Noun: A change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means….
It almost sounds like the plot of a Marvel movie, but it’s all in a day’s work for an editorial team! We spend hours before, during and after a shoot transforming, converting, modifying and reconstructing moments captured into art. Oftentimes it turns out that the journey becomes the most beautiful and interesting thing. Which is why I wanted to do a shoot that captured the essence of metamorphosis, not just the stunning butterfly at the end.
Collaborating with great photographers and models is what makes my job so fun (and easy), and for this shoot, I had some of my favorite faces (@sophlyonss and @nicksmythphotography) behind the camera. We had 3 hours with 5 looks to shoot, so setup and communication were key! Shooting in a studio meant we could control the lighting, the wind, and the heat. Which are all important when there is a strict timeframe.
In planning hair and makeup, I knew I wanted to see all sides of Sophie, and that included her totally normal 16-year-old skin. I decided not to hide her behind layers of paint and instead, allowed her skin to breathe a bit and glow from the inside out. I often work with a makeup artist but it’s a treat when I get to create the whole look myself. Wardrobe styling is a personal passion and I have a well-curated closet of goodies to play in!
We chose soft orange tones for a fresh spring lip and also incorporated that into the wardrobe while adding layers of apricot shimmer to make her skin glow as the shoot progressed.
The hair looks were all current twists on classics….easy styles for the modernista. We started with a large marcel iron set, using Redken Iron Shape11 for protection and hold. Sophie has ALOT of hair and we left it pinned while I applied makeup to ensure the longevity of the set.
For the first look, the curls were brushed out with a Mason Pearson and softly set with a light finishing spray (Redken Wind Blown 05) to keep it flexible and a little gritty. Using a handheld fan onset helps create movement in the hair and we played with a few speeds before capturing just the right feel.
The makeup and wardrobe were kept simple so we could allow the model’s features to be the focus. She is only 16 and the raw beauty of that canvas is enough. The idea was to carve out, bring to the surface, and mold what already exists, not paint over it.
The softness of the second look is my favorite of the shoot. It was a very quick braid to the side, using all the previous texture of the curl set and a few puffs of Redken Powder Grip 03. The texture of the powder gives me room to blossom the braid or chignon and add dimension to the shape. Since Sophie has dense hair, this helped aerate and lighten the overall silhouette.
With makeup, I simply defined her brow, added a heavy clear gloss and the finest stroke of eyeliner. The dusting of apricot shimmer on her cheeks added softness and a dewy feel to her skin.
For the third and fourth looks, I added a stronger orange tone to the lip plus a pop of fuschia in the center, creating a subtle vertical ombre.
The hair was already set with volume so getting a nice ponytail with those flipped ends was done using three sections. The pompadour at the front is a triangle from the corner of the brows to the high point of the head. The second section (the sides and back) are secured at the high point with a Tearsheet anchor elastic. Initially, I left the nape loose and undone but when we changed wardrobe, I added it to the high ponytail!
I knew the final look was going to be Japanese inspired and had chosen a kimono romper from Madewell along with vintage earrings to accentuate the neckline. It was obvious the hair had to go up and with the high ponytail in place, I used Redken Triple Take 32 and my comb to turn the curled ends into stiff, jagged points and placed them like shards of glass atop her head. So fun!!
In working on this shoot, I realized that I too had undergone a metamorphosis. Personally and professionally, things have changed. I work behind the chair with more intention than ever and the work I create editorially has a new feel that I’m really proud of. It reflects where I have grown in my own life and allows me to share that in a beautiful way.
I have written about the beauty industry and how it has become a bit less than natural. With so many mixed messages, as a consumer, it is increasingly more confusing. It makes us ask ourselves the question: “Am I beautiful or not?” on the daily.
The answer is yes. You are! Truly, extraordinarily, profoundly beautiful, just as you are.
To help myself remember that daily, I have little notes around my house. One on the bathroom mirror that says, “you are splendid”, another by my jewelry says, “you are beautiful”, and in my car, another says “smile, you are loved”. The mirror is a place where we see all the flaws but I’ve turned it to a place of worship and joyful celebration of my living self. It’s been a reprogramming of the little voice that said, “you’re not” when in fact, I am!
I’m including a few of my favorite beauty rituals for self-confidence in one’s own skin and I hope they serve you as they have me!
First, send yourself love notes. Tuck them into pockets, in books, between bills and forget about them. It’s also fun to do this for strangers!!
Second, invest in a skin care regimen you can afford. Get creative with at home spa days once a month and try new masks, make essential oil mists and give your skin at least one day a week with no makeup!!
Lastly, I have discovered and am in love with facial rollers. These handy tools are beautiful and so good for the body and spirit. I use an amethyst roller with two ends, one rounded and small for releasing tension and the other more oval and gentle for stimulating circulation and production of collagen. I use a facial oil from Keihl’ s or my own essential oil blends, depending on the needs of my skin that day. I also have a few other stones I use for facial massage and will share more in my next blog post!!
Cheers to transformation luvvies!! Fall in love with your own shape, your beautiful face and all your imperfections…they are what make you, YOU!
Written by: Eyliana Gibson