Drag artists are experts in making a visual impact. Here, four queens reveal their most transformative beauty hack.
Whether you’re aware of it or not, your make-up routine has long been inspired by drag artists – especially over the last few years.
Drag make-up techniques such as contouring and baking have burst from from queens’ dressing rooms to become popular mainstream beauty trends. Scroll through Instagram and you’re guaranteed to come across a beauty look that includes a tip taken from drag queens.
Stylist’s guest editor Adwoa Aboah decided that she wanted to create a drag beauty shoot after featuring drag artists on her podcast, The Gurls Talk Podcast. “I became fascinated in the more underground scene and also finding out their top beauty tips,” she says.
Adwoa handpicked four UK-based queens – Cara Melle, Meth, Tayce and Herr The Queen – to talk Stylist through their beauty routines. She also served as creative director on the shoot you’re about to see. Prepare to learn some truly transformative beauty tips…
Cara Melle moved to the UK from Atlanta, Georgia, four years ago. Her drag is inspired by powerful and sultry femme fatales
“I always mix three sizes of glitter together for my eyes. I like using a fine glitter, a medium one and a big one because it adds more of a glimmer and gleam. Next, I stack two pairs of lashes. Before I put them on, I style them by snipping into the ends with a small pair of nail scissors. That makes them more fluttery, almost like a spider. I pop them on with tweezers – I always wear long nails so I can’t do it with my fingers, unless I want to poke my eye out…”
EcoStardust Unicorn Dreams Biodegradable Glitter, £1.50
Eylure Luxe Cashmere Lashes in No. 9, £19.95
Lilly Lashes FABU-Lash Eyelash Scissors, £12.50
Originally from rural Somerset, Meth began her career as a burlesque artist before moving into the world of drag
“With my make-up, it takes forever to do my base, but when that looks good everything else just slots into place. To save time, I tend to be like ‘boom’ all over my face with a stick foundation. That way I can get a good thick layer on relatively quickly. I blend it in using a damp sponge; so it doesn’t leave any tell-tale marks. Then I use three different powders to set my face: one is an all-over base and the other two are illuminating shades.”
Makeup Forever Ultra HD Stick Foundation Stick, £31
Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder, £30
Hailing from Wales, Tayce decided against a drag name: “I’m not a character. It’s just me, with a bit of slap on.” She is inspired by the fashion world and Nineties hip-hop
“When it comes to highlighters, I’m obsessed. If you want a blinding highlight, dampen your skin with a setting spray before applying any product. I apply a white highlighter with a fan brush to the raised point of the face; I’ll do around five applications. I pile it on and make it really concentrated to create a spotlight. Then I take a mix of brown and gold highlighters and blend them around the white in circular motions to marry it all together. That way you create an ombré effect.”
Anastasia Beverly Hills Sugar Glow Kit, £41
Urban Decay All Nighter Long Lasting Makeup Setting Spray, £24
Morphe M310 Large Soft Fan Brush, £5.50
Herr The Queen’s comedic performances cover everything from Carol Vorderman on ‘Countdown’ to a musical remix of Lady Gaga’s “100 people in a room” story
“First, I clean my lips with a make-up wipe to take off any foundation and clear the edges. I line them by following the natural shape – mine are quite thin, so I don’t over-line too much. I fill them in with a matching lipstick and blend the liner into it. Next, I highlight the middle of my lips using white liquid lipstick to add dimension. When it’s semi-dry, I blend with my fingers so it doesn’t look too stark and finish with a topper that’s shiny without being tacky. It makes the colours pop.”
NYX Professional Makeup Lip Liner in Bloom, £3.50
Revolution Pro Supreme Matte Lip Pigment in Psychedelic, £4
Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer in Diamond Milk, £16
We’re celebrating Stylist’s 10th birthday in 2019 – and to honour the occasion, we’ve asked 10 of our favourite women to guest edit an issue of the magazine. Adwoa Aboah is our second star guest editor; see everything from her special issue here.
Beauty direction: Lucy Partington / Words and interviews: Hanna Ibraheem / Photography: Mark Cant for Stylist Magazine / Creative direction: Adwoa Aboah