This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
If Carrie Bradshaw wore dark berry lipstick and wrote her sex column in the age of Tinder, she might have looked a lot like Blake, the protagonist in the quasi rom-com The New Romantic. Led by The End of the F***ing World ‘ s Jessica Barden, the indie film explores the life of a college-journalist-turned-sugar-baby — and all the glitz, glamour, and heartache that comes with it.
The film will leave you smitten with the young actress, and even more fascinated by the complicated sugar-daddy relationship. But while you watch Barden get showered with extravagant gifts — including diamonds and a vespa — you might miss her beauty evolution throughout the film, which directly correlates with her character’s development.
We spoke with the film’s lead makeup artist, Karly Madill, for all the details on Barden’s transformation from a doe-eyed college student to a women who knows what she wants. She breaks down all the makeup she used on The New Romantic set, ahead.
In an effort to make 26-year-old Barden look like a college senior, Madill kept her makeup very, very natural. “With Blake, Jessica’s character, I used the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD foundation throughout filming; it’s sheer, so [it] didn’t airbrush her freckles and gave a fresh glow to the skin,” she says.
Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation, $43, available at Sephora
To give Barden a youthful flush in those beginning scenes, Madill turned to a Nars cult favorite. “I wanted to incorporate makeup that a 19 or 20-year-old might actually wear, to make the characters relatable,” Madill says. “We actually experimented with a few different brands during the test shoot, and we all genuinely gravitated towards Nars.”
NARS Blush/Bronzer Duo, $42, available at Sephora
Staying true to the characters also meant dipping into the actors’ own makeup bags. “Jessica brought her favorite Charlotte [Tilbury] products to set, so we mixed some of those into Blake’s look,” Madill says. “Most days we used both the liquid concealer and the Magic Cream moisturizer.”
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Away Concealer, $32, available at Sephora
When Blake begins an arrangement with her sugar daddy, an older economics professor, her look evolves from innocent college kid — sheer foundation and a single coat of mascara — to something a bit more sophisticated.
“Because the sugar daddy is an older guy, Blake transitions when she starts dating him,” Madill says. “She starts dressing in a way that a young woman would perceive as mature or sophisticated. For the scenes that she’s playing the sugar baby role, we gave her a dark red lip.”
Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick, $26, available at Sephora
NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella, $27, available at NARS
“After the lipstick, we gave her hair more texture, and rimmed the lash line with dark eyeliner,” Madill says. “I used Urban Decay’s 24/Hour pencil liner in black, and really smudged it out for those scenes.”
The whole look — dark lipstick and smoky liner — feels a little forced and awkward, and that was entirely the point. “The goal was to make Blake look like what she thought her sugar daddy would want her to be,” Madill explains. “But that vibe, the glam and sophistication of it all, was not necessarily a look she was comfortable in — and that’s pretty clear.”
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil, $21, available at Sephora
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