My favorite beauty tutorials often pay enormous attention to the details—exact shades of eyeshadow, particular techniques for blending, explicit order of application, etc. With these tutorials, I get the sense that I can almost perfectly recreate a look like a scientist repeating methods of an experiment. Indeed, this can be a great way to improve one’s skills.
Recently, however, I watched (and rewatched) a beauty tutorial by a multi-talented individual who normally spends her time on camera crafting gorgeously ghoulish homemade lightswitch plates and vintage “china” tea sets from white chocolate—Christine McConnell. Her tutorial didn’t spend too much time getting into the nitty-gritty of particular products but rather on finding joy in the process of makeup application and achieving a relatively natural, though quite glamorous, look. As it turns out, her soft approach was just what I needed during this time of self-isolation.
McConnell is celebrated for her wholesomely spooky Netflix show, The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell, which aired for one season. Now, McConnell is working on projects of her choosing, supported by her Youtube fans and Patreon subscribers. Although McConnell usually features baking, renovation, and decor projects, she gifted beauty lovers with a vintage-themed makeup tutorial showcasing modern products that she had lovingly repackaged in restored vintage containers. Her favorite liquid foundation, for example, found its way into stunning antique Dior perfume bottles.
If you love antiques, makeup, crafts, or anything with an eerie touch, I strongly suggest you watch her tutorial. It left me with beaucoup inspiration and ideas–but mainly, joy!
Soft-Focus Beauty Wisdom from Christine McConnell’s Vintage Makeup Tutorial
Where do I even begin!
Find joy in the process. Whether it’s makeup or making breakfast, finding joy in the process of what you’re doing is just as valuable as the final result. McConnell shares that she wears makeup every single day because she loves the ritual. Although her regular makeup isn’t particularly elaborate, especially by YouTube tutorial standards, she says she spends as least 40 minutes on it and doesn’t rush through the process.
You can embrace multiple aesthetics in one look. McConnell’s overall look is feminine, delicate, soft-focus, and vintage-inspired–all things that go together without question. But she wouldn’t be Christine if there wasn’t something a bit macabre laced in. While her vanity set-up and makeup look embody an ethereal, of-another-era glamour, her quietly eerie background music (think haunted mansion) let us know that there are multiple facets to Christine (and all of us, really) that aren’t mutually exclusive. Cue her signature lip shade, Melt Cosmetics “Old Rose,” or as she calls it, “dead old lady” lipstick.
Love the little things that bring you joy. For example, pink tissue. McConnell laments that pink tissue simply isn’t made today, so she has to find it on eBay. She saves pink tissue for special occasions and uses some to blot her face during the tutorial. “It just makes everything a little bit pretty.”
Give your cheeks the 3-D peach look. This trick sounds genius, and I can’t wait to try it: apply an orange-y cream rouge along your cheekbones (bonus points if it’s been decanted into a refurbished vintage compact); then, add a pop of pink powder to the apples of your cheeks alone. McConnell says this is the key to getting a 3-D peach look on your cheeks.
For dramatic-yet-natural lashes, learn how to use individual lash clusters. McConnell explains that these can instantly and dramatically change the appearance of the eye while still looking far more natural than strip lashes, especially for everyday wear. McConnell checks the angles of her application by using two handheld mirrors.
For a soft eye look, wear two shades of eyeliner. One of the ways McConnell keeps her look soft and blended is by using two shades of eyeliner. She wears black (smudged) on the outer corner of her lids then transitions to brown (also smudged) as she works her way closer to the inner corner of the eye. This technique also helps give the eyes a more open appearance (black all over can sometimes make eyes appear smaller).
Is there a particular era that inspires your makeup?
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Photo: Christine McConnell via Instagram, Respective brands