It's not unusual for famed makeup artist Pat McGrath to create fantastical, artistic looks for Fashion Week shows. But on Prada's spring 2016 runway earlier this month, there was something very different about the molten gold lips the models were sporting: They gave show-goers a sneak peek at McGrath's very first makeup product, called Gold 001.
McGrath has been the global creative director at Proctor & Gamble for many years, and has been involved in creating makeup collections for CoverGirl, Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci. But as makeup artists like Charlotte Tilbury and Troy Surratt are finding success with their own newer-to-the-market lines, McGrath is finally putting out her own product.
According to a press release, a full makeup collection will launch at the end of 2016. In the meantime, McGrath has launched a platform called Pat McGrath Labs, which includes a website from which she'll offer limited-edition products until the full line is available. The first is Gold 001, and you can snag it at noon on October 29. Only 1,000 packets will be available, at $40 each.
One arrived at my doorstep yesterday, and I have to admit I was really intrigued. Why is this different from other gold pigments? According to McGrath via a release, "Gold 001 looks like pure metal, foil, gilding, brilliance. I have been working in the labs for years to see a pigment with this finish – I knew once I touched it that it was major; there is something magnificent about its pure form that leaves me breathless." (She actually does talk like this. Check out her Instagram for more proof.)
Inside the box was a pouch — comparable in dimension to a lunch-sized bag of Cheetos — that was absolutely stuffed with gold sequins. I reached in and pulled out the pigment (yes, sequins went everywhere and I liked it), a metal spatula, a plastic "second life container" and Mehron Mixing Liquid that were buried inside. (Mehron is a well-known stage makeup brand.)
Confession: I never use plain makeup pigments. In my daily life I'm a makeup stick girl. Anything involving technique, time, or precision? Forget it. But I brought it all into the bathroom to experiment.
According to the directions, you can use the pigment dry for shimmery luminosity, with a primer underneath for more intense color or with a makeup brush dipped in the mixing liquid to get that molten look. The most extreme option is sticking the spatula into the pressed pigment to break it up and transferring it to the second life container. Pressing it into the skin in this form gives it the look of gold leaf.
First off, let me just say I've found the crowning detail for my Halloween costume. I'm dressing up as the completely pop culturally irrelevant Galadriel, the elf queen from "The Lord of the Rings," magnificently portrayed by Cate Blanchett. She's often glowing in the films, and when I brushed a bit with a fluffy powder brush all over my face, the effect made me look lit from within:
Just for fun, I added some extra to the tops of my cheekbones for the most disco strobing effect ever. Then, drunk on my golden power, I plunged the spatula into the pigment, transferred it to the empty container, dunked in my mixing liquid-saturated brush and attempted Prada lips.
I'll spare you the hilarious selfie I took, but suffice to say I ended up looking like I'd just been making out with C-3PO. (Now that is a timely costume. Anything "Star Wars"... so hot right now.) I also tried painting the color on my arms, and it's a zillion times more fun than flash tattoos. I painted a small star on my inner wrist and felt very chic, in a basic bitch sort of way.
Bottom line: The quality and color payoff are amazing. Will I use it often? Probably not. Will I thoroughly enjoy using it when I do? Absolutely. Bring on the rest of it, Pat.