Is your makeup aging you? Emma Watson and Amber Heard (Amber who?) demonstrate the diff between up-to-date and out-of-date

Emma Watson Harry Potter premiere 2011

Remember your grade one ballet recital? When your mom was instructed to give your five-year-old self a creepy makeup job involving lots of black eyeliner, hot pink blush and red lipstick—so as to make your features stand out all the way to the back of the auditorium? Well, sometimes I feel like this is what certain Hollywood makeup artists want to do whenever they’re faced with the presence of cameras. And it’s almost as creepy when it happens to a 25-year-old.

This is because—hello!—we’re in the HD era now, which means that cameras pick up EVERYTHING. (It also means fun times for us because we get to look at celebrity flaws magnified to 2,000 percent. Whee!) But seriously, celeb makeup artists can’t get away with the shiz that they used to. Misguided shimmer, contouring, heavy foundation, thick fringes of false lashes: they now look as ridiculous in photos as they do in real life, and age their wearers by at least 10 years.

Of course, it doesn’t mean you can’t wear makeup—even a lot of makeup. But there is a difference, and to demonstrate it, I’d like to now contrast Emma Watson (star of the Harry Potter film series) with Amber Heard (star of… well, not a lot yet). For their most recent red carpet appearances, Emma gets a gold star and Amber does not. Shall we examine why?

First, here’s Em—still rocking the short hair:

Emma Watson Harry Potter premiere 2011 2 Is your makeup aging you? Emma Watson and Amber Heard (Amber who?) demonstrate the diff between up to date and out of date

When I saw this from far away (no, not in person but on my computer screen), I was NOT a fan. (Confession: I don’t really love short haircuts, especially flat-to-the-head, slicked-back, “wet look” short haircuts. Perhaps because my biggest fear is having to wear said style myself.)

But up close I think it’s breathtaking. Not pretty, not sexy, but a work of art—don’t you think? Obviously, it’s all about the pièce de resistance: a gold foil effect at the corners. Janine has some tips on how to recreate it if you have lots of time on your hands and are feeling ambitious. While you’re gazing at the pic, it would be a good time to take note of Emma’s brows. Fantastic ones, aren’t they?

Anyway, what I think is equally important to the skillful eye job here is how the makeup artist treated Emma’s skin. It looks real. Flawless, obviously, but real—you can’t see any detectable foundation, or shimmer, and it’s not too matte nor too dewy. You can’t even detect much blush. And I love how the lips get the barest kiss of matte pink.

THIS is how you do the rest of your face when you are wearing heavy eye makeup (or a big lip, for that matter).

I wish more people would take heed. Such as Amber here:

Amber Heard ESPY awards 2011 Is your makeup aging you? Emma Watson and Amber Heard (Amber who?) demonstrate the diff between up to date and out of date

Anyone who knows me (or at least reads here regularly) will know why I hate this on sight. (I don’t hate Amber, mind you. She’s quite lovely. But she’s very hit and miss with makeup.)

No, the problem—the main one, because there are a few—is specifically happening in the cheek region, and it is an issue of both shimmer (cringe) and contour (double cringe). Speaking to the first point, you know how I feel about shimmer—it doesn’t belong all over your face, like it is here. If you look closely, you’ll notice that the shimmer particles extend all the way over her neck. Why? WHY???

Contouring is also a tricky thing, and I’m not loving its execution here—the blush is too brown (too “medium,” if you remember this epic rant) and placed in that stripey, diagonal sort of way that reminds me of ’80s supermodels. We don’t need to try and replicate this. Paired with the matching diagonal eye makeup, heavy shimmer under the brow (which Carmindy likes but I’ve maintained for a while is passé), more shimmer on the lip and then the too-heavy false lashes, it’s just screaming Too Much. Not only is it dated, but it literally dates HER. She looks 45 instead of 25. (Heck! Most 40-somethings don’t wear makeup like this. Have you seen Jennifer Aniston lately? Or Lucy Liu? They look waaaay more fresh.)


Let’s recap. If you want to look both a) on-trend and b) not years older than you really are, then you need to be modern about your makeup. That means a MIX of textures on your face. It’s more fresh to have shine in some places—like Emma’s gold foil eyes, or you could have high-shine vinyl lips—and then matte in others. Shimmer on both the eyes and lips is overkill—even before you take it to the max like Amber and dust it over your entire face and body.

