely silky smoothness of Clio’s Waterproof Pen Liner in Kill Black.

To apply, use your free hand to pull the eyelid taut for a flatter canvas to work on. Gently graze the tip along the hump-shaped contours of your eye, working it in so that you get a dark, modestly winged tip. This will be the stoic black base for a top layer of fun and fabulosity!

STEP 2. While waiting for this black base to dry, deftly use your accent colour to fill in your waterline, which is makeup-speak for the pinkish rim around your eyes.

A creamy, almost wet pencil is absolutely your default option for this purpose, because you really don’t want to be tugging unnecessarily at this delicate area; try Bourjois Paris’ covetable new Contour Clubbing Waterproof Pencil, Clio’s Gelpresso Waterproof Pastel Upper Liner or the equally extraordinary Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Gel Crayon.

Use your ring finger to press upon your lower lid for easier access to the waterline, then trace the tint in a thick rim starting from the inner corners and working your way out.

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STEP 3. Quick appraisal of your progress as it stands: You’ve got your black eyeliner on and a super stylin’ pop of colour along the waterline.

Now for the kaleidoscopic kicker. Grab a liquid liner in a complementary colour that’s a notch glitzier than the one you used earlier – think glitter-flecked jewel tones from the gorgeous suite of Make Up For Ever Aqua Liners – and layer it on top of the black.

Quick as a flash, drop your instrument and switch to your fingers, smudging the still-wet liner into the black base for a multi-dimensional glimmer not unlike that seen on the coruscating carapace of a beetle.

STEP 4. Almost there. Before your topcoat turns bone-dry, take a paddle-shaped shadow brush – I’m mad for M.A.C’s Shader in #242 – and work at the outer corners, dragging the colour out into a modest tadpole-shaped tick. (Unless you’re a burlesque performer, resist the temptation to extend it into a full-blown cat eye; restraint, darlings.)

And you’re done. Just four fantastically foolproof steps to insanely intriguing, ultra-modern eyes.

I’ll sign off with a personal admission. My beloved editor is my style super-heroine of sorts, and I’ll tell you why. While I may occasionally look askance at her predilection for all-black ensembles, I take secret delight in her fearless experimentation with eyeliner in hues which would never be found in nature.

Moral of makeup story? Bad pun alert: When it comes to the colour of your eyeliners, it’s really just best to wing it!

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Bourjois Paris Contour Clubbing Waterproof Pencil, $15.80 each, is available at John Little stores. For more information, visit and follow Bourjois Paris Singapore on Facebook.

Clio Gelpresso Waterproof Pastel Upper Liner, $16.90 each, and Clio Waterproof Pen Liner in Kill Black, $22.90 each, are available at selected Watsons stores. For more information, follow Clio Singapore on Facebook and Instagram.

Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Gel Crayon, $34 each, is available from July 2014 exclusively at all Sephora Singapore stores. For more information, visit, and follow Sephora Singapore on Facebook and Twitter.

Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner, $40 each, is available at all Sephora Singapore stores and at the Make Up For Ever Pro Loft at 36 Armenian Street, #02-06. For more information, visit and follow Make Up For Ever Singapore on Facebook and YouTube.