Colour Theory

Summer is here and opting for one pop of colour on the face is the speediest - and most fun - way to go with make-up. Here, our models from Zebedee Management, an agency committed to representing models with disabilities and alternative appearances, inspire us with some of the season’s hottest shades…

Summer is here and opting for one pop of colour on the face is the speediest - and most fun - way to go with make-up. Here, our models from Zebedee Management, an agency committed to representing models with disabilities and alternative appearances, inspire us with some of the season’s hottest shades…


Lipstick is back, a symbol of life as we knew it returning? But red can be a challenging hue to get right. Our absolute favourite? A statement classic red in a high-shine finish, as seen on transgender performer and model Jordan Revell, who specialises in contortion and the aerial hoop. She is hopeful, she explains, for a future in which diversity and inclusivity continue to be prioritised and understood. “I hope that more people from different walks of life are given the chance to tell their own stories so that we can all create a better understanding of each other.” 

“My ideal form of beauty is a combination of my own features with a slight feminisation in order to bring out the internal image that I have of myself.” 


“I added the base using It Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream Hydrating Moisturiser, £43, and the It Cosmetics Your Skin but Better CC+ cream, £32.50”, says our make-up artist Aimee Twist. “Then I prepped Jordan's eye with the MAC Eye Pencil in Coffee, £16, by running along the lash line and then blended it out with a brush to add just a little bit of definition without making it too heavy. Next, I curled her eyelashes and added the Victoria Beckham Beauty Future Lash Mascara, £26, to make them super long, not fluffy. Then I lined the lips with MAC Ruby Woo Lip Pencil, £15.50, and sketched in the lip all over. 

Finally, for a rich, head-turning red I used the Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint in Uncensored, £16, to fill in all around the lip to give it a super precise lip line. The shade truly suits all and especially flatters pale or dark skin tones. The formula is highly pigmented - just shake before use to achieve a statement, uniform finish. I then added MAC Lip Glass in Ruby Woo, £16.50, to make the lips super glossy and almost patent.”


This summer, pink lips are a brilliantly uplifting beauty winner. The way to wear the look is to go as bright and bold as you think your face will take, with clean-looking skin and very little other make-up, adding just a little definition on the eyes - like our model and dancer Bailie McGloin. Bailie was born with vitiligo and firmly believes that the more diversity we have in the beauty industry, the better. “It’s unfair to only portray one type of look, it’s not OK, it’s not reality. How do you expect people to live their lives if the beauty industry says they look ‘wrong’? People shouldn’t shy away from life because of the way they look.” 

“Don’t wait for someone else to accept you, everything is accepted eventually. So just be how you are – you are perfect.”


“I prepped Bailie’s face with Weleda Skinfood, £8.25 to add a healthy glow to the skin,” says Aimee. “Then I brushed up her brows using West Barn Co Soap Brows, £15, to give a fluffy brow look. I then added a little wash of colour using shade Joker in the Natasha Denona Circo Loco Palette, £111, just blended over the eye but ditched mascara altogether. For her lips I used the Urban Decay Comfort Matte Vice lipstick in Checkmate, £18, all over and smudged out over the lip line to create a bit more of a diffused effect. And then on top of that I added the shade Joker from the Natasha Denona Circo Loco Palette, £111, patted over to give it a really powdery look.”


For an unexpected twist on colour, lacquer lashes in a vibrant colour instead of the typical black or brown. Our model Gemma Adby sported a bright pink gel painted on her top and bottom lashes with several coats. Born with a missing left forearm, Gemma explains that a mindset shift has positively affected her modelling career: “Recently since I've started to show my arm, I've been using a natural approach to make up which has been really liberating. When I was younger I used to cake my makeup on so people would look at that and think I was normal, instead of looking down at my arm. When they’d realise I’ve got half an arm then they would start acting differently.” 

“I love being able to be myself in front of the camera. I’ve hidden my arm for my whole life, but now I love being able to celebrate my disability.” 


