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:
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:
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.)
THE BOTTOM LINE
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.
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?