Get the new Victoria’s Secret bombshell look with tips from some of the Angels’ frequent makeup artist
Some things don’t change with time—the killer bodies of Victoria’s Secret’s Angels, for example. But others do: “The ’80s and ’90s were about craft, covering up and creating dimensions, and now it’s about accentuating what you have and embracing your features,” says Meredith Baraf, a NY-based makeup artist who since 2006 has frequently been responsible for the faces of Adriana Lima, Doutzen Kroes, Erin Heatherton and Candace Swanepoel. Even the staple VS smoky eye has evolved. “Depending on the girl, sometimes we’re seeing the trend of a little cat liner. It’s fun and it has the same effect as the smoky eye in terms of accentuating and making the eye pop.”
When trying to embody the VS look (the current campaign errs on the more beachy-bronze side with flushed cheeks and lips), it’s important to embrace the positives, as opposed to “hiding something underneath a layer,” says Baraf. “Fresh skin is big, [as is] sunless tanning—being tan makes us feel sexier.” Baraf notes when using using a sunless tanner, be sure to match the face, neck and chest. “I’m pretty into a peach (like NARS Orgasm) or light pink on the top of the cheekbone with a dewy highlight above it and down the bridge of the nose. Back in the ’90s it was powder, powder, powder, but a sheen on the nose creates a nice reflection.”
As for that illusive smoky eye, “the key to all of it is blending and having a light hand. Whether you’re using blacks and grays or browns and bronzes, the idea is to layer—you shouldn’t see it.” Instead of blacked-out it should appear feathery, the way smoke actually diffuses. And achieve a brighter doe-eyed appearance by adding a light pencil like Tarte’s Inner Rim Brightener in the peachy Nude on the inside or golden or bronze shadow from a VS palette underneath the bottom lash line. And mascara is a must. Baraf loves piling it onto the VS girls—L’Oréal Voluminous Carbon Black mascara on the top and Maybelline Lash Discovery on the bottom.
For Baraf, the lips are perhaps just as important as the eyes. Victoria’s Secret lipstick in Wish is one of the makeup artist’s favorite go-tos, as are Tom Ford, YSL and Armani lipsticks in pinky-nude hues. “The key with the nude lip is it’s still got to come out of the face so it doesn’t look like you concealed your lips. You want a little pop, whether it’s more beige or peach.” Lima gets a pinky-peach, while Swanepoel’s nude has a deeper bitten tone.
But the most important rule to remember is to not let your makeup wear you. “You don’t need to hide behind it—the whole idea is to bring out what you have, but that’s a fine line,” says Baraf. “Balance in general is what’s sexy.”