As If: 20th Anniversary Clueless Makeup Tutorial

It’s hard to believe but Clueless came out 20 years ago last week. I was 6 when it came out, but it loomed large in my pop culture imagination. In my eyes, Cher was the vision of the perfect teenage girl. I remember dreaming of a computer automated closet and my very own Jeep.

Cher is the center of the teen queen classic film trinity, flanked by Heathers and Mean Girls. Cher is the queen bee: fresh-faced yet defined. Effortlessness that hides her manipulation. I had a few thoughts on rewatching Clueless.

  • I need silver Doc Martins like Brittany Murphy (Rest in Power).
  • Polaroids of your outfits are like useful, private Instagram selfies
  • “Let’s do a lap before we commit to a location.” Truer party words were never spoken.

While Cher’s volunteering spirit is only self-serving, she does have a lot to teach us about looking perfectly together. In particular, her high school no-makeup makeup look is fantastic.


Cher always has a perfect blow out. It’s glossy, straight, and voluminous, perfect for tossing over your shoulder and flirting with Paul Rudd. I recreated it with a straightening iron and some dry shampoo at the roots for volume. And for 1990s accuracy, bend those ends in with your straightening iron.



Wide-eyed, “oops that was a mistake” is what we’re going for here. Apply a shimmery nude shadow all over your lids from lash to brow. “Nude” eye shadow will depend on your own skintone, but for my pale yellow-neutral skin, I love Stila’s Kitten. It’s a well-balanced champagne with pink and ivory tones. Next, apply brown liner on your top and bottom lashlines and follow with two coats of black mascara. Don’t go all the way around with the liner  – only the outer half of your lower lashline–for a nice, innocent look.


Cher doesn’t subscribe to Kim Kardashian-style contouring. Instead, she just goes with soft pink blush to play up her baby cheeks. I used Tarina Tarantino blush in Carved Rose for the same effect. Use a highligher pen like the YSL Touche Eclat along your cheekbones, above and below your eyebrows, down the bridge of your nose, and along your cupid’s bow for that angelic glow in all lights. I found the original #1 shade of Touche Eclat overly pink for my skin, and returned it for shade #1.5, which has yellow undertones.

clueless lips


“Always draw attention to your lips.” Noted, Cher. For a 90s gradient lip that doesn’t veer too far into Pamela Anderson, line your lips with a rose pencil and fill your lips in completely. I used an old Wet-n-Wild shade #664B. Layer a lighter pink-nude lipstick, like Buxom’s Lip Pencil in Sydney, in the center and blend. Finish with a dab of shimmery pink gloss in your center lower lip for an even poutier look. I used the Buxom lip gloss in the shade April.



It’s very 1990s, but not too dated. Hopefully Cher wouldn’t call me a full-on Monet. What do you think?


Monet Water Lilies Manicure


monet manicure
Little pieces of art

I have a vivid memory of when I first saw one of Monet’s Water Lilies paintings. They’re amazing at all different angles–and so hard to capture up close. I recently thought back to that trip and decided it would be fun to try to recreate that painting on my nails.

Tea optional.
Tea and yogurt optional

First I painted my nails a solid royal blue. You could also begin with purple, black, or an aqua base, depending on your color scheme. I decided to go with royal blue, black, purple, aqua, and green polishes. Next, rip up a few makeup sponges in half and stamp each color on, shade by shade.

monet nails
Step one: royal blue base


The secret is that you really give a lot of paint on the sponge, and tap it over and over again in one place until you get the level of opacity you want.

After stamping on aqua, green, purple, and navy blue polish
After stamping on aqua, green, purple, and navy blue polish

I just went color by color – aqua, purple, black, and green. After each dried completely, I put on a coat of my favorite glitter top coat, Zoya Maisie. The little mylar glitter flakes look like water lilies themselves. It’s a messy process, but it’s easy to go outside the lines and then wash up excess polish with soap and water

After my Zoya topcoat
The final product

What do you think?

The 10 Best Albums of 2015 (So Far)

Spring showers
Spring showers

We’ve only just wrapped up Q1 but I’ve already been blown away by music dropped so far this year. Whoever says that there isn’t any good music these days isn’t looking in the right places. Here are a few favorites I can’t stop listening to.

10. Action Bronson, Mr. Wonderful

Bronsolino is back with more raps about food, vacations and obscure 80s sports stars, now with big money production (Mark Ronson), but maintaining his signature silliness.

9. Laura Marling, Short Movie

Prickly British singer-songwriter goes full Joni Mitchell.

8. Matthew E. White, Fresh Blood

Hushed vocals are paired with retro arrangements on this Richmond, Virginia-based musician’s followup record.

7. Tinashe, Amethyst

Filling in where Ashanti fell off; light-touch R&B mixed with The Weeknd-style darkness and carnality.

