I'll Try Anything Once: Gold-Leafed Eyelids

I felt like Ke$ha, if Ke$ha was a 37-year-old married lady whose idea of a hot Saturday night involves watching "Felicity" on Netflix streaming and putting library books on hold via the Internet.
Publish date:
September 27, 2011
makeup, i'll try anything once, gold leaf

I was flipping through InStyle magazine the other day and spotted little Emma Watson working some seriously glamorous red carpet makeup that featured big, chunky gold flecks in the corners of her eyes. Here's an iPhone shot of the page in question:

Cute, right? Kinda rock, very glam. Apparently her makeup artist used gold leaf, which you can buy in sheets at the art supply store. I happened to have some on hand from a previous art project, and decided I'd try a variation on Emma's look and report back to you guys about how it works out in the real world.

Of course, I had to check in with a doctor friend first about any possible hazards. I asked her if gold leaf is in any way harmful to digest, or if it could hurt me if it got into my eyes. Her reply: "If it is real gold leaf, like real gold, it is safe. Gold is very inert. Eat it, wear it, go nuts. And I'm going to hold my breath until you tell me why you need to know this!"

When I read the package, I discovered what I had was actually imitation gold leaf made from composite metals, but I decided to take a chance and use it anyway. I also figured if a few flecks in the corner of the eye looked glamorous, why not try covering the entire lid? MORE IS MORE! Right?

OK, so it kind of ended up resembling what I imagine C-3PO's scabs might look like. But still, it had a certain over-the-top charm. I felt like Ke$ha, if Ke$ha was a 37-year-old married lady whose idea of a hot Saturday night involves watching "Felicity" on Netflix streaming and putting library books on hold via the Internet.

I snapped a couple of self-portraits and texted them to my husband, who wasn't very enthusiastic.

Harrumph! There were no red carpets in sight, so I grabbed my friends Adam and Lauren and headed to Hollywood and Highland, a big outdoor shopping mall. Surely someone out there would give me some positive feedback on my fashion-forward derring-do! I really thought it was kinda pretty.

Uh, not so much. Whether browsing the Pokemon backpacks or trying on sunglasses or ordering coffee at Starbucks, if I wasn't getting befuddled looks from the mall workers, they were avoiding eye contact with me altogether. Like, pointedly so.

When the hostess at California Pizza Kitchen did a silent triple-take, it was one thing. But when the waiter complimented Adam's shirt and Lauren's necklace but didn't even acknowledge me -- when I'd obviously gone out of my way to impress – all I could do was dejectedly eat my stupid lunch. GLAMOUR FAIL.

My fellow mall-goers were no fonder of my gilded lids. I was getting side-eyed left and right, which I didn't really understand since there are many, many wackier-looking folks strolling around Hollywood Boulevard on a Sunday afternoon. I once saw the guy who dresses up as Gandalf put his arm around a tourist and smile for a photo, only to have his false teeth come tumbling out of his mouth. It's just that kind of place.

To be honest, the public reaction felt weirdly, subtly hostile. Maybe it was the context…if I'd pumped up the drama with the rest of my makeup and styling, it might have made more sense to people.

At least my friends found the look mesmerizing, and Lauren suggested it could be a viable option for a special occasion like New Years Eve. And since the gold leaf didn't blind me or cause my eyeballs to swell up like two blister-strewn grapefruits, I do think I'll keep this trick in my back pocket. Just call me Ol' Oatmeal Eyes.