As a Poet Named Gwen Stefani Once Said, Magic’s in the Makeup.

by Samantha Vincenty

I have kind of a weird relationship with makeup. As a kid I hated it because my mom made me an enabler to her Macy’s makeup counter addiction: I’d fidget for what seemed like hours while a woman in a white lab coat paid what sounded like empty compliments to my mother’s skin as she applied “eyebrow gel” or something equally unnecessary-seeming. I remained completely disinterested in wearing it myself until two years ago, when I discovered the boundless world of Youtube makeup tutorial videos. Since then I’ve been on a slippery slope that started with lip gloss but quickly led to mascara, and who knows what’s next? I also spend an embarrassing amount of time on Paula Begoun’s Cosmetics Cop site to research exactly how snake-oily certain skincare products are. I guess I’m a painted lady now? But I still feel like an interloper in the makeup aisles, all “Huh WHAT? Nothing!” if a Sephora employee approaches me to ask if I have any questions, feeling like I’ve been caught browsing porno mags instead of foundation.

Regardless of your personal obsession with and/or ambivalence towards makeup, this series of New York Times interactives called “Model-Morphosis” is the most hypnotic thing to play with ever. It shows the “before” and “after” faces (and hair) of runway models in various designers’ shows, with their face perfectly lined up so you can see the difference.

I actually caught myself sitting with my mouth hanging open like a dummy, transfixed as I sloooowly dragged the arrow back and forth over a face to take in the full transformation. I also love how all of the runway models have perfect skin in the “before” picture. They’re airbrushed, right? Or they have foundation on already? Just genetically superior? Makeup is still a bit of a smoke-and-mirrors mystery to me, but I guess that’s the point.

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