Let's head to the Milan Fashion Week runways and zoom in: Was Max Mara's Fall 2014 beauty look totally boring or totally genius? On the one hand, the models are basically just wearing red lipstick; on the other hand, there's something kind of striking about the look's simplicity.
While the clothes at Max Mara were monochrome, urbane, and focused mostly on outerwear, it was the beauty — in all its easy grace — that elevated the looks from "yawn, another red lip" into "Oh…this girl knows what she's doing." The hair was messy and mostly center-parted. The lips were sharply defined in matte, brick red. The eyes looked almost bare, and the cheeks were dramatically contoured.
You know when you wake up and you didn't get enough sleep and your eyes are puffy and the last thing you want to do is touch them with small sharp pencils but you have to go to work and you feel worse than naked without mascara — you feel inadequate — and you just don't know what to do? This Max Mara look may be the solution to nearly every eye makeup-related problem we've ever had. In short: it's the world's easiest way to look stylish, wide awake, and totally in control.
Always down to forgo mascara for a day (chained as I am to the cult of Maybelline Full 'N Soft), I decided to replicate the look myself. I've already got messy hair, so I'm basically ready to walk in your show, Max!
Very important step one: part hair in the middle. Bonus points for sleep deprivation, which instantly turns the "I'm not wearing any eye makeup" look into a much more haute couture "I'M NOT WEARING ANY EYE MAKEUP, WANNA FIGHT ABOUT IT?" look.
Next, if you're anything like me, you'll want to take a quick contouring class. I watched this video from Birchbox. Did everyone else realize how easy it is to fake sharp cheekbones? A little bronzer, a little highlighter, and you'll have the cheeks of a supermodel giraffe, I promise. This is me dutifully putting on bronzer with an eyeshadow brush. Remember to make a "C" shape underneath your "cheekbones."
Post-bronzer. Are those…defined cheekbones?
Then, I applied highlighter in a smaller "C" shape on top of the cheekbones. So this is what the Kardashians are always doing in their free time!
I mixed two of my cheap 99-cent lipsticks (why do I make these life choices?), hoping to recreate that brick red color that was so striking at Max Mara. Turns out red plus a tiny bit of maroon does not equal brick red. It equals normal red. Who knew? To get a real brick red shade, try something like MAC Chili (a "brownish orange-red"). Think brown undertones.
I mixed the color on my hand and applied with a finger, mattefying with cornstarch, as seen here.
Okay, can we talk about why this look works so well for a second? The saturated lipstick, when paired with super-contoured and highlighted cheekbones, creates a wide-awake illusion for the whole face. When your cheeks and lips look bright, your eyes look bright. Dear Max Mara, turns out your beauty look was pretty genius all along. You've freed us from feeling like we need to wear eyeliner when we don't want to wear eyeliner forever.