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Beauty Look to try: the best makeup looks from the "WAP" music video

Sep. 18, 2020
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If you’ve been living under a rock for the past month, I can just about forgive you for not having seen the “WAP” video. But if you’ve even casually logged onto the internet and not immediately gone to watch this iconic piece of filmmaking history, I don’t know what to tell you. Just go and watch it now, then get back to me.

All caught up? Thank God. The video is genuinely one of the most aesthetically pleasing things I’ve ever seen in my life. And once you’ve gotten over the snakes, tigers, and Kylie Jenner cameo, take another look at the makeup. It’s absolutely stunning—in every one of the myriad settings. I’ve (somehow) narrowed it down to my top two looks, so let’s recreate them at home. All together now—“whores in this house…”

Let’s start with Cardi’s pink look. These softly shimmering pink tones combined with cat-eye lashes and a sleek updo are the stuff of my ‘00s disco dreams. Skin is velvety and perfected, so you’ll want to start with a perfecting, pore-filling primer. The Tarte Timeless Smoothing Primer is the best I’ve found at smoothing over uneven texture and giving skin the supernaturally perfect look of a blow-up doll. It’s best applied with fingers—and less is more.

Over top, you want a nice, medium-coverage, satin-finish foundation. The Giorgio Armani Power Fabric is perfect for this sort of look, giving a flawless finish without ever caking up or looking obvious on the skin. Add some of the Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Concealer under the eyes and on any blemishes, then blend in using a sponge. 

I rarely feel the need to set my makeup, but this sort of matte, velvety look requires it. The Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish is truly the best powder on the market, especially for powder-phobes like myself. 

With such a matte look, a hint of glossy highlight has even more impact. I’m a glossy highlighter connoisseur, so I have a few different options for you. The Burt’s Bees All Aglow Highlighter Stick offers a hint of shimmery pigment alongside a dewy core, so it’s more of a frosty vibe. The Fenty Beauty Matchstixx in “Purrl” is almost totally translucent but gives cheeks a wet glow. If you fancy a treat, the Westman Atelier Lit Up Highlight Stick looks almost iridescently blue in the swatch but gives a truly lit-from-within glow. Whichever you go for, apply to all high points of the face and tap in with a fingertip to blend.

According to some very high-up sources (the woman herself), Cardi’s eye look is done with the 

Pat McGrath Mothership VIII: Divine Rose II palette. Any pink-toned palette will work, though. Take a deep rosy color (the “Naked Blush” shadow from Pat’s palette) and work it into the crease using a fluffy brush. Add an even deeper mauve shade (“Rose Seduction”) to create even more definition on the outer corner and upper lash line, pulling it outward in a wing shape. Then apply a mid-toned pink shadow (“Eleganza”) over the entire eyelid. Use a finger to press a more iridescent, shimmery pink (“Skinshow Rose Opal”) into the center of the eyelid. Finish with a thin, angular wing of liquid liner and some false lashes that follow the same winged-out shape.

Finally, for the lips, use a neutral-toned brown liner to shape (Marc Jacobs’ “Oh Cocoa” is brilliant in formula and shade) then apply a shimmery lip gloss (Fenty Gloss Bomb in “Sweet Mouth”—but you already knew I was going to say that, right?) to finish.

Okay, onto my favorite Meg look. We’ll keep the skin broadly the same, but with some minor tweaks. Meg looks more dewy and glowy than Cardi, so after applying your primer and foundation, I’d skip the powder step entirely. I’d also go a little more heavy-handed on the highlighter, and apply a dewy finish facial spray over the top (I love the Elemental Herbology Antioxidant Hydration Mist, but the Heritage Store Rosewater and Glycerin is a great affordable option, too).

Meg’s brows are a little more severe, so I’d fill in with pomade and an angled brush. The KVD Beauty Super Pomade Vegan Eyeliner, Shadow, and Brow Pigment is great and comes in an enormous variety of shades. Once it sets, it stays put. 

For the eyes, I’d go with the Glisten Cosmetics Totally Botany Eyeshadow Palette. It has the perfect shade range, has a great formula, and is affordable, too. First take the darker, purple toned shade (“Pansy”) and work it into the crease. Use the lighter, mid-toned pink (“Peony”) to blend it out. Then take the mint shade (cleverly named “Mint”) and buff it along the lower lashline. On a smaller bush, take the deeper teal shade (“Pine”) and define the outer edge of the lower lashes, winging outward and slightly upward. You’ll need one extra shadow in addition to this palette—a bright, matte chartreuse shade. I love the Inglot Eyeshadow in “343.” Swipe this shade over the entire eyelid, focusing primarily on the inner half. Use a clean blending brush to meld the chartreuse and purple shades together. Again, like Cardi, finish the eye look with a thin wing of black liquid liner and a fanned-out false lash.

For Meg’s lip (we wish) all you need is a dark, plummy lipstick and a similar shade of gloss. A retro favorite of mine is Mac’s Lipstick in “Rebel.” Over top, the YSL Glossy Stain in “Rouge Vintage” gives the shine you want—while also cleverly locking in the color, ensuring you can have a reflective lip look that actually lasts.