By Devon Abelman
When I was born, my grandpa had a vision of me as a Supreme Court justice, complete with the black robe and gavel. He’d often remind me of this on our weekly phone calls while I was growing up. Not wanting to deny his vision, I started believing I was destined for D.C., and by the time I was in middle school, I was convinced I was going to be the first Jewish woman president.
But as I got older, law school and politics didn’t interest me as much as writing and fashion. I started to have a vision of myself, and it was a lot more Ugly Betty (let’s be real, she owned those crazy outfits) than Sandra Day O’Connor. The thought of zipping away my chief form of self-expression under a black robe gave me the shakes. I wanted a job where I could wear all the awesome pieces I scavenged for at thrift stores and show off all the tattoos I dreamed of having—without fear of ruining my chances to be the future president of the United States.
As much as it pained me to deny my grandpa’s vision, I’ve had to follow my own to a job at a magazine. I now wear work outfits that consist of multiple prints and clunky heels. Plus, I get to experiment with my makeup and my editor-in-chief likes my tattoo more than my mom does. Want to take advantage of your office’s creative environment? These are my four favorite ways to have some fun with your makeup game for work.
You know those mornings when you dread putting on makeup, but you know you have to do it to truly pull together that outfit you spent all night thinking about wearing? A bold lip color outside of your comfort zone is the easiest way to break out of a beauty rut and complete the look.
I know it’s the oldest trick in the book, but finding the right shade can be harder than finding a spouse—if you let it. I’m telling you right now to forget everything you’ve heard about finding the right color for your skin tone or one that doesn’t make your teeth look yellow. Just wear orange. Pair it with glowy cheeks, coral blush, and lots of mascara, and you’ll look effortlessly daring.
My best friend/work wife Brooke once asked me what eye shadow I would want to be stuck with on a deserted island, and I answered, “Urban Decay Lounge” without hesitation. The duo chrome shadow looks green, but when applied, it’s more of a burgundy with an emerald shimmer. I think of it as a great, unexpected neutral that can be used in place of the typical champagnes, grays, and golds. Brush it in the outer corners for a colorful smokey eye or on your whole lid with sharp wings. Because it’s a duo chrome formulation, spritz your eye shadow brush with your favorite facial hydrating mist (mine is this Kate Somerville one) before dipping it into the shadow. Or, use a primer like Benefit Cosmetics Air Patrol. This step will make the shimmer pop.
Behind every great woman is a great eyeliner. Yes, I can name a couple of awesome women who don’t wear it, but for every one of them, there are five that ride or die for one specific liner. At least once a week, someone bares her soul to me about “The One.” I get it. The longest relationship I’ve ever had is probably with eyeliner, but I like to keep it open. I love applying all the skills I learned from using black eyeliner to other colors like blue, purple, and green. My favorite black eyeliner actually comes in a bunch of fun colors, which is great because I’m already used to how the felt tip works on my lids.
If you think a sharp black wing looks impressive, sky blue ones look like they belong in The Whitney. My go-to is Kat Von D Ink Liner in Nerdrum. Above, I’m wearing it with Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Sake on my lips. I love the blue/rose color combo.
The best part of the palette is what may appear to many as the scariest: the lavender highlighter. All I really want in life is to look like an alien who is trying to be a real human woman, and some purple shimmer makes me feel in touch with my extraterrestrial roots. It compliments cool-toned eye shadows and lipsticks really well—if not better than standard champagnes and rose golds—and will make you feel like the supernova girl of Proto Zoa from Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century.
Just do your makeup as you typically would before giving it purple pop. With a small brush that fits into the little pan (like the Japonesque Fluffy Concealer Brush), lightly sweep it onto the tops of your cheeks. I swear you’ll be shocked at how subtle the lavender looks. No one is going to tell you that you look like post-Wonka-gum Violet Beauregarde.
In the picture above, I’m wearing the only lip color I would need on a deserted island: Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Ayesha.
Devon Abelman was voted Most Likely to Give Moms Beauty Tips in high school. OK, not really, but she might as well have. Her work has appeared in Parents, American Baby, and Prevention. She’s currently the assistant editor for FamilyFun and founder of the beauty blog #beautyblessed. If you ever need podcast, TV, or movie recommendations, you can subscribe to her newsletter DEVFLIX. Or if you’re in the mood to listen to women talk about things they love, check out her podcast Less Than Three.