Her beauty evolution starts all the way back in the early aughts, when she was still an assistant to her heiress bestie, Paris Hilton. (Spoiler: There’s blue eyeshadow and lots of bronzer involved.) Our next stop is a beauty look you’ll be a little more familiar with: Her honey blonde, post-baby look from 2013, complete with the heavy brow and sculpted cheeks we know today. Of course, no exploration of Kim’s beauty history would be complete without that game-changing collarbone-length lob we’ve been coveting since her Met Gala appearance earlier this May.
Rihanna. Kim Kardashian. Victoria Beckham. What do these three, ambitious women have in common besides red hot careers and business minds? Well they have their own makeup brands (in the case of Beckham, she has a range with Estée Lauder). It used to be that anyone who was anyone in the celebrity realm had their own fragrance. The trend of celebrities lending their names and star power to cosmetics arguably started in a big way with the late Elizabeth Taylor. She launched her White Diamonds perfume in the early ’90s and it’s likely your mums, aunts or grandmothers bought a bottle.
By the noughties, everyone from JLo to Paris Hilton had their own perfumes that ranged from middling fruity-florals to downright stinkers. Make no mistake about it, the celebrity fragrance was often a cynical money grab — an exercise in milking every dollar from hapless fans, and hardly any of these fragrances would go down in history as game-changing. Even today, it is baffling that pop stars like Shawn Mendes hawk their own perfume. But then, Kylie Jenner parlayed her reality show 15 minutes into a cosmetics house in 2016, and it seems this has started a chain reaction in the relatively new field of celebrity face paint.
While it was not unheard of for celebrities to have their own makeup ranges with cosmetic brands, it was more common for famous makeup artists and fashion houses to start their own. After all building an entire makeup brand from scratch would take time, investment and commitment, a trifecta that not many celebrities could afford. One of the first makeup brands started by a genuine celebrity was Kat Von D Beauty, which was started in 2008 when Kendo — a division of LVMH that was originally created as a product development arm of Sephora — approached the tattoo artist and reality show star to start a makeup brand. It may have begun with a slightly ‘gimmicky’ premise, but the brand is now a respected one in the industry known for its concealers, liquid lipsticks and palettes among other products. This year Kendo launched another celebrity makeup line with singer Rihanna — called Fenty Beauty by Rihanna.
The line had an explosive, simultaneous worldwide debut in 17 countries on 8 September, and Singapore was thankfully, not forgotten in the launch, with Fenty Beauty by Rihanna retailing both online and in Sephora stores. Rihanna and Kendo brought out the big guns, employing famed makeup artist James Kaliardos as the resident artist and insisting that all 40 shades of the Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation be stocked worldwide. In truth Rihanna’s makeup line is not the first to peddle this concept. Supermodel Iman launched her Iman Cosmetics with the tagline ‘Beauty for your skin tone’ specifically to address the needs for darker-skinned women waaay back in 1994. But most millennials don’t have particularly long memories nor an appreciation for history, so Rihanna is in luck.
Another celebrity who has making inroads in the cosmetics world in designer Victoria Beckham — although it is arguable she is better known by her Posh Spice pop singer persona. Beckham launched a capsule collection with Estée Lauder dubbed Victoria Beckham x Estée Lauder in October 2016, and the makeup went beyond the usual renaming of colours or designing of packaging that many brands do in their routine collaborations. Beckham’s makeup had a high-end, high fashion feel, thanks to weighty, luxurious packaging and included some interesting products like a illuminating cream called Morning Aura. The range has done well enough to warrant a second collection that will be released very soon, and cements Beckham’s position as a tastemaker.
And of course, the roles of both Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian cannot be ignored when discussing celebrity makeup lines. Jenner started the ball rolling with her innovative Lip Kits that filled a gap in the market that few big cosmetics brand could foretell. Banking on the devotion of her nearly 100 million plus Instagram followers — many of whom were teenagers who worshipped the then teen’s cosmetically-inflated pout — the Lip Kits were so successful they were snapped up in minutes, sold for hugely inflated prices on eBay, inspired knock-offs both from cheap and noted brands alike, and convinced Jenner to launch a full-blown Kylie Cosmetics in 2016. Sister Kim Kardashian, who was already known for her flawless makeup and heavy contouring finally launched her own KKW (stands for Kim Kardashian West) Beauty in June 2017, starting with one key product, the Crème Contour & Highlight Kit on 21 June. The second product from her line is the (currently sold out) Powder Contour & Highlight Kit.
