We Tried It: Rocking faux freckles
Who Tried It: Maddy Zollo, Assistant Beauty Editor at PEOPLE StyleWatch
Why I did It: Fake freckles were all over New York and London fashion week — from realistic ones at Preen, Vivienne Westwood and Adam Selman to star embellishments at Tommy Hilfiger and A Détacher. I’m never one to shy away from off-the-wall beauty trends, so how could I not put this look to the test? Plus, Topshop even created a “freckle pencil” for their fall makeup collection, which meant it had to be cool … right?
Level of Difficulty: 3 (one point for making sure you have a steady enough hand to draw them on and two points for the sporadic pangs of self-consciousness you are sure to experience when people stare and wonder what the heck is all over your face)
courtesy Maddy Zollo
I’m not going to lie, this wasn’t my only foray into the land of fake freckles. My initial experience was when I was twelve. It was Halloween and I was Pippi Longstocking, complete with overalls, a flannel shirt, and two pieces of wire braided into my hair so my pigtails would stand on end. The second go-round was for a “Wild West”-themed party in college, but let’s be serious, I’m sure most people had consumed enough jungle juice that they didn’t even realize I had them on.
Which leads me to the hardest part of my freckle experiment: Convincing myself (and everyone else) that it wasn’t just a costume, but simply part of a makeup look like a statement lip or smoky eye.
To create my more spotted look for day one, I turned to TopShop’s pencil. Its formula is two shades of brown swirled together, so when you press the pencil onto your cheeks it leaves a more natural mark than brown eyeliner would. It was super-simple to use and in less than ten minutes, I had transformed my usual clear complexion into a full-blown freckle party.
The first person to see me was our beauty director. Given that I’ve worked with her for over four years, it came as no surprise that she immediately asked me what on earth I was doing. Throughout the rest of the day, it never took more than thirty seconds for my coworkers to call me out on it. It always started with slight confusion (similar to how it takes a second to notice someone’s new haircut), followed by reactions ranging from “Oh, they don’t look that bad” to “This is one of your weird beauty experiments, right?”
Towards the end of the day I had a meeting scheduled with someone who didn’t know me. The entire time I could only focus on whether or not they thought I was a freak with eyeliner all over her face. As we were wrapping up, I finally caved and asked if they knew my freckles were fake. They gave me a weird look, then asked, “Really?” Success! My freckly complexion and I had fooled at least one person!
courtesy Maddy Zollo
For day two, I decided to up the ante and go more avant-garde with “star freckles,” like the look that Kendall Jenner rocked at Tommy Hilfiger. Work was not the place for me to get honest reactions about my look, so I decided to wear them over the weekend.
Conveniently, two of my friends were throwing an apartment party on Saturday, and I knew a ton of people would be there. After bedazzling my cheeks with star stickers I bought at my neighborhood toy store (and after making sure that my dress matched the stickers’ color scheme, because priorities), I was off.
When I arrived, the party was hopping, drinks were flowing and there was definitely a 70/30 ratio of guys to girls (two thumbs up). Within minutes of entering, a stranger walked up to me and complimented me on “my flair” then asked if he could have some too. Luckily, I packed the rest of my sticker sheet and shared the star love with him.
Much to my surprise, the stars garnered a lot of attention. I couldn’t go for more than a few minutes without a new person (to be specific: a new male) coming up and making some “clever” comment about them. Here were some of the best:
“When you walked in here, I was like everyone stand back, Lady Gaga is here!”
“You look like you’re a kindergarten teacher who got drunk at school.”
“You’re Kesha’s twin and that’s a good thing.”
However, the females at the party were a different story. I’ve never experienced more icy stares in my life and my friend even overheard a cluster of girls talking about how weird I was with “that stuff” on my face. Finally one of them walked up to me and said that Joan Rivers should rise from the dead (R.I.P. Joan) and put me on Fashion Police. Well, as Taylor Swift (currently sporting faux freckles of her own on the cover of British Vogue) would say, haters gonna hate.
The Verdict: If you really want to fool people, use Topshop’s pencil (but remember, less is more!) and surround yourself with strangers. But if you’re single (which I’m not — hi Nate!), an attention junkie or a lover of bad pickup lines, star freckles are the way to go. Just be warned, the next morning these suckers will be everywhere. (See: My iPhone charger above.)
Would you be down to bedazzle your face?