Kylie Jenner and the Rise of Deconstructed Glamour
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Kylie Jenner and her clan are known for their full glam looks. The Kardashians brought us contour, the carved-out smokey eye, and the heavily lined pillowy pouts. Their intentionally artificial aesthetic is what the Instagram and TikTok filters we use daily emulate.
But scrolling through Ariel Tejada’s Instagram (Kylie Jenner’s go-to makeup artist) as I prep for an interview, I’m finding less of the exaggerated beauty looks that I have semi-permanently tattooed in my brain.
One shot is particularly striking. Jenner poses provocatively on an unmade bed. She is cherub-cheeked, her skin raw and glowing, her nose bridge freckled. Her lashes are, seemingly, bare of mascara, and her lips are stained. Is Kylie Jenner wearing no makeup on social media?
Kylie Jenner’s Beauty Vibe Shift
Ariel Tejeda, currently in Australia with SPF brand Naked Sundays, says no, Kylie is not wearing no makeup. But Jenner and Tejeda have made a conscious choice to shift to more natural looks, and think the beauty industry is headed that way too. “My mentality with makeup changed a lot and I think we’re going into a time when transparency, authenticity, and loving your own skin is what we’re honing in on,” Tejada reflects. “We’re moving into a more natural beauty era.”
But BeautyTok is lagging behind.
“On TikTok and Instagram I’m still seeing a lot of heavy, heavy brows and heavy glam,” they say, describing it as a phenomenon “where the makeup walks into the room before the person does.”
For Tejeda, the best beauty looks start before makeup is applied.
“I like to start with no makeup, as in ground zero,” says Tejada. They use toner to ensure the face is bare of makeup, sunscreen or residual skincare before they get started.
“I’m really into Korean skincare right now,” they tell me, name-checking Cosrx, Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence ($38) as a go-to. Finding a sunscreen that sits well under makeup is also essential. Currently, they’re enjoying Naked Sundays, SPF50 Clear Glow Radiant Sun Serum ($50), a white-caste-free, non-greasy product.
I ask what the most common beauty “mistake” Tejada sees is.
“When Kylie and I started to do blushing cheeks everyone got obsessed and took it a bit far,” says Tejada. They are referring to the phenomenon of BeautyTokers mixing pink blush with their concealer, or setting their under eyes with pink blush (often Kylie’s own brand).
I sheepishly confess my own TikTok-induced experiment with blush under the eye didn’t go too well, and Ariel laughs. “It’s a great thing because blush does complete a look, but with TikTok and all this lighting in our faces, we often apply so much more [makeup] than we need to create it.”
They tell me just how much lighting and editing have to do with how a look presents on social media: “The camera lens and flash make a complexion look more even than it actually is.” So, while a celebrity sitting front-row at Fashion Week may look like they’re wearing layers of makeup, they’re probably not.
Likewise, specific camera settings can pick up on certain colours.
For example, fans on TikTok have speculated Tejada is setting Kylie’s undereye with blush or mixing it with setting powder. “That day there was a camera setting that really picked up the pink when I used a translucent powder by Laura Mercier,” Tejada tells me.
Overall, Ariel feels beauty in 2023 is moving into a more laid-back era, one that’s about celebrating the skin that you’re in while toying with trends.
While each and every one of Kylie Jenner looks on Ariel’s account has a stand-out feature, there’s a less paint-by-numbers approach than we’re used to seeing from the Kardashians. A Gabbriette Bechtel succubus siren eye is balanced with a blocked out brow. Jenner’s infamous lions head Fashion Week moment is paired with surprising soft glam. It’s a distinctly unfiltered and imperfect ‘take something off before you leave the house’ approach to beauty.
Tejada says if you’re looking to dip your toe into the world of laid-back beauty, start with complexion. Find a foundation that always works for you—they favour Giorgio Armani, Luminous Silk ($105)—and work in increments.
They say while beauty is ultimately about play and fun, there’s joy in keeping it real. “It’s nice to reel it back and treat the best parts of your skin as they are. If you have a beautiful area of your skin, let’s celebrate that, not cover it up.”
Ariel Tejada’s Top No Makeup-Makeup Products
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