I had dinner with my successful, globe-trotting artist friend last night, and all she wanted to talk about was makeup. She has beautiful, medium-toned skin (she's Turkish) and blue-green hair (yeah!). There are certain brands that just plain don't show up on her, and others that just don't pack the pigment punch someone who is used to acrylic paint and grease pencil desires. I recommended Ben Nye, an insider-y line founded by the makeup artist behind Gone With the Wind and Planet of the Apes, and that she swing by Madina Milano on her next trip abroad.

Looking for more brands that get it bright? Just


  • Ben Nye — This brand of real-deal stage makeup has applications for both Halloween and Fashion Week (it makes more appearances backstage than Robert Verdi).
  • Cover Girl — This season, makeup artist Pat McGrath created a slew of bold, look-at-me eye shadows that don't cost an arm and a leg.
  • Face Stockholm — Yellow lipstick? Check. Neon green loose glitter? Check. This is a good place to look for shades other brands only carry for a season.
  • Hard Candy — Founded by Iranian sisters Dineh and Pooneh Mohajer in 1995, Hard Candy climbed to fame after a Clueless-era Alicia Silverstone namechecked it on Letterman. Despite corporate ownership, the line keeps its signature pastels and metallics.
  • MAC — A makeup artist standard, MAC maintains a rainbow of shades while coming out with inventive new combinations.
  • Make Up For Ever — Founded in 1984 in France, Make Up For Ever has 1,400 products, including some for special effects and body painting.
  • Mattese (at Ricky's stores) — This line is hard to find online, but Mattese (sold at Ricky's, a New York City chain) makes many highly pigmented powders and bright lipsticks.
  • NARS — Renowned for its Artist Palettes, creative names, and cool colors, NARS is a worthy stop on your search for saffron shadow.
  • Sebastian-Trucco — This small collection offered by Sebastian International (random, I know) changes every season, but has in the past included wild shades and giant glitter flakes.
  • Sephora — Sephora's house brand offers some of the largest palettes we've ever seen. Not surprisingly, my friend owns this one!
  • Smashbox — This brand is more worth noting for its inventive products like high-tech primers and intuitive lip gloss than its color choices, making it a go-to if you need help increasing the brightness and/or staying power of your pink mascara.
  • Shu Uemura — From clowny faux lashes to lipsticks with something called "Spectral Booster," this line will indulge your inner artiste.
  • Urban Decay — Edgy Urban Decay usually has colored mascara. Bonus points for advanced use of glitter.
  • Wet n Wild — A great place to start if you're not ready to commit to blue eyeliner; most Wet n Wild items are still a buck or two.