The Super-Vibrant Products Coaxing Me out of a Taupe Makeup Rut

These bright, fun shades are not only improving my style, but giving me a mood boost, too.

Last year could only really be described as a flat-out rut for me — not just in terms of style and beauty, but relating to life in general. I wasn't sure what path I was headed on, and it had a negative impact on my appearance, too. I had no real desire to experiment with my hair or makeup, and so I was left with a bland 'do and makeup that can only be described as Fifty Shades of Taupe.

Thankfully, the rut has ended. I made some big changes and choices that have impacted and will continue to impact the trajectory my life is taking. And with those changes, I've also been having a lot more fun with my look. I've been taking more style risks and I've also been encouraged by a number of beauty icons (check out my Pinterest Beauty board to see my favourites) to have more fun with makeup.

And thank heaven there's no dearth of products out there to help me along the way. All my favourite brands have so many offerings of gorgeously pigmented and straight-up fun and colourful makeup, with prices ranging from cheap-as-hell affordable to treat-yourself splurge-worthy. Since these products have helped me come out of my shell and live the first few months of 2016 as a more fun-focused and colourful wild bird, I figured I'd share them with you. Maybe something will pique your curiosity and find its way into your makeup bag, coaxing you to doll up like the best of 'em.

Between Make Up For Ever's Flash Color Palette and Urban Decay's Electric Pressed Pigment Palette, the opportunities for experimentation are endless. Just gazing lovingly at these two palettes, I get giddy. The colours delight me and make me want to paint my face up like a piece of pop art. While they're both heavenly to look at, they're unique in their own way.

The Flash Color Palette in Artistic is probably one of my favourite things I own, because it's so versatile and easy to use. It contains every colour you could possibly need, from neutrals (brown, black, white) to brights (hot pink, coral, turquoise) to metallics (supremely shiny silver and gold). If you're always on the hunt for the perfect shade, this kit is your best friend. I've custom-blended so many eyeshadows, blushes and lip shades with these cream pigments, and you can even blend up concealer and corrector shades if you feel so inclined, ever so slightly adjusting the tones to your liking with the dip of a brush.

While the case is a splurge, it's well worth it, in my opinion. The pigmentation on the creams is strong, meaning a little goes a long way, and they're so multipurpose — what's not to love? My only suggestion is to pair your creations with some translucent powder and a setting spray; the creamy texture of the pigments means they are prone to creasing.

On the other hand, there's Urban Decay's Electric Pressed Pigment Palette, which has some of the best colour payoff of pressed-powder pigments I've ever seen. The blues and greens (particularly Thrash, an acid yellow-green) in the palette make me swoon, and look awesome applied with an angled brush as liner. The orange and pink (Slowburn and Savage, respectively) look fantastic as blush, especially applied high on the cheekbones and up towards the temples.

Between these two palettes, I'm having no trouble getting my creative juices flowing.

I kind of freaked out when I first found and then applied Wet n Wild's cruelty-free MegaLiner Liquid Liner in Voltage Blue. It is the perfect shade of blue, blue, electric blue and it goes on like a dream. And once it's dried, it stays put without flaking or fading. It just pops, all day long.

And um, it's $2.99, which is just absurd. God bless you, Wet n Wild.

Now, Elizabeth Arden Sunset Bronze Prismatic Lip Gloss in Moonlight Kiss is certainly intended to be worn on the lips, and it looks very pretty and vaguely alien-esque there with its slight hints of baby blue and lavender shimmer. But if you really want to up the intergalactic factor, might I suggest dabbing this dreamy gloss on your cheekbones? Because it looks absolutely fabulous (or rather, abfab) there.

Paired with the above liner, you'll look like a mean and sexy ice queen from Neptune. Which is clearly the look we're all going for, right?

In my world, you can never, ever have enough blush. For starters, I look like a corpse without a heavy dose of rouge, and secondly, good blush evokes GLAMOUR. It brings to mind Bourdin women and sculpted queens. I like my blush bright and well-blended, softly billowing around my cheeks and temples like a puff of red smoke.The best high-impact blush, in my opinion, is NARS Blush in Exhibit A, which is a mainstay of the line but was also included as part of their Guy Bourdin collection a few years back, so you know it has '70s glam cred. It can work on anyone, but it looks especially gorgeous on deeper skin tones.

Also on the kapow blush scene is Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Blush, which has subtly naughty shade names and colours that range from demure (Indecent, a soft orange) to over-the-top (Quiver, a mid-toned blue red). They are beautifully pigmented, blend like a dream, and have fantastic staying power.

  • What are your favourite bright beauty products?
  • Who inspires you to take risks with your makeup look?