MARKETING TO MILLENNIALS (AND THE TREND-AWARE) One way that these lines are succeeding and doing better than traditional cosmetics brands is in the way the products are marketed to millennials — often their target audience. With the exception of Beckham’s line which is targetted at more discerning customers who buy makeup the old school way, most of the makeup from these celebrity lines are well-priced and sold exclusively online. KKW Beauty kits retail at a relatively affordable US$48 to US$52 while a single, matte liquid lipstick from Kylie Cosmetics rings in at US$17. When you add in shipping and the exchange rate, they do become quite expensive, but are still not prohibitively so. It’s tempting to ‘add to cart’ without thinking too hard, and with non-exchange policies, even if these products do not suit your skin tone or perform well, there’s no way to really return them. While this is a drawback for older consumers, millennials will not baulk at buying without trying. It doesn’t hurt that the seemingly limited stock — probably due to production and distribution limitations more than anything else — make these babies all that more desirable.
That is where Fenty Beauty by Rihanna has an even better chance at succeeding across all sectors. Using Sephora’s distribution channels, the brand can make inroads into more markets. Starting from just $31 for a lip gloss and a very pocket-friendly $37 for a Match Stix Skinstick, these products are low-commitment as compared to a fashion item or accessory, and now can even be swatched and examined in person. Rihanna’s line also interestingly eschewed traditional makeup items like lipsticks, eyeshadows and mascaras as its initial offerings and went for multi-tasking products that appealled to the cosmetics loving millennials who knew their way around a contour and highlight, while still enticing the older, less confident, but still curious consumer. The multi-use products also defy easy categorisation. The Match Stix can be used to highlight, contour or correct while the Killawatt Freestyle Highlighters can be used all over the face. The range also focusses on women of colour, a grossly under-served sector in the cosmetics industry and the entire brand has Rihanna’s mandate of inclusivity as its key selling point. And a word has to be mentioned about the packaging, which is almost as important as the product itself. Fenty Beauty by Rihanna comes in a dusty millennial pink hue and some of the products are magnetic, making them easy to store and carry around. Interestingly enough, KKW Beauty’s packaging colour is also a similar, millennial pink shade, and her kits contain several applicators and products in one. Although its likely both started development long before the world first caught a glimpse of them, it’s no surprise they both appeal to a certain audience. Victoria Beckham’s classy black and gold packaging meanwhile looks expensive and decidely aspirational, speaking to a more mature, well-heeled consumer.
HOW WELL THEY ARE DOING While figures are not immediately available for the opening sales of Fenty Beauty by Rihanna, the products are reportedly flying off the shelves, with many of the darker shades of foundation selling out in the US and on sephora.com. Women of colour, whom Rihanna vowed to serve, are coming out in droves to buy the products after years of being snubbed by mainstream makeup brands. The social media footprint of Fenty Beauty by Rihanna is astonishing in itself, as vocal commentors are cutting a swathe on the accounts of its competitors, criticising them for not jumping on the inclusivity bandwagon earlier.
Kardashian reportedly made $14.4 million from the opening batch of 300,000 Crème Contour & Highlight kits that sold out on its site within hours. And while exact figures on how well Kylie Cosmetics is doing are also unavailable, Jenner was likely one of the richest, self-made teens in the world, before she turned 20 last month. The demand is clearly there, even if the products are not always up to scratch — many being produced in a much shorter timespan compared to the usual time allocated for development and testing, and not always receiving rave reviews from seasoned makeup lovers.
There’s certainly a captive audience, at least until the next big trend comes along. But whether the brands continue to make strides depends on their product innovation, response to the market and their ability to predict trends or even to create new trends and categories altogether. Operating almost like start-ups, as many do not have the guidance and R&D facilities of big cosmetic conglomerates, these celebrity-driven makeup brands have to be nimble, innovative and interesting in order to continue to pique our fickle, fickle interests.
