I Tried To Recreate Kim Kardashian's Beauty Routine — And Learned All About High Maintenance Upkeep
Say what you will about Kim K, but you've got to give her some credit for the way she is always polished and put-together with never a hair out of place. She's a beauty icon, and if you need to be convinced, just look at the crazy, immediate Internet reactions to Kim Kardashian's beauty routine.
I, on the other hand, am not Kim Kardashian, and spend about 10 minutes getting ready every morning. Ease over all else, is what I like to say. I rarely wear makeup, unless I have a nasty zit (but even then, I try to avoid smothering it with foundation) or I'm going on a date with my boyfriend (although usually he doesn't notice whether I have anything on my face or not). I definitely don't spend any time on my hair. So my morning routine usually includes throwing my hair up into a top-knot, brushing my teeth, swiping on some mascara and liquid eyeliner if I'm feeling frisky, and heading out the door.
My lack of investment in my beauty routine is why I was totally fascinated when I found Kim Kardashian explaining hers. In an interview with Into the Gloss, Kim gave a step-by-step look at her makeup routine, from hair to skin. It was so different from the routine I follow that I had to give it a shot to see if it would make me as polished as Kim. For a week, I subjected myself to Kim Kardashian's beauty routine to see if I could handle it, and if anyone else would even notice.
The Kardashian clan is known for their love of contouring, even if contouring is really intense. For Kim, "There's also always a matte bronzer in there... I always contour my nose, and I love to contour my cheeks." The whole concept of contouring freaks me out, in part because I hate putting that much makeup on my face, but also because it seems excessive for daily use. Why do I need perfectly contoured cheekbones if I'm just going to work or the bar with my friends, where it's dark and no one notices makeup anyway?
To replicate Kim's look, I used Rimmel London Natural Bronzer in Sun Light, which is a nice dark matte, paired with NYC Color Wheel Mosaic Face Powder as a highlighter. My fear of conturing has also meant I've never done it before, so I was not skilled at it whatsoever. I spent a lot of time on YouTube searching for tutorials, and eventually just streaked some bronzer to what were probably the undersides of my cheekbones and the sides of my nose, and some highlighter on my likely cheekbones and the bridge of my nose. It looked like I took dust from a baseball mound and smeared it on my face.
I blended to the best of my ability, and put on layers and layers of mascara, as dictated by the Kardashians. My face was noticeably tanner than the rest of my body, which was probably due to inexperience and poor color matching more than anything else. I felt beyond self-conscious with that much makeup on my face everyday, but the crazy part was that no one noticed. Not even my boyfriend, whose reaction when I told him about this experiment was to scoff since he knows I don't usually wear any foundation. Wearing that much makeup daily didn't seem to pay off, since I felt absolutely ridiculous and no one noticed I had what felt like pounds of foundation on my face or said I looked prettier or more polished than I do without it.
With all that makeup everyday, it's no wonder Kim's a little bit crazy when it comes to skincare. She's "really big on laser facials. I have this at-home LED light therapy machine called Quasar MD Plus that I got it for my psoriasis because I’ll try anything." I, however, have neither the resources nor the interest in getting my skin lasered, so I figured I'd let that part of her routine slide.
But other parts of her skincare routine were normal, reasonable even:
"My skin is more on the dry side, so I need a really thick moisturizer all the time... For face sunscreen, I have two. One is La Mer's The Broad Spectrum SPF 50 UV Protecting Fluid. They make the best sunscreen because it’s really thick and not white. It’s SPF 50 but really sheer — I love it."
Although her sunscreen might be high-end, her makeup remover isn't: "I always need a makeup wipe. I find that I can’t really take my makeup off without it. I use the Neutrogena Make-Up Remover Cleansing Towelettes. They take off everything but really gently — even mascara!"
I could afford the Neutrogena face wipes, but the $85 sunscreen was way beyond my budget, so I swapped it for Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen. For a moisturizer, I used Tatcha Supple Moisture Rich Silk Cream, which isn't as dense as cold cream but feels wonderfully moisturizing after washing my face at night. I put on the sunscreen in the morning, before slathering on all that foundation and powder and mascara, and when I came home after work, I used the face wipes, washed my face, and put on the cream.
Well, those makeup wipes did not take everything off, as Kim promised, even with the most aggressive wiping. I was breaking out in spite of this multi-step routine because the wipes weren't taking off all the makeup I was slathering on my face every morning. By day three, I was breaking out on my forehead and chin, where I tend to find acne, and also saw a zit on my cheek, where I've never had a pimple before. It was a self-perpetuating cycle. Putting on more makeup to cover my acne was only making me break out more, and these wipes' inability to take it all off at the end of the day only made me need to use more makeup in the morning. Although I kept up with it for the full five days, I was glad to be back to my regular routine by the end.
