What you’re looking at here is my face with more than $2000 worth of makeup on it. It’s about the same value as my car. That is, in theoretical terms, if I were to buy every product used.
I got my makeup done at Mecca Cosmetica in Kirkcaldie and Stains in Wellington for my birthday, and because it was a special occasion I asked Kate, the makeup artist working on me, to use the fanciest products they had. She certainly delivered! I couldn’t help but itemise everything she used, to try to remember them all, but also to figure out exactly how fancy and expensive of a face it was.
I think it started when a friend asked how much I was willing to pay, in theory, for a foundation that was complete perfection: in coverage, application, longevity, finish. My answer was that I’m already prepared to pay the NZ $89 for NARS Sheer Glow, and while it’s my favourite foundation, it isn’t flawless.
That got me browsing the By Terry offering on the Mecca Cosmetica website, and discovering the Eclat Opulent Nutri-Lifting Foundation. Only NZ $250! You know, more than a week’s rent. I joked that I would be too afraid to try this just in case it was perfect, in which case I would never be able to use an inferior foundation again.
This is where my birthday makeup appointment comes in, and we decided to use the fanciest products on offer. I snapped the shot above when we were at the base stage, after skincare. I can’t remember every skincare step Kate did, but I’ve done my best.
I wouldn’t normally itemise everything in a makeup look quite this obnoxiously, so if large sums of money being hypothetically spent on consumables make you upset, look away now. This is not the post for you.
Perricone MD Serum Prep puts us off to an expensive start at $262. This treatment is meant to improve the effectiveness of other Perricone MD products. Like the Perricone MD Intensive Pore Minimiser, $107, and Blue Plasma, $170. Possibly in that order, possibly the other way around? I’m a little hazy. Kate gave the skin around my eyes a boost with the Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream, $59, which I already know I like.
Then comes the Dr Brandt Pores No More Pore Thing, $89, which is a buzzy blue jelly that fills your pores, so it’s more of a priming step than a treatment. That was followed by the Dr Brandt Pore Refiner, $88, for a double dose of pore-hiding and mattifying. My understanding is that the Pore Refiner is a little like Nanoblur, but easier to work with. The last priming step was the By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra Primer, $114.
If you’re keeping track, we’re at $889 so far, and haven’t even started on visible makeup.
Kate told me that the By Terry Eclat Opulent Nutri-Lifting Foundation, $250, the one that got me into this scenario, is designed to adjust slightly to match the wearer’s skintone. I’m skeptical of claims like this in low-end cosmetics, but I feel like if any foundation is going to do that, it would be this one. It also looked great and natural on my skin. Highlighting and brightening came in the form of the By Terry Touche Veloutee Enlightening Concealer Brush, $108, and the By Terry Light Expert, $122.
Moving onto eyes! Kate filled in my eyebrows but kept them natural with the Kevyn Aucoin Precision Brow Pencil in Basic Brown, $51. She primed the skin all around my eyes with the NARS Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base, $51. This is my favourite primer, and I have quite oily eyelids, but it still does an excellent job. She then used a By Terry Ombre Blackstar Cream Eyeshadow, $81, in what I am pretty sure was Blond Opal No. 3, a pale shimmery champagne. These are quite similar to the Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks, of which I have one but would love to own them all. They start out creamy and blendable but dry down quickly and don’t crease.
Kate used four Chantecaille Lasting Eyeshadows, $48 each, on my lids, but looking at the shades here on the website I can’t pick out which ones they were. The very pale purple highlight on the inner corners of my eyes is from the NARS Eyeshadow Duo in Iceland, $72. It looks like a dull white in the pan but is incredibly opalescent when applied. I don’t usually highlight this area at all, but Kate used quite a lot of shadow here to ensure it was really visible. Then she lined my bottom waterline with the NARS Larger Than Life Longwear Eyeliner in Rue Bonaparte, a nude shade, $50; and the top lid with a very thin line of Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Black, $42. A coat of Chantecaille Faux Cils Mascara, $75, finished off the eyes.
We’ve now hypothetically spent $1983. And we’re still not finished!
Kate gave me a really strong contour with a dark shade of the NARS Powder Foundation, $88. She used this rather than bronzing powder to keep it 100% matte. She used NARS Blush in Liberte and Lustre, $59 each – two apricot-y, almost brown shades – as blush and to highlight. I really liked the effect of the contour blending into a brownish blush rather than something really pink. It also kept the attention on my eyes.
Kate finished my skin with the By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra Powder, $114, which is truly a thing of luxury. You haven’t seen a ‘finely milled’ powder if you haven’t seen this. It sits really nicely on the skin and makes a huge difference in keeping my skin looking matte over time.
She lined my lips with a NARS Lip Liner in Marnie, $47, and finished with a coat of the NARS Pure Matte Lipstick in Volga, $52. I don’t own a colour exactly like this, so after I went out for dinner and then went home and drank some alcoholic beverages, I touched it up with NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Train Bleu. It made the look a bit less wearable, but we were never aiming for wearable, and actually, fuck the term ‘wearable’ because I would wear this look to work if I got up early enough.
My excellent mental arithmetic tells me the total is around $2392. If you want to check it, go right ahead, because I can’t be bothered to go to that extent, and at this point the message is clear. This look is crazy expensive, if it were something I wanted to be able to replicate with the actual products used.
As it happens, getting your makeup done at Mecca only costs $90, and that’s redeemable in product. So if you look at it in those terms, this makeup is technically free! The only expenditure was an hour and a half of my time, spent very pleasantly with Kate, who I think also had a lot of fun, because she got to experiment and do whatever she wanted.
I was really pleased with how my makeup ended up looking, and it lasted well through dinner, drinks, several trips through the Wellington wind (as evidenced by my messy hair in the last picture above) and quite a night of dancing at Mighty Mighty.
I’ll be posting some much more affordable dupes for some of the products used in this look in the next few days. What do you think your most expensive face of makeup has ever been? Have you used any of the products that Kate used on me, and are they worth the spend?