Bold, sexy, and playful—that’s your beauty goal this fall. Step one: Swap out quiet neutrals and show your true colors with statement-making makeup. The “no-makeup makeup” look is over, says Jenn Streicher, a celebrity makeup artist and co-owner of Striiike Beauty Studio in Beverly Hills, California. It’s all about smoky metallic lids, moody dark lips, softly sculpted cheekbones, and a pop of funky nail color (think turquoise, plum, or burnt orange). Whether you rock one or all four of these trends, you’ll feel as confident as you do after an hour of kickboxing. Better yet, they don’t take long at all to master!
Photo: Claire Benoist
When is it not about red wine in fall? From dark lip stains to full mattes, shades of merlot and cabernet look seasonally appropriate now. As the weather turns chillier, condition your lips before trying the trend—remove flakes gently with a mild facial or lip exfoliant, and slick on some balm. (Or try these 5 lip-saving lip care solutions.)
“Otherwise these shades will expose every flaw,” says Toronto-based Maybelline makeup artist Grace Lee. For the cleanest finish, outline with a lip pencil that matches your lipstick, then apply color with a lip brush from the center to outer corners of your mouth.
Pictured: BareMinerals Statement Lip Luxe-Shine Lipstick in NSFW (plum), Hustler (red), and Frenchie (rosé), $20 each; sephora.com.
Photo: Claire Benoist
While your skin is still a bit toasty from summer, you may want to let it breathe a bit and forgo foundation. We’re all for that. But don’t skip blush, since it can add balance to a vivid eye or lip. While Kardashian-like definition is better suited to Insta than IRL, a subtly sculpted look is on point. Simply dust an orange (if you’re deeper), a tan (if you’re medium-toned), or a rosy (if you’re fair) blush just below your cheekbones. The goal is to look lit from within, not bathed in color.
Pictured: Mark by Avon Cheek Magnet Hook Up Powder Blush in Pink Fast (pink), Once in a Melon (light), Mauve Forward (medium), and This Berry Minute (dark), $18 each; avon.com.
Dramatic Eye Shadow
Photo: Claire Benoist
Try blue, green, or plum shadow. “These colors add a hint of drama to otherwise muted fall tones,” says New York City celebrity makeup artist Nick Barose. The new silky textures shown here let you apply with fingers and build to your desired intensity. Simply dot color repeatedly onto lids, working from lash line to crease. Finish with black mascara.
Pictured: YSL Couture Mono Eyeshadow in Caftan (purple), $30; yslbeautyus.com, Chanel Ombre Première Longwear Powder Eyeshadow in Vibrant Violet (violet) and Blue Jean (blue), $30 each; chanel.com, Maybelline New York ExpertWear Mono Eyeshadow in Forest Green (green), $4; maybelline.com.
Nail Polish Perfection
Photo: Claire Benoist
The dark side of the rainbow is where you’ll want to turn for nail inspo. Although if you’re really going for it on your lips or eyes, you may want to stay toward the more nude side of the spectrum shown here. A soft mauve is the perfect mix of strong yet soft, says Madeline Poole, a Sally Hansen global color ambassador. “Its hints of pink and white feel similar to face highlighter,” she says. Amp up the color play even further by embellishing the cuticle area with a stripe of another of these shades or a fun metallic polish, Poole says. (Try one of these simple nail art ideas.)
Pictured: JINsoon Art Nouveau Collection in Fable (purple), $18; jinsoon.com, Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Making Mauves (pink), $5; target.com, Smith & Cult Nailed Lacquer in Tang Bang (orange), $18; saksfifthavenue.com, Essie Nail Polish in Go Overboard, $9; essie.com.
And why would it? After all, the crux of social media is that it’s reciprocal. You have the same tools – or so you think – as that A-lister or influencer who looks #flawless in their most recent selfie. So you take a photo, you crop it, you edit it (as 44% of us do, according to Ofcom) and you upload it. But it’s not the same – after all, you don’t have a glam squad, or a pro retoucher, or a surgeon’s bill that runs into triple digits. But that doesn’t stop it being aspirational. For every big name posting rough and ready photos and bragging about their DGAF attitude, there are three other women claiming their suddenly plumped pout or fuller bust is the work of makeup or hormones. As my friend Giselle, 27, put it: “I just assume now that most of what I see on there isn’t real, especially those body types that you just know aren’t the products of so-called gym gains, puberty or genetics.” Of course, retouching has existed for a long time, but the difference now is social media is interactive and gives you the agency and tools to fully customise your appearance – and with liking and sharing, we have the power to express approval or disapproval of someone’s looks. As academic Richard M. Perloff noted in a recent paper, on social media, users are the sources as well as the receivers; it’s not a one-way street.
