BEAUTY KNOWHOW: The opal effect

From hair shades to facial gadgets, multi-hued iridescence is having a moment.

It could well be a side effect of the continuing rise of Australian beauty, but all things opal (it’s the national gemstone Down Under, in case you didn’t know) are having a moment.

opal beauty products
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It all began late last year and we flagged up opal on these pages as a hair shade to look out for. Advances in technology mean that colourists can now use cool and warm tones together to create new dimensions of colour, making shades more customisable and therefore more wearable; no longer are pastel shades merely the remit of East Londoners or teenagers. 

At Mary Katrantzou’s autumn/winter 19 show, Redken global colour creative director Josh Wood gave models ‘colour clouds’ using blues, pinks, violets and emeralds, but the overall effect was strands of hair resembling fire opal. ‘Hair colour,’ says Wood, ‘is the latest runway accessory that’s more accessible to people.’ And cheaper than fine opal jewellery (also very in vogue).

But it’s about more than hair. Beautyblender Opal Essence Serum Primer (£28.50, not only creates a smoother base for foundation but gives gemstone-like radiance, too.

Nude by Nature’s new Touch of Glow Highlighter Stick in Opal (£18, has a subtle multi-hued shimmer that, as the brand’s make-up ambassador Clint Dowell says, ‘is the modern way to highlight’.

The mirrored finish of holographic Tarte H2OGloss in Fiji (£14, gives a plumper pout, while Lottie London’s Lacquer in Nap Kween (£4.95, nails high-shine shape-shifting iridescence. 

Even gadgets are getting in on the action. Move over jade rollers, The Beddha Glow Enhancer Unicorn Tribe Duo (around £68, is made from opalite, a stone that is said to have high vibrational qualities, reduce fatigue and aid in easing puffiness through facial massage.

GHD, meanwhile, is offering an opalesque finish on its ever popular Platinum+ Styler (£175, It’s limited-edition though, so won’t be around for long. 

Feature by Edwina Ings-Chambers. Beauty assistant: Alice Robertson