All my friends have been hating on me for loving Lena Dunham's layer cake of an Emmys dress, but I stand by it. Part of what made the look work, was her dramatic makeup (and hair!) look. She broke that cardinal rule of either choosing high-impact eyes or lips, and the risk payed off in a major way: It worked like gangbusters. Together with her newly-minted platinum bowl cut, it looked very artsy '80s — to me, it read very Andy Warhol x Debbie Harry, with Dunham's own signature twist.
I liked the look so much that I set about recreating it almost immediately. I didn't do the hair (alas, I think it would take too much pain and money for me to go platinum), but here's my take on the rest of her look!
Start with the basics
- Medium coverage foundation (I'm using Koh Gen Do Moisture Foundation, because it tends to photograph well).
- Concealer (unfortunately, I don't have any recommendations here; I don't like any of mine).
- Eye primer — this step is very important! I forgot to put it on my lower lashline, and that in conjunction with my seasonal allergies had me looking like a Pierott after a crying jag.
- Eyebrows! Also very important: you'll notice that Lena's are quite heavily-defined (though thankfully not as much as that infamous Girls episode). I don't have much of an arch, but I worked with what I got, using my favorite eyebrow pencil (Laneige Natural Brow Liner in Stone Grey).
Add some color to your face with some understated peach blush — the peach will play nicely with the red lipstick to come.
Go for a thick line, with the wing going out from the very outer corner, pulling the line either straight out or even slightly down instead of up. Oh, and don't forget your waterline — it'll help you get the high-impact effect. I also went over the liner with black shadow for more dimension, and added lasting power.
Next, it's time to go for the lower lashline. This time you don't have to water line — Lena didn't. This is a bit more tough, but keep the line a little more delicate than the upper line; it's not quite as thick.
Go allllll the way around — and make sure to add lots and lots of mascara, to both your top and bottom lashes (if you have them): I loaded up with about a metric ton of Makeup Forever Smoky Lash (the mini one, from the Sephora birthday gift).
Side note: This look, while a lot of fun, is also great for looking like you want to secretly murder someone.
Anyway, the high-shine, high-impact lips were one of my favorite parts of this look — as soon as I saw the shiny red lips, I knew I had the perfect product for the job: Rimmel Lip Lacquer in Big Bang. It's ultra glossy, ultra pigmented — practically perfect in every way. Its one flaw, however, is its patchiness... it fades a bit unevenly. My solution was to layer it over my Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in Standout, which wears like a dream. The two worked wonderfully together — the Revlon was like a hydrating primer that added extra dimension and color, and the Rimmel was just as shiny as I'd hoped it would be.
Bonus For You: My best attempt at Lena's signature surprised face:
Images: Getty Images; Rosie Narasaki (6); Vogue