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  • Writer's pictureAshanta Artistry

Recreating the Pat McGrath Glass Skin Effect: A Journey of Trial and Error

Updated: Apr 1

The Pat McGrath has gone and done it again with this glass skin effect trend. Intrigued by its ethereal glow and flawless finish, I knew I had to try it myself. I wasn’t there for the TikTok Live, so only armed with the Allure magazine detailing the products Pat McGrath used to achieve the look, determination and a sense of adventure, I embarked on my mission to recreate this iconic makeup style. You see, I have this toxic trait of believing I can tackle any project after watching a mere ten seconds of a tutorial. From building a fence to installing door frames, I've dabbled in various DIY tasks fueled by my overconfidence.

Without hesitation, I picked up some Freeman's cucumber peel off mask and called up my friend and asked her to be my model. Little did she know, she was about to become the canvas for my glass skin experimentation. I pulled up to her house with my eyebrows glued down and concealed with absolutely no warning of what to expect. Just that we were going to my studio to play.

Just last week, I was contemplating selling my airbrush gun, dismissing it as outdated since airbrush foundation seemed so 2007. Good thing I still had it tucked away in my overstock makeup closet. Ive had my Iwata airbrush gun and compressor for at least 15 years and it powered up after years of neglect like a charm.

Upon arrival to my studio in downtown LA, I delved into the nitty-gritty of the process. I quickly realized that there was more to it than meets the eye. The basic premise seemed self-explanatory—apply makeup, then airbrush the mask over it. However, my first attempt revealed a myriad of challenges and valuable lessons learned.

1. Masking the eyebrows: This seemingly simple task proved to be more challenging than anticipated. I used the self-adhesive cover patches on my friend. Th self adhesive cover patches are amazing at covering the brows so it’s smooth with zero hair texture coming through. BUT the color it comes in is meant for only lighter skin tones, and the texture doesnt make color correction easy. I recommend, using the prosthetic with manually applying the adhesive so you can color match more consistently. Additionally, meticulously placing the adhesive around the patch was essential for a natural look. This was my first time using these patches, soooo let’s just say, MISTAKES were had!! In hindsight, opting for a laminated brow look would be a more forgiving alternative.

2. Hair styling considerations: Planning to style the hair after applying makeup is a recipe for disaster. The glass skin effect is delicate and short-lived, easily compromised by any liquid drips on the face. Therefore, it's crucial to finalize the hairstyle before diving into the makeup application process.

3. Matte foundation is key: While the glass skin effect aims for a glossy, mirrored finish, certain areas—such as the nasal labial fold and under the eyes—require a matte look even is this glass effect. This ensures a balanced look and prevents unwanted shine in areas where it's not flattering.

4. Work quickly: Time is of the essence when executing this makeup style. Once the final coat is applied, any movement of the mouth risks disrupting the mask, rendering the entire effort futile. Therefore, streamline your process, from hair and makeup to airbrushing, and seize the moment for photos and videos promptly.

5. Mind the lighting: Optimal lighting is paramount to showcasing the glass skin effect in its full glory. Utilize beauty dish or Rembrandt lighting to accentuate the features and create a flattering, soft glow. Too harsh or insufficient artificial light can detract from the desired effect, so experiment until you find the perfect balance. But remember TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE so have your lighting set up and figured out BEFORE you begin airbrushing.

6. Take your time & have fun: Art isn’t meant to be rushed. Don’t try to squeeze this look in last minute if it’s your first time. Take your time, have fun with the base hair and makeup look that can stand on it’s own and when you’re ready, apply the glass and enjoy the process.

Despite the challenges encountered, the allure of the Pat McGrath glass skin effect remains undeniable. While many recreations may rely on AI enhancements or professional models, there's beauty in experiencing it firsthand on the average person. Armed with these tips, I'm eager to embark on my next attempt and refine my technique. After all, makeup is a form of self-expression and experimentation—so why not have fun along the way? Stay tuned for updates on my journey, and remember to embrace the process with creativity and joy.


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