Makeup is a powerful way to transform your outer appearance, but can it transform your mood too? This is something I wanted to explore since I’ve been staying mostly confines of my apartment these days, with fewer outside forces that can shift the way I feel.
Coco Chanel once said, “If you’re sad, add more lipstick and attack.” Tyra Banks has been quoted saying, “I love the confidence that makeup gives me.” I wanted to explore whether makeup can really buff away a bad mood and whether the process of applying balms, powders and creams could have as powerful an effect as the final look staring back at me in the mirror. So, for eight days I created a different makeup look, something different to my go-to (which is very much no-makeup makeup), and kept track of how I felt applying my face and wearing it throughout the day. Here’s my makeup diary—mood swings included.
Day One: Faux Freckles
The look: This look isn’t too dissimilar to my everyday makeup, but I ramped up the dewy highlights and freckles. I may not be able to get outdoors much but this helps me look like I’ve spent a weekend in the countryside.
My mood: Throughout the day I felt grounded and calm. Taking the time first thing to apply my makeup has definitely helped. Makeup may seem trivial, but there is a comfort in keeping as many of my day-to-day practices alive right now.
Day Two: Two-Tone Lip
The Look: For me, there are few more energizing makeup looks than a bright lip. I applied the pink all over and then dabbed a little of the orange in the center to create an ombré effect.
My Mood: Putting on the lip immediately brightened my mood. It lasted pretty well throughout the day but it’s a bit depressing reapplying a bold lip when you have nowhere to go…
Day Three: Rose Gold Eye
The Look: I’d seen Katie Jane Hughes create a look like this and I wanted to give it a go. It took some time to apply and getting the shape even on both sides was a real test. It was almost meditative and I found it incredibly relaxing to take the time out to really perfect this look. For all creative types, applying a makeup look like this that takes time and patience can be both calming and mood-boosting.
My Mood: Wow, MAC pigments do not budge! I never thought I could create a look like this, so every time I caught my reflection in the mirror today it made me smile.
Day Four: Graphic Liner
The Look: This was a right faff to apply and I could not get it even, however hard I tried.
My Mood: After a while, I accepted that it wasn’t going to be perfect and decided to find beauty in the imperfection. Kind of like life right now, I’m realizing we have to relinquish control and look for the positives, embracing them where we can.
Day Five: Red Lips
The Look: This is my go-to going out makeup combo—a taupe eye (always the Bobbi Brown Shadow Stick) and an orange-red lipstick. Lisa Eldridge’s lipsticks are the best I’ve ever worn—the velvet finish is gorgeous, they last all day, are comfortable on the lips, and the colours are perfection. I love them and they make me happy when I wear them.
My Mood: At first I felt really motivated wearing this look and got loads of life admin done. But then I had a Zoom call and felt a bit silly wearing this full glam look around the house!
Day Six: Pink Eyes
The Look: I applied this shadow with my fingers—no brushes, so it was really tactile and fun to do. I’m obsessed with the frivolity of this colour and wearing it with barely any other makeup it doesn’t feel too “done.”
My Mood: Today was a happy day and I definitely credit that in part to the eyeshadow, and also to the fact I went out for my first walk in four weeks!
Day Seven: Bronze All Over
The Look: Since I can’t go on vacation right now, I thought I would bring the vacation to my visage with a good dose of Chanel bronzer and a dusting of Illamasqua’s sheeny shadow. I slicked Kiehl’s Love Oil (that I used for the Rose Gold Eye look above) onto my eyelids and lips, then dabbed the Illamasqua shadow over the top.
My Mood: I feel healthier and happier wearing this makeup look. Despite the fact my vacation being cancelled because of the events of the last year, I am thankful that myself and my family are well. It makes me think of all those who aren’t and people like nurses and delivery people who are working tirelessly to keep our countries going. Let’s hope that a renewed and long-lasting kindness and a camaraderie amongst our fellow humans can be a positive that comes from this time.
Day Eight: Floating Liner
The Look: Much like the Rose Gold Eye, this took some time to apply and get even. The secret is a Q-tip (try the Last Object’s reuseable one) dipped in micellar water to tidy the edges and get the lines even.
My Mood: This Urban Decay pencil lasts all day and it’s a fun look to apply and wear.