The Magic’s in the Make Up

As a massive lipstick fan, I’m always excited when someone recommends a new shade or a trusted brand launches a new product line, so you can imagine my excitement when Halsey launched her new line, about-face, at the start of January. Musicians creating make up lines is nothing new: Selena Gomez launched Rare Beauty last year, Lady Gaga has Haus Laboratories, and there’s the gold standard of modern celebrity makeup/skincare lines: Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty. (This doesn’t even touch on collaborations like Bebe Rexha for SinfulColors or Becky G for Colourpop.)

Although it launched for presales on January 4, Halsey’s about-face didn’t start shipping til late January. My package was delayed in a massive snowstorm at the start of the month, but it just arrived and I’m having feelings. I ordered two of my can’t-live-without products (my true test of any new beauty brand): a red lipstick and a black eyeliner. I also bought a navy eye paint because the color was so bold and beautiful and i may or may not have been seduced by the pictures of it on the site. So, how does it all stack up?

Let’s start with lips. I ordered the Paint-It matte lip color in Take Aim. The Lip Paint has a thinner constancy than I was expecting. It needed more than one swipe for full coverage, which I like because it made the color more buildable; with one swipe it was a more subtle tint but after a second pass, you got full coverage. Once it set, it stayed it in place and – even without lip liner – the color never bled. The lip paint smells faintly of peppermint in a really pleasant way. It goes on easily and smoothly. The color is great, too.

I was hoping to be able to use the Shadow Stick like a liner – its packaging is reminiscent of my favorite KVD liner – but it’s more an eyeshadow crayon. I ordered it in Paint It Black, which is a matte black. The formula goes on fairly smooth, a straight line was easily achieved, and the color was (again) very buildable. However, I found that without setting spray it wandered a little in some places and disappeared in others after a few hours.

I didn’t know I needed Navy Eye Paint but I absolutely did. The matte Fluid Eye Paint in Lost Unfound may have been my impulse add this order, but something I would buy again. The pigmentation is great; you only need one swipe for full, opaque coverage. It takes a little longer to set (by design) which was great when I used it as eye shadow – the slower set time made it super blendable. But when I tried to use it more like a liquid liner, the longer set time made it tricky (Mostly because I am impatient and have trouble keeping still that long). Eventually – after a few touch ups with some make up remover – it looked awesome. And, once it’s on, it didn’t stray. It has great staying power – without any additional product – the most important virtue, I think, of any makeup product.

The packing for the products was great, too. Everything came sealed in little shiny bags that reminded me of prizes you’d get as a kid or like the toy inside of a blind box you’d pick up at comic con. Once the bags are opened, you’re greeted with a product container that is not only cool to look at but functional as well. I used the attached applicator for everything that had one; they’re actually functional – you only need a make up brush if you want to do something more deliberate or delicate. They also close really well, which feels like a silly statement until you’ve had a lipstick stain the inside of your purse. I could toss the lip paint in my bag at a concert or convention without any fear of it opening and ruining my stuff.

One of the things that sets about-face apart is the colors. There are lots of vibrant and unusual colors (some I haven’t seen in years… or ever) like a canary yellow, a lime green. This is not your normal, playing-it-safe collection of launch colors by any means. And the colors all have great names. One shadow stick (that gives me strong Deliah’s flashbacks) is called 2002. Another, the canary yellow, is titled Chaos Theory. The Smell Before Rain is an eye paint color. (A matte nude, naturally.) My favorite lip color name is Nudist Judas.

The brand has a really fun, anything goes attitude. This ethos resonates in their marketing, the packaging, the imagery. Models aren’t your typical make up models (in the best way). The products aren’t used in typical ways for every shoot, either. Watch any tutorial with these products and the first thing you’ll notice is the products were made to blend together easily and play well together to create new colors to make anything possible. In January, Halsey did a tutorial on Instagram Live using her products. She didn’t just apply shadow and liner in a classic line instead she drew two different mini murals over each eye. “For Everyone. For Everywhere. For Every Way.” is written on many of their online spaces and it’s clear from the moment it launched, about-face means it.

Halsey has teased that this is just the start, with additional products and colors to launch soon. Somebody hide my credit card before then, please.

Sarah Conrad

Sarah is an east coast based media professional. In the before times, she could usually be found at a concert (or convention) or with her nose in a book as she traveled someplace new for an adventure. These days, she can usually be found on her couch playing video games or online shopping. 

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