We are so excited to share our new article series titled “Millennial Avant-Gardes” in which we’ve asked some of the most inspiring women we’ve come across on social media to share their story and craft. First up is Salwa, aka @urgalsal_.
Salaams from Sal! So, let’s get into my life. I’m a recent Law graduate/self titled face doodler/maybe a creative?/human being. Yes, I am all those wonderful things. You know those people that come into your life, change the way you see things and then just stick by you while you do dumb stuff but don’t judge you and potentially maybe even enable you a little bit? That’s makeup for me. It started as a harmless bit of black in the waterline, clumpy eyelashes courtesy of Maybelline’s waterproof mascara and £1 lipglosses from African hair shops owned by South Asian men.
The game changed when my sister got gifted an Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eyeliner travel kit that had this gorgeous electric teal shade and that was love at first sight. From there I fell into colour, the more I could put on my face the better and the more it clashed the more I loved it.
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“Society binds me to a certain female structure, to be a woman who wears just the right amount of blush that accentuates her face but still looks ‘natural’…”
To go deeper, (and it is more complex than what I can fit in a small blog post) my upbringing and the existing society around me binds me to a certain female structure, to be pretty to get by, to be a demure and graceful woman who wears just the right amount of blush that accentuates her face but still looks “natural”, you know the deal and the male gaze expectation. Essentially, I stopped giving a shit. I stopped caring about what everyone else expected make up to represent, I stopped caring whether it was perfect, whether it would get likes on Instagram, whether someone would comment on how clean and cut everything looked.
“Perfection is no longer the ideal, which is truly liberating.”
I became much more individualistic in my expression and sought to just do my own thing. All my looks were and have been me just having fun in my bedroom and trying to translate things from my brain onto my face and perfection is no longer the ideal, which is truly liberating. It’s empowering to say, it doesn’t look right but I’m going to rock it anyway and I think that change in mentality really put a lot of things into perspective for me.
Inspiration can come from anywhere, you just need to keep your eyes and mind open to it. I would never say limit yourself to simply seeking the beauty ideals set by huge corporations who think they know that beauty, inclusivity and representation mean when all you see is various shades of white being pushed to you. Simply said, don’t eat something that is being force fed to you. Seek inspiration from anywhere and everything. Me personally, colours and shapes are usually a great place to start because they are so vague you can really flex your creativity muscles, rather than recreate something already done.
Use Instagram correctly for inspiration, find subversive creatives and artists who are great on their own terms, accounts like @honeydon.t @anatakonyourface @nadialeelee @v93oo @uglyworldwide @beasweetbeauty @athenapaginton @fkatwigs @daniel_s_makeup are a few that really amaze and inspire me. Publications like @polyesterzine, @beautypapersmag and @dazedbeauty hold and showcase so many artists and creatives out there that push boundaries and show the perfect duality of skill and just having fun. Otherwise, head to art galleries, watch films and read books – you can never go wrong with the holy trinity.
“Never underestimate yourself and your ability to do a goddamn blue winged eyeliner.”
I’m going to throw down my philosophy to you. Perfection does not mean precision. Looking stupid does not mean you are stupid. We live in an age of increasing awareness of what everyone else is doing and what everyone else looks like and believes “beautiful” to be. So I always need to remind myself, verbally and mentally, that I am good for me and what I am doing is good, if not better. Because trust me, self doubt sucks and being constantly reminded that there are people out there not doing half the funky stuff you are and getting 3x more recognition does feel like a brick to the heart. But again, you are good and what you are doing is awesome.
Never underestimate yourself and your ability to do a goddamn blue winged eyeliner or some random squiggles on your face. Normalise your experimentations and enjoy drawing on your face because thats all it is, face doodling.
Hacks, this is tough but don’t worry – I’m not bringing back the trend of taking everyday household items as makeup tools. No one is ever going to be in a position where they need a knife to contour. Or a spatula to apply blusher. My hack is I always keep a berry coloured lip liner in all my bags – nothing super expensive. Anything from Superdrug will do. I do this because on days where I am wearing no makeup or need to do a rush job but don’t want to carry 32942 different items, I use the lip liner on my lips, cheeks, nose and chin and eyes to add some colour so I don’t look like the walking dead. Never assume that you can only use a lipstick as a lipstick, push the boundaries and make it multi purpose because hey, why not?
Also, not so much as a hack as it is just some friendly advice from your neighbourhood Sal, if you are looking to explore and experiment with makeup further but don’t know how then the best way is to scribble all and any ideas on your face before you take your makeup off. Layer idea over idea and see how it turns out because at the end of the day, it’s all going to come off anyway so you might as well have some fun with it. Plus it makes it easier to wear because you’ve had a trial run and the big thing won’t look as daunting anymore. Trust me, if you look like a demented clown by the end of your drawing session, you are doing amazing sweetie.
Products you NEED, trust me:
1.Glossier Boy Brow in Clear / 2. Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser / 3. MAC Fix+ (oldie but goldie) / 4. Weleda Skin Food / 5. Ohiii Beauty Highlighter in Cosmic Jaspe / 6. Trinny London Lip2Cheek in Pia or Freddie
So, as you can tell – there’s only so much social media a gal can take so if you do want to stalk me, you can find me at @urgalsal_ on Instagram!