Opinion: Perfect makeup is overrated
Makeup does not need to be flawless to be "good."
If you’re frequently perusing Instagram for beauty inspiration, there is a good chance you have stumbled across makeup artist Anne Sophie Costa’s account. Her feed—stocked with images of glossy, glittery, colourful makeup—is a refreshing contrast to the default look we think of when we hear “Instagram beauty.” Instead of the Facetuned selfies featuring heavily filled-in brows, heavy contour and overlined lips, Costa’s work could be described as messy in comparison—and that’s not a bad thing.
“It’s important to be playful with your makeup,” says Costa, over the phone from her apartment in London, Engand. “I think there is so much beauty in imperfection, because we ourselves are imperfect. Makeup doesn’t need to be this perfect contoured face or precise eyeliner,” she says. “It’s fine if it’s a little smudged. That’s what’s pretty.” Scrolling through her feed, you’ll come across full eyebrows some might consider overgrown, smudged lipstick framing gap-toothed smiles, purposefully clumpy mascara (she called this “clumsy lashes”) and lip gloss. Lots and lots of gloss (and often worn on eyelids).
The makeup you do—or don’t—decide to wear is a personal choice. Ultimately it should make you feel good, so if spending 45 minutes on your foundation for a special night out makes you feel like Cinderella, then have at it. But if Costa’s work can teach you anything, let it be that there is beauty in imperfection. Next time you reach for your powder highlighter, try a gloss dotted on your cheekbones instead. Skip your monthly eyebrow appointment and let them go a little unruly, or blur your lipstick at the edges a tad for the “snogging lips” look à la Preen f/w ’17.
“You can wear a bold white eyeliner on a night out and still look pretty,” she reminded me (I am stuck in such a smoky eye rut). “I think that is why a lot of people relate to my work, because they are like, ‘Oh, ok, I can wear a blue eyeliner or a pink eyeliner or smudged lips or glitter and still look cute.'”
Cute and London club-gyal cool. Below, Anne Sophie Costa answers a few more of our burning questions and provides us with a few tricks for rocking glossy eyes.
How did you become a makeup artist?
“I went to graphic design school and was doing a few extra jobs on the side for cash. I was working as a hair model, and one day there were so many girls on set and only two makeup artists, so I volunteered to help with the makeup. The makeup artist would pass me products and tell me what to do. At the end of the day she was so happy with my work she asked me to be her assistant. She brought me to fashion week! I ended up completing both my graphic design course and makeup artistry school. I think makeup really chose me.”
How would you describe your beauty aesthetic?
“I have been really working on my own style, and I am really happy with it. My makeup style is between art and commerce. That’s how I would describe it. I can be creative, I can use glitter, I can use gloss, but at the end of the day it has to sell—which means it has to be wearable. People have to look at it and think ‘I want to wear an orange eyeliner.’ It’s arty because I use different kinds of materials and play with texture, but I also have to want to wear it everyday.”
What inspires you?
“My inspiration comes from art and design; shapes and colours. When I was young I was a bit punk, a bit gothic. I used to wear black makeup as a statement because that was my style of music; my style of living. Makeup is a statement, but it also has to make you feel beautiful.”
Tell us about your love affair with gloss. Why do you use it so often in your work?
“Gloss makes you look fresh, like you just came out of the water—like a mermaid. I am attracted to freshness and to skin. If you have to use matte makeup because you are worried about shine, use a gloss as highlighter on top. I only use M.A.C Gloss. But don’t use too much! Just a tiny touch. Start small and then build.”
How can we incorporate gloss into our own look?
“Wear gloss on the eyes for daytime, and on both the eyes and the lips if you want to go out at night. Usually I do a little bit of glitter on my eye first—just a touch—and then I put the gloss on. Tap it on with your finger. Don’t worry if it gets a bit funny; the warmth from your eye will make it melt and smooth it over.”