Tried and tested

‘I pushed myself out of my make up comfort zone — and here’s what happened’

For a self-identifying beauty obsessive (I’m part of Team Cult Beauty, after all…), you might be surprised at how little time it takes me to get ready each morning. Once my — yes, somewhat lengthy — {skin care} regime is out of the way, my {make up} takes just a few minutes: a little concealer buffed out on my blemishes and under my eyes, cream blusher tapped across my cheeks, a lick of mascara, brushed up brows — and I’m good to head out of the door.

In part, my minimal make up method is down to laziness (sometimes those extra minutes dozing are just too good to resist). But I also can pin it down to a reluctance to stray beyond the simple, reliable looks I know and trust. Call it a cosmetic comfort zone. But one thing I know to be true about comfort zones? They’re made to be broken out from.

So, in the name of beauty research, I decided to spend the week out getting experimental. Armed with a whole collection of Cult Beauty favourites — from {new arrivals} to old Holy Grails — I prepared to get creative. Here’s how it went…

The classic red lip

Writer wearing a red lip

If you’re someone that dabbles in the world of bold lipstick on the regular, this might not strike you as ‘experimental’. But, for my natural-look lovers, I know you’ll understand me when I tell you that a statement red lip can be scary. What if the shade washes me out, or the formula leaves my lips looking dry and cracked? Or — heaven forbid — it gets on my teeth while I’m in a meeting? And don’t even get me started on the patchy, flaky mess that potentially awaits me as it wears away throughout the day.

I knew this had to be the first make up hurdle for me to overcome. After careful research, I chose Vieve’s {Modern Matte Lipstick} in ‘Muse’ as my red of choice: with an ultra-creamy formula, it promises to keep your pout feeling comfortable while still offering impressive colour payoff. I kept the rest of my look simple, with a flawless base (thank you, NARS’ glow-giving {Light Reflecting Foundation}) and a classic black liquid liner (let me introduce you to Makeup By Mario’s last-all-day-with-no-smudging {offering}). 

I loved this look. Not only did I receive an array of compliments from my colleagues, but I fell head over heels for the formula of this lippie. It stayed put all day (with just the tiniest top up needed) despite me devouring a cheese-smothered pizza for my lunch, and didn’t smudge or leave my lips feeling dryer than the Sahara. Result! 

All out glamour

Writer wearing false eyelashes

Next on the agenda: nailing the ‘full glam’ look that I’ve long admired from afar (AKA my Instagram feed). For this look, I pulled in the big guns, channelling my inner Kardashian and going for seriously high coverage and all the glow. 

For my base, I opted for Hourglass’ {Seamless Foundation Stick}, an absolute game changer in the coverage stakes. With heaps of pigment (seriously, you can totally bypass concealer when using this) and a stick formula, I was worried it would leave me looking cakey, flat and dry. In actuality, this revolutionary foundation just sort of melted into the warmth of my skin, buffing out easily into a surprisingly lightweight finish — and when paired with the iconic {Hydro Grip Primer} from Milk Makeup, it stayed put — All. Day. Long.

Next came bronzer; Huda Beauty’s {Tantour} delivered a stunning ‘just off my holidays’ glow without streakiness. Topped with a little of LYS Beauty’s seriously high impact {Aim High Pressed Highlighter Powder}, I just couldn’t stop staring at my skin. If the brief was flawless, then this combo of products met it. 

The real star of the show here though was, of course, my falsies: the {Sweed X Nikki Wolff Sultry Corner} lashes. I haven’t worn a pair of false lashes since my year 11 prom over a decade ago — and I expected them to be fiddly disasters. But these flexible lashes were a breeze to apply and even survived a trip to the theatre to see a particularly emotional show. It’s official: I’m a lash convert.

Electric purple

Electric purple

On this day, I was meeting some friends out at a bar — so I knew this was my excuse to go with something colourful, metallic and a little bit sexy. Cue: a shimmery, purple liquid shadow buffed out across my lids and paired with a pretty, ‘my lips but better’ nude lip (courtesy of {Charlotte Tilbury}…)

This was my answer to a traditional smoky eye — which I can sometimes find to be too heavy and harsh against my pale, freckled skin. Instead, I opted for laying down Danessa Myricks Beauty’s {Colorfix 24 Hour Cream Colour} in ‘Journey’ with a flat shadow brush (once I’d primed my eyes with NARS’ {Pro Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base}, of course). Then, I used the shades ‘Vineyard Escape’ and ‘Shady Spot’ from Morphe’s {35S Sweet Oasis Artistry Palette} to create a buffed out look.

I was pretty pleased with the results! Sure, I’m not going to get any gigs as a pro-level make up artist any time soon — but I loved how confident this bold look made me feel. And let’s just say, a few more shades of the Colorfix 24 Hour Cream Colour may have found their way into my basket…

Pastel party

Pastel party

The final day in my experiment saw me inspired by my current {Euphoria} obsession as I dipped my toe into the world of pastels. With temperatures in London heating up, I channelled the happy optimism of springtime with a wash of sun-filled yellow shadow from Natasha Denona’s {Triochrome Eyeshadow Palette} across my lids.

For the rest of the look I kept things ultra-simple, letting the daring yellow shade do all the talking. On my blemishes, I applied a little of Benefit’s {Boi-ing Cakeless Full Coverage Liquid Concealer} — a god-send for any acne-prone beauty lovers that want high-coverage that won’t exacerbate dry patches or scarring. For my brows, I turned to the ever-reliable {Brow Pen} from Anastasia Beverly Hills, a thin, liquid formula that allows you to carefully draw in individual brow hairs for a natural, fluffy look. Finally, I coated my lashes with Hourglass’ {Unlocked Mascara}: natural, fanned out lashes, guaranteed. 

There was something so uplifting about this look. Maybe it was the colourfulness, maybe just that I spent the extra 15 minutes applying a pop of yellow to my lids before I headed out the door. Either way, I’m definitely going to be experimenting more often with different shades of pastels this spring and summer.

The final thoughts…

So, am I officially out of my make up comfort zone for good? Well my skin tints and natural-looking mascara will definitely still have a place in my make up routine now and again (remember those few extra minutes of sleep I mentioned?) — but I’ve certainly been inspired to try some new techniques and get a little more adventurous now and again. Make up is supposed to be fun after all — and I can’t wait to see where my new experimental journey will take me…


Chloe Lawrance

Chloe Lawrance

Senior Copywriter

Chloe is a Copywriter at Cult Beauty. She is a skin care fanatic and you can normally find her dispensing advice and recommendations to just about anybody that will listen (her cardinal rules? SPF daily; just say ‘no’ to face wipes; there’s no such thing as too much hydration). Chloe’s perfect day would be spent laying in the sun, a book in one hand and a cocktail (one spicy margarita, please) in the other. However, living in East London, the most she can usually hope for is sneaking 20 minutes with her Kindle and a pint in a pub garden.