The other key thing is SKIN. Keep it real, yo. If I had to generalize, I’d say it should be more on the matte side than dewy… and with this in mind, you need to be extra-careful about your powders. I know lots of you are still fans of the powder foundations (despite my pleas), but so many of them are notorious for emphasizing pores and giving skin a slightly odd iridescence. Once again, I have to recommend that you invest in a great tinted moisturizer or liquid foundation (some advice is here and here and here) as well as a colourless HD powder, sparingly used, to cut shine just at the middle of your face.

You will look fantastic both in person AND on film.

Tell me:

What do you think of Emma’s Harry Potter premiere look?
Am I being too hard on Amber’s shimmer habit?
Do you agree about doing a mix of textures on your face at once?


Thursday, July 14/2011 at 6:09 pm

Emma’s look was original, rocking, edgy and oh so cool. Amber’s look was nothing special, just a lot of everything packed on. I’m in awe of Emma’s makeup, the skin….THE SKIN!!!!


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, July 15/2011 at 6:06 pm

Exactly! I would kill for that complexion.


Friday, July 22/2011 at 11:23 pm

Hm. While her skin is lovely (Emma’s) she has too many freckles for my liking. I’ve noticed they done a good job covering them up however.


Thursday, July 14/2011 at 10:28 pm

I have to disagree, I actually find Emmas makeup here terrible, the skin, the eye, everything. I actually love Ambers glowy makeup.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, July 15/2011 at 6:07 pm

You don’t find the shimmer a bit much?


Friday, July 15/2011 at 4:14 am

Emma’s eyebrows are indeed awesome but I am not a fan of her short hair.

Having oily skin mysefl, I don’t like shimmer at all and think we all look better with matte skin. But I like Amber’s eyeshadow, really, it looks like a party-style I could copy.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, July 15/2011 at 6:08 pm

I would do Amber’s shadow without the gold shimmer under the brow…. and of course with my own God-given eyelashes. :-)


Friday, July 15/2011 at 4:22 am

What many people don’t understand is that fake lashes aren’t called like that because they are suposed to look fake on the eyes. And Amber here is the perfect example for one of the many reasons why I personaly don’t like them: on the inner corner they are too long, too thick… and then they just stop! Uhh…


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, July 15/2011 at 6:09 pm

THIS. Thank you! They are terrible, non? Yikes!


Friday, July 15/2011 at 9:48 am

Is it really fair to compare these 2? They’re going for completely different effects; artistic vs. what I suspect is supposed to look natural from a distance.

But I do like Emma’s skin, and the eye/face balance is amazing. My main objection to the “natural” Amber is that it’s so monochromatic in a way; peachy coral lips, heavy peachy coral blush & peachy coral contour shadow.

My lips & my eyelids aren’t in the same colour family, so I find it really unnatural looking when people do this. It always says “eye infection” to me…


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, July 15/2011 at 6:10 pm

Good observation! Maybe it’s not just the texture (shimmer) that’s bothering me but also that browny coral tone everywhere….


Friday, July 15/2011 at 10:11 am

Emma looks absolutely stunning (except the short hair which I didn’t like since day one) with her eye makeup. I did a art project about ballet around 6 months ago, and one of the things I did was the Black Swan. This to me is really reminiscent of that sort of thing, just a warmer version. Although, I think her cheeks could have a tiny tiny tiny bit more colour. It just looks slightly unfinished to me when you look at her eyes, then her face and lips. As for Amber Heard, I actually quite like the look except for the shiny shiny skin. Also, shimmer on neck – just why?

Huge fan, fellow blonderexic of the moment Thomas xx


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, July 15/2011 at 6:11 pm

Totally! I love how artistic it is… very few celebs could pull it off.


Saturday, July 16/2011 at 3:43 am

Emma looks like a fucking freak! The eye look is not cohesive, do you wanna play up the inner corners, have a smokey eye, or have a foiled eye? Choose ONE. Amber looks gorgeous! Her skin looks much prettier than emma’s, yes perhaps a little less shimmer but she doesn’t look like a clockwork orange.


Saturday, July 16/2011 at 5:27 am

I love Emmas rocky look! This is something I would wear. I do think she could have used a little more blush or a bit of lip colour, just to make the rest of her face a little less drained looking. I do agree with Alyssa that she should have chosen one or the other, perhaps taking out the heavy black in the inner corner under her brow. And I also hugely agree that Amber looks like a disco ball. Shimmer should be a compliment. On the top of the cheek, or brow, or inner corner or lip. Not all of the above. Way toooo much. I think all of the parts of Ambers makeup individually look really nice, not together though.


Monday, July 18/2011 at 8:11 am

I completely agree about the heavy black in the inner corner of her eye, under her brow. Something about the look was off to me and I couldn’t quite point my finger on it. Thanks for saying what I couldn’t lol.


Monday, July 18/2011 at 8:09 am

I love Amber’s eye makeup.. If you took away the shimmer all over and the bad blush it would be a really pretty look. Honestly, I feel like Emma’s eye makeup ages her a lot. Her skin looks amazing, but I’m not loving the eyes.


Tuesday, July 26/2011 at 4:47 pm

I really like Emma’s makeup. I thought the gold foil was very artistic and creative, I’ve never seen anyone do something like that! The only thing I disliked about it was the black under her brow, it kinda bothers me. To me, it looked like she accidently rubbed her eye and some of the black got on her browbone. Also, I wish she would have chosen something with a little bit more color for her lips. I liked how she kept them matte, but I feel like she looks washed out. I also hated this look when I first saw it, then I realized it wasn’t the makeup I hated, it was her hair! I hate the slicked back, glued to your head look, but now that I think about it, if she didn’t have it slicked back, it could draw attention away from the makeup or make her face look too heavy. I can’t wait till she grows it back out though! I miss her long hair! :(
As for Ashley, I really liked her makeup , except for the shimmer! I’m usually a shimmer fan, but only on the eyes! I don’t even like shimmery lips, it’s weird for me. I thought the contouring was horrible as well, you can see the brown lines. I wish they would have used less brown (I felt like it was too dark for her skin tone) and blended it better. Also, what is up with the shimmer on her neck?! Noooo! That’s just bad! I did like the eye makeup though, just a little too much.


Wednesday, December 28/2011 at 6:10 am

I don’t like Emma’s look because of the clumpy mascara. I hate clumpy mascara as much as I hate XXL fake eyelashes. Amber looks like a character from Dynasty. Her entire face is shimmery peachy pink with shimmery peachy pink lips and shimmery peachy pink cheeks and shimmery peachy pink eyeshadow.
And honestly, outside the catwalk, I have a problem with unblended eye shadow, so from that pov, I dislike both looks. But while Emma comes across as edgy, Amber looks like a country music singer.
I think Emma’s look would have been softened a bit by some faint cheekbones highlight.


Saturday, March 31/2012 at 10:09 am

Amber looks like she has some sort of rash that she’s trying desperately to cover up, and the eye makeup is boring and uninspiring. It looks way too much like something a teeny booper would do for their first ” real ” party and the glitter is just too much. Emma’s look is bold and edgy, and I love the way she ( or her artist) played up her eyes and let the rest of her face play a polished canvas. I love her with the short hair too, she rocks long, short, and anything in between just fin in my opinion =).

I love seeing her all grown up!


Sunday, July 1/2012 at 3:07 pm

Love Emma’s eye look! I just came across this post yesterday, late bloomer. But what I really love about Emma’s look is her skin (foundation, blush)! Gorgeous, flawless, but natural-looking. If anybody knows products, techniques, or suggestions for skin like that, I would gladly hear them!


Friday, September 28/2012 at 2:05 am

Lol wow I’ve never felt compelled to anonymously comment but WOW

are you trolling us or what?

Are you blind?! Emma looks like a constipated clown and on top of that has forehead wrinkles like my mom, and my mom is 52! Emma Heard looks gorgeous. You need to get over your Harry Potter fangirl boner because you are not selling this premise AT ALL.

Emma is not cute to begin with (she has really masculine features) but with this makeup she looks like a nightmare


Monday, May 6/2013 at 10:52 am

I don’t know what this article is going about. Emma’s make up is horrible. To much black eye shadow she looks like someone gave her a black eye. She looks so much better with natural makeup
I like Amber’s make up though.


Friday, June 13/2014 at 10:19 am

They’re two different looks… on two different girls… with completely different features and personal styles or style agendas. I read this article hoping it might contain useful information about how certain applications of make up can age you. I am, after all, a 25 year old woman who wears full face make up. However, there was nothing useful in here. Just opinions and insensitive judgmental remarks on two women. I guess because they are in the entertainment industry it gets easy to talk about them as if they are not real people but mannequins that get dressed, polished, and moved around? Whatever. I think they both look good for the right event.


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