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Gray Makeup: Fashion Phenomenon Translated for the Face

In recent years the color gray has paved a prominent reputation for itself on runways, draped as cozy sweaters, strutted in sexy ankle boots, and dressed up as a tailored suit. This fall, however, the color will leap from fashion to face, updating a woman’s look with the simple sweep of the lid. While makeup’s foray into gray might be a subtle reflection of a new economy, it more positively serves as a soothing force, revitalizing neutrality for beauty’s sake.

In fashion, we’ve seen gray’s ability to adapt. But the color’s versatility beyond the wardrobe is giving it staying power among beauty gurus as well. Emmanuelle Linard of Edelkoort Inc / Trend Union remarks, “[The industry] is making gray its new timeless basic, to be mixed with accents or other brownish neutrals. Well-being and beauty…will opt for the meditative and elegant sophistication of gray. For the Fall/Winter season, eye shadows adopt concrete hues for a refined city look, charcoal powders for a mysterious allure, or a metallic silver shine. Gray is an appeasing long-term story in times of centering on seductive essentials.”

Linard explains that gray is a neutral color which signifies calmness and balance. “In a new democratic era of sharing, networking, and balancing, it is only natural that the color gray imposes itself as the color of osmosis. Merging extremes, offering relief to our hurt souls, blending in neutrality, gray will be the response for a changing generation in search of fairness and equilibrium.”

Who Can Wear Gray Make-Up?

Hair and make-up artist Assumpta Clohessy believes that gray makeup is rather difficult to work with because of its tendency to flatter particular skin tones. “Women with warmer, yellow or olive undertones look best in this color,” she explains. The contrast in undertones softens the gray from appearing too stark. Regarding hair color, she notices that Brunettes look best in the shade. When asked if gray-haired women could participate in the gray makeup trend, she feared it could be a bit much.

But don’t be discouraged if your coloring doesn’t fall into the above preferred category. For women with fair skin, she suggests trying light gray or shimmery silver on the eye. For darker skinned women or women of color, Assumpta recommends charcoal and dark gray. But stay away from too much contrast resulting in a “raccoon” look. When choosing a versatile gray, she recommends a moist, smoky, cream-based eyeshadow since the texture adds depth and the tone offers versatility over extreme gray hues. She also believes the shade most likely to compliment the majority should contain brown undertones, lending it to a broader audience of women.

How To Wear Gray?

Assumpta explains that the most adaptable way to wear gray makeup is such that it opens the eyes, as opposed to drawing them inward. Begin with a light gray or shimmery silver at the corner of the eye, swept across the lid. Shade the brow bone with a soft gray. Then line the eye with navy eyeliner, sweeping up at the outside corner of the eye. This visually lifts the eyes, in turn opening them.

For smoky eyes, use more charcoal, either swept up from the outer lash line to the crease, or brushed through the crease of the eyes. The former, softer look can be enhanced by a pop of color on the lips— a red or fuchsia pout brings life to a face of soothing, neutral eyes. But keep the lips simple when batting smoky peepers. A glossy nude or light pink will soften deep gray shadows on the lids. Rebellion against this advice could land one a role as a dancer in a Robert Palmer video.

No longer living in the shadow of black or constantly competing with navy, gray is urging beauty and our mindsets towards neutrality this Fall. Amidst today’s stress and uncertainty, gray encourages staying calm and moving forward. Take advantage of the hue’s invigorating appeal to update your look. Its non-obtrusive facade makes for a simple and truthful, clean and polished appearance.


Here are some gray’s to play with! Click on the thumbnails for more info!

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Top 10 Beauty Faux Pas Made Popular

Marc Jacobs: Theatrical Makeup
Clowning around is typically reserved for the circus, but at Jacobs’ show white-painted faces, dramatic eyeliner, and red lips ruled. “I wanted the models to look like characters—like ballerinas who just stepped off the stage,” says makeup maestro François Nars about the look. “It’s ’30s stage makeup with a modern edge. Dancers in theater and opera always had white faces, pointed lips, and an eye that was drawn outward, not upward.”

Rue du Mail: Gray Roots
Going prematurely gray is an unwelcome tress transformation for most women. But at Rue du Mail’s show, thanks to a liberal dusting of hair powder, models boldly walked the runway with halfway–down–the–head gray, making silver strands a dramatic do.

