All or nothing, or somewhere in between
Photography Marsy Hild Beauty and words Angela Davis Deacon using Paula's Choice Model Anoushka at Models 1
I am a makeup artist. I love makeup. Really. I love it. I love how just one thing, be it a strong lip or something subtle like reshaping a brow can make a massive difference to a face. I love working with the unique features of a face. And I love working on skin just enough for a perfectly clean, glowing, realness.
On editorial shoots I’m constantly asked to create this version of makeup. Barely-there natural looks where any real makeup is undetectable and the model’s individual beauty is celebrated. Often it’s beyond natural, it’s raw. It is completely at odds with the full faces of makeup so many young women are now wearing. Girls are wearing very full makeup. It is so full that it is transformative. It is a look fuelled by certain celebrities and their Instagram selfies. It has nothing to do with what is actually happening in the fashion industry. It is the celebrities and ‘makeup gurus’ on Instagram that have inspired this plastic beauty ideal where every single feature is ‘on fleek’.
Girls are wearing very full makeup. It is so full that it is transformative
Girls aren’t just wearing dark eyes or heavy foundation, every single feature is painted, all at once. A Shu Uemura curler and a good mascara isn’t enough anymore. It’s semi-permanent lash extensions or false lashes and multiple coats of mascara. Brows are extremely defined and take several products and regular salon visits to create. Liner is flicked, creases ‘cut’, natural lip lines are overdrawn and filled with dark, liquid mattes. Then there is the contouring (oh the contouring!) and highlighting and blush and bronzer and all of this sits atop a load of primer, foundation, colour corrector, concealer and powder.
It’s not heavy in an eighties makeup kind of way. That was more experimental. Sure it was full-on but it had a sense of fun and rebellion to it. It was all about individuality. Women (and men) were trying to look different and individual rather than the same as each other. This phenomenon is something else entirely. This makeup is so transformative you can no longer see the person underneath. This ‘paint-by-numbers’ style is so unsympathetic to the actual face that girls look like clones. There is nothing distinguishable left. It’s not fun makeup. It’s con-formative makeup. It’s makeup so painstakingly applied to cover every possible perceived flaw. It’s a quest for unachievable, retouched looking perfection that ends up sitting somewhere between American reality show celebrity, Arabian Princess and Las Vegas stripper. It’s same-y and ultimately just plain boring.
This ‘paint-by-numbers’ style is so unsympathetic to the actual face that girls look like clones. There is nothing distinguishable left. It’s not fun makeup. It’s con-formative makeup
Of course I understand that women can be self-conscious about their looks – especially when you’re young and even more so now that everything is magnified on social media. But for some it’s at a point where they are unable to even resemble themselves. This ‘beauty’ trend has an underlying serious tone to it that makes me sad. You can almost see the insecurity and pressure these girls are feeling in their makeup. I’m sure it’s not just me who hopes more young women would start cultivating some personal style and just a little self-acceptance. Putting our phones down simply isn’t realistic I know, but wouldn’t it be great if more girls looked at their faces objectively and thought ‘I like that feature, I’ll add a little something to enhance it’ rather than ‘I hate it all! Cover everything up!’
Wouldn’t it be great if more girls looked at their faces objectively and thought ‘I like that feature, I’ll add a little something to enhance it’ rather than ‘I hate it all! Cover everything up!’
Perhaps the tide (marks) are beginning to turn though. Kudos to the brave and incredibly beautiful Alicia Keys for ditching her usual heavy base makeup and embracing her natural beauty, freckles and all. (It’s also taken years off). More make-unders, please! We should not be shocked by foundation free skin.