A certified makeup artist, my sister identical twin sister, Kristina, is a huge part of my beauty education. I mean, she used me routinely as her model during her time in makeup school, so I was bound to pick up a few things. Some things I've yet to pick up? Regular use of primer, a beautyblender, and a love for nude lips. But these are just a few things I learned when I swapped looks with her.
I can't remember my sister ever being really into red lipstick. I think this is the most obvious indication of our opposite tastes. One dip into her lipstick stash and you're bound to find nude after nude, whereas I don't have a single nude lip product in my arsenal. For me, if you're going to do a lip, go all out. What's the point of putting effort into lipstick if it isn't going to show?
I'm also on the run to an office job every morning, and when 6 a.m. rolls around, I usually choose sleep over a complicated beauty routine. Now something else is tossed into this mix: I have severe dry eye and a job that requires me to look at tiny little pixels on a screen eight hours a day; this means glasses and a tendency towards itchy eyes. You can imagine how flawless any eye makeup remains come 5 p.m. after a day of that.
My sister has a different outlook, being that she's always been able to tolerate contacts (which I had to stop wearing a few years back thanks to my super-dry eyes), and went through Lasik this past fall. As far as I'm concerned, wearing glasses sort of puts a damper on any complicated eye look.
Kristina has a similar philosophy when it comes to bold lipstick: her main complaints about bold lip colours being the dreaded reapplication after eating. For her, a heavy eye has become second nature and so much easier to just do and go. It's funny how something you find easy and quick can be a total nightmare for someone who doesn't share the same routine.
Kristina and I tested out our staple looks on each other, and this is how it went.
My Staple Makeup Routine: Foundation, concealer, simple contour, set with powder, brows, cat eye, mascara and red lips.
For years, I've been a huge fan of the classic blue-red lip and winged cat-eye combo. Nothing makes me feel more like a heightened version of myself than a red lip and classic cat eye. I had Kristina test out my go-to look, which, I have to say, is significantly more simple than she's used to.
Kristina was shocked at how few brushes I use. I didn't have the heart to tell her it's only been a year or so of me even using this many on the regular. I used to apply almost all my makeup with my fingers, finger-paint style (with slightly better results). But these days, thankfully, I have my brushes down to the basics: my foundation brush, contour, blush, angled brush, spoolie, flat head, and my favourite concealer brush round off what I always have on hand.
She wasn't a fan of my primer-free life, which, after testing out her routine I feel I should actually take heed and invest in. I might get into this beautyblender thing, too, but to be honest, I find the application very similar to my beloved Sigma F80 foundation brush.
The amount of time it took my sister to apply my look versus me with hers was staggering. This can probably be boiled down to the sheer volume of products, and the fact that I'm such a novice when it comes to shadows.
Kristina's Staple Makeup Routine: Primer, foundation, two different concealers, powder, highlighter, contour, blush, eye primer, powdering that primer, eyeshadow, waterline, mascara, brows pomade, brow gel and pencil, lip primer and a lipstick/lip pencil combo.
Does that sound like a lot? It felt like a lot.
I can't remember the last time I really put effort into wearing eyeshadow. Which is probably a terrible thing to say as someone who writes about beauty, but I've just never been into it.
As I mentioned, I also learned how to use a beautyblender, which was a strange and helpful experience. I realized how easy it is to wash, since it doesn't even need to be dry (actually, it shouldn't be) before you use it again. I did go to town tapping at my face with this little egg, though, and that can be a little distracting when you have to get ready ASAP.
I found my sister's use of so many different powders a little excessive (especially for someone like me who doesn't like to spend three hours in the bathroom perfecting her face on the regular), but found the use of a concealer with a pink undertone more useful around my eyes.
She says she has this look down to 20 minutes. Flashbacks to my adolescence beg to differ, but we haven't lived together in, like, half a decade, so it has to be better now, right? I guess expecting anything less than a high-maintenance look from a professional MUA would be a bit strange.
So what did we think of each other's looks?
Kristina's Take on My Red Lip/Cat Eye Combo
When I asked Kristina what she thought of the look I had her test out, I was shocked she wasn't a fan of my go-to, Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer. "The texture is kind of thick, and it doesn't seem to cover as good as my MAC Pro Longwear," she said.
I wasn't shocked, however, when she told me how much she wished I'd used primer, especially on lids and lips: "I hated not being able to do anything with my eyes. Like not being able to use any eyeshadow is just insane to me. When I do red lips, even if I don't really do anything to my eyes, I usually add a warm eyeshadow like a soft brown or saddle all over my lid to a little above my crease and add a little highlight under the brow. Not using eyeshadow primer or anything just left my eyelids feeling greasy and gross. I hate not using my lip primer because it helps so much with application and staying power."
This wasn't the case when I asked her about my habit of skipping blush and going for a quick contour and highlight combo: "I prefer my soft and gentle highlight".
Ditching her Anastasia DipBrow and only being able to use powder didn't quite get Kristina the result she's use to either: "I have such tiny and sparse eyebrows naturally already, I need to use a more defined product to really get the shape I want. I find just powder is good if you already have strong brows and you just want to fill it in a bit. But to really define shape and fill in, I think you need to stick to pencils and DipBrow. They have such good staying power."
No arguments there. As someone who has been using powders exclusively out of convenience (I went full MacGyver and used a slate shade of Benefit eyeshadow for years because it got the job done and was free) and finally using the much coveted DipBrow, I totally get it. If you're already used to the technique of the angled brush and powder, switching over to Dip Brow isn't a huge leap, but it makes a BIG difference. Consider me converted.
My Take on Kristina's Smoky Eye and Nude Lip
Personally, I still can't see myself getting into shadow, especially with the amount of steps involved. With my dry eyes, tiny flecks of shadow and liner don't mix. Heavy eyes just aren't the look for me; I don't feel like myself and it just isn't practical.
The lipstick I still can't wrap my head around, but I understand the need for a nude lip with smoky eyes. I was a fan of my cheeks, to which I applied a shade I would have never picked out myself, and, as I mentioned, I'm now officially a huge fan of DipBrow, which DOES NOT BUDGE (that's a big step for a girl who has pretty much always relied on various forms of powder to fill in her brows).
Overall? I think I picked up some decent application tips, got to try out some blush colours I would never have personally went for and ended up enjoying, and I finally understand why beautyblenders are so popular. I'm still going to stick with my red lipstick, though.
- Have you ever swapped looks with someone?
- If you could pick someone with the total opposite aesthetic, who would you pick?
- What is the one signature look you feel most comfortable in? What have you tried that you hated?