I tried the marinated makeup trend: see photos +2023

Image source: Courtesy of Alexandra Arnold for Make Up For Ever

My everyday beauty look is the complete opposite of the “marinated” makeup trend. It’s minimal, fresh and natural; “Marinated” makeup (aka “Tumblr” makeup) is dark, smeared, and moody. But beauty is all about experimentation. So when I was offered the opportunity to have my makeup done by one of Make Up For Ever’s talented pro artists, I asked them to give me a “marinated” makeover – and the results surprised me.

When Eddie Duos, the brand’s Head of Pro Education and Artistry for North America, asked me what kind of makeup look I wanted to do and began describing the look: “There’s this emerging makeup trend on TikTok… It is kind of the opposite of “clean girl” aesthetic with really heavy shadow and liner on the eyes. . .” I didn’t finish before he excitedly guessed, “Marinated makeup? Like the “Indie Sleaze” beauty trend?” He knew exactly what I meant — it’s a makeup style he “wore non-stop” in the ’90s.

Image Credit: POPSUGAR Photography / Jessica Harrington

Before jumping in, I conceded by explaining that this makeup style isn’t even remotely in my comfort zone. Duyos assured me that he could make the look more wearable so I could wear it to the office comfortably. I wasn’t entirely convinced, but I trusted him.

Duyos started by applying my foundation base and instead of using a traditional concealer he spot concealed with a tiny brush using the same foundation to target blemishes without making the overall coverage too heavy. He then switched to bronzer and highlighter, but kept both products very subtle as the “marinated” makeup look is really about the eyes.

Duyos had two pieces of advice for anyone a little nervous about trying the “marinated” makeup trend. First, “the secret of the smoky eye is to take advantage of the eye’s natural darkness and not overdo it,” and second, “don’t go straight away with black—start lighter, almost with a gradient.” Both the tips don’t apply only for “marinated” makeup, but for any kind of smoky eyeshadow look.

Image Credit: POPSUGAR Photography / Jessica Harrington

The first product he used on my eyes was the Make Up For Ever Aqua Resist Smoky Eyeshadow Stick ($25) in the shade “Pink Canyon.” This surprised me at first as I was expecting the look to be about darker shades of eyeshadow, but the pinkish-brown immediately put my mind at ease. Duyos covered my lid with it before smudging it with a brush. The key is to find a creamy eyeshadow that blends before drying. The Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint ($21) would also be great for this.

Then it was time for eyeliner. Using the Make Up For Ever Aqua Resist Color Pencil Eyeliner ($22), he lined my entire upper lash line and the outer corners of my lower lashes in the black shade Graphite. If you want to add a touch of shimmer, you can also try the Maybelline New York TattooStudio Sharpenable Gel Pencil in Metallic Nights ($9). Lastly, he coated my upper and lower lashes with mascara.

Image Credit: POPSUGAR Photography / Jessica Harrington

I was immediately impressed with how my “marinated” makeup look turned out. I thought the dark colors on my eyes would be overwhelming and heavy, and possibly spill over into costume makeup territory, but that wasn’t the case. Even though I was wearing more makeup than usual, it helped to put the focus on my eyes and be subtle about the rest of my makeup to balance the look. It ended up feeling very sexy, ’90s supermodel-esque – not a look I often seek, but one I can totally get behind.

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