Rethinking my relationship with makeup in 2020

*written by Sarah Wright.  Sarah is a heavily-caffeinated web designer and content creator who helps transform businesses into brands through her company Yes And Studio. In this piece, she turns the artistic lens on herself as she explores art-inspired makeup looks that will help mask-wearing citizens adapt their beauty routine to the “new normal.” Compliments guaranteed!

I’ve always had a strained relationship with makeup. It all started when I turned 21—having gone to sleep with the young, plump skin of a creature who had yet to suffer from years of insomnia and drank 8-10 glasses of lemon water a day instead of enough double espressos to fuel a rocket ship – and waking up to the fact that I now had Psoriasis covering 70% of my body. It gave me the appearance of being constantly flustered (which I was not), but gave people the opportunity to constantly comment on how flustered I looked (which resulted in me being exceptionally flustered). I desperately sought an even complexion, applying layers of foundation like spackle, but despite expensive primers promising to “optimize my skins surface”, “help makeup last longer,” and “love me despite all of my flaws,” the result reminded me of the cobblestone streets of Italy with none of the charm.

As I (gracefully?) grew older, my relationship with makeup changed. Through medical treatments and lifestyle changes, I was able to get my Psoriasis under control, everywhere but my face. I started using makeup to highlight my favourite features instead of burying the ones that sinned against me. A bright, bold lip soon became my signature look. Not only was it an efficient beauty routine to swipe on a colourful hue and run out the door, it also allowed me to express a quirky side that a carefully carved Scandanavian cheekbone just couldn’t. My bathroom cabinet is the enthusiastic receptacle for many of my fashionable friends’ lipsticks, creams and glosses. Shades like “Fierce Fushia” and “Lady Danger” feel out of place amongst their your-lips-but-better stains, but are a welcome addition to my growing collection. For the last however many years, I’ve let my lips do the talking figuratively and literally.

Now the COVID-19 pandemic is making me rethink my relationship with makeup and reinvent my look, again. With the Ontario government recommending masks and some of the retail stores who have recently opened up as part of Phase 1 requiring masks for entry, Summer is going to look very different this year. You won’t be seeing my signature lip in public as often anymore. But that doesn’t mean that every day has to be the no-makeup-same-sweatpants look. Even when you have nowhere to go, a little makeup can improve your mood and boost your confidence. For some of us makeup may seem trivial, but I find comfort in keeping some of my pre-COVID rituals alive.


Look 1: Beefy Brows

Time Required: 3 minutes, or less time than it takes to make an oat milk latte.

Impact Level:  Did you go to an underground salon and get botox?


I’ve been blessed with eyebrows that are not only naturally quite thick, but also don’t have the desire to split the difference and meet in the middle of my forehead. As such I’ve treated them like high school friends on Facebook, assuming (and appreciating) that they will always be there but otherwise taking no note unless it’s a birthday or wedding. That is until a friend convinced me to try eyebrow tinting at an overpriced Yorkville salon. And holy shit. It totally changed my face. (It also made me feel guilty about not reaching out to those friends more often, as perhaps I have been downplaying their impact as well).

Penciling in your eyebrows takes you from blah to Brooke Shields in no time at all. Using short strokes to fill in any areas that you may have over plucked from anxiety or boredom. If you’re feeling fancy, hit your brow bone with a little highlighter. That is literally it.


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Neon two ways ⚡📸: @brittanyxavier mani: @amyle.nails makeup: @fentybeauty

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Get the look: Fenty’s Brow MVP comes in 14 shades, and the precision tip means the perfect application every time.



Look 2: Bright Cat Eye

Time Required: 5 -10 mins

Impact Level: Are you doing a Zoom portrait series for Vogue?

I have always been attracted to high-impact low-effort propositions like trampolining and Absinthe. My unwavering commitment to a statement lip can in some ways be attributed to this fact. But with masks likely to become a part of everyday life, it’s time to focus on the eyes. My new favourite way to do this is taking a traditional “cat eye” and turning the volume all the way up by trading in the classic black or brown liner with a bright, saturated hue. (Speaking of turning the volume up, anybody else singing a lot of Taylor Swift out loud for no reason? Asking for a friend). This is the part where I should tell you how to choose the right shade based on your eye colour, that it’s heresy for someone with baby blue eyes to rock out with an aqua liner, but I feel like throwing the rules out of the window along with my mattress and 2020 planner, and please feel free to take this opportunity to do so too. If you’re new to applying eyeliner opting for a creamy pencil that will glide easily during application. Liquid eyeliners give a more dramatic look, but require a steady hand and so it’s best to apply before (and not after) your 9th cup of coffee.


Get the look: Fenty’s Longwear Eye Pencil is ultra-creamy, easy to apply and has serious staying power. I’ve been rotating between “Cute Ting” and “Grillz,” and even my barista couldn’t resist complimenting the look.


Look 3: Abstract Art

Time Needed: How long do you have?

Impact Level:  Did you go to an underground Gala? I thought gatherings were still prohibited.

Eventually the tension between me looking and feeling like a Gremlin, and the “floating liner” trend popping up on my Instagram feed finally vaulted me into action. And while I do still frequently feed after midnight, I’m very happy to experiment with a look that is at once outside of my comfort zone and also a look that feels more me than ever. As someone who works in a creative field, I’m missing some of the more tactile experiences, whether it’s building a set or selecting fabrics, and not just staring at my screen, giving away my precious email for every free tutorial or PDF. In order to achieve the look you need a high-quality product. My first attempt was largely unsuccessful as I had traced the crease of my lid to perfection, only to open my eyes and see that my hard work had completely disappeared.  My second and third attempt brought new frustrations (and surprise) as I applied the liner too high and gave myself a look that could only be described as “constant shock”.  A few more attempts and it was the Goldilocks Effect, just right.  The greatest challenge about this look wasn’t just getting the shape even on both sides (though it will take you a hot a minute, and likely a Q-Tip or two soaked in makeup remover to clean up the edges, or completely start again) it’s looking at yourself head on in the mirror, with both eyes open. Nowhere to hide. This look forces you to acknowledge who you are and what you’re going through before allowing you to transform on the other side. The question remains now, who do you want to be?


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DEFUND THE POLICE 🌺🌻💐🌹 The police get more tax dollars than the fire department, local healthcare workers, school teachers, and public officials…. but why would I want to give my money to a system that was founded to bring my people down? Why would I want to pay them too kill my brothers and sisters? Why would I want to give my tax dollars to a system that kills black LBGTQ+ people? Why would I want to give my money to a system that hides video evidences if innocence black prolly being wrongfully murdered? Why would I want to pay a cop that gets to live free knowing he killed a black person for no reason? They are starting the lootings, pouring milk and water out so the protesters have nothing, teargassing people for wanting to stand up for peace? Please check my BLM story highlights to learn more about police history and why they should be defunded

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Get the look: Fenty’s Vivid Liquid Eyeliner takes more precision and practice, but the saturation and hue is totally worth the effort.


Learn about the above products and more at fentybeauty

Nadia Elkharadly

Nadia Elkharadly

Nadia Elkharadly is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of Addicted Magazine. Her myriad of addictions include music, fashion, travel, technology, boxing and trying to make the world a better place. Nadia is also a feminist, an animal lover, and a neverending dreamer. Keep up with her on social media through @thenadiae.
Nadia Elkharadly
Nadia Elkharadly

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