We Tried It: Fifty Shades of Grey Makeup Tutorial

Talk about fifty shades of nervous.

The aftermath.

The aftermath.

Few things can make my eyes bug out of my head on a Tuesday morning like getting word that our local Sephora would be giving out Fifty Shades of Grey-inspired mini makeovers come Friday. Flash forward to today: I did it. 

I’m admittedly an unlikely — and surprisingly willing — candidate for this tutorial, favoring a minimalistic approach to makeup that’s summed up by a swipe of mascara, super-full brows and a petal-pink lip. Surely I’m as pre-Christian-Grey Anastasia Steele as they come. However, after covering vagina beauty treatments in Philadelphia, writing a guide to buying sex toys and penning a piece on models going full-frontal at the Rick Owens show, I thought it my duty to give this tutorial a whirl.

But what does a Fifty Shades of Grey-inspired makeup tutorial really entail, I wondered. Would it hurt? Flushed cheeks and smudged shadow came to mind, but alas, I was wrong. The beauty looks veered more toward the sultry and sensual with bold eye and lip combos than the downright literal. Here’s why: Makeup Forever, the brand behind the tutorial, was the makeup of choice on the Fifty Shades of Grey set, leading to a collaboration endorsed by Victoria Down, Head of Makeup Department. There was a barely-there natural look, a lash-y look with a pink pout and the full monty, called the ‘Unlock Her Empowered Look,’ which paired a glossy bold lip with a sexy smoky eye. Because, apparently, nothing says ’empowered’ like a smoky eye.

Of course, for the sake of journalistic integrity and my pursuit to have the most Fifty Shades of Grey experience possible, I opted for the latter, eyes darting around the room searching for the closest makeup wipes in case I needed to make a quick getaway. But first I needed to briefly wait in a line. Yes, there was a line for Fifty Shades of Grey makeup tutorials.


Rather than being poked, prodded and feeling all-around uncomfortable, I felt majorly glam. And while it turns out I’ll never be a person that can handle a smoky eye, my makeup artist Kayla was wonderfully sweet, attentive and catered the look to suit my features (think: highlighting the inner rims of my eye and concentrating eyeliner to the outer rims). Plus, the makeup kits are super practical, including an eyeshadow quad of shimmery neutrals and rosy brown lip colors—not the worst colors to keep in your beauty arsenal.


In the end, I felt like I lost some of my innocence when I was caked in makeup, but, hey, isn’t that what Fifty Shades of Grey is all about? Full disclosure: I feel no more inclined to enter something called a “red room” or wield a crop than I did pre-makeover. But I might keep the lipstick.

Want to give it a go? They’re doling out mini makeovers until 6pm tonight and again tomorrow from 12pm to 6pm. Or, you can try out the looks at home; Makeup Forever posted step-by-step instructions on their Pinterest.

The Details: Sephora, 1714 Chestnut Street, Rittenhouse; 215-563-6112. (Psst: They’re free, no tip needed.)