Epic staffer tries his hand at the art of makeup

Arul Gnanasivam, Photo Editor

Junior Marie Karpinska lays out a vast collection of brushes, palettes and powders in front of her. She chooses the products she needs and delicately applies the products to the model’s face, precisely adhering to the contours and curves of her face. Only a few minutes later, the model’s face is transformed into a work of art. Marie started uploading makeup tutorials onto Youtube and Instagram to showcase her talents in January 2017.

In this challenge, Marie applied makeup to one side of our model Aurelia’s face. My part of the challenge was to try to recreate the look she created.

The makeup that Marie applied was impressive to say the least. While she was applying each product, the effect of each product wasn’t very noticeable. As she put the finishing touches on Aurelia, however, the effect of her makeup as a whole became clear. The way Marie blended all the products was especially mesmerizing. What seemed like a random placement of various products soon turned into a smooth mixture of color and shading that added a sense of depth, and accuentated Aurelia’s features. An excellent example of this was when Marie applied the eye shadow, choosing from the Morphe Second Nature eye shadow palette. She created a gradient from gold to black as she moved outwards from the left of the right eyelid, blending the eye shadow to create a sense of depth that complimented the curvature of Aurelia’s eyes. That’s the thing about Marie’s makeup that stood out to me the most: the makeup never seemed overpowering or garrish; rather, it enhanced the features that Aurelia had. Having seen the process by which she applied each product, I was confident that I could recreate what she had done. Aurelia had nothing to worry about.

When it came my turn to apply the makeup, I was nervous, to say the least. I had sketched before, but applying makeup on someone’s face is a lot different from drawing on a piece of paper. Also, I sensed that Aurelia didn’t really trust my skills. Nonetheless, I was excited to start. I began with the eye shadow palette. There was an enormous amount of brushes to choose from, and I didn’t know the difference between any of them. But since most of them looked about the same, I picked one that was reasonably sized and dipped it in the gold powder. The process of applying it was easy enough; I spread the glittery powder across Aurelia’s eyelid a few times until the glittery gold color was visible from a distance. The difficult part, however, came when I needed to create dimension. I started off by applying a bit of red, and then some black, hoping that it would look somewhat like a shadow. It didn’t. Instead, most said it looked like Aurelia had a black eye, probably since I added a bit too much black. My blending technique was subpar, and instead of a slow gradient from gold to red to black, my creation looked more like three squares. Although it didn’t look close to what Marie had done, I was still satisfied with the look I had achieved, so I moved onto the highlight. Marie had stressed how precise I had to be with the highlight, so I knew that I needed to take my time and be careful. Marie also noted that the highlight belonged on the cheekbone, and emphasized that I shouldn’t put too much, or I would smear the highlight all over Aurelia’s face. Keeping this in mind, I carefully applied three small drops of the highlight. It looked fine at first, but as I brushed the highlight around, I realized that it was a bit… overpowering. But I decided it was fine and moved onto another crucial part: the eyeliner. Marie had incredibly steady hands; unfortunately, I didn’t. Still, I was able to draw a decent-looking wing by my standards. I later combined purple and yellow from the lipstick palette to create a light red color for application.

To be honest, the makeup I had applied didn’t look quite as good as Marie’s makeup look. Marie’s highlight actually highlighted Aurelia’s cheekbone, whereas the highlight I applied just looked like I accidentally spilled something on her face. The eyeliner that Marie applied was a steady, solid line, while mine was patchy and slightly crooked. When I compared the two sides, I found that the single biggest difference was how the makeup was all blended together. The makeup Marie had applied cascaded across Aurelia’s face, gradually growing brighter around the cheekbones and fading back to dark on the cheeks. On the other hand, the makeup I had applied was choppy and broken up, ruining the wavy effect that Marie had achieved. From my ten minutes of makeup experience, this is probably the biggest piece of advice I can give: blend. It basically fixes everything.

In the end, I learned that makeup is a lot harder than it looks. The finished product looks very natural, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In reality, the setup is extremely complicated. There is a multitude of brushes, palettes and other products to choose from, and that’s just the first step, not to mention choosing colors, blending, applying mascara, lipstick and much, much more. On top of all of that, this entire process varies with each model, depending on their skin tones and facial structure. While it is easily taken for granted, makeup in reality is an art in itself; it requires skill, patience and practice.

Watch the challenge: