How to Wear Runway Make-up Trends in Real Life


Take one feature you like and make that your focus. In the pic above, the glitter lips, the extended inner and outer corner sharply winged black eyeliner, the strong, full, dark eyebrows–look striking on the runway. In real life though, unless you really have the personality to pull this off, you’ll look like you’re trying way too hard if you wear all three at once with the same intensity.

Factors to consider: 

  • Be realistic about who you are. In other words, this look is very high-maintenance. Keep in mind, if you get an itch on your face, tend to get sweaty, oily, and/or have an absentminded tendency to touch your face a lot, this look is probably not for you. Also, it’s not for the shy or self-conscious. You will get stares, especially with the glitter lips, so if that’s not what you’re comfortable with, either push outside your comfort zone, or tweak the look until you are comfortable wearing it in public.
  • Where are you wearing this look? Are you going to a party? Do you plan on smooching someone there or hope to be kissed? If so, do him/her a favour and omit the glitter lips.
  • How long is the event? The longer the event, the more this look won’t hold up without running to the bathroom and touching it up.
  • Will you be able to do multiple touch-ups? If not, don’t bother with the glitter lips.
  • Use a waterproof liquid eyeliner or gel liner and an angle brush or other sharp edged brush to achieve the exaggerated winged liner. You can use a waterproof pencil if you wish, but most pencils still have a tendency to smudge and move, especially under warm or humid conditions. I suggest you choose either the inner or outer corner, not both. Wing-out the outer corner if your eyes tend to be close-set, and wing the inner corner if your eyes tend to be wide-set. Do both if you really like the look, but tone it down by not extending the wing as far out or as far in. Experiment and explore, don’t be afraid to start over if you make a mistake or to make it your own.
  • Don’t curl your lashes, and use just one coat of mascara. It will ruin the drama and boldness of the exaggerated winged liner. Your lashes will end up interfering with the line of the eye and steal the show from the starkness of this look.
  • Day or night-time? If day, use a lot less glitter on the lips, as it’s too overpowering in broad daylight, especially on a bright sunny day. You don’t want to blind people, or accidentally send an SOS signal to a pilot flying 10,000 feet above, do you? (I’m being snarky with that last comment, but I’m also giving you a bit of a reality-check too. Look at the blurred models in the background of the pic above: the unmistakable glint of their glitter lips was captured by the flash of the photographer’s camera–and who knows how far away they were standing when he/she took that pic? And it was taken inside).
  • Will you be eating, drinking, talking? Yes to any of those three? Then skip the glitter lips entirely, tone it way down, or interpret it differently by using a metallic-toned lipstick instead. Unless you want to be dealing with glitter on your teeth, or even inadvertently eating it while you chew on your food.
  • Also, look at how the model above was styled: her hair is slicked back in a tight simple pony, her foundation is kept clean, softly matte, with no discernible blush, contouring, highlighting, bronzing. A very soft hint of eyeshadow in a matte, neutral colour was used in a wash across her lids, concentrated and blended in the crease, but that’s it. She’s not wearing earrings or any other jewellery (other than the little quirky colourful barrettes in her hair), because her lips are all the bling that’s needed.
  • If you do one part of this look, don’t completely neglect everything else either. What I mean by this, is let’s say you do the glitter lips, don’t go completely bare-faced, or it won’t look balanced. Keep your other make-up simple and clean, but muted. You’ll know if you’ve got the focus right by doing this little trick: close your eyes and open them quickly for a few seconds while facing a well-lit mirror. If your eye is drawn first to your lips before everything else, but doesn’t linger there too long before looking at any of your other features, you’ve probably got it right. If your eye is distracted by other features, you may need to tone something down. It’s easier to go light-handed and add intensity, then it is to pile it on and have to erase or tone it down.

Runway looks should be taken as a source of inspiration, a guide–and definitely with not just a grain, but a full shaker of salt. They work on the runway, not only because they’re being worn by professional models who know how to project confidence and a sense of cool blasé, but also because the make-up looks are being worn in tandem with designer clothes, and professionally-styled accessories and hair, to complete the whole package and vision.


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