Pro makeup secrets for wearing more colour

Makeup maestro François Nars shows us how it’s done

InStyle Contributor / January 10 2017

In a career spanning more than 30 years, Nars founder and creative director François Nars has earned a reputation for pushing beauty boundaries. Here, the makeup visionary and photographer tells us how to experiment with bold shades.


Go all-out with your blush

“As a studio makeup artist, blush is a big thing,” says Nars. “I love [to apply] it on the temples, around the face and under the chin. It warms up the complexion and makes it look more sexy.” He says powders are heavier and have “more substance” to them than cream and liquid formulas, which tend to look more natural. “Creamy textures are always easier to work with,” he says. “You can apply them with your fingers and your skin will come to life very quickly.” Try NYX Baked Blush in Pink Fetish for a bright pop of colour.

NYX Baked Blush in Pink Fetish


Try a foolproof lip colour

Can’t find a red lipstick that suits you? A rose tone will do the trick; Nars suggests Nars Lipstick in Dolce Vita. “It looks good on practically everybody – it’s kind of like a universal colour,” he shares. If you do opt for a statement shade, tone down the rest of your makeup. “Just add a touch of foundation, a little mascara and a bit of colour on the cheeks to keep the look fresh.” If a red lip isn’t for you, Nars recommends “a neutral colour, such as pink-beige, which works for every skin tone”.

Nars Lipstick in Dolce Vita


Break out of an eye makeup rut

Before applying bright eyeshadow, Nars suggests using a neutral hue as a base (the shade could also be worn on it’s own for an everyday look). “Beige, ivory or brown tones are great for basic makeup, but it’s nice to break them up with a deep blue, purple or green,” he explains. “Adding a touch of strong colour to a neutral base makes it more elegant, and it’s easier than using one tone all over.” Depending on the shape of your eyes, the bold shade may look better on the outer corners, or in the crease of your eyelids. Try shu uemura matte eye shadow in vivid blue, or any of their other six bold shades!

shu uemura matte eye shadow in vivid blue


Switch up your manicure

“When I create a nail polish, it’s like being in a candy shop – I have all of these empty bottle, then I mix different colours together and see what comes out,” Nars says. He has collaborated with several designers on nail colours, from Phillip Lim to Pierre Hardy, and says that although there are many great shades around today, he still loves a classic red and neutrals. “I think a well-done manicure in a pink beige, that’s sheer enough that you can see the nail, is very beautiful.” On dark skin he says, “I love white nail polish.” We love OPI Infinite Shine Lacquer in Grapely Admired for spring.

OPI Infinite Shine Lacquer in Grapely Admired

Want to find the perfect colour to bring out your eyes? Check out our guide to the best eyeshadows for every eye colour.

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Main image credit: Getty

Hayley has contributed to a range of online and print titles including InStyle and Gritty Pretty