Pat McGrath Labs
“Aliens” just invaded Maison Margiela’s spring haute couture show. Walking down the runway on January 25, models appeared as other-worldly creatures with supernaturally lustrous skin that left the internet completely mesmerized. The genius that she is, makeup artist Pat McGrath was responsible for the enchanting effect: “It’s a modern take on porcelain glass skin,” her team shared in a press release. “Skin is coated in a hyper-shiny glaze, mimicking the smooth, reflective quality of glass.” But we — alongside other earthlings — were left investigating exactly how these humans were transformed into such ridiculously shiny space dolls with not a single pore on their face.
Initially, McGrath was coy about what product she used to create the effect. Beauty detectives quickly pointed to Kryolan Professional Make-Up’s Liquid Glass (a liquid formula typically used in special-effects makeup, making it the perfect product to create this gleaming canvas) as the main suspect.
Makeup artist Erin Parsons had a different hypothesis, based on insight from a makeup artist who worked on the show, that the effect was a custom mix made with a water-based formula. This led Parsons to conclude that McGrath applied Freeman’s Renewing Peel-Off Gel Mask — and it's a sound theory, partially because models were seen peeling their full faces of makeup off after the show. Parsons tested it out herself by watering down the cult-favorite face mask from the mid-2000s and airbrushing it onto her skin in layers. “This look was so incredibly genius, and the technique is mindblowing,” Parson said on TikTok.
Turns out, Parsons wasn't too far off. Eight days after the show, McGrath hosted a TikTok Live masterclass where she finally revealed that the high-shine skin was the result of a custom concoction dreamed up by McGrath and her team, combining four different peel-off masks (including Parsons' prediction the Freeman's Cucumber Peel-Off Gel Face Mask, Que Bella Pinapple Peel-Off Mask, Proot Calendula Peel Off Mask, and Daggett & Ramsdell's Peel Off Mask) and Skin Illustrator Clear Gloss blended with distilled water. “We mixed together so many different products; it was a real scientific work in progress,” McGrath said on the Live stream. To achieve that waxy finish, the artist sprayed on eight layers of the mixture using an airbrush tool, drying each layer with a blow dryer before applying the next. “With each layer, you got a vivid brightness,” says McGrath. The entire look took two hours to complete, though McGrath says the ideation began three years ago.
Just when you thought it couldn't get more iconic, the makeup artist teased that she'll be releasing her own Pat McGrath Labs porcelain skin-glazing product in the coming months.
In the meantime, we’re inspired to swipe on our makeup boldly, set aside our rosy pink blush for a vibrant shade of yellow or coral, and experiment with a smudge of lime lipstick, just as McGrath did on these models at Margiela.
If the makeup from this season’s haute couture — like the electric tie-dye eyes at Giorgio Armani, the feathery, extra-long eyelashes at Giambattista Valli, or the bejeweled lips and brows at Jean Paul Gautier — is any indication, an astronomical year for bold makeup lies ahead.
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Originally Appeared on Allure