What’s the Deal with Putting Makeup Where It’s Not Supposed to Go?

Rachel Krause
orange pigment lipstick

Photo: ImaxTree

Using makeup where it’s not technically meant to be used—lip gloss in place of eyeshadow! powder blush pressed onto the lips!started as a trend on the runway a few years ago but has surpassed fleetingfad status and become the norm.

It’s not particularly surprising that the fashion world won’t settle for using the usual products in the usual ways and will instead find fresh ways to use makeup. After all, the industry banks on experimentation and a constant stream of ideas to keep things new, which is exactly how someone backstage discovers that putting Vaseline on eyelids creates shine that just can’t be achieved with regular eyeshadow and that sweeping powdery pigments over lipstick creates a brighter, more matte finish than one can achieve with lip color alone. It’s all kind of genius when you think about it.

This New York Fashion Week alone, Francelle Daly used a NARS lipstick to line the eyes with pink at 3.1 Phillip Lim, and makeup artists at Cividini decked out the eyes in two shades of vibrant fuchsia that we suspect came courtesy of lip liner. Versatile usages are just about everywhere.

glossy eyelids

Photo: Mireya Acierto/Getty Images

As a few runway beauty trends manage to do, the unorthodox techniques have trickled down to the mainstream, with the everyday woman following suit. But lip gloss on your eyes is impractical—and hellaciously sticky—in real life, which is how MAC Studio Eye Gloss ($22) came to be. The practice of wearing lipliner on your lids for long periods of time is questionable as far as safety goes, so Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil ($20) comes in bright pinks and purples as an alternative.

But if the question comes down to why this type of thing is happening, the answer is pretty simple: Messing around with color and texture and seeing where it takes you is what makes makeup fun in the first place. We’ll take our pared-down natural looks for every day, but when the situation calls for it, you can bet we’ll be scoring shiny eyes with Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant ($21) and the brightest lips of our lives with MAC Multi-Use Pigment ($22). We definitely encourage you to do the same.

MORE: On the Resurgence of Lip Gloss (and 5 New Formulas You Need to Try)