A/W Beauty Trend: Victorian Consumptive Heroine Or Rabbit With Mixamatosis? You Decide!

Don't you just love it when the worlds of fashion and beauty take something utterly wrong and make it 'a thing'? I'm talking blue lipstick or fur-lined pool slides and now, red-rimmed eyes.
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Publish date:
September 5, 2013
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mac, cosmetics, AW13 beauty, Terry Barber, autumn winter make-up, red eye beauty trend

It seems to me seriously counter-intuitive to encourage us to adopt a make-up look that will result in us looking like we have the dreaded 'pink eye' (conjunctivitis) or just stepped off a nine-hour flight.

The intention - as MAC's Terry Barber explained to us at the AW trends presentation - is to achieve something resembling a Victorian gothic heroine, all wistful and melancholic, dying of love (or more likely, TB.) I refer you to my orginal review of that session, where he described it thus:

"This is all about the trend for colour on the eyes, but we’re not talking boring old eyeshadow, rather eye stains. The look is cold, soft, pretty, romantic and gothic. ‘Tired, sleepy eyes’ – Victorian diseased eyes! A new take on romantic with a gothic twist."

Game for a laugh, I decided to give it a go. The trouble was, I didn't actually have any red eye make-up. Nevermind! I used lip pencil instead. I know, blasphemy. But honestly, all this stuff we use to paint our faces with is roughly the same (er, not that I'd say that to the brands who spend millions developing very specific products for each square inch of the face - see my beloved eyelid primer from Clinique.) You're encouraged to dab a little lipstick onto your cheeks instead of blusher to tie a look together, so why not go the whole hog and slap it on your eyes too?

I wanted to look like this:

But was scared I was going to look like this:

In the end I think the result I achieved was somewhere between the two - the final effect wasn't really helped by the fact that my eyes were pretty bloodshot anyway (enhancing the 'mixamatosis rabbit' vibe) but still, it was intriguing. I prepped by watching the wonderful Lisa Eldridge's video tutorial on red eye make-up - she used Barry M Dazzle Dust to achieve her look, and the main tip I took away was that black liquid eyeliner pulls the whole thing together (doesn't it always?)

These are the products I used:

So I did primer first (from By Terry, £41, spacenk.com) which feels nice but honestly isn't essential and I think I could live without it. Then MAC Mineralize Moisture SPF15 Foundation (£27, maccosmetics.co.uk) in NC20 with a bit of Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation on top because I wanted to be sure to conceal any redness in my skin (cos Lisa said so) and also I wanted to get a balance between a matte and dewy finish.

I used a bit of blusher but it looked too pink in the photos so I covered that with more powder - trial and error my friends! And then the fun bit: the eyes. Basically after curling the lashes and evening out the eyelids with my trusty Clinique 'All About Shadow' primer, I drew all over the lids using a Diego Dalla Palma lip pencil (£14, marksandspencer.com) like a crayon.

It went on surprisingly well, building up to a nice dense colour and smudging easily with a cotton bud so I could wing it out at the corners of the eyes. And I topped it off with good ol' Rimmel's Scandaleyes liquid eyeliner and Retro Glam mascara (£5.49 and £6.99, boots.com). Oh yes and a bit of Nyx Collection Noir Satin Finish Black Liner (£4.50, amazon.co.uk) on the lower inner lashline - I haven't used this kohl before and it's really nice, a soft, smudgy proper black.

And because this isn't exactly a 'less is more' look, I went for a full-on red lip using NARS' delicious Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Mysterious Red (£17.50, narscosmetics.co.uk). God I love this product, it's so intense and bold, just as a red lipstick should be. And there we have it.

Weirdly, the red eyes looked more intense in real life than in the photographs, but I didn't mind that - I probably wouldn't wear this particular look for a day in the office or going round the shops, but when the nights draw in and if I have a cool party to attend I would definitely consider breaking out the red again. My instinct is this isn't a look to be precious or precise about - there's no point stressing if it gets smudgy or goes a bit uneven, just have fun with it!