“I added the Glossier Stretch Concealer in G12, £15, to any areas where she needed a little bit of coverage” says Aimee, “Then I curled her lashes and coated them with the Ciate London Smiley Mascara in Be Brave, £16. I then combed through a little Espressoh Hey Broh Eyebrow Gel, £20 and to finish off Chanel Les Beiges Lip Balm in Light, £32, that has a slight pinky tone.”


The colour blue instils calm, connection and confidence, and if you feel like wearing it, eyelids are a great place to start. Forget those naff 80s flashbacks, blue shadow in 2021 is actually surprisingly flattering if you pick the right shade and an easy texture to work with. Our model Niamh Wood wore a single hue of blue circling the whole of her eye area for an opaque effect. Niamh has Ecto-Dermal Skin Dysplasia which affects all aspects of skin but the most noticeable aspect is the complete hair loss on her head. But she uses this to her advantage, since it allows her to have fun with her style - and blue really stands out on her skin. “I've gained so much confidence, I look back on myself last year and I feel like a completely different person. I don’t recognise who I was,” she says. “I didn’t allow myself to have that self-love and feel confident in myself, but over the last year I've had to come to terms with who I am, and I’ve started to just love with myself.”

“I’ve found myself struggling with all these perfect standards that you see on social media. I've had stages where it has really gotten to me and I’ve had to delete Instagram for a month just so I can get to a stage where I can realise that some of these pictures aren’t even real.”


“I used the KVD Beauty Lock-It Concealer Crème in 1 Light Neutral, £18.90, on any areas that she needed coverage,” say Aimee, “then I applied it over her browbone to create a blank canvas. Next, I used the shade Beaches in the Danessa Myricks Waterproof Cream Vivid Palette, £36, and I blended that all over her eye and then up into the brow bone and across into the hairline. On top of that I used the light blue shade in the Viseart 08 Editorial Brights Matte Eyeshadow Palette, £68, to powder over the cream product. And then the NARS Liquid Blush in Orgasm, £26, just below the eyeshadow and blended that into the eyeshadow to create a two-tone effect. Over the top of that was the Dior Backstage Rosy Glow Blush in 001 Pink, £29.50, to set that in. I finished off Niamh’s look with the Chanel Les Beiges Lip Balm in Warm, £32.” 


Apple green isn't typically the first colour we’d gravitate towards when wanting to create ‘everyday’ eyeshadow looks, yet this hue in all of its magical variations should totally be given a chance to shine. It really brightens up the face - as evidenced here on British model Ellie Goldstein. Ellie caught the world’s attention after starring in a campaign for Gucci Beauty and regularly speaks out about the need for better representation in the media. Despite being diagnosed with Down’s syndrome at birth, Goldstein has never let her condition get in the way of living her life. “I love being in front of the camera because I can express myself using facial expressions to the camera. I also like to show people my face because I’m famous now apparently, and I’m a model,” she says, laughing. 

“When it comes to confidence, never give up no matter who you are, just be brave and go out and let it go with the flow in the spotlight.”


“I started by prepping Ellie’s skin with the Glossier Stretch Concealer in G12, £15, and a little bit of the It Cosmetics Your Skin but Better CC+ cream, £32.50,” says Aimee. “Then I used the MAC 'What's the Wifi?' eyeshadow, £16, which is green and blended right up into her eyebrow to create a really smoky but bright eye. For lips, I used the Indeed Labs hydraluron + tinted lip treatment in a pink, £14.99, and finished off with a really glowy blush with Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso, £11.50.”


Orange lipstick might sound impossible to pull off, but if you keep it warm, it's a bright colour that can suit any skin tone. On our model Sian Lord, application was more haphazard than immaculate. Sian uses her social media for positive body image and confidence. “It’s all about being in love with yourself and if there's one thing I strive for on a day-to-day basis, it’s educating people.” Sian was 24 years old when she became an amputee. “It took me years and years to fall back in love with myself and I just love that I was able to come out the other side and really embrace who I am today. I love to educate young people on all things disability and self-acceptance. My main hope is for my daughter to grow up loving herself. I feel like if I can do that for myself and she can see that her mum was able to come back from having a disability she wasn’t born with, then I’ll know I’ve done the best job I could."

