I Tried Runway Makeup For A Week & The Results Were Surprising

Disclaimer: I don’t wear much makeup — ever. I’m not against it by any means. After all, I write about the stuff for a living. However, over the years, I’ve somehow whittled down my beauty routine from a complicated mess — which included foundation, concealer, liners, and eyeshadows galore — to solely a brow gel (yes, you read that right). Sure, I can get down with the occasional liquid lipstick every now and then when I'm going out for a special occasion. But it's not a part of my everyday look, which I've been known to describe as, "Whatever I can do in 10 seconds flat."
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If I'm being completely honest, most days I just forget to wear makeup. As a freelance writer, I work from home and coffee shops, so even if I were to spend the time creating the perfect smoky eye or Instagram brow, chances are no one would even see it. But even so, I think I may have become a little too comfortable in my routine — or, uh, lack thereof. I see my friends and fellow beauty writers trying out such experimental makeup looks, like pastel ombré shadow and blue iridescent highlighter, and I can’t help but feel a little bored with my personal M.O. So, in an effort to make a change, I decided to heed the advice I'm constantly writing about and take a cue from the runways. For the next week, I'll recreate the boldest makeup looks from the S/S 2018 runway shows and see what happens — because, let's be real: I don’t have much to lose.
Trend: Allover Colour At Chanel
For my first look, I decided to rip off the metaphorical Band-Aid with a look that truly terrified me: heavy blue eyeshadow, pink blush, and bright coral lips. Officially out of my cosmetics comfort zone, when I reached for my makeup bag, I didn't really know where to start, so I just winged it. There was zero technique involved as I just brushed the turquoise shadow over my lids. It was a lot, and my first instinct was to rub it off (but I resisted). As I exited my building, my doorman had nothing but nice words. A colleague did a double take as soon as she saw me and came closer for a better look. By mid-afternoon, after I’d accidentally rubbed my eyes and eaten lunch, the colours had faded nicely into a watercolor version of themselves that I didn’t hate. I’ve never been so thankful for my combination of thick eyebrows, dark hair, and olive skin tone, which (I think) stood up to the bright shades and toned them down a bit. Don’t get me wrong: I don't think I'd ever (read: never in a million years) wear this look again, but I might break up the look and try only blue shadow or only coral lipstick the next time I feel the desire to get gussied up. It’s still TBD.
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Trend: Silver Glitter Lids At Stella Jean
Next up was basically any teenage dream from the '90s, aka all the glitter. This trend was fairly easy to wear, in part because it was easy to put on. I just dipped my finger into a jar of glitter and rubbed it on each eyelid, smearing the glitter all the way up to my brows. Simple. (Less simple was removing it, a process that involved micellar water, an oil cleanser, a foam cleanser, and major bicep strength.) I made the conscious decision to wear neutrals to ensure I didn’t look like I was en route to a rave — not that there's anything wrong with that. By midday, someone did interrupt a work meeting to brush a little glitter off my brow, and a few people looked twice, but all in all no one seemed to blink an eye. To my surprise, I was weirdly into it. Sure, it might have looked better alongside strobing lights and bottle service, but I still pulled it off. Plus, the glitter was so dramatic that I didn’t have to do anything else to my face to make a statement, and, as a lazy person, I find that wildly appealing.
Trend: Heart-Shaped Lipstick At Maison Margiela
The next day, I decided to take the focus off of my eyes and go with a daring lip look. TBH, it only took me a few seconds to draw on the heart shape using a red liquid lipstick with a matte finish. I wore it out to lunch with my family a couple of days before my brother’s wedding, and everyone liked it — even my mom, who thinks wearing two coats of mascara is excessive. Plus, the effect was so subtle that my dad didn’t even notice until someone pointed it out. Another bonus: This lasted through one buttery pretzel the size of my face. It was hands down my favorite look yet. Maybe I'm getting used to this makeup thing after all.
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Trend: Colourblocked Shadow At Missoni
After a fairly tame look the day prior, I was ready for something a bit more adventurous. So on day four, I decided to go with the colourblocked eye seen on the runway at Missoni. I couldn’t find the exact mint-green shade used backstage at the show, but the forest-green hue I managed to get my hands on worked well enough with my skin tone. And as long as you’re working with the right formula — in this case, a creamy one with instant colour payoff — the execution of the look itself is a breeze. I used what was essentially an eye crayon, so it was easy to draw the shape and simply fill it in. This look creates all the drama of a smoky eye without the hard work, and considering I was dressed up for my brother's rehearsal dinner, I was really into it. By the time I got to dinner, I actually forgot I was wearing makeup and no one seemed to notice — probably because people tend to wear makeup at special events. I would 100% wear this again, even during the day, because it only took one shade to make my look super interesting, without being too out-there.
Trend: Black Cat-Eye At Versus Versace
My final makeup experiment happened to fall on the day of my brother’s wedding. Okay, so maybe I planned it that way; I’d opted to do my own makeup (duh, I’m a beauty writer... and also cheap) and figured it would look fancy without requiring a ton of work. I thought the look was tame enough, so I applied the thick black liquid liner, walked downstairs, and got a resounding nope from my family (worth noting: I was a bridesmaid). Granted, it’s not the most ideal look for wedding photos and a country-club reception, so I understood their POV. Even so, I was still determined to finish this challenge, so I wore the heavy liner the following day instead. My family members liked the heavy winged liner just fine, but my boyfriend loved it. He said I looked like some video-game character named Alyx Vance. In the future, I’ll consider wearing this lewk more often — not because of my nerd boyfriend’s praise, but because I legitimately felt like a badass while wearing it. Is this why people wear makeup in the first place? I think that question alone confirms that this makeup experiment was a success.
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All in all, this personal challenge pushed me way out of my makeup comfort zone. While there were certain moments of doubt — like, every time I caught a glimpse of myself in blue shadow — I wouldn’t have figured out how much I (and everyone else, apparently) loved winged liner and glitter lids without it. I mean, up until this week, I thought glitter was for kids, never realizing how much fun it could be on a weekday morning. It was like beauty bootcamp, and although it’s been just five days (okay, technically six), I already feel like a new, grown-ass, makeup-wearing woman.
— Paid for by Maybelline New York —
When it comes to your beauty routine, don't be afraid to ditch your go-to look and try something new. Express yourself, step out of your comfort zone, and make it happen.
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