When More Is More: Kardashian-Inspired Makeup

I used to think I really loved makeup.  Well, I mean, I do love makeup.  A lot.  I always thought I loved it more than most people.  However, within the past couple years or so, makeup as we know it has changed forever in some radical ways.  And in light of this, I have to say that my love for makeup as we know it now has become more of a journey than a certainty.  Let me provide a little background.

The rise of the Youtube video blogger in the 2000’s transformed the world of makeup through the power of shared knowledge.  Suddenly, everyday women all over the world were able learn and practice difficult and elaborate techniques thanks to thousands of tutorials posted by other everyday women all over the world.  Some video bloggers have reached mega-celebrity status like Michelle Phan and Jaclyn Hill, with their worth now in the millions.  Instagram offered another avenue for sharing makeup knowledge, along with its glow-giving filters and other fancy apps with capabilities of blurring and retouching our complexions.

Then came the variable with the most impact- Kim K and her Kontouring Kingdom.  Suddenly the world of makeup was launched into the stratospheric heights of what once seemed impossible.  Social media took quick notice, and now you can’t scroll through your feed once without noticing a woman showing off that signature Kardashian-Jenner look: contoured cheekbones, a contoured forehead and chin, golden-yellow highlighting thanks to some type of banana powder, shimmery, pearlescent highlighting across the forehead and cheeks, a contoured and highlighted nose, immaculate eyebrows, full, voluminous lips sporting a matte, liquid lipstick, layered eyeshadow with a flawless cut crease, thick, perfectly-drawn winged eyeliner, and dramatic false lashes.  Throw on a couple filters and there isn’t a flaw in sight.  It doesn’t exactly look natural either, but in this new phase of makeup artistry for every woman, more is more.

I’m not consistently drawn to this maximalist kind of makeup as most know; I find myself more inspired by the work of celebrity makeup artists as opposed to what I see on Instagram (with folks like Mario Dedivanovic and Joyce Bonelli excepted).  However, it is fun to think about all the possibilities in your train case after watching a tutorial on the most elaborate smokey eye you’ve ever seen.  Even if something isn’t quite for you, it can still be inspiring.


And so, I decided to have a little fun last night and just go for more.  And man, did I not feel like myself.  This was no single wash of eyeshadow topped with a bit of kohl liner and mascara like I usually do for a night out or something.  I followed the formulas of multiple Youtube bloggers that I’ve watched and went through every step in what felt like a game of human paint-by-numbers: mattifying primer, liquid foundation, powder, concealer, contouring, banana powder, illuminating powder, blush, shadow primer, layered eyeshadow (four shades), eyeliner, mascara, false lashes, lipliner, and liquid lipstick.  Everything I used is pictured above, except for the false lashes (which were just accent lashes by Ardell).

And none of the following photos have any filter on them.  I’m simply standing in front of a soft lamp for the ones featuring the finished look.


BAM.  Crazy!  The difference is almost laughable, isn’t it?  It probably would’ve helped to give a bit more of a smile in the photo on the left, but hey, for dramatic purposes we’ll leave it as it is.  Not hiding the bangs under a beanie helps as well, but when it’s -2 outside and you’ve just arrived at work after battling the oppressive elements, you’re probably going to put your bangs in a beanie too.

But it didn’t turn out too bad, did it?!  I have to say that I liked how I looked in most every picture I took, which isn’t typical for me at all.  That is one thing that this kind of makeup can do well- photos are suddenly not so intimidating.  You just have to find your favorite angles that show off the makeup best.


Also, understand that to many women (and men too, from what I’ve seen on Insta), this is still total amateur hour. I did not take things anywhere near as far as some Youtubers or bloggers take them, and a lot of people would probably still consider this a soft, natural look. I don’t, but it starts to become a matter of relativity.  Many people have had countless hours of practice with Kardashian level, “extreme” makeup, and they can do much, much more than me in terms of talent and technique.  This is just one of my first takes on it.