If I could go back in time and tell my younger self anything, it would be to put down the Barry M Dazzle Dust, throw away those Urban Decay glitter liners and more importantly leave my god damn eyebrows alone.
Looking back through old photos of yourself is enough to make anyone cringe, even someone like Kim Kardashian who takes more pictures than the £5 photo booth in Sainsbury’s.
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But just like us, Kimmy has her fair share of beauty regrets, as she shared in a post on her website.
“Throughout the years, I’ve tried a lot of beauty trends. It’s fun to look back at the old glam I used to do – a lot of contour, really baked under eye and long lashes. Now, I tend to stick to a monochromatic nude look. I like to keep things simple but I still love to change it up every now and then, so I can try new products.”
Ever the over-sharer (never change Kim), she went on to reveal some of her most embarrassing makeup looks and it turns out that there’s one trend in particular that Kim is so over with.
“Mario and I used to do really heavy baking. Back in 2009 or 2010, having a super light under-eye was the thing to do and I absolutely loved it at the time. But looking back, sometimes i looked a little crazy – especially with the camera flashes.”
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Yes dear readers, I’m afraid it might be time to retire your beauty blenders because every YouTube beauty guru’s favourite trick has officially been declared dead by Kim Kardashian.
Baking is a technique stolen from drag queens, where you apply a large amount of loose powder under your eyes and over your concealer. The concealer is then left to ‘cook’ for anywhere from 5-20 minutes before the excess is dusted away.
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But if Kimmy aka the queen of contour is declaring baking dead then maybe it really is time to give the loose powder a break.
We’ve seen a lot of crazy beauty fads come and go lately, but there are a few wearable ones that have become hallmarks of summer 2017.
Celebrities like Katy Perry, Kristen Stewart and Emily Ratajkowski have helped propel platinum pixie cuts, orange eyeshadow, here-today-gone-tomorrow bangs and more into the season’s top beauty trends.
The popularity of the looks are showing no signs of slowing down, so now is the perfect time to give one (or more) of them a try.
Thanks to hairstylists like Jennifer Yepez and Jen Atkin, clip-in bangs were the must-have accessory during the Cannes Film Festival in May.
The hair pros used them to transform the manes of stars like Lily Collins, Emily Ratajkowski and Salma Hayek.
In June, Jen accented Bella Hadid’s blunt bob with yet another set of faux fringe for the CFDA Awards, and Jennifer brought back Emily’s thick bangs during Paris Couture Week in July.
Since then, the clip-in style has also been spotted on Cara Delevingne and, most recently, Vanessa Hudgens.
The only A-lister to make a permanent bang change this summer has been Sofia Vergara, who cut hers in July and hasn’t been seen without them since.
If you’re not ready to try fringe for real, try Hairdo Effortless Clip-In Bangs ($26.50, qvc.com) or True by Ellen Wille Clip-In Bangs ($384, wigs.com). You may want to take them to your stylist to have them cut or dyed to match your natural hair.
If there has been one defining haircut of the summer, it’s been the platinum pixie.
Ever since Cara Delevingne shaved her head for her role in the film Life in a Year back in April, multiple stars have followed suit, opting for the slightly longer, grown-out version Cara has been sporting lately.
During the Chanel Couture Show in Paris in July, for example, attendees Cara and Katy Perry were practically indistinguishable from each other.
Kristen Stewart and Zoe Kravitz have also taken the platinum plunge in recent months.
If you’ve been considering joining the club, celebrity hairstylist Mara Roszak, who works with Cara says, ‘DO IT!’
Once you’ve gone the bleached route, protect your color – and your hair – with products like It’s a 10 Haircare’s Five Minute Hair Repair For Blondes mask ($21, itsa10haircare.com) and John Frieda Sheer Blonde Brilliantly Brighter Shampoo and Conditioner ($10 each, ulta.com).
Orange eyeshadow has been trending for a while, but it has recently reached peek color status due to stars like Jourdan Dunn, Selena Gomez, Chloe Grace Moretz, Zendaya and more.
