The Bizarre Backstage Makeup Trick You Should Actually Try

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We see and hear a lot of strange things backstage at Fashion Week — like references to "pretty sweating" or "Cleopatra in the Hamptons" as beauty inspiration — but every once in a while, we pick up a trick that's so weird, it's actually really, really good.
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This season, that trick is the "illusion" of makeup — i.e., makeup (and nail polish) that have been applied, and then either partially removed or covered over so that they peek through. Think of it as "The Emperor's New Clothes" of makeup.
Read on to see some of our favorite interpretations of this bonkers, yet genius trend.
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Initially, when makeup artist Diane Kendal started waxing poetic about the fresh-faced, luminous girls at Jason Wu, we braced ourselves for yet another "no-makeup" makeup lesson on curled lashes and luminizer. But instead, she explained that there's a Charlotte Rampling-inspired edge to the models, epitomized by the "illusion of a smoky eye." Riiight.
To accomplish this, Kendal sketched the lashline with a chocolate-brown Lancôme eye pencil and diffused it slightly with a short-bristle brush. Then, she dipped a Q-tip in moisturizer, and applied it over the liner to remove some of the product for a pretty, dewy effect.
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The result: the #IWokeUpLikeThis of smoky eyes, which pretty much anyone could do. Just take any creamy kohl pencil (no waterproof formulas), sketch your eyelid, and get your moisturizer on.
rag-bone-makeupPhoto: Courtesy of NARS.
We saw a similar concept at rag & bone, where Gucci Westman added a pink flush to the cheeks — and then traced over it with a touch of foundation. "That way, the blush sort of peeks through, so it looks fresh, with a dewy finish — more like actual skin," she explained. "You'll be seeing that a lot for spring — an effortless, luminous look."
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At Opening Ceremony, Yadim also created an eye look using makeup remover. "The girls were supposed to look like they were going to a casting," he explained backstage. "So, we wanted the makeup to be pretty, but not too 'done.' Almost like they'd rubbed their makeup off from the previous show."
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After smudging black liner into the waterline, underneath the lashline, and onto the eyelid, he used makeup remover to clean along the edges, customizing where it was applied to suit the models' eye shapes. "It was supposed to look melted, not smeared," he said.
rodarte-nailsPhotographed by Nina Westervelt.
At Rodarte, the nail technicians applied polish, and then — you guessed it! — removed it, to create a grungy effect. Grungy half-moon manis, if you will.
Using remover for a runway look to create an "illusion" is actually a tried-and-true backstage secret. At Prada's fall 2013 show, the legendary Pat McGrath blotted all the models' faces with removal wipes. She intimated that the look was suggestive, because it's akin to seeing someone in a state of undress.
Sure, there's a high-fashion interpretation here. But, in more practical terms, removing product to achieve a lived-in feel is a whole lot easier than trying to nail the perfect cat-eye with shaky hands and a stubborn felt tip. So, let's break out the Bi-Facil, shall we?
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