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Beauty.

Byline: CATHY MAYER

SUMMER'S officially over - on the beauty counters at least. Whether the sun keeps shining or not, it's time to relegate the bronzer to the drawer and start trying out the new autumn looks.

While classic red lips or smoky black eyes never go out of fashion, give the safe option of brown a miss, and opt for the season's biggest colour - purple.

It may sound a scary prospect compared to tried-and-tested neutrals but purple, whether it's lilac and lavender or plum and wine shades, suits everyone.

And although the catwalk models featured full-on gothic glamour, there are plenty of subtle looks, which are also great for the transition from summer shine to darker colours. The most important thing in getting the look right is not to overdo it, otherwise you're more likely to look bruised than beautiful. Stick to dark eyes or dark lips - but not both - and choose complementary shades but avoid exactly matching purples on eyes, cheeks, lips and nails.

This autumn there's also a choice between glossier formulations and matte - but forget heavy slapped-on-with-a-trowel look. Instead the new matte make-up has a creamier edge, making it easier to wear.

To test out the new colours without going overboard, try swapping black or brown liner for a purple shade - give bright purples a miss and head for flattering aubergine and burgundy. Try Boots Botanics Eye Definer in Aubergine, pounds 4.50, No7 Precision Eye Pencil in Aubergine, pounds 4.75 or Estee Lauder Eye Defining Pencil in Aubergine, pounds 10.

Stila's Convertible Eye Colour, pounds 18, comes in Lilac and Violet - both more wearable than their names suggest - complete with a matching eye shadow in one pen. For mail order phone 020 7734 1234.

Or switch to purple mascara - Estee Lauder's Illusionist Maximum Curling Mascara, pounds 15, comes in Purple, with a new brighter Violette shade out at the beginning of November, while Yves St Laurent Mascara Longeur Intense, pounds 17, comes in Shimmering Violet.

The simplest way to make a change, and the best place to try the most eye-catching shades, is with nail varnish. Deep colours look fantastic, so head for the burgundy and maroon, but violets can be fun, while lighter lilac or lavender shades suit parties or sunny days.

Avoid dull colour with Maybelline's glossy Watershine Nail Polish in Plum Temptation, pounds 4.29, or try Estee Lauder's new Pure Color Velvet Nail Lacquer in Velvet Orchid, pounds 10, a deep burgundy. Botanics Strong & Long Nail Colour in Rhubarb, pounds 5, is a candy-coloured purple enriched with golden particles or choose rich maroon with Boots 17 Fast Finish Nail Polish in Vixen, pounds 2.95.

Dark shades on your face can sometimes look flat and drain colour, so try to buy products with warmer tones or a touch of shimmer.

Eyes are also a great place to feature lighter shades.

Yves St Laurent have various purples in the Ombres Vibration Duo range, pounds 22. Snap up Copper Burgundy, matched with Faded Rose, for an easy-to-wear deep shade. Or pick between Smoky Mauve, Lavender and Oriental Violet for brighter shades.

Maybelline Pure Color Eye Shadow, pounds 4.49, comes in Rich Burgundy, one of the most wearable and subtle plummy colours around, as well as So Lilac at the other end of the spectrum.

Estee Lauder's high-quality Pure Color range includes Plum Pop and Purple Moon, pounds 13.50, and for long-lasting colour pick up No7 Colour Perfect Shadow in Aubergine, pounds 5.25.

To offset dark eyes, go for glossy lips. Stila's lip glaze range, pounds 18, includes new mouthwatering Plum or darker Grape. Marks & Spencer Mien range, is also packed with purples this autumn, including two lipglazes, pounds 4, Plum Shimmer and Lilac.

If you want dark lips rather than eyes, Estee Lauder's Re-Nutriv All-Day Lipstick, pounds 12.50, moisturises and comes in a wide range of wines and mauves with everything from Wicked Wine to Matte Amethyst and Pure Plum.

The new 17 Decadence collection has two limited edition sets containing creamy lip colour and highlighter, both pounds 4.50, to create your own shade. Velvet Lip Shimmer in Burgundy Lights, a rich burgundy comes with iridescent gold. Or try Opulent Liplights in Plum Shimmer, complete with pearlescent shimmer.

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TOP LIPS:Choose a shade wisely
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2002
Words:718
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