So what’s with the newfound crush on orange? Lucy Hale’s make-up artist Kelsey Deenihan explained it to Femail this way: ‘We have the smoky eyes, and a lot of times you see them done in jewel tones or the bronze smoky eye, but the new colors, like orange, are a fun way to give a new take on a classic eye.’
The proliferation of palettes built around the shade certainly don’t hurt, either. The Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette ($54, sephora.com) and MAC Girls Palette in Mischief Minx ($39.50, nordstrom.com) make it easy to play around with the bold hue.
Like seemingly everything ’90s, pin-straight hairstyles are back.
One need not look further than the Kardashian-Jenner clan for proof. Kim Kardashian West, Kendall Jenner and Khloe Kardashian have all shown an affinity for sleek strands lately.
Kendall regularly wears her long bob parted down the middle and stick straight, oftentimes the work of stylist Jen Atkin.
Jen also provided the impetus for Khloe to take the trend for a spin when she cut the Kardashian sister’s hair into a chin-length bob on Monday. Shortly after, fellow hair pro Justine Marjan gave the cut a ‘super straight and ’90s’ style.
And less than week ago, Chris Appleton gave Kim a waist-length, high-gloss style.
To copy the look, bust out your flat iron (we like Amika The Antidote Silk Wrap Styler, $150, sephora.com). Just don’t forget a heat protectant (try Jen’s Ouai Smooth Spray, $26, theouai.com) and shine serum (pick up Tresemmé Keratin Smooth Shine Serum, $5, target.com).
After the 1980s when everyone wore bright, inexpensive makeup, there was a slow burnout on cosmetics. Models like Kate Moss hit the scene with seemingly nothing on their faces, and Jennifer Aniston had the new hot hairstyle. After years of doing a full face of makeup and spraying their hair all day with Aqua Net, women were ready for something simple.
We all threw out our hot pink lipsticks and our neon green and pastel blue shadows. Our hair flattened out a bit, and Cyndi Lauper and Pat Benatar were no longer our fashion idols. They had been replaced by Gwyneth Paltrow and Alicia Silverstone, women who were classically beautiful with very little makeup in neutral tones.
Yet nobody really knew how to create a classic look on their face. We all wanted that perfect no-makeup look. Enter the makeup artists. Suddenly, makeup artists were gods and goddesses. Three leaders in this industry — Bobbi Brown, Laura Mercier, and Trish McEvoy — hit the cosmetics scene in the ’90s, and everyone became obsessed.
These were real-live people. They were on the Today show and The Oprah Winfrey Show, and they had celebrity-like appearances in Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, and Nordstrom. Women lined up in droves to meet these artists and possibly have them touch their faces.
There was no Instagram or Facebook; there was no beauty blogger to tell us what to do. The makeup artist was the master of our universe, and we listened to them religiously. Some of them even published books, and women would pore through them looking at the different looks and trying to figure out how to do their makeup following the instructions found in the gorgeous pages.
Kevyn Aucoin, a self-made celebrity makeup artist turned industry god, wrote three books featuring celebrities like Demi Moore and Janet Jackson, whom he made into beauty icons using makeup. He was the first person who seemed to be able to transform someone’s face with makeup, and everyone in the know was obsessed. I read those books over and over again, just staring at the beautiful pictures. I once stood in line for hours at Henri Bendel for a chance to meet Kevyn at the debut of his makeup line in 2001.
It was a great time for the makeup junkie. The makeup artist would show us how to use the products that they created. Nowadays the makeup star is the user; we look to the beauty blogger who “beats her own face” all day and shows us how she does it as the modern-day “expert.” I feel especially connected to this, since I am a working makeup artist!
While you are perusing those new aisles in Sephora or your local department store, take a trip down memory lane and rediscover the amazing lasting products of the 1990s that are here to stay.
Selena Gomez is one of makeup artist Hung Vanngo’s most famous celebrity clients. He created this look for the premiere of her Netflix show 13 Reasons Why. Picture: Hung Vanngo/Instagram
SCROLLING through Instagram in 2017, you could be forgiven for thinking elaborate glitter eyes and thick, heavy brows are the makeup trends everyday women want to wear.
But a quiet show of defiance against the over-the-top and gimmicky looks filling our feeds is currently taking place in the beauty world. Because really, who has time to “bake” their face in the morning?
