Our editor embarrasses herself for the name of science

By Alex Apatoff
Updated January 30, 2014 10:08 PM

Alex Apatoff

What is it: Editor-loved beauty brand The Balm opened their first brick-and-mortar store in San Francisco, and their in-store makeovers come with a fun extra: They videotape the makeover and send you the link, so you can try it step-for-step at home

Who tried it: Alex Apatoff, Style News Editor (that’s my “after makeover” photo above and my disaster vanity)

Why I did it: Because I know I’m not the only one who’s bought a million products after a makeover, and then had no idea what to do with them the next day

Level of Difficulty: A 3 for me, but it depends on your level of makeup fluency. I like makeup already, so I found the video easy to follow. Probably the hardest thing about this whole experience will be sharing the embarrassing videos and photos below.

RELATED VIDEO: How to get the perfect red lip!

The Balm, whose cheeky eyeshadow palettes I’ve loved for years, opened up a shop on my street just last week. It’s very bright and glam, and everyone I met there — from the whip-smart founder Marissa to the supercool makeup artist, Jasmyne — was gorgeous and had intimidatingly perfect makeup. Couple that with the fact that the makeup chairs are in the window, and I was a little nervous that it was going to be intense. But actually, the entire process ended up being just the opposite, with one particularly genius touch: They film your whole makeover, giving you a good look at the products before they use them on you — then speed the video up, set it to music and send it to you so you know what you’re doing.

My video is below, to give you an idea. Disclaimer: I was having a great time chatting up everyone in the store, so it’s probably three times the normal length. Watching it will make you crazy. It’s for explanatory purposes only.

Jasmyne had the best cat eye I’d ever seen, so I asked her to show me how to do it — I can smudge on some liner but that perfect retro-glam look eludes me. She patiently walked me through the steps for the full face and told me shortcuts I could use if, say, I didn’t want to do a whole face of foundation with a brush (she sent me home with this tinted moisturizer, which, in all honesty, is the best match for my skin I’ve used yet). She finished off with a full red lip and translucent powder, and the link to my video arrived in my inbox the next morning (I chose to set it to “private,” but you can watch lots of in-store videos on their site).

Here’s what Jasmyne’s work looked like on the left, and the result of my at-home attempt on the right. How’d I do?

Alex Apatoff

I only walked out with the products I knew I didn’t have at home: The aforementioned tinted moisturizer, plus eyeliner brush and gel liner (only available in stores), the InStain blush (recommended to me because my skin eats up blush and this stuff doesn’t budge), a 16-shadow palette (you can pick your shades in the store!) and the lipstick in Mia Moore. I approximated the brushes I saw Jasmyne using in the video with ones of my own, and very carefully followed along with an iPad propped in front of my mirror. I cheated by skipping ahead past the “makeup artist” stuff (the most foundation I’m willing to do is to slap it on with my hands) but I played and replayed the liner to get it just so. Here’s my before and after attempt. Nothing like some fresh-faced embarrassment in the name of science!

Credit: Courtesy Alex Apatoff

Alex Apatoff

Verdict: I totally love this idea and am planning to follow this makeup to the letter, video and all, for a black tie event next month. I’d suggest to any girl with a big event coming up to bring a friend with an iPhone to video the tricky parts so she can replay them later — and to capture the product names in case she wants to come back and buy anything. It also would be helpful to zoom in on some of the more delicate stuff (like liner or lips), but careful watching allowed me to approximate it.

Would you want a makeover videotaped? What one makeup trick can’t you master? Tell us in the comments!