I’m convinced that the one detail that really takes things to the next level is the highlighting on the nose.  It’s what kind of gives you that ethereal, almost plastic look.  The Kat Von D Shade and Light contouring palette is also key- I really, really like that palette.  I’ve watched several Youtube videos on how to get the most out of it, and it’s amazing what you can do to the shape of your face with six simple shades.  I tried to do the exaggerated lipliner for that crazy Kylie Jenner effect too, but the fact of the matter is she gets lip injections.  There are complicated contouring and highlighting techniques that can give the illusion of much larger lips, but that tends to require a couple shades of creamy concealer and I only have my match shade.  I just tried things with nude liner and liquid lipstick.

The liquid lipstick I used on my lips was also hard to work with outside of the natural lip line because once it sets on your skin, it dries within seconds and doesn’t budge.  You can’t make any adjustments or changes.  It’s seriously high quality stuff, but you do not wear it for comfort or ease of application.  I used Stila’s Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Patina.  You might be able to tell that the lip lines got a little smudgy because I tried to rub the lipstick off in some spots, but it didn’t work.  I basically had to go to bed with this stuff on and it is so unbelievably drying.  Not exactly the comforting, moisturizing formula you’d use in weather with a wind chill factor of -15 degrees.


No filters here, I promise!  Just in front of a lamp (especially because it was night and there was no natural light to be found).  I’m under a bright light on the left side too, though.

I have to say, the transformative power of Youtube-inspired makeup is undeniable.  It works, especially in terms of making you feel glamorous and photo-ready.  However, it’s not a realistic everyday look for me and my life.  Now that I know I can do it though, maybe I’ll take a stab at it more than once a year.  I just wouldn’t want this to ever feel like the norm because that can take the fun and novelty out of it.  For now I’ll just be sure to keep washing my face and taking good care of my eyebrows.  xo, MR

Sometimes I’m very unhelpful.

I recently posted a status on Facebook asking for suggestions on posts for this blog.  Apparently I was have an uninspired moment and felt the need to open up the floodgates, which is odd considering that I always seem to have ideas for posts.  I guess my point though was to see what others were interested in reading about, because sometimes what I’m interested in may not always be … interesting to other people.

I received many more responses than I’d anticipated.  Folks asking about product reviews, “best” lists of what to use for this kind of skin type, tone, and the like, and a few other unique ideas.  What’s funny is how being approached with certain questions makes you come to realize that there are territories of a subject you love that you really haven’t explored.  There are parts of the beauty realm that I really don’t know much about.  Some of these particularities haven’t been explored because I haven’t been interested, and others remain relatively untouched because I just know exactly how I feel about them and haven’t bothered beyond that.  Anyhow, the little flurry of suggestions I received has prompted me to address a couple of them, more or less, with an unknowing or uncertain shrug of the shoulders.  Or, perhaps I will address the topic suggested, but my response will probably be very, very unhelpful.  Cheers to unhelpful-ness!

The cosmetic modification of our bodies–  I am a bad person to talk to about this.  Why?  Because in so far as it has applied to myself, I have been almost wholly against the cosmetic, physical modification of our bodies as they are.  I am so to an almost extreme, sometimes strange degree.  One might say, “Oh, but you’re ok with the use of retinol creams to combat wrinkles?  Isn’t that a form of modification?”  And I would say, “Ehhhh…”.  Yeah, just “Ehhh …”.  It’s one of those things that’s hard to explain why I feel the way I feel, but I can definitely tell you that I do feel a certain way about it.  Wrinkle creams I’m fine with, but putting out cash for the immediate and irreversible alteration of one’s physical appearance (read: breast augmentation, plastic procedures on the body for purely cosmetic reasons, etc) doesn’t sit well with me at all.  Ever.  And then again, one may say, “Well, coloring your hair is an immediate and irreversible alteration of one’s physical appearance, and you do that”.  And again, I say, “Ehhhh … “.  I just can’t easily explain my feelings on this one; it seems to hinge on the reasoning behind the choice for modification, as well as the severity of the modification.  Sometimes I have weird feelings on body modification in smaller, more trivial forms (or “add-ons” as I call them), too.  An example of this would be how I’ve never considered wearing hair extensions.  I just don’t like the idea of wearing hair that’s not my real hair.  I don’t mind at all when I see others wearing them however (and I’ve got a good lot of friends that do, and they always look good), but for myself, it’s just never been one of the cards on the table.  I don’t know, I think I’ve got some kind of odd purist obsession going on.  I’ll never do acrylic nails, color contacts freak me out, and it took me some time to be okay with the idea of … false lashes *gasp* (I’m now all about those for your wedding, though).  All in all, it’s tough to articulate, and I expect no one to agree with me on the little things.  But in the more severe things like surgery, there’s no question as to where I stand.  And to be honest, I’m not yet exactly sure how I feel about wrinkles creams anyhow … the ingredient typically involved in such products can be a little harsh and out of sync with … I don’t know … nature?  We’ll see on that one, though.

