Barbie. Martha Stewart decor. Roses for Valentine’s Day. Perfect is a bit boring, isn’t it? When it comes to makeup, I personally like a look that is a little undone. Not the whole look, because that easily becomes The Girl Who Had Too Much Tequila When She Saw Her Ex makeup. But some elements of messy-ness, I think, make it interesting and more modern. If the word “messy” bothers you, substitute it with “imperfect.” But I’m going with Messy. I’ll even capitalize it to make it more legit.
I want to clarify that there is a time and place for Messy makeup. I don’t do this style for wedding clients, because polished makeup usually goes better with wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses. I would never do it for any type of corporate or commercial job, or for film (unless that was part of the character’s look). But it’s a look that can work for day or night, depending on your outfit, the occasion and your confidence level. So much of makeup is about wearing your look with confidence. Please know that. Breathe it in, say it as a mantra, tattoo it on your wrist, whatever you prefer. You can wear Messy makeup…or a red lip..or an orange eyeshadow. Just figure out the right product(s) and application for you, and rock it proudly.
Back to the Messy thing. In my book–and again, I am not referring to the aforementioned situations that Messy may not work for–there are certain products and applications that work, and certain that don’t. Here’s my guide to getting messed up, makeup-wise.
Can I Wear…
Messy Lipstick? Yes, yes, 1,000 times yes. My new favorite way to wear my MAC Lady Danger (orange red) lipstick is to half-ass apply it to my lips directly from the tube, rub my lips together, then pat over my lips with my finger (like a lip stain, but without out removing so much of the product). No lipliner, no lip brush. I let it blur at the edges of my lips, which actually makes them look bigger (God knows I need that). With this color, it looks like I ate a cherry popsicle, which we all know is the best flavor. Messy lipstick feels so much more modern to me, and it’s easy to do and touch up.
Messy Lipgloss? No. Because if you go too far outside the natural lipline, it’s going to be sticky on your skin, and will look like you were drooling or your nose was running.
Messy Lipliner? Negative. Lipliner is used to outline or correct lip shape, so it has to be precise. If you aren’t purposeful with it, it’s going to look like a child applied it.
Messy Foundation? Hell no. If you haphazardly throw foundation onto your face, letting it streak where it will and leaving it un-blended, it’s going to look like crap. There is a reason this has never been a trend or a runway look (to my knowledge). It’s Sloppy makeup. There is a difference between Messy and Sloppy. It’s like the difference between Tipsy and Wasted. You know which one is a better look, both on your face and at Happy Hour.
Messy Blush? Nah. Blush placement should flatter your face shape, so there’s really no going outside of those parameters. You don’t want it to be two-circles-perfect though. The point of blush is to bring some color onto your face and flatter your face shape, but it needs to be blended so you can’t tell where it starts and ends.
Messy Bronzer? Nope. If you are bronzing your skin, it should go where the sun hits. Like blush, it’s all about placement and blending.
Messy Contour? No way. Have you ever seen any of those crazy striped Kim Kardashian-y “Before” contour photos? The placement is very deliberate. Yes, it needs to be blended. But you can’t just go putting stripes wherever you want, like some kind of abstract tiger painting. However, skipping contour will make you look more natural/less done up, so on some level, not contouring is a nod to Messy makeup.
Messy Powder? No ma’am. Powder is meant to do one or more of the following things: set your makeup, eliminate shine, or even skintone. It’s not supposed to be seen, so messing it up isn’t going to do you any favors. It will just make your skin look partially shiny or patchy–not cute.
Messy Concealer? No. This is for the same reason as powder–it’s not meant to be seen. Messy concealer would be akin to over or under-concealing, which just looks obvious, in the “She doesn’t know what she is doing” way.
Messy Highlighter? Nope. Again, strategic placement and blending are key. Stripey or unevenly applied highlighter will make your face shape look all wonky.
Messy Mascara? It depends. Some people like a more clumped up or textured look, which could be considered Messy. Messy mascara is basically extra mascara, paying minimal attention to lash separation. I’m all for it, as long as the lashes are full. When the lashes clump into three or four distinct sections, I don’t think that looks good. But if there are a lot of lashes with some extra texture, I think it looks edgy and cool. I’m not big on running-down-the-face mascara, but if you want to channel your inner 1990s Courtney Love, go for it.
Messy Eyeliner? Yeahhhh, buddy! If it’s a pencil eyeliner, I say do it to it. Draw a medium-thick line as close to your lashline(s) as you can get, then smudge it out with a pencil brush or an angled brush. You don’t want it halfway down your face, but if it migrates a bit, so be it. Messy eyeliner is supposed to look worn in. Unless I’m doing a retro look, I’m really not into defined liner. I even do a Messy eyeliner for weddings, but it’s more of a Messy Lite or Soft Focus Effect eyeliner. I use a pencil (or sometimes a gel liner) to line the top lashline. Next I lightly smudge it, then trace over and slightly above it with an eyeshadow. I tend to just use a thin line of liner or shadow at the bottom lashline and while I may soften it, I don’t make it Messy. But in other situations, full on Messy liner looks awesome, I think. It’s a go-to look for me.
Messy Eyeshadow? Kind of. Eyeshadow does not have to be perfectly contoured every time. You don’t always need a crease color, a browbone highlight, an outer V color, a center lid highlight, etc. I mean, keep it so it’s not noticeably uneven on your eyes, but don’t drive yourself nuts.
Messy Eyebrows? No no. Brow powder or pencil above or below your brows isn’t going to look good, but on the flipside, overdrawn or harshly filled in brows are equally unflattering. Your best bet is a softly filled in brow (which is why I tend to use powders instead of pencils).
Messy False Lashes? Possibly. If you are using strip lashes, then no. They need to sit at the lashline, placed not too far in towards the nose and not too far out towards the temples. They should line up with your natural lashline. But with flare lashes (individual clusters of 6-8 lashes), you have some flexibility. You can use different lengths, placed in slightly different areas on each eye, to get kind of a fluttery look.
If you choose a Messy makeup look, I recommend keeping it limited to one area. Messy eyeliner, mascara, lipstick and false lashes at the same time will turn Sloppy. But a Messy lipstick with a contoured eye? That’s a win. Pairing something polished with something messy is, in my opinion, updated and un-stuffy. Think jeans with heels, a white tank top with a pencil skirt, or a Biggie Smalls t-shirt with a blazer (my personal version of Business Casual). And because Messy makeup is generally easy to do, it’s a time saver. So if you haven’t already, why not give the Messy look a try? Be a borderline makeup rebel–you know you want to.
Have a beautiful day 🙂