kim makeup

(GIF: Giphy)

I’d say I spend a solid half hour every day thinking about Kim Kardashian‘s makeup. It’s pretty magical, when you really take the time to look at it. I mean, do we even know what Kim’s face really looks like? I’m guessing not, considering the relatively extreme nature of her contour. But that’s just part of Kim’s whole air of mystery, I suppose: keep them guessing until the very end, or until North accidentally tweets something without Kim knowing. 

(Related: 9 Whisper Confessions Anyone Who Has Ever Tried Contouring or Strobing Will Understand)

In my eternal effort to understand the puzzle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in Balmain that is Kim Kardashian, I took it upon myself to do the one thing a normal editor like me can do to even come close to living her life: I tried to recreate her makeup routine. A lofty endeavor, to be sure, but thanks to that highly-publicized master class her makeup artist ran, this handy guide to all of the products that Kim uses, and a few friendly PR people, I was able to (try) to make it happen. And let me just say: when a paler-than-pale girl like me attempts a strong contour, hilarity ensues. Join me on this adventure, won’t you?

I won’t bore you right away with a list of all the products I used, but if you want to know, I’ve included them at the end of this post. For now, I’ll walk you through the steps and the emotional toll this whole process took on me.

Starting with a clean face (here’s what I look like without makeup, in case you needed to know), I applied a illuminating primer, foundation, concealer, and powder. Since several of these products weren’t a part of my normal beauty regimen (or even my standard product arsenal), I already felt like a zombie, which I imagine isn’t too far off from how a Kardashian feels sans makeup in the public eye. After that, I filled in my brows, applied my own bespoke blend of eyeshadows from a Jane Iredale palette I own that’s not too far off from the Charlotte Tilbury one suggested in the makeup guide, and added liquid eyeliner and an aggressive amount of mascara in lieu of lashes, because ain’t nobody got time for false lashes when they’re not actually leaving the house and The Bachelor is airing in 20 minutes.

After that, it was time for the most aggressive contour of my entire life. I usually like to apply a light contour on days when I have more time to do my makeup, especially after getting my hands on the Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit, but this was a whole other animal. Here’s a selfie for posterity:

contour selfie

Doing my best Kim Kardashian contour duck-face selfie. A seminal Instagram classic. 

Honestly, I was scared of myself. This is the most I’ve ever contoured my face in my entire life. I never contour my nose because it’s already prominent enough on its own, but I felt I needed to commit to the task. My roommate was horrified. Also, my skin is so light that you can’t see my attempt at baking. C’est la vie.

After that, it’s just a matter of blending until the cows come home, or better yet, until Kylie Jenner finally releases her new Lip Kits, because that’s really my measure of time for anything that seems impossible these days. After a solid five minutes of blending (which felt more like a year, to be honest), I swiped on a nude Charlotte Tilbury lipstick—a favorite among the Kardashian/Jenner girls—and called it a very long day.

Click to the next page to see how my recreation of Kim Kardashian’s makeup routine turned out!

Here’s the finished look:

done 1

I…hate it? Look, I generally don’t have a problem wearing heavy makeup, and maybe this photo isn’t doing it a ton of justice, but the everything was just a bit too brown. In the light, I looked a lot like Taylor Schilling at the Golden Globes, and not in a good way. Here’s what it looks like from the side, just to show you how the contour worked out:

done 2

It definitely worked, but I feel like I just look dirty.

(Related: Gwyneth Paltrow Launched a Beauty Line You Can Actually Afford, in Related News, the Apocalypse Is Nigh)

All in all, I think it just came down to differences in skin tone, which makes total sense. Women with darker skin can wear bronzer and universal contour shades more easily than women with paler skin, and it’s all about finding the products that work for you. That said, I certainly felt more luxurious putting on makeup that I knew was endorsed by Kim. I hate to say it, but girl knows what she’s doing in the product department. Maybe one day I’ll master her makeup routine, and I’ll be able to walk around like this:

photo shoot

(GIF: Tumblr)

Until then, I’ll just stick to my old ways.

In case you were still curious, here’s a complete list of the products I used:

(Photos: Sara Steinfeld/The Gloss)