Given that I usually forget to put on deodorant on most days, it shouldn't be a surprise that I don't have a signature scent. But Kim does: "My fragrance right now is rose, and all of the scents in our Kardashian Beauty and Kardashian Beauty Hair lines are rose." I associate the smell of rose perfume with old women, but if it's good enough for Kim, it's good enough for me.
I went to Sephora and poked around for a rose-scented perfume, and after chatting with a very enthusiastic salesman, I ended up with a generous sample of Chloe Roses de Chloé Eau de Toilette.
The perfume was delightful, not too sickeningly floral or feminine, and it was nice to get a whiff of something so nice while riding on the New York City subways. But the scent was gone by evening, even though I had tried to apply the perfume on parts of my body where it should last longer, like my wrists and my neck. Although not as relaxing a scent as lavender or as bright as peppermint, rose was a nice scent to envelope myself in for a week, and I liked imagining that if Kanye walked by me, he would get confused and be like, "That smells like Kim!" (No one mistook me for Kim Kardashian at any point during this experiment, for the record.)
Kim's haircare routine was the reason I wanted to try this experiment in the first place, because it was definitely the most uncharacteristically lazy.
"For my hair, I don’t wash it every day. We start out with a blowout on day one, then we go into a messier vibe the next day, and then we flat iron it and do a really sleek look on day three since that requires a little oil in the hair. Day four could be a slicked-back ponytail, and on the fifth day is when you wash it. That’s a little excessive, maybe. [Laughs]"
Only one shower a week? Now this I could get behind.
I got up an hour earlier than usual on the first day of the experiment to wash and blow dry my hair. I'm terrible at drying my hair myself because my hair is so thick, and it didn't help that I was attempting the procedure before drinking any coffee. But I did it, and it looked OK. A couple coworkers noticed I did something different with my hair and said it looked nice when it was so straight. The second day, the style with a "messier vibe," took way less time. I just ran some mousse through my hair before pinning my bangs back. No one complimented me on that day, but it was closest to my regular hairstyle.
I had to get up early again on the third day to straighten my hair with a flat iron, but since it was already a bit greasy from two days of using product and not washing it, the style didn't frizz and the straight held all day. I thought I looked fantastic and totally fierce. Even thought it's Kim's routine, I totally felt like I was channeling my inner Khloe. On the fourth day, I popped my still straight hair into a high ponytail, and walked out the door (after doing 20 minutes of makeup. Conturing did not get easier, even after several days of doing it). I also loved this hairstyle, because my ponytail was still bouncy and voluminous from all the product that still was in there.
It was a relief to shower and wash my hair on the fifth day, but overall, the logic behind the hair routine was sound. The progression made a lot of sense, and the styles were straightforward. I loved how my hair looked on the third and fourth days, and can only imagine how much better my hair would have looked on days one and two if I had a professional to blow dry it out on the first day.
But that's the problem with trying to follow Kim Kardashian's beauty routine by yourself. She does have a whole team of people helping her out every morning. I, however, don't have a whole glam squad, so the whole thing felt slightly impractical. Let me also say I'm totally fine without a team of people helping me get dressed every morning because it's not my job to look beautiful all of the time and I'm not a multi-millionaire with a hugely successful iPhone app about my life to my name.
After five days, I couldn't stand Kim Kardashian's beauty routine. It was the anthesis of everything I enjoy when it comes to makeup and hair and beauty, especially in the morning, and most of her tips didn't work for me or my skin or my daily routine. But I'm also not living in a fishbowl, with the media scrutinizing every hairstyle and the paparazzi snapping every outfit. The whole contouring thing makes a lot more sense if your picture is always being taken everywhere you go. I also didn't have the highest quality products because I didn't want to spend the money on things I wasn't sure I would use regularly, and I think swapping out my drugstore brand makeup for department store-grade products may have made a difference.
Even if Kim Kardashian's beauty routine did not work for me, I totally understand why this would work for her. To be honest, the whole routine wasn't as high-maintenance as I would have expected, even for Kim Kardashian. But I'm just as happy to call it a success if I wash my face once a day... so I might keep up with this whole washing my hair once a week thing, even if nothing else stuck. That definitely fits into my lazy girl beauty credo.
Images: Author's Own; Giphy; Instagram/eyecanddy, kimkardashian