6. Father John Misty, I Love You, Honeybear

I was wondering what a post-marriage FJM record would sound like – turns out he’s just as acerbic, absurdist, and tripped out.

5. Jazmine Sullivan, Reality Show

A Philly R&B singer with a lot of soul, Jazmine explores her vocal range and a variety of characters throughout this album.

4. Natalie Prass, Natalie Prass

Nashville singer with a dainty voice and intimate lyrics, backed by Matthew E. White’s lush strings and brass backing band.

3. Drake, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late

Delivering his slickest rapping yet, Drake plays around with new flows over signature murky, hypnotic OVO beats.

2. Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit

Australian songwriter focused on the quirky, banal everyday details that make life profound.

1. Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly

If Drake dropped a smart blockbuster, Kendrick put out the Oscar favorite: raw, powerful, and experimental, at once incredibly personal and furiously political.

Music and Makeup: Get Lauren Mayberry from Chvrches’ Cool Look

chvrches lauren mayberry
Flawless, etc.

One of my favorite music discoveries in 2013 is the Scottish electro-pop duo Chvrches (yes, that’s a v, but it’s pronounced Churches. Just stylized with a Roman u for smart SEO purposes). My friend described them as a cross between Passion Pit and Tegan and Sara. I’d also throw in The xx, Purity Ring, and Robyn, all great bands to evoke. They make insanely catchy yet intelligent music, which is not an easy accomplishment.

I saw them perform at the Mezzanine in March, and I’ve got tickets to see them at the much larger Fox Theatre this November: an impressive rise that shows how popular they’ve become. They even had a writeup on Buzzfeed yesterday – surely a sign of good things to come.

The frontwoman Lauren Mayberry entrances you onstage with a clear soprano and charming asides. She’s the kind of performer that makes the entire crowd fall in love with her, men and women alike. You can check out their first album, The Bones of What You Believe, streaming on NPR until its full release on September 24th.

Along with Lauren’s beautiful voice and enigmatic lyrics, I’m a fan of her eye makeup, which is usually a funky version of the classic cat eye. Keep reading to find out how I got this look:

chvrches makeup tutorial
Turn the other cheek

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Hello, Fall! An Autumn Inspired Gold, Purple, and Copper Look

copper smokey eyes
I’ve got a secret

Last week we said goodbye to summer with lots of liner and primary colors. Now it’s time to welcome autumn with some seasonally appropriate shades. For me fall means warm, rich shades like copper, purple, and gold. I miss the changing leaves of Pennsylvania, but I can mimic that look with some fun eyeshadow and nail polish.

I’ve been looking for a gold-purple duochrome polish forever (weirdly specific, I know), and now I’ve finally got Julep Julie, described as purple orchid with golden micro-glitter metallic. It’s a gorgeous rich shade that’s very hard to duplicate.  I decided I’d pair that with a similar gold, copper, and purple smokey eye.

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Music and Makeup: Love Like a Sunset Nails Inspired by Phoenix

sunset ombre nails
Here comes a visible horizon, right where it starts and ends

Two of the most beautiful shows I’ve been to this year were the same band: Pheonix’s triumphant performances at Coachella and Outside Lands. It’s hard for me to pick which set was better, but I’ll lean toward Coachella for the favorable weather and the impact of seeing it the first time.

Phoenix has one of the simplest yet most moving visuals I’ve seen. At the front of the stage white lights illuminated the band through the mist of a fog machine. Behind Phoenix was a huge LED screen that shifted between solid colors: blood red to stark black to bright aqua to lime green to wild magenta in quick succession. Here’s an clip of the show. It’s worth it to watch straight through, but if you want to skip ahead, the light show gets crazy beginning at 2:48.

[SEIZURE WARNING: intense flashing lights ahead]

Remembering this set fondly, I decided to do a sunset manicure inspired by the song. Luckily for klutzes like me, this is a very simple look: all you need are three shades of polish and a makeup sponge.

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The Belles of Twin Peaks: Josie Packard, Lumber Mill Femme Fatale

josie packard
What did I do wrong?

I’ve finally Belles of Twin Peaks series, I present to you Josie Packard. When people talk about Twin Peaks style inspiration, they usually reference Audrey Horne, the poor little rich girl troublemaker. I love Audrey, but I think there’s a more interesting femme fatale character on the Peaks: Josie Packard, the mysterious owner of the town mill.

Played masterfully by Joan Chen, Josie is enigmatic. It’s hard to tell if she’s a sweet woman who needs to be saved or a mischievous troublemaker. My kind of woman. Her look is late 80s/early 90s dramatic, sculpted perfection. You can easily imagine her next to Cindy Crawford on a cover, except for the somewhat dowdy outfits she wears to play down her sex appeal.

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