Each season we revel over the beauty looks backstage at NYFW. From graphic eyes and fluorescent lips to dewy skin and groomed brows, it always looks cool and innovative or natural and nonchalant—but either way it feels like only a model with a 20-year-old skin's and 0% body fat could pull it off. I set out to prove that notion wrong.
I went behind the scenes and had a lead makeup artist at three shows try the exact look out on me. I was nervous because I had no idea what to expect—would I be venturing back to office with Thom Browne–esque smeared lipstick? Would I have to explain my out-there eyeliner at the next show? It turns out the runway transitioned quite nicely to IRL, and I wore each look for the rest of the day post-application. Keep scrolling for the final looks and the products you need to re-create them!
Perhaps my favorite look was the one from Alice + Olivia. It's completely different than anything I would do on myself —I'm very "no makeup makeup" in my aesthetic—but it was absolutely gorgeous. I met with lead makeup artist (and ray of sunshine) Sarah Lucero at the Tresemmé Salon in the lobby of Moynihan. (Tresemmé stylist Jeanie Syfu did my hair as well, but more on that later.) First, she explained the inspiration: "1800s tarot-card readers and the power of positivity inspired the lavender and lilac pops that are mysterious but vibrant." We talked about drawing attention to the eyes, as "they're the windows to your soul." I'm always trying to look bright and big-eyed, so I was game.
Lucero used Stila's Smudgestick Waterproof Eye Liner ($22) in Black Amethyst and Purple Tang, moving straight out from the eye creating a dramatic straight-edged cat eye. Next, she applied a pale shimmery lilac shade from Stila's Eyes Are the Window Shadow Palette in Mind ($49) for a washed-out pastel look. Things were looking good. My blue eyes looked more intense than ever before as she swiped on the most gorgeous cheek palette I've ever seen in my life. She used all three colors to highlight my cheekbones and add shimmer to my already glowing face. Lucero finished off the look with mascara, and I was in awe. She passed me off to Syfu for hair, and there was an unprecedented pep in my step.
For the hair, Syfu gave me whimsical fishtail braids with wispy pieces left out to add texture and that cool factor. The hero product was Tresemmé's Perfectly (Un)Done Wave Creation Sea Foam ($5) to add that free-flowing volume and grit.
Was I model? While I wasn't booked to walk in any shows, I gave my legs a good strut as soon as I left.
Next up was the look that most closely fit my usual vibe. I walked into the Band of Outsiders studio—well-lit, covered in minimalistic cool-girl clothes—and met Maybelline's lead makeup artist, Grace Lee. She was bubbly and wonderful and couldn't have put me more at ease. I was psyched once she started explaining the look. "It's sun-kissed and dewy, made to purposefully look like L.A. street kids instead of runway models," Lee explained. I've always wanted to be an L.A. street kid, so bring it on, I thought.
She started with my skin, creating a flawless canvas for the rest of the makeup. Maybelline's Dream Cushion Foundation was first and then a bit of color-correcting concealer for my tired eyes (dark circles plague me) and a bit of redness around my nose. What happened next was truly innovative. Lee mixed together Maybelline's Color Sensational Loaded Bold Lipstick in Mauve It ($6) with clear lip gloss to create a glowy, dewy, perfectly glossy blush-highlighter combo for my cheeks. She applied it with her finger to the apples of my cheeks and then patted the same lipstick shade right onto my lips. After a healthy dose of Maybelline's Face Studio Master Strobing Stick ($8)—my fave!—she completed the easygoing look with a few swiped of mascara and I was done! I looked positively radiant, if I do say so myself.
The third look was from Jonathan Simkhai, and it was one that made me feel decidedly sexier than usual. Maybelline's makeup artist Gato was inspired by the desert, so he kept the skin balanced with a matte, dusty feel, but added just a touch of glow as if you'd been out in the sun for too long.
To accomplish the sultry desert-girl vibe, he used Maybelline's Dream Cushion Foundation and Brow Precise Fiber Volumizing Mascara ($9) to create a perfectly thick brow, but keeping with the natural shape. He used Maybelline's Nudes Palette ($10) for the dark chocolate-brown shadow and smudged it in underneath my lash line with his fingers. For the highlight, of course, he used Maybelline's Face Studio Master Strobing Stick ($8). It really is incredible. He lightly tapped it along my cheekbones and into the hairline. For subtle contour (and to add that sex appeal), he applied Maybelline's Face Studio Master Contour Stick ($8) to enhance the highlight. The last touch was a creamy nude lip, Maybelline's Color Sensational Creamy Mattes Lipstick in Daringly Nude ($6), and I was ready for those textured waves.
Tigi's own Thomas Osborn fused layers of slashed fabric with ornate embroidery and handmade beadwork to create the most exciting hair wrap since summer camp (remember those). Needless to say, it's a few days later I'm still rocking it. Osborn explained, "This look is all about creating texture that isn't too polished. We wanted to keep hair down and natural-looking with an element of dry, roughness to highlight the collection inspired by beaches and deserts. The hair wrap adds a modern twist."
First, he sprayed a generous amount of Tigi Catwalk Session Series Salt Spray ($22) throughout my dry hair to create a tousled, textured base. Then on to the blow-dry and the curling. The trick for those not-too-polished waves is to wrap large sections of hair around a 1.5-inch curling iron without closing the clamp—make sure to leave the ends out. After each section is released, he gently raked through my hair with his fingers to loosen the curl. For the hair wrap, pick a few beads and colorful thread. Braid your hair into a thin braid, weave them through in a crisscross motion, and you're all set!
Which look is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below and check out the time I accidentally became a model at NYFW.