The new midlife crisis

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As Spotify declare that 42 is the age people start listening to chart music again, we examine the new rules of having a midlife crisis. How did we swap the Ferrari for Taylor Swift?

Wear it dry, and you’ve got your stan­dard dust­ing of color—classic and pre­dictable (in a good way). But wet! Wear­ing it wet opens a whole new world of oppor­tu­ni­ty. “What you’re doing is bring­ing out the pig­ment­ed nature of the shad­ow,” make­up artist Vin­cent Oquen­do says. “When­ev­er I wet an eye shad­ow, it’s when I real­ly want it to pop—but it real­ly has to be a spe­cial kind of prod­uct to be able to blend after it sets. Because a lot of the times when it sets, you get streak­ing.” Nobody wants that. In order to avoid any wet shad­ow mishaps, fol­low these guidelines:


Midlife crises are still alive and well.
Midlife crises are still alive and well.

First, go with the obvi­ous: any eye shad­ow labeled wet-to-dry. The Nars Dual-Inten­si­ty line is the standout—the sin­gles come in 12 dif­fer­ent shim­mery shades, and there’s a cor­re­spond­ing brush (then there’s the new­ly released Dual Inten­si­ty Blush line, which was all over Fash­ion Week—but that’s a prod­uct for anoth­er post). Burber­ry also makes a few very ver­sa­tile shades specif­i­cal­ly for this in their Wet & Dry Silk Shad­ows. And the tech­nique-spe­cif­ic eye shad­ow cat­e­go­ry isn’t just a ploy to get you to buy more prod­uct. “You can’t just use any eye shad­ow for this,” Vin­cent says. “Cer­tain ones will hard­en up on top and become unus­able because they’re not made for this.”

Baked shad­ows are also fair game—we’re fans of Lau­ra Mercier’s Baked Eye Colour Wet/Dry and Lorac’s Star­ry-Eyed Baked Eye Shad­ow Trio in particular.

For more advanced play­ers, Vin­cent sug­gests mov­ing on to straight pig­ment (MAC or even OCC’s Pure Cos­met­ic Pig­ments). With the added mois­ture, they’ll become eas­i­er to lay­er with oth­er prod­ucts. For a look with more depth, try using a cream shad­ow as a based before swip­ing with a wet pow­der shad­ow. “It’s like insur­ance,” Vin­cent says. “You’re dou­bling your wear­a­bil­i­ty.

This all depends on exact­ly what you want to do. “Mind the resis­tance,” Vin­cent says, par­tic­u­lar­ly if you’re look­ing for uni­form col­or across the lid. “I tend to rec­om­mend a blender brush, which is the brush that looks like a feath­er duster. If you do it with a stiff brush, you’re defeat­ing your­self before you even start. The joy of a wet-to-dry is you have to get it right amount of prod­uct loaded up, and then it blends itself. If the brush is too stiff, it will leave the shad­ow streaky and then much hard­er to control.”

How­ev­er, if tightlin­ing or water­lin­ing is in the cards, a much thin­ner brush is required accordingly.

Do not, repeat, do not put eye drops, water, or any oth­er sort of liq­uid direct­ly on your eye shad­ow. This’ll screw up your prod­uct for lat­er use. “Late­ly, I’ve been wet­ting the brush with the Glossier Sooth­ing Face Mist, but Evian Min­er­al Water Spray is good for sen­si­tive eyes,” Vin­cent says. If the top of your pow­der does get a lit­tle hard­ened by wet appli­ca­tion, there’s a trick to remove it: Get a clean mas­cara spoolie and “exfo­li­ate” your com­pact, Vin­cent rec­om­mends. This won’t crack the com­pact and will make it ready to go once more.

Pho­tographed by Tom Newton.

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