The new black

I never know what make-up to take on holiday. After a couple of days in the sun, there's hardly any point in applying my usual favourites, as they literally pale into insignificance on my darker self. I usually abandon colours altogether and settle for a slick of clear mascara and some lip gloss, hoping my newly glowing skin will do the rest. But this year is different. In a homage to the 80s, neon colours are back in a big way. This is not an everyday look, but it's ideal for the beach (or clubbing, for that matter).

And guess what? Nothing works as well on very dark skin as very bright colours. So, while I have studiously ignored the 80s revival (well, apart from the odd stiletto), I am officially embracing it for the beach.

Stay away from the frost shades - they'll make you look pasty - and head for fluorescents - bright greens, hot pinks and electric blues, and remember, the darker your skin tone the bolder you can be. Tish & Snooky's Manic Panic lipstick in Mod-a-go-go, from Screenface, is a fluorescent pink that looks awesome on black skin, especially teamed with electric pink nails, also from Screenface.

On golden, mixed-race skins, orange colours work really well. Try the lip lacquer in tangerine, from Bobbi Brown, matched with Orange from Ruby & Millie on the nails. But on darker skins, neon really does work best. Ruby & Millie has a great range of neon eye glosses that get brighter with each layer, as does Stila, although its hot pink isn't that bright, but the neon green is stunning.

If you're worried about looking like a green-eyed monster, try turquoise instead. The Turquoise eye liner from Nina Ricci is beautiful, as is the eye shadow duo in Lagoon, which can be worn matt or glossy. Even blue mascara works on the beach (trust me) - try Ocean from Chanel.

Be brave in your application, these colours are not meant to be subtle. But don't forget the golden rule; it's fine to use more than one colour (green and pink on the eyes go surprisingly well together), but never highlight more than one feature, or you'll end up looking like a clown.

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