Because You Can: Brighten Up

Use all the colors, everywhere.

Left: Kelis via Femburton; right: Me.

Left: Kelis via Femburton; right: me, after filling in my brows with blue eyeliner that I bought at a drugstore (the pencil is so old I can’t even tell what brand it is).

After I got a red weave not too long ago, I found myself wanting my eyebrows to match my hair. I pulled out a ruby eyeliner and went to town on my brows. I liked the result a lot, and I wondered what other shades I might be able to use above my eyeballs.

Since then I’ve experimented with green, purple, pink, and blue matte and shimmery eyeliners. I prefer the matte varieties, because they make your brows look more like they were dyed (the shimmery colors don’t cover quite as well). If you want to try this yourself, I recommend that you find the brightest cheap drugstore eyeliner you can get your hands on, because lining and filling in your brows to make the color really stand out takes a LOT of product.

You can let your technicolor arches make their own statement by keeping the rest of your look simple, like I did in the photo above, but there may be days when you want to go all out. On those days, why stop at bright colors on just your brows?

Left: A look from Donna Karan's spring 2013 collection; top right: Green mascara on just my bottom lashes; bottom right: Blue mascara on my top and bottom lashes.

Clockwise from far left: a look from Donna Karan’s spring 2013 collection, via Beautylidade Pública; a now-discontinued yellow mascara by Chanel on just my bottom lashes; blue mascara by NYX on my top and bottom lashes.

You can find rainbow-colored mascaras at practically every drugstore and beauty counter these days. (Drugstore brands like NYX make blue and purple ones; Hard Candy is one of many boutique brands that also sell them in gold, green, red, gray, and pink.)

Left: NYX color mascaras, $7; top and bottom right: Hard Candy "Lash Call" mascaras, $6.

Clockwise from far left: brown, blue, and purple mascaras, $7 each, NYX; Hard Candy Lash Call Lengthening Mascara in Limelight and Hot Pink, $6 each, Walmart.

You can wear a colored mascara on its own for a dash of color, or wear a shade that matches or contrasts with the shades of your eyeliner, eye shadow, and/or brow color.

brighten up dazzle

You know how at carnivals you can get your face painted with butterflies, balloons, and other cutesy, whimsical pictures? I’m a big fan of that look, so I occasionally add decorations like little hearts, sparkly stars, and colorful faux freckles into my routine. All you need is a black liquid eyeliner, an assortment of hyper-colored liquid liners (my favorites are by the drugstore brand Nicka K), and a steady hand.

Nicka K “Shimmer” liquid eyeliners, $5 each.

Shimmer Eyeliners, $5 each, Nicka K.

I suggest you draw the shape you want first, let it dry, then carefully outline it with black liner. My go-to doodle is a single tiny heart, but sometimes I get carried away, which is OK, too!

Left: A blue-lip look from Ann Yee's fall 2014 show via Huffington Post; center and right: My interpretations.

Left to right: Blue lips at Ann Yee’s fall 2014 show, via Huffington Post; two of my own interpretations.

Makeup-artist types tend to posit that there’s a perfect shade of red lipstick for everyone. I’d argue that the same is true for colors like blue, green, and gray—and the only way to figure out which one’s best for you is to try as many as possible until one clicks.

Top, left to right: Impulse opaque matte lipsticks in "Lobotomy" and "Circus," $7 each; bottom, left to right: Melt opaque matte lipsticks in "Space Cake" and "By Starlight," $19 each.

Clockwise from top left: Opaque Matte Lipstick in Lobotomy and Circus, $7 each, Impulse Cosmetics; lipsticks in By Starlight and Space Cake, $19 each, Melt Cosmetics.

It’s easier than ever to find a wide variety of lip colors, and for not a lot of money. Lines like Melt, Impulse and Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics are known for their pop-y lip colors, and now even drugstore standbys like Ruby Kisses make them. And there’s always Krista’s crayon lipstick DIY, rendering the possibilities next to endless! ♦


  • soviet_kitsch June 20th, 2014 7:31 PM

    i know i’ve said this before, but you look like a literal goddess and your makeup game is flawless

  • alienbabe June 20th, 2014 8:17 PM

    I just used some Maybelline color tattoo eyeshadow to make my brows purple and I have no regrets

  • spudzine June 20th, 2014 9:34 PM

    OMG!! All I can do is squeal becasue this post is GOLD.