“My personal mantra is never to dwell on the things you can’t change. I have definitely been through times in my life where I’ve had to really adopt that and it always stays true in my mind.” 


“I used a dab of the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser, £33, on Sian’s face and then the Nudestix Nudies Blush in Salty Siren, £28, blended through the cheekbone,” says Aimee. “I then popped Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate Cheeks in Scintillate, £62, (the highlighter side of that palette) on the high points of her cheekbones to create a glow and used the Lancôme Hypnôse Mascara in 002 Brun Hypnotic, £27.50, to enhance her lashes. And then to finish, I applied Fenty Beauty Mattemoiselle Plush Matte Lipstick in Tiger Tini, £12.80, which is this amazing orange shade.”


Believe it or not, yellow eyeshadow is universally flattering. Our favourite way to apply it? By packing it on the lids and adding a bold rusty lip, while keeping the rest of the face natural. Our model Renee Bryant-Mulcare uses makeup to promote self-empowerment. Renee has paraplegia and is a full-time wheelchair user. She says she’s focused on making herself her greatest project. “I want to be able to see myself as beautiful. Just because I’m disabled doesn’t mean I can’t be beautiful, sexy or confident. As a woman you should be able to feel those things. There was a stage in my life where I didn’t even like to take pictures in my chair, so now I love that I get to celebrate and embrace my disability and my chair. Having a disability shouldn’t define you and shouldn’t take those labels away from you, or make you ‘less than’.” 

"When I was little, I used to see my chair as my princess throne and then along the way my image of myself became distorted by social media and society, so I doubted myself and my beauty. But now being able to showcase my disability in such a beautiful way has really helped me to own and accept myself, and see the beauty in so-called ‘flaws’. Social media has a big part to play in it because of lack of representation for disabilities – I didn’t see myself represented and it really affected me.” 


"I prepped Renee’s skin with NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, £24.50," says Aimee. "I then used the Depixym Cosmetic Emulsion #0982, £18, which is a cosmetic paint I mix in any colour to create a yellow eyeshadow base. Then on top, I used the Illamasqua Powder Eyeshadow in Hype, £17, a yellow shade that sets into place and enhances the colour. I finished with the Lancôme Hypnôse Mascara in 002 Brun Hypnotic, £27.50, then used the Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet Matte Lip Colour in 58 Rouge Vie, £32, and set it with the MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation, £27, to create a matte look."

Team credits:

Photographer @alicewebbphoto

Beauty & Style Director @lisaoxenham

Producer @toreycassidy

Makeup Artist @aimeetwistartistry at @creativesmuandh

Hairstylist @laurenbellhair using Babyliss Pro, Sam McKnight, Olaplex and Palomino

Stylist @sofialazzaristylist

Stylist Assistants @riannam_x & @lenaborwanska

Hair & Makeup Assistant @erikafreedman

Models @bambailie @niamhhhwoods @sianlord_ @ree_valentine_ @gemmaadby @elliejg16_zebedeemodel @jordana_rev at @zebedeetalent

Lisa Oxenham

An award-winning health and beauty writer, stylist and creative director, Lisa Oxenham is one of the UK’s top beauty editors and the Beauty and Style Director at Marie Claire UK. With 20 years of editorial experience Lisa is a brand partnership expert, and a popular speaker, panelist and interviewer on a range of topics from sustainability to the future of beauty in the digital world. She recently spoke at Cognition X and Beauty Tech Live and is on the Advisory Board for the British Beauty Council’s Sustainable Beauty Coalition.

A well-respected creative director she works on celebrity, model and influencer shoots with the highest calibre of photographers, filmmakers, make-up artists and hairstylists to create timeless images, attention-grabbing videos, digital events and masterclasses. Most recently Lisa has directed covers such as Lily Cole and Jameela Jamil, films such as Save The Arts featuring Francesca Hayward and sustainable fashion shoots such as Be The Change. Supporting the beauty industry over the pandemic has been a top focus, directing the British Beauty Council’s six inspirational short biographical films for their Bring Back Beauty campaign.

Lisa is a wellbeing and beauty influencer with a focus on mental health and a large and engaged audience on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.