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You couldn't make them up - X Factor contestents

You know that bad make-up must be truly horrific when a bloke notices it, so, when Himself started complaining about the look of The X Factor contestants on the first live show, I dropped what I was doing to take a closer look.

That was a mistake. After about 30 seconds of exposure to the performers and their slap, I wanted to scoop the eyes out of my head with a rusty spoon.

Okay, it hasn't all been awful -- judge Kelly Rowland's continuing to rock great nails and Janet Devlin's butterfly eyelashes (by Paperself, €13.28 from HQhair.com) were exquisite on Saturday night -- but so far the make-up has been a bit more miss than hit.

Kitty Brucknell

She's this year's Katie Waissel, the contestant that viewers love to hate, and after putting in a memorable appearance earlier in the series in a light-up leotard, it's not surprising that Kitty's been opting for OTT maquillage. Her extreme dark-winged eyeshadow last week took raccoon eyes to a whole new level.

I guess someone liked Saturday's white polka dot-esque rhinestones: she survived the results show and lives to fight another week.

Rhythmix

Chief make-up artist Natalya Nair put the girl group in near fluorescent eyeliner for their first live performance and day-glo lippie for their second, but not before one of their number was subjected to having half her head shaved into an -- I can hardly bear to type it -- undercut.

Hit your nearest Barry M stand and choose from a rainbow-coloured selection of pencil, kohl, and liquid liners, all about €5, to DIY the eyes; if you must have a go at the undercut, fake it by combing back the hair above one ear and pinning it in place with kirby grips.

Tulisa Contostavlos

Ombre or dip-dyed hair is bang-on trend and, done right, with hair lightened gradually along its length, it's cool and very flattering.

The reverse take on it that judge Tulisa debuted on the first of the live shows, with brassy blonde roots and brunette ends, was neither.

Since she's now working a sophisticated rich brown all over, maybe I should give Tulisa the benefit of the doubt: it's possible that she accidentally grabbed a can of Batiste Dry Shampoo for light and blonde hair, €3.49, instead of the more appropriate version for darker locks.

And even if she didn't, well, now you know how to recreate the look for any upcoming X Factor parties -- or, y'know, Hallowe'en.