xoJane Makeunder: Soukéna, The Wardrobe Stylist Who Never Met A Dark Lipstick She Didn’t Like

Despite what her “Don’t eff with me,” edgy exterior would have you believe, Soukéna, this week’s makeunder star, does have a warm and fuzzy side. PHOTOS BY LAUREN PERLSTEIN

May 7, 2014 at 1:00pm | Leave a comment

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Soukéna before we got our hand on her. 

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Yep, this is the same girl!

THE SUBJECT: With her sexy-as-all-get-out French accent and her Salt-n-Pepa meets The Pink Ladies style, it’s hard not to notice Soukéna  on the streets of her Lower East Side neighborhood in NYC -– and that’s the point. The 20-something-year-old editorial stylist and founder of God's Magazine loves the attention she gets for her edgy look, even though in person, she’s very soft-spoken. But that didn’t stop her from throwing her name into the hat for a makeunder. So what happened when we turned her into the model and instructed our hair and makeup team do something drastically different? Well, she didn’t leave the set in tears, so that’s a good sign. Judge the rest for yourself.  

SOUKÉNA BEFORE:

Products: 11 (foundation, concealer, powder, bronzer, lipstick, lip liner, mascara, eyeliner, eyebrow pencil, blush, hair pomade) 
Total prep time: 25 minutes
Soukéna says: "I don’t see a lot of people in the city with my style and I like that. I used to wear bright red lipstick all the time, but then I noticed that everyone was wearing MAC Ruby Woo. I changed to dark lips to stand out more. The lipstick is what gets noticed the most. People usually ask ‘You have time to do that?’ but they appreciate it. My boyfriend isn’t really into the makeup. He thinks I look better without the lipstick, but I don’t agree. If I listened to him, I would never get to do anything fun with color.” 

SOUKÉNA AFTER: 

Products: 8 (foundation, powder, brow powder, lip gloss, eye liner, eye shadow, hair wax)
Total prep time: 7 minutes
Soukéna says: "I loved it! This is much more organic; it’s about showing off what I have. It’s nice when you have a new look—you appreciate it more. I don't get that excited about what I usually do anymore because I've been doing it for a while. It was exciting to see myself in a new way. The next day, I tried to keep my hair the same as it was with the texture. It's a different look for me because I usually blowdry my hair, even when I’m wearing it in an Afro.  Also, I haven’t been wearing lipstick -- I’m looking for a nude shade like what Tia put on my lips. I wish I knew how to do everything she did by myself. The soft look still brought me attention because it was well done. It was less over the top, but still beautiful.”

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Since Soukena likes to switch back and forth between straight hair and her natural texture, we gave her two options. And no, we didn’t charge her extra.

WHAT WE DID: 

After wiping away every last trace of Soukéna's heavy makeup, Bobbi Brown Pro-Artist Tia Hebron got to work on her skin. She whipped out a (1) foundation stick and applied it only where Soukéna needed it before smoothing it out with a foundation brush. “Most women only need coverage around the nose and near the jawline,” says Tia. Next she put on a little (2) powder to make Soukéna's complexion look seamless and fresh. Then it was time to tackle those brows -– Tia softly defined them with (3) brow powder. “I kept her brows bold because it’s part of who she is, but we took the edge off. When she first came in, it looked like she had used a pencil. A pencil tends to sit on top of the hair and looks heavier than it needs to. Instead, I used a brow powder that actually matches the tone of her eye brows. When you have full brows your objective is to fill them in, not to define them so it’s better to use a softer color,” explains Tia. To bring out Soukéna's eye shape, Tia used (4) neutral eye shadow (5) black liner for definition and a layer of (6) mascara. Lastly, Tia grabbed a (7) pinky-nude gloss and swiped it onto Soukéna's lips for a teensy hit of color. “When she came to the shoot, her boldness was like a super-rich coffee and we turned it down to mild brew,” says Tia.

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Dark Brow Kit, $47; Lip Gloss in Nougat, $25; Eye Shadow in Banana, $22, Skin Foundation Stick in Golden, $44; Perfectly Defined Gel Liner, $24; Everything Mascara, $25; all by Bobbi Brown. 

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Soukéna when she walked in (left) and after our pros toned everything down (right). 

Soukéna's short hair was easy to style –- hair pro Helena Moké just made a few quick tweaks. “Basically I just changed the direction and brushed it back. I used a little bit of (8) wax on the sides to make them lie flatter, but I got the separation and definition at the top pretty easily by using my fingers. For the ‘fro, all we did was rinse her hair in the sink then I dried it with a towel,” says Helena. 

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Proof that hair can look gorgeous when you just leave it alone and let it do its thing.

You’ve seen what we did with Audrey Kitching and now Soukéna –- don’t you want to get in on this? We’re looking for more real women to makeunder so if you’re game, send your picture to makeunder@xojane.com. If we pick you as our next model, you’ll get a chance to see what it’s like to get the model treatment for a day. And feel free to nominate your nearest and dearest. Friends don’t let friends miss out on makeunder opportunities. All candidates must be in New York City or LA and be open to trying a beautiful, low-key look for at least a few hours. Holla!

Photos by Lauren Perlstein, Makeup by Tia Hebron; Hair by Helena Moké.