In February of this year, I asked a handful of celebrity makeup artists to predict the biggest makeup trends of 2019. I don’t usually put a ton of stake in “trendy” makeup, but when this trusty coalition of in-the-know beauty gurus listed the looks to watch this summer, I perked up like a meerkat at sunrise: intensely bright eyeshadow (think yellow, teal, and magenta), bushy “bedhead brows,” and glazed skin were among the enticing trends they listed. Which just so happen to align perfectly with my kinda weird, kinda whimsical, always brightly-colored makeup vibe. Damn, I thought to myself, this summer is going to be good—and not only because of the fire makeup trends in the forecast. I’m also extra pumped about summer 2019 because I had an exciting career thing happen: On May 28th, I published my first book, Wordslut: A Feminist Guide to Taking Back the English Language, and embarked on a five-city book tour (which I’m still on right now!). That may sound unrelated to the makeup trends thing, but I promise it isn’t. Because when dreaming up my book cover, I worked with my publishers to create a bold and graphic yet ultimately simple design, which, in the end, wound up reminding me exactly of the predicted makeup trends that have indeed been taking over summer 2019. My life as a beauty lady and a book lady suddenly felt like they were colliding…
The Wordslut book cover is what one might characterize as Gen-Z yellow, an unapologetically bright answer to the muted millennial pink we all know too well. This also just so happens to be my single favorite eye makeup color of the moment: “Egg yolk eyes” are a strangely amazing new makeup trend I’ve written about here on Who What Wear—it’s something I first saw (and fell in love with) on my single favorite makeup Instagram account, @beautyisboring. Okay, again, all of this may sound disconnected, except that a few weeks ago, an offer came my way to marry the two loves of my life—makeup and my book—more spectacularly than my wildest dreams. The makeup artist and photographer behind that Beauty Is Boring account that I love so much, the legendary Robin Black, slid into my DMs and offered to create a makeup look inspired by my book cover. Most exciting beauty opportunity of my life? A thousand times yes. Black’s creativity is unmatched in the industry—she’s one of those people who’s managed to squeeze about a hundred lives into just one, and her years of experience doing makeup on actors, rockstars, and editorial shoots (Vogue, Elle, Allure… you name it, she’s done it) show up in the one-of-a-kind looks she creates.
A few days before my book’s launch, I drove my giddy behind to Black’s hidden bungalow of a studio in Los Angeles, where the iconic makeup magic behind Beauty Is Boring happens. We collaborated to create a super on-trend look for me, and I learned a ton of genius makeup secrets along the way. Keep scrolling to see the whole process, the products we used, and the dope final look.
No matter how good the makeup and lighting, your face will always look a little weird unless you prep it appropriately with skincare. And on the day of my Beauty Is Boring shoot, my skin really needed some TLC. I have a combination skin type, which means I’m prone to both blemishes (particularly hormonal ones around the chin) and dryness (especially when I’m tired… which, juggling book promotion and a full-time job, I always seem to be… fun!). Still, I was hellbent on getting that dewy, glazed-skin effect.
Black, a seasoned skincare prepper, mostly used Sisley’s(expensive, but damn good) product line to deeply hydrate my fatigued skin. The brand’s luxurious Eye Contour Mask is one of her holy grails for making one’s under-eye area look plump and bright. And when moisturizer wasn’t enough, a thin layer of their Black Rose Precious Face Oil (applied everywhere but the chin) guaranteed my foundation would look glowy and not flaky or cakey. The most interesting part came when Black massaged the products into my face using a ReFa face roller (“You must get one,” she told me urgently). She glided this clever device over my skin for about five minutes, which aided with product absorption, increased circulation, and contoured my face muscles, so by the end, my skin looked noticeably dewier, tighter, and more lifted.
As for makeup… Black started with Koh Gen Do’s foundation (also my go-to pick), which makes the skin look naturally flawless even on super-HD film, and Surratt’s concealer palette very sparingly on my under-eyes and blemishes. (She used a darker shade of Surratt concealer to lightly contour my cheekbones.) It was important to Black that my freckles show through. (A pet peeve of hers is when internet beauty gurus—no shade!—slather giant swabs of concealer all over the face.) Zero cakey vibes here.
Wander Beauty is another sleeper-hit fave brand of Black’s: She used their skinny brow pencil and Tom Ford’s fiber brow gel in a cool taupe shade to give me the fluffy, feathered brows of my dreams. She also opted for Wander’s clump-free, volumizing mascara, applied with a tiny fan brush for more precision, after curling my lashes with her trusty Suqqu lash curler.
Now for the main event: Color. Black applied Dior’s On-Stage Liquid Liner in Matte Yellow, which has crazy-flexible felt tip and ultra-pigmented formula, all over my lid up into the crease. A perfect egg yolk eye to match my bright yellow book! On my cheeks, she used a generous application of Ben Nye’s Creme Blush Wheel: This is a professional product that offers a literal lifetime supply of blush in six different shades for just $20. Genius.
Then, to guarantee my skin would look as glazed as it should for summer 2019, she applied Chanel’s Baume Essentiel in Transparent, a completely clear product that’s basically just dew in a stick, to the high points of my face. She powdered my T-zone so I wouldn’t look, like, ickily shiny, while leaving the rest of my skin peak-glowy.
As for lipstick, I normally don’t go anywhere near liquid formulas, because they dry the living daylights out of my pucker. But Black promised me that Fenty’s Stunna Lip Paint, which doesn’t dry down totally matte, would exceed my expectations—and good goddess, it really did. So creamy and comfortable on the lips, yet intensely pigmented (just don’t plan to eat a bunch of food with this stuff on, because it does smear… perfect for photos, though). Black applied the brand’s bright coral shade Unattached until the very outer limits of my lips (without quite overdrawing) to emphasize them as much as naturally possible. Then, at the last minute, she decided to go back in with the same Dior eyeliner in Black to create a sultry Sophia Loren cat eye. This added some photo-worthy drama (though if I were recreating the look for every day, I’d probably leave this step out and stick with the one-dimensional yellow eye).
After years of gazing aspirationally at Black’s Beauty Is Boring creations, experiencing her work firsthand, especially in celebration of my book, was incredibly special. Surreal! It’s always validating when your worlds collide, you better believe I will cherish these photos forever—and plan to rock yellow eyeshadow, bushy brows, and glazed skin all summer long.