  • tasmia June 20th, 2014 10:39 PM

    love this :)

  • SWIZZLEFAIRY22 June 20th, 2014 10:43 PM

    indigo I know this column is specifically about makeup but I would love if you could help me out with my hair weave! I got a nice bundle of virgin hair and i want to dye me hair blue but, I am not sure of how damaged the hair will get. Have you ever done it? I dont know where to start.

    • Indigo June 21st, 2014 11:56 AM

      Send me a message on my blog and I can help you!

  • streaked lights June 21st, 2014 5:57 AM

    This sounds like such a cool idea! I’ve done the colored mascara before, and sometimes I draw little stars on my cheeks.

    BUT I’ve never thought of coloring my brows before!
    I feel like it would be harder for me since I already have thick brows (I’ve never needed to fill them in before) and coloring over them would take a while, but the thought of having royal blue eyebrows sounds so cool!!

    • Indigo June 21st, 2014 12:08 PM

      With thick brows you kind of have to dig in there more and move the eyebrow hairs around to coat them (and get to the skin below) with the color to get it to work, but the result is beautiful! I love dense brows!

  • onlykhenzo June 21st, 2014 1:20 PM

    I never thought of colouring my eyebrows before!
    I just wanted to add that another great way to make your own lip colour is to fill your lips in with white eyeliner, and then a mix of eyeshadow and Vaseline. You’ll have such a diverse option of colours as well from red to orange to green to purple to my personal fav blue.

  • hazeleyedgirl June 21st, 2014 3:41 PM

    How is it that every one of these colour combinations looks incredible on you??!? I’m so jealous of your looks omg. Some of these colours would NOT look good on me. However, I’m inspired to try a bunch out anyway just for the fun of it :)

  • mangointhesky June 21st, 2014 3:50 PM

    I live the idea of colors, though I almost feel scared to look at how I’ll turn it into a complete disaster!
    :) Amelie

  • Vlada June 22nd, 2014 10:42 AM

    I absolutely love colored mascaras, I kind of use them all the time NO REGRETS!!!
    And thank you because I think I’m going to try with my brows now (not all together with the mascara obviously)
    PS: This is my blog btw

  • nest June 22nd, 2014 11:47 AM

    Thanks for this post! It inspired my make-up/ costume for the Coney Island Mermaid Parade (Brooklyn NYC). I ended up with blue eyebrows and blue lips and it really brought my whole look together.

    As for buying a cheap eyeliner to fill in your eyebrow – I used face paint crayons ($2 from CVS, but I’m sure you can find them at other drug stores, especially near Halloween). It was really easy and fast to fill in my eyebrows and easy to wash off. I hardly used up the whole crayon, so this can be a cheap alternative for how to color your eyebrows. Since it’s facepaint, it should definitely be fine for skin. I also use it occasionally on my lips to mix fun lip stick colors, or do facepaint for theme parties… :)

    P.S. I used to do a little star near my eye all the time. Pencil eyeliner (black and colors) and bright eyeshadow also work

  • mmelsewhere June 22nd, 2014 12:33 PM

    Thank you for doing this! I love experimenting with eye popping colours, but people always try to out me down, saying that “I’m too pretty for blue lips” or that they “could never use colours like that.” It is a good reminder to myself that if colours make me happy, that’s all I need to be worried about.

  • pizzaface June 23rd, 2014 5:50 AM

    wow this looks so cool, i really love the blue eyebrows, blue eyeliner, blue mascara but coral eyeshadow look, it looks great!
    i can never really pull off makeup that well because i always look like a 4 year old playing dress up….

  • This is my Alias June 23rd, 2014 4:32 PM

    This is so cool!
    Blue Lipstick watch out

  • April Marie June 24th, 2014 11:27 AM

    Your brows look amazing! I really love the dark blue brows, it’s such a strong statement. Could you make a eyebrow shaping tutorial? I have been trying to fix mine and I love the shape of yours.