I’m a little bit obsessed with Grimes. Since her highly successful 2012 album, Visions, made her echoing, experimental pop/electronic music very popular indeed, I doubt I’m alone.
I don’t love only her music, though; her individual style provides beauty inspiration for days. Pastel hair, baby bangs, sky-high topknots, that giant piece of whole face jewellery from her Dazed and Confused shoot--it’s everywhere. She looks at various times like some elegant, sleek and structured fashion darling or an unwashed fairy; and although her look is instantly identifiable, it’s a little hard to pin down and emulate.
In order to make her last album, Grimes isolated herself for three weeks and ate only every few days. Coincidentally, that’s exactly how I wrote this article. OK, I kid. I doubt I could refrain from eating for three hours; but it has been a labour of love, which is why I’ve ended up reshooting the photos three or four times and ending up with a couple of distinct looks inspired by my love of Grimes.
I should know, while researching this article, I spent ages looking for quality photos of Grimes to analyse her makeup game and ended up with lots of pictures of the 90210 actress Shenae Grimes, often only wearing denim shorts, which unsurprisingly didn’t help me much.
Grimes has been featured in publications like the aforementioned Dazed and Confused, V, Hunger and even Vogue. For my first look, I took inspiration from her 2012 feature in Vogue UK, when she was photographed by Angelo Pennetta. Surrounded by exotic foliage, she looks sculpturally pale and luminous, with big, defined eyes and dark brows set off by her smooth blonde topknot and dark undercut.
To try and capture her flawless complexion, I started with Revlon Photoready Foundation in 002 Vanilla, dabbing it on my nose, forehead, cheeks and chin and blending outwards and downwards. I used the matching Revlon Photoready Concealer in 002 Light under my eyes, on my lids and the bridge of my nose, as well as any red patches.
I wanted to skip any blush as my face tends too warm anyway, so to try and fake Grimes’ cheekbones I used Benefit High Beam, dotting it in a C shape along my cheek and brow bones. I also filled in and shaped my brows darker than I normally would, using Rimmel Professional Eyebrow Pencil in 001 Dark Brown.
For my eyes, I first used my Sephora High Precision Liquid Eyeliner in 01 Noir to tight-line my entire upper lid from the inner corner to the outer, making sure to get it as close to the lash line as possible before adding an upward-angled triangular flick above my eyelashes on each side.
It doesn’t matter if your line is a little messy, like mine, as we’re going to be covering it up soon. I also lined my bottom water line with a white drugstore-brand eyeliner pencil.
I then pulled out my British brand Makeup Academy's Undress Me Too Eye Palette. (I think when this palette grows up, it wants to be the Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette.) I brushed the dark brown Obsessed shade close to the liner on my upper lid, leaving the browbone bare, and then added a little of the black Corrupt on the outer corners. I put the pale Naked shade above the existing eyeshadow to make it contrast more, and used Maybelline The Falsies Volume Express mascara on my upper lashes only.
For my lips, I used just a touch of Smith’s Rosebud Salve to enhance their natural pink, and I dragged my hair into the highest topknot it could muster, pinning the sides to emphasise my undercut.
One of the defining features of Grimes, visually, is definitely her hair. She has “baby bangs”: a high, full fringe I’m too afraid to ever get even though I love them on other people. I actually had to explain to two cool girls in the cinema in Brixton once that I was staring at them because of their exemplary fringes, not because I’m a creep who goes to the movies to watch pretty girls instead of films.
Despite the fact that I have a visceral fear of artificial hair, scarred for life by finding balls of my sister’s discarded hair extensions rolling like tumbleweed across our shared bedroom or half-buried in clothes like the top of a yet-to-be discovered corpse, I bit the bullet just for you and ordered some clip ins off the internet.
Grimes has also had a rainbow of colours over the years, including a particularly amazing magpie blue-green sheen, but sadly my hair sucks up colour like a sponge as it’s so porous from years of bleaching, so I dodged that particular challenge.
The base and highlighter for this look were the same, and I also added my cheap drugstore blush to further fake my bone structure.
I also got serious eyebrow envy, so I used my eyebrow pencil and brown eyeshadow to elongate my brows and both the outer and inner corners and give them a shallower arch. The effect might have risked being a little Scouse brow, as I’d never done it before.
I kept my lids mainly bare, lining the outer half of the upper lid with navy blue Mac liquid liner (not pictured as my mum stole it back).
For the final Grimes touch, I added some STICK-ON GEMS. While this was extremely exciting, I got a lot of search results for cheap vajazzles when I was looking for mine, so that’s a beauty writer occupational hazard right there.
I have to say, I don’t think I’ve captured the essence of Grimes, although I’ve had a lot of fun, trials and tribulations trying. Even so, I hope she can inspire you, too.
If we needed any more proof that Grimes is awesome (this being exhibit A), her philosophy is something I’m sure we xoVain people can relate to. In her Dazed and Confused interview, asked about her image, she replied “I’ve always had crazy hair and sh*t, but then it was like, why not make everything as beautiful as it can be? Why wouldn’t you do that?”