Leading the charge is celebrity makeup artist Hung Vanngo, who regularly paints the faces of some of Hollywood’s biggest names.
Vanngo is famous for making women look like the most gorgeous versions of themselves — with glowing skin, a bold eye, a bushy brow — and little else.
“My aesthetic is making women more beautiful. It’s really my thing,” Vanngo told news.com.au in an interview to promote his new global artist ambassador role with Marc Jacobs Beauty.
“I appreciate all the artistic and fun makeup, but at the end of the day, every woman wants to look their most beautiful. That’s really how I approach makeup nowadays in my work,” he said.
Born in Vietnam, Vanngo migrated to Canada and moved to New York in 2006, where he assisted on fashion shoots before transitioning into event and red carpet makeup.
His client roster is impressive — think Katy Perry, Emily Ratajkowski, Ashley Graham and Jennifer Lopez — and their sultry selfies have earned Vanngo a spot among Instagram’s most popular beauty accounts.
He’s done celebrity makeup for the Met Gala, the Oscars and countless red carpet events, where his clients have one request: make me look beautiful.
So for those of us at home without Vanngo’s talents, he says if we avoid making these five common makeup mistakes, we’ll be on our way to Selena-worthy glam.
1. Your foundation doesn’t match your skin tone
“I think the most common mistake is definitely the foundation not being the right colour. I think that trying to match a shade is key,” he said. Hot tip: ask the makeup counter for a sample and test it in natural light.
2. You haven’t blended everything properly
“Blending the foundation and blending the makeup is key,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you want to wear a heavy contour or an almost bare face. Everybody is different. But whatever your look, it needs to be well blended to look good.”
3. You stick to boring, dull eyeshadow colours
“People should realise a little colour does give a very nice lift to the face. When the colour is too neutral, you look a little flat,” he said.
“That’s why I like to experiment with more colours. Of course I love brown, but I like more warm brown colours. I like to experiment. It gives so much life to the face that greys or nudes or taupes.”
4. You only use your fingers, not brushes
“For blush and for lips you can use fingers, but for eyes, yes, [brushes are] essential. We [Marc Jacobs Beauty] just came out with three new eye brushes [The Crease, The Shadow and The Smudge],” he said.
“Those three are key for people to create a beautiful smoky eye. It’s important because the position you cannot get from the finger.”
5. You’ve just got too much makeup on
“Sometimes people have a little too much of everything. Do a strong eye or strong lip then a little less on the eyebrows,” he said.
“I think if you put too much eye, too much lip, you have to balance it out. Where do you think is the focus? Pick one.”
There are tons of different celebrity makeup trends out there. Every time another A-lister walks the red carpet, there’s another product to buy or makeup look to try. Thankfully, this one is easier than ever. The upside-down eye look is the latest celebrity trend to try. Ready for the best part? You already have everything you need in your makeup bag. Here’s everything you need to know to nail the look, according to a professional makeup artist.
You know when you’re in a hurry and accidentally smudge out your lower lash line too much? Well, it just became the newest trend. As you might’ve already guessed, the upside down trend focusses on the lower lash line instead of the top. Whether you’re looking to add some color or smoke out your everyday shadow, this trend is all about being bold.
“The upside down makeup trend is a new take on the ‘reverse smokey eye’ or ‘drop eyeshadow.’ Instead of the focus being on the lid and crease of the eye, a pop of color is concentrated on the lower lash line,” says Kelli J. Bartlett, Glamsquad Director of Artistry. “This creates an unexpected, yet chic look, perfect for experimenting with color.”
It turns out that it’s pretty easy to recreate too. According to Bartlett, all you have to do is line your inner and lower lash line and smudge the lower lash line with a brush. To increase the colors, add a little bit of shadow to the brush and layer the product on the lash line to lock in the color. It’s that simple!
The best part about this trend is that you can easily use high-end of drugstore makeup. Not to mention it looks great with just about every single color. Celebrities love wearing blue, but you could easily tailor the trend to any color that makes your eyes pop the most. Heck, you could even switch it up to make it work for every season.
There’s nothing better than a makeup trend that you can nail with items that you already have in your makeup bag. If only all beauty trends were this simple!
From Hailey Baldwin and Kendall Jenner’s matching broken-heart tattoos to Angelina Jolie’s well-documented series of body art, celebrities are no strangers to a touch of ink. But they’re not the only kind of tattoos favoured by the Hollywood crowd.