Speaking of wrinkle creams … – I know nothing.  Because I haven’t tried any yet.  I know the magical ingredients to look for are things like retinol or retinoids, rhamnose, various plant extracts from green tea or shitake mushrooms, and other random stuff that Allure writes about in literally every issue.  At this point, I’d simply suggest to continue using natural moisturizer every day with SPF (the greenest you can find for your budget), moisturize at night with a rich, natural night cream after removing makeup, and the big not-so-secret secrets: drink … green … tea … and … DO … NOT … SMOKE.

And speaking of SPF … – Again, I’m not much help.  I just haven’t tried many kinds.  I will say that it’s definitely the number one rule when taking care of your skin.  From birth until death, use it every day.  And I’ll continue to sound like the broken record that I am and advise that you find the most natural kind you can for your skin and within your budget.  That’s really the only advice I have, though.  I’m willing to deal with a somewhat greasy texture if it’s natural and protects from the sun.  Additionally, I always use a daily moisturizer that has SPF in it so that I can knock out two steps in one.  I have loved the Desert Essence Organics line for their facial products for years (at Sprout’s or Whole Foods), and I’ll continue to push for them.  A non-natural kind of facial sunscreen that gets plenty of great reviews is LaRoche-Posay.  Have I used it, though?  Nope.

Minimizing pores– Unfortunately, you can’t actually make your pores shrink, but one particular product works wonders in lending a hand at minimizing their appearance: primer.  The kind that you put on under your makeup, and after your moisturizer, for the purpose of giving your makeup some serious hold and minimizing the appearance of pores and fine lines.  For a higher budget, I like BeneFit The POREfessional, and for a lower budget I like Revlon PhotoReady Perfecting Primer.  I use the former on brides, and it has a great mattifying effect.  I highly recommend it.

Biotin and hair growth supplements- I tried taking biotin for a couple months a few years back.  I saw absolutely no difference, but I do recall getting strange headaches (which, I’m sure, had no relationship with the biotin but it was a little strange nonetheless; I remember hoping that the headaches were from my hair growing so fast out of my head).  I think my nails grew faster, though!  But basically, I couldn’t tell you.  I feel that supplements like biotin vary in effectiveness from person to person.  My thing is, you can’t really grow more hair.  You only have so many hair follicles on your head and you can’t create more.  You can strengthen each strand though, which is wear I think good diet and supplements can help.  I hear a lot of good buzz about Viviscal, a supplement meant to support skin and hair strength and health.  I’d look into that.  I love leaving oils on my hair for an hour or so before washing too, like jojoba and vitamin E oils.  And honestly, good diet can’t be stressed enough.  When I’m putting junk into my body (which I’m pro at), my hair kind of turns into junk.  And my skin, too.  I don’t necessarily get break-outs or lose hair so to speak, but my skin and hair turn dull.  Look into stocking up on things like kefir, salmon, quinoa, kale and green juices in general, strawberries, acai juice when you can get a hold of it, and lobster is the beauty treatment of seafoods.

Waterproof mascara– I don’t use it.  Sorry.  I’ve got a tube that I use on brides because I know it’s standard, but I’ve actually refrained from using it on myself.  I don’t like how difficult it is to remove, and I haven’t ever found a kind that’s entirely waterproof.  And let me tell you, when you get waterproof mascara in your eyes … it … hurts.  So what do I recommend?  Wear your normal mascara, and bring some Almay Oil-free Makeup Eraser Sticks with you to clean up the mess when you turn into one yourself.

So there you have it.  Sometimes I’m helpful, and sometimes I’m not.  But I’ll continue to welcome the questions as long as an occasional unhelpful answer is welcome too. xo, MR