The Monochromatic Minimalist

The monochromatic trend in beauty is a clear nod to minimalist interior design. The word monochromatic itself conjures up images of pristine white leather sofas against a glossy black coffee table. In terms of makeup, it has taken the red carpet and everyday beauty routines by storm. So, what is monochromatic makeup exactly? It is the technique of keeping the shade of your eyes, lips and cheeks all within the same colour spectrum. Going one step further in this post, it means using the same product for your eyes, lips and cheeks. Why is it such a huge hit at the moment?

Well, it’s great for lazy efficient girls. Like me.

Think about it. It saves you the time and effort of picking out beauty products if you’re someone who only dabbles with makeup for the sake of societal requirements. It takes up less space in your handbag and on your dresser. It saves you splurging on countless products that you don’t need. Most of all, it gives you a timeless, effortlessly chic look that will always give you that “I-woke-up-looking-like-I-belong-on-Instagram” radiance. Here’s how to make it work for you.

  • Colour Choice + Undertones

Ahh my favourite word. Undertones. What are they? Very basically summarised:

WARM: You have a red/yellow base colour to your complexion. You look great in brown/gold eyeshadow, you love olive green clothing and gold jewellery flatters you to no end. The veins on the underside of your wrists are green.

COOL: You have a blue base colour to your complexion. You look great in blue/purple clothing, you own a lot of silver jewellery and your hair has been called an “ashy” colour. The veins on the underside of your wrists are blue.

Undertones inform colour choice. I personally recommend the following colours for the two kinds of undertones.

WARM: Terracotta, brown, peach, coral, deep red, merlot, caramel brown, mocha. For versatility purposes, going for a shade with more brown in it tends to work well for use on the lips, eyes and cheeks.

Maybelline Color Sensational Inti-Matte Lipsticks
Warm colours. Image source:

COOL: Beige, pink (blue-based pinks), mauve, berry, plum, rose pink, fuchsia

Cool colours. Image source:
  • Colour intensity

You might be thinking it already, “If I have the same colour all over my face, how do I avoid looking like a cartoon character?” Well, the answer to this one is colour intensity. The key to the monochromatic look is to vary the colour intensity on your eyes, lips and cheeks, in proportion to each other. If you have decided to focus on the eyes, apply lightly to the cheeks and lips. If you are going for bold lips, apply a more dilute layer of colour on your lids and cheeks.

Top tips: Blending with fingers is the easiest way to control the colour intensity. Start with light layers of colour and build gradually.

  • Product formulations

For this look specifically, I recommend choosing a crayon or a creme formula. Purely because they work equally well for the skin on the face and the lips (how do you feel about caking powder on your lips?)

Clinique Chubby Sticks. Image source:

In terms of crayons, the Clinique Chubby Sticks are great for this particular look. They’re even marketed for “eyes, lips and cheeks”. They’re chunky enough to ensure an even application over the larger areas like the face, but still the perfect size to give you a precise application on smaller areas like the lids and lips. The pigmentation is perfect too, not too dilute and not too saturated. All you have to do is swipe and blend with your fingers.

Stila Convertible Colour Dual Lip & Cheek Cream. Image source:

Cremes act in a similar way to the crayons but may require a brush for more saturated colour. Stila’s creme products are great for this – they apply smoothly, they last throughout the day and are actually very pigmented; you definitely get your money’s worth. They are called “lip and cheek” creams, but there is no reason you can’t use them on your eyelids. Apply with an eyeshadow brush for a more opaque colour on the eyelids if desired. Otherwise, get your fingers in there and get blending.


And that’s it. I am a personal fan of the monochromatic look, and often do it with anything from a lip liner (+ lip balm/beauty balm) to a contouring crayon.  Please let me know in the comments if you’ve tried a particular product that works like magic, or if you have any useful tips that we can all benefit from. The key here is improvisation; the founding principle of any beauty look.

You go girl.

– J

  • Featured Image source:  (All image credits to Tommy).

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