Be fearless with this season's top black-current beauty statement
Lisa Haynes turns to the dark side and reveals how to work off-black tones - without going full-on goth
Throw away your nudes and cast aside your brights; you'll have to dive to darker depths for the one colour palette you need in your cosmetics bag this season.
As far as current beauty trends go, it's all a bit, well, blackcurrant. Imagine deep cherry on lips (if you dare), through to rich plum on nails.
These fierce, forbidden fruit colours are not quite full-on ebony, but the berry twist gives them the major wearability factor.
Pick your feature and be fearless with your black-current beauty statement.
A Dracula-esque mouth is this season's lip du jour. Think blood-black red against pared-back, minimal make-up so your loud lips are the ultimate focus. But, a word of warning from the make-up pros: this is one look you don't want to attempt to apply on the bus.
"Dark red lips on a nude face used to be considered effortless," says Gordon Espinet, MAC global senior vice president of artistry. "This season, they're painstakingly shaped, curved, layered, smoothed - absolutely 'done'."
Precision may be the key to applying colour, but it's free and easy when it comes to texture. Choose from high-shine vinyl gloss, through to plush uber-matte lipsticks.
TRY: Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick in Motorhead, £16 (debenhams.com); Lord & Berry 20100 Shiny Lip Crayon in Diva, £12 (shop.lordandberry.com); MAC Liptensity Lipstick in Dionysus, £17.50 (maccosmetics.co.uk).
If you're a traditionalist, keep the focus firmly on your eyes. In contrast to precise pouts, this season's eye is all about blown-out, blended smudginess. It's like morning-after make-up, but much better.
To achieve the panda effect, combine worn-in kohl with blurry mineral shadows in off-black shades, like smoky slate or burnt taupe.
"What makes these smudgy eyes modern is that you can see the skin through the make-up," explains Terry Barber, MAC UK director of make-up artistry. "Aim to work the make-up into the skin in veils."
TRY: Rituel de Fille Ash and Amber Eye Soot in Serpent de Mer, £30 (cultbeauty.co.uk); Topshop Kajal Kohl Liner in Lucky 13, £7 (topshop.com); Chanel Calligraphie de Chanel in Hyperblack, £25, (selfridges.com).
If the all-out goth look just isn't for you, the easiest way to dabble with the dark side is via your nails.
"It's all about the noirs," says backstage nail technician, Marian Newman. "Prune noir, bordeaux noir, maroon noir - these rich colours that read as off-black feel really interesting right now."
How to nail the look? Use a top coat of black polish with a deep crimson underneath, so you get an intriguing 3D red-black that changes with the light.
If you like your nuances to be a little more obvious, cheat with printed nail wraps or press-on nails, where the dark (nail) arts are all done for you.
TRY: Soigne Botanique Nail Polish in Robe Velours, £11, (available November 4; soignenails.com); Nailed London Nail Lacquer in Killer Heels, £7 (harveynichols.com); Elegant Touch False Nails in Nirvana, £8 (topshop.com).