My usual makeup is pretty boring. I’m a fan of burnt orange or gold eyeshadow for an evening look, and a slick of brown eyeliner and mascara during the day. I’ll wear a bright red lip quite happily, but you’re more likely to find five shades of pink-nudes rattling around the bottom of my makeup bag. I often don’t bother with foundation, and my eyebrows are generally neglected since my fringe covers them anyway. I like this look – it suits me and is easy, and fits my style and life. However, sometimes I miss my old days of bright eyeshadow and glitter, of graphic shapes poorly executed, of cut creases that were more crease than cut. I used to experiment and have fun with makeup, rather than reproducing the same thing everyday. Some new makeup purchases, primarily the Estee Lauder X Violette collection and a few bits from Glossier, have given me the confidence to go back to my experimental roots and play with colour.
I entered a competition to meet and learn about the new Estee Lauder X Violette La Dangereuse collection back in October, since I’ve loved Creative Director Violette’s Youtube channel since I discovered it at the beginning of the year. She creates short makeup videos, usually filmed out and about in New York or Paris, and they’re a joy to watch and learn from. Since I missed the launch of her previous Poppy collection, I knew that I wanted to learn all about her new collection ASAP. I entered the competition, and then since I was unlikely to win decided to buy a ticket for the evening event as part of the same launch. Because fate works in funny way, I won the competition, meaning I looked like an absolute stalker following Violette around Manchester and meeting her twice in the same day.
I had a great time at both parts of the launch, having my makeup done with the collection, once with the Amour Amour eyeshadow palette and once with the Blue Dahlia version. Amour Amour is the safer colour scheme of the two, and the one that I saw most of the makeup artists wearing. Violette however, was wearing shocking blue eyeshadow and looked incredible. While Amour Amour is gorgeous, Blue Dahlia stands out. I wasn’t convinced I could pull off blue eyeshadow, despite it having been my favourite colour to wear as a teenager. I was talked out of it by all the teen magazines that said if you had blue eyes you should wear brown or orange eyeshadow, and I later realised how much I had stuck to that ever since. I don’t stick the “rules” of what colours suit me for clothes, so why should I do the same thing for my eyes? Still, I wasn’t convinced that I could pull it off, so I asked the expert. Violette asserted that I should absolutely try it, and sent me off to a makeup artist who liberally applied electric blue to my lids. Surprisingly, it made me eyes look even bluer, and I fell in love with blue eyeshadow all over again.
Another old love of mine is glitter; I think we all had a bit of a glitter phase as children or teens, especially if you grew up in the 90s. I fondly recall the days of smearing sticky glitter on my cheeks before the school Christmas party, of even stickier lipgloss with chunky glitter; “it’s not coloured which makes it look natural” was something I legitimately told my Nan when she called me out on my questionable makeup choice before the year six party. Chunky glitter lip gloss is not a look I’ll be going back to any time soon, but I think I’m willing to give glitter a second chance. Within the La Dangereuse collection is a stunning copper glitter that is so finely milled it resembles fairy dust. I do not recommend doing what I did and dropping it on your black jeans, but I did enjoy feeling pretty festive that day. Applied with a tiny brush around the eyes and this stuff is actual magic, shifting from red to copper to gold in the light, it contrasts with blue brilliantly, which is perfect since I have blue eyes anyway, but looks even better when paired with the Blue Dahlia palette. When I bought this I wasn’t sure how much I’d use it, glitter being so firmly rooted in my mind as exclusively for Christmas party use, but I’ve actually started wearing it quite regularly. Whether it’s just a touch in the centre of my eye to brighten up my usual orange-copper look or used as I have here to line my lower lid and my wing, I’m loving wearing it whenever I feel the need for a pick-me-up. It immediately makes me look more awake and gives me a real confidence boost – how could I possibly be sad when I’m wearing glitter?
Back in university my skin was pretty terrible. I had awful cystic acne all over my cheeks and chin, and the only thing that ever made me feel halfway decent was a heavy coating of Estee Lauder’s DoubleWear Foundation. It was the only thing I could find that both matched my skin tone and covered the angry red blotches that covered my face. I looked a little like I was wearing a mask as I was so pale, but it gave me the confidence to ride out university until roaccutane finally started doing its job. I left DoubleWear behind when I no longer felt like I needed it, but during the La Dangereuse launch I discovered DoubleWear Light. It’s basically a lighter and more natural looking version of DoubleWear, and is now my equivalent of a high coverage foundation, since my good skin days really only call for concealer. I managed to find the exact same shade in DoubleWear Light that I had in DoubleWear, making me a very happy bunny as the vast majority of foundations are either far too dark or far too yellow for me.
While rediscovering Estee Lauder was all about taking me back to my colourful and high coverage beginnings, finally purchasing some items from Glossier has been about embracing my current relationship with makeup. There are really two trends in makeup at the moment: high coverage, flawless Instagram makeup, and all things Glossier. Glossier is the epitome of the fresh-faced and minimal makeup trend. They’ve ballooned in popularity and size since their launch in 2014 thanks to their emphasis on sleek, simple packaging, no-fuss makeup that’s applied with the fingers and a relaxed and easy aesthetic. I’ve already mentioned how much I don’t care about my eyebrows, so Glossier’s Boy Brow, a simple wand that fills, brushes and sets the brows is right up my street. I’ve tried a lot of brow mascaras in the past, but I think this might be my favourite yet. I wouldn’t mind a few more shades as blonde is a bit too cool for me and brown a little dark, but overall I prefer brown.
I also picked up one of their iconic Generation G lipsticks in Cake, which seemed like the simplest and easiest shade to test out the formula. Since I’m normally a fan of matte lipsticks I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about them, but I actually really enjoyed wearing something a little lighter and fresher, especially since in this look I was wearing more eye makeup than usual. It’s quickly become one of the many pink-nude lipsticks rattling around in my handbag, but it’s the one I reach for first at the moment – although admittedly it helps that I can spot the white packaging in my bag. I’ll definitely be picking up a few of the other shades soon – Jam and Zip look dreamy.
The Estee Lauder X Violette La Dangereuse collection was inspired by the idea of a sophisticated, independent and glamorous woman in the 30s, while the ideal consumer of Glossier is fresh-faced with perfect skin, embracing life as much as possible and wanting a fuss-free makeup and skincare routine to match. I am neither of these women; I’m not glamorous or particularly independent, and I’m far too grumpy and spotty to fit the Glossier image of femininity. Instead I’m a muddled middle-ground, not fitting in with either. Instead, I’m taking the bits of each that apply to me and making them work for me, without having to buy into the millennial pink lifestyle or feel pressure to apply a really dramatic eye look every day. Don’t get me wrong, I love the La Dangereuse collection and Violette’s emphasis on using makeup to enhance what you have rather than hide what you dislike, but I’m not always brave enough for peacock-blue eyeliner. I’m also partial to a bit of millennial pink, but I’m never going to be that California Instagram model. I’m somewhere between the two, sometimes with very minimal makeup that makes me look fresh rather than just greasy, and sometimes making a small statement – one that I’m comfortable with. The blue eyeshadow will no doubt be a regular feature on my face, but it will probably always be pared down rather than applied all over the lid – it just doesn’t feel like me, and that’s okay.