The new black

I've always had a grudge against really bright make-up. There are only so many times a woman can hear "bright colours look great on dark skin", as a standard response to every make-up dilemma, before she starts to hate the very idea. There was a time when no designer would send Alek Wek down a catwalk unless she had outrageous blocks of colour adorning her face. Sure, it looks great on the runway, but it's hardly wearable.

Couple this with the fact that, as a child of the 1980s, I can't hear the word "fluorescent" without thinking of socks, or worse, fingerless gloves, or even worse, mismatching socks and gloves. The shame of it. It's no good sitting there all smug - I have photographic evidence to prove that I am not the only one who thought that one yellow and one pink sock was a good look. And if we were doing it on the mean streets of, er, Withington, I am pretty sure everyone else was doing it, too.

So it is with a heavy heart that I stroll down the high street, leaf through magazines that should know better, and try to come to terms with the fact that we are in the midst of a neon revival. While I'm not about to dig out the offending socks or gloves, seeing so much bright stuff around has made me slightly more predisposed to it. On eyes and lips, neons can look great. "Use a shocking liner and team it with brown or black mascara to add definition and contrast," advises Ruby Hammer, of cosmetics company Ruby & Millie. There are two rules when using neons - choose one feature and keep everything else neutral, and wear it with confidence, or, as Hammer says, "don't be apologetic with them, make a statement".

If you're still not convinced that anyone over the age of 13 can wear neon, but you'd still like to give it a go, then the answer is in your hands, or rather, your nails. Neon nails are, as Hammer points out, "the perfect summer accessory". My favourite is Cosmic Rose, by Dior Addict, which, being such a bright colour, looks great on dark skin.

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