Semi-permanent makeup – a variant on the tattoo – is creating buzz among those seeking fuller eyebrows, lusher lashes, even more youthful-looking lips. They’re not the makeup tattoos of yesteryear: digital technology, more precise needles and blades, plus advancements in ink shades, yield more-natural looking results that last about two years, meaning you won’t be permanently inked if trends change dramatically!
The demand for Cara Delevingne-esque eyebrows has ushered in the craze for microblading. The most popular form of semi-permanent makeup, for many it is the answer to natural-looking brows, whether your genes left you with sparse hairs or you were overzealous with the tweezers.
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It took micro-blading expert Júlia Faria Almassian two hours to create Bella Thorne’s full arches
Angelina Jolie and Gwen Stefani are said to be microblading enthusiasts, and 19-year-old actress Bella Thorne has invited fans in on the action, documenting every step of the procedure on social media.
Júlia Faria Elmassian, the L.A.-based microblade expert who crafted Bella’s brows, explains the appeal. “To the naked eye, you see hairs, not a powdered look or a dark line like you used to get with a traditional tattoo.” She uses a small angled blade, rather than a needle, to cut the skin in tiny strokes that mimic individual hairs. Ink is then deposited into each stroke.
“We use a manual tool, not a machine, and we don’t go as deep as a traditional tattoo and we don’t deposit as much ink, so we are able to create very fine lines that resemble hairs. I aim for very thin hair strokes that blend with a client’s real hair.”
A full appointment, including consultation, numbing and drawing, takes an hour and a half, with a touch-up appointment four to six weeks later. As for the level of pain on a scale of one to 10, Júlia says her clients rate it at a three. “It feels like a scratch for most. Clients have said it’s much less painful than a regular tattoo.”
Gwen Stefani and Angelina Jolie are also said to be fans of the procedure
It used to be that injectables were the only way to achieve a plump, pillowy pout, but thanks to advances in tattoo technology, repigmentation means youthful-looking lips are only a digital pen stroke away. “As we age, our lips crack and fade predominantly from wind, sun damage and use,” says Emilia Berry, semi-permanent makeup artist to the stars and founder of New York City-based PermaLine Cosmetics. “It’s common for lips to become patchy.”
Emilia offers an “ombré lips” service, using a digital pen to exert control over both the speed and depth of the needle to precisely implant a hint of colour that punches up a client’s natural shade by a hue or two. As a result, “the lips will have the illusion of fullness along with being rejuvenated and smooth, in a very natural way,” says Emilia.
She achieves this effect by matching the pigment colour to the inner lip. “This is usually the best indication of the natural lip colour. I then discuss the client’s desired result with them and adjust accordingly.” To create the illusion of fuller lips, Emilia enhances the lip line ever so slightly.
It’s worth noting that your lips will appear bolder immediately after a treatment, fading to the desired shade within three days and continuing to do so as they heal. That’s why Emilia recommends starting with a lighter shade. “We can always go darker at the touch-up. We cannot go lighter.” Like microblading, the process is quite brief – between an hour and 90 minutes – with a touch-up eight weeks later. Emilia says most clients rate the pain at a two to a four on a 10-point scale.
LASHINGS OF INK
While false lashes and eyelash extensions are standard for celebrities both on- and off-camera, a new procedure might make these standbys a thing of the past. Lashline enhancement involves a semi-permanent application of tiny dots and hair strokes, applied within the line of the lash, to give the illusion of a naturally full set of eyelashes.
Don’t get this confused with semi-permanent eyeliner, which is a decorative line drawn on top of the lash base. Lashline enhancement uses a digital micro-pigmentation pen to fill in any gaps in the lash line – top, bottom or both – for a denser lash base and a more defined eye.
After the two- to three-hour appointment, downtime is almost non-existent, with many patients returning to work immediately afterwards. For patients fearful of anyone wielding a needle so close to their eye, rest reassured that most clients rate the level of pain at a four. And like microblading and ombré lips, the results will only last a few years.
“Our faces change over the years as we age and trends also change,” notes Emilia. “It’s important that your semi-permanent makeup can adapt with you.”
‘To the naked eye you see hairs not a powdered look or dark line like you used to get with a traditional tattoo’
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