From mauve to mulberry, and pansy to palatinate, the colour purple, formerly the domain of royalty, is the hip hue of summer’s cosmetic palette. It’s a colour frequently worn by models on the spring catwalks: Vera Wang dove in at the deep end with rich purple; Matthew Williamson was inspired by the violet of 1970s velvet; and Derek Lam went for lilac. 

If you’re tired of a red lip, black cherry is a glamorous alternative. And when used for outlining eyes, it gives a contemporary twist on the black kohl cat-eye, which has become rather last season. For nails, a chic shade is grey-lilac, worn on a natural length and shape. 

This versatile colour can create a chameleon of looks, says Hong Kong-based Tanya Tin, a chief make-up artist for Lancôme. “It’s all about which purple you pick,” she says. “Go girly and romantic with pink-purple make-up, while a plum-purple
is seductive.” 

A notoriously difficult colour to pull off, do choose your shade wisely and limit yourself to just the eyes, lips or nails—not all of them at once. “Purple is regarded as a cool-tone shade, and therefore it looks better on those with light skin, dark hair and dark eye colour,” Tin says. “If your skin tone is dark, you’ll look tired unless you choose the right shade.” 

As a general guide, most people are suited to a lighter pink-purple shade. “Something with a shimmer for eyes will make it easier to build a natural and wearable smoky look,” says Tin. “When chosen correctly, purple will make you look luminous and your complexion will be brightened.”