Tracy Reese: Clumpy Mascara and Penciled-In Brows
TV commercials have drilled the importance of mascara brushes that “separate each lash” into our heads. And Brooke Shields’ lush arches have long been coveted. But at Reese’s spring 2010 show, makeup artist Charlotte Willer was intent on creating stuck-together lashes and superthin brows. “It’s a modernized ’20s look,” says the Maybelline global makeup artist. “We hid the eyebrows with concealer and drew a line over each with pencil. For lashes, we wanted them spiky so that they stood out. After brushing mascara on, I pushed lashes together so they’d appear clumped.”

Ohne Titel: Uncovered Wig Wraps
What lies beneath a wig is typically not meant for public display—but at Ohne Titel’s show, stylist Jimmy Paul purposely left models’ wig-ready heads uncovered. Inspired by the age-old hair-wrapping technique, Paul misted strands with a strong-hold spray and circled them around the head. To secure, he wove sections together with thread and applied Bumble and bumble Hair Powder for matte texture.

Preen: Matte Hair
Shiny tresses are one of the most sought-after attributes, but to offset spring’s abundance of shimmering fabrics, this season, matte hair is a must. “If clothes are very light-reflective pairing high-gloss hair with them can be too much,” says Guido Palau, who says he uses dry shampoo or baby powder on blow-dried hair to dull it down. “The two–day–old matte look is cooler—it’s not like you’re trying too hard.”

Palau isn’t the only stylist opting for matte: To complement the metallic fabrics in Preen’s spring 2010 collection, Laurent Phillippon used Bumble and bumble Surf Spray. “Normally, you’d spray the product on your hair and let it air-dry. But for Preen, I’m blow-drying with a flat brush using the Surf Spray,” says Phillippon. “This gives the hair really nice hold and a certain amount of matte texture—it’s still light and clean but has an interesting matte effect.”

Find out what 6-10 are here!

More from Elle here!

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Make Her Up is scared to introduce… Vajazzling!

This is probably – hands down – the scariest thing I’ve run across in the two years I’ve been writing for MHU. This little gem landed in my inbox today, and it was too disturbing to keep to myself. If I put these pictures on my fridge – I may never eat again!

I can’t believe this woman posed for these pictures! How gross!!! (Course, I also think it’s gross when people pose for acne pictures… ew)

Bryce Gruber of The Luxury Spot, a widely read online lifestyle site, became the first member of the media to experience the latest in personal grooming, Vajazzling.

She was sent by Spa Week Daily,, to cover one of the treatments that’ll be offered during Spa Week Spring 2010, April 12-18, when spa treatments are just $50 a piece at participating spas across the country. Gruber headed to Completely Bare on Bond Street ( to try their newest service, Vajazzling, which is the bedazzling of the area which gets waxed when getting a bikini wax (or more) by adding crystals and beads to the nether regions.

A play on bedazzling and a part of the female body, Vajazzling is the adornment of crystals and beads to the bikini area after waxing. According to the Completely Bare website, “Accessorizing your privates is the hottest rage. From crystal flowers to customized favorites, you too can now decorate your own jewels. Whether it’s a special occasion or you just want to sparkle everywhere, you can choose from an assortment of real Swarovski crystal designs so you can shimmer and shine.”

Gruber stated:

“I’m here to cover up my C section scar. I’m here to give the women of America options.”

Am I the only one grossed out by this?

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Estée Lauder Debuts at NYFW!‏

I love the colors the blue eyes and copper lips look great together!

For the very first time in the Estée Lauder brand’s 46 year history, they have embarked on New York Fashion Week – sponsoring the beauty look (makeup & nails) at the Derek Lam AW 2010 runway show!

Bold blue eyes, copper lips, matte skin, bare cheeks and neutral nails ruled the catwalk at Capitale on Tuesday, February 16th.

Estée Lauder Creative Makeup Director Tom Pecheux lead a team of 15 artists to create the stunning look on 22 models – While famed manicurist Jin Soon Choi and her team polished their nails with a new color that was tested backstage!

“When Derek showed me the fabrics that inspired his Fall 2010 collection – bold and muted tones mixed with earthy pigments including terracotta, greens and browns – I thought the makeup shades should be complimentary. So we chose a blend of bold blue shadows on the eyes, shimmering copper lips and flawless, matte skin created with a light foundation — an on-trend beauty preview of what we will see for Fall 2010.” Tom Pecheux, Estée Lauder Creative Makeup Director.

Makeup: Tom Pecheux for Estée Lauder

Nails: Jin Soon Choi for Estée Lauder

Model Photos: Ksenia Kahnovich (IMG) Photo Courtesy of Estée Lauder; Liu Wen (Marilyn) Photo Courtesy of Estée Lauder