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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 17 July 2018

Fashion notes: Brow kits and beauty blenders

To contour or not to contour? That is the question facing many women these days.
A hip make-up on models from Donna Karan. JP Yim / Getty Images
A hip make-up on models from Donna Karan. JP Yim / Getty Images

To contour or not to contour? That is the question facing many women these days when we stare at our reflections. What we find gazing back at us are our too-thin lips and too-small eyes. Time spent drooling over celebrity make-up looks and shocking before-and-after makeover photographs makes us aspirational – we’re unhappy with our natural features and eager to paint our faces to portray a more interesting and exotic appeal. With the help of some nude lip liner, our lips could look as plump as Kylie Jenner’s, and with a bit of bronzer in the right place, we could have cheekbones like Jennifer Lopez.

But learning the skill doesn’t come cheap – watching YouTube make-up tutorials only gets you so far. Make-up masterclasses and workshops are ­compulsory now to have any credit to your competence in the field of cosmetics.

A crop of self-proclaimed “MUAs” (make-up artists) have emerged on social media, almost taunting us to up our game. If your daily make-up essentials consist only of blush and a smidgen of mascara, you’re made to feel inferior to the gang who carry around gel liners, pore fillers, lash ­serums and a pack of 10 or more ­brushes.

But contouring techniques are complicated, beauty blenders are baffling and applying eyelashes can be a struggle. Not to mention spending more than 10 minutes on your make-up in the morning takes a ton of patience – it can be furiously frustrating for a smudge of black eyeliner to land on your cheek or for your lipstick to somehow end on your chin after your foundation is set and blending complete.

So how are we supposed to keep up? No longer is a simple MAC compact enough, and lipstick without lip liner and lip primer just doesn’t cut it anymore. Our significant others claim they like us best without heaps of make-up on. Yet still we pause while scrolling through their Instagram popular page feeds when super-made-up models and celebrities come on screen. Naturally, our instinct tells us to imitate the images we see, especially when they yield so much attention.

Now, I would never mandate women to refrain from using make-up altogether – I’d feel undressed without any liquid eyeliner on. But I do feel we should pick and choose the beauty trends we copy. There’s a fine line between make-up looks that are heavy but still pretty and those that are patently fake and slightly freakish. There’s something very wrong with the over-lined out-of-line lip fad, flaunted by girls who would surgically enhance their lips if they could. Not to mention the numerous health risks that are propagated by the do-it-yourself ­lip-plumping trend.

Too much make-up seems to be more of a celebrity occurrence than a fashion one, since “less is more” seems to be the overall beauty trend on the runways. Sure, we might see a bold purple lip here and an overly prominent winged cat-eye there, along with the occasional experimental neon face paint, but on the whole, models are often quite barefaced – just look at Gucci’s autumn/winter girls, who paraded down the catwalks as plain Janes.

If you want to buy into the current over-the-top make-up hype that’s fine, but if you’re on the fence, keep it real and stick to make-up that makes you comfortable. Don’t get peer pressured by the influx of MUAs who contend contouring to be crucial and false-eyelash application to be a daily ritual.