Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Photo Tutorial: Makeup Look Inspired by Adele!

Though I can't really claim to be a card-carrying Adele fan (despite her undeniably catchy songs and soulful voice), I have always admired her vintage aesthetic, talent and confidence. As a fuller-figured woman myself, I am always pleased to see a curvy, real celebrity who is amazingly talented, classy, and comfortable in her own skin. What actually piqued my interest in Adele, though, was that twice this winter I received the comment "Wow, you look like that British singer... you know- Adele!". Although I don't see a strong resemblance, I was humbled and flattered by the compliment!

Because of this perceived likeness, I thought, "why not do a makeup look inspired by Adele?". I knew it wouldn't be too far of a stretch, because bold smoky eyes and winged liner are a staple in my repertoire of makeup inspirations. So here it is: a step-by-step tutorial of how to create that signature Adele look. I hope you all find it informative!

First, here are a few pictures of Adele that inspired the look I created for this tutorial:

And now I break things down, step-by-step:

1)Create a Matte Base
From the pictures above, you can see that Adele's makeup looks (as with many retro-inspired looks) are characterized by flawless, matte skin. To recreate this (unless your skin is naturally oil- and blemish-free, in which case I'm jealous) it is best to use a matte-finish foundation and powder and to spot conceal where needed. I used Revlon ColourStay liquid foundation in Buff, MAC Pro Longwear Concealer in NC20  and Revlon ColourStay Pressed Powder in Light to achieve this.

2)Fill in Brows
While Adele's look is not characterized by overly bold or dramatic eyebrows, you can definitely tell that she takes the time to fill in and define her brows, as to give more structure and definition to the face.  You can use either a pencil or a brow powder, though I always prefer a powder formula for a more natural look. I used by favourite brow product, Anastasia Brow Powder Duo in Ash Blonde for this look.

3) Contour the Cheeks
In order to provide additional structure to the face, it helps to contour the cheeks with either a bronzer or a natural-looking taupe blush. Using an angled brush, run the colour along the hollows of your cheeks, just underneath the cheekbones. I accomplished this using Quo's Face Contour Brush with Hard Candy Hula Hula Bronzer.

Here's what everything looked like at this stage:

Matte skin, defined brows, and a contoured cheek

4) Apply a Rosy Blush
Although Adele does not appear to have one "signature" cheek colour, most of her looks feature a rosy blush- one that adds colour to the cheeks without acting as the focus of the makeup look. To achieve this, I applied the ever popular NARS Powder Blush in Orgasm to the apples of my cheeks, blending up to the temples. Here's what it looked like:

NARS Orgasm Blush over contoured cheeks

5) Highlight the Eyelid and Brow bone
As you've probably already noticed, and as the pictures above confirm, Adele's makeup is all about dramatic, smoky, liner-heavy eyes. In order to enhance the eye shape and provide contrast for the darker shades to come, apply a pale golden or champagne shade to the eye lids, brow bone, and inner corners of the eye. This will also help you to look more awake! I used Laura Mercier Eyeshadow in Sandstone.

Here's what it looked like after this step:

Highlighted eye

6) Apply a dramatic crease colour
The next step is to create the dramatic eye shape that is featured in so many of Adele's looks. Following the natural shape of your eye socket, apply a dark brown shade to the crease of your eye, extending outward and slightly upward, as if aiming for the ends of your eyebrows. I used MAC Eyeshadow in Bronze for this step. Here's what it looked like:


Creating a dramatic eye shape using MAC Bronze eyeshadow

7) Apply dark brown shade to the outer corner
The next step is to apply the same dark brown shade to the outer corner of the eye, eventually blending it into the end of the line you've just drawn in the crease. This will create a slight "V" shape to the outer corner of the eye. Here's a picture of how it looked on me, which will better demonstrate what I mean...

8) Add a lighter shade of brown and blend!
In order to prevent the eye shape you have created from looking too stark, the next step is to choose a lighter shade of brown and use it to gently blend out the dark brown shade. I applied Bare Escentuals Eye Colour in Madras to the middle of the lid and just above the crease, working it into the colour already there. Here's what it looked like at this stage:

BE Madras blended over MAC Bronze eyeshadow

9) Black liquid liner
The true defining feature of Adele's makeup (both literally and figuratively) is a generous helping of black liquid eyeliner, extended outward and upward in true cat-eye fashion. Not only does it add to the boldness of the eye, it also works to embody the retro spirit that Adele's style and music make so prominent. When choosing a liquid liner, I always opt for one with a felt-tipped applicator, as I feel that these provide much more control and precision than those with flimsy brushes. For this look I used my go-to liquid liner, Revlon ColourStay Liquid Liner Pen in Black (pictured below). I applied the eyeliner moderately heavy, but you can certainly layer it on even thicker if you want a more dramatic look!

Revlon ColourStay Liquid Eye Pen in Black

10) Apply Mascara (and/or Falsies!)
The final step of the eye look is to create a dramatic lash. Not only does it balance out the bold eyeshadow, it will make your eyes look bigger and more feminine. Although false lashes would be the ultimate way to achieve this, I chose to go for loads of mascara instead (partially because the party I was going to was fairly casual and I didn't want to look overdone, and partially because my skills with false lashes are rather lacking). To pump up my lashes, I applied 2-3 coats of Clinique Lash Doubling Mascara in Black.

Here's the final eye look!

Dramatic Adele-inspired eyes!

11) Add a Pinky-Nude Lip
The final step in achieving a retro-glamorous Adele-inspired look is to apply a nude (or nearly nude) lip colour that won't overshadow the boldness of the eye. I prefer nude lips with a hint of pink (as to avoid looking washed out), so I applied a mixture of MAC Lipstick in Warm Me Up (an opaque caramel shade) and MAC Lipstick in Viva Glam V (a slightly gold-flecked neutral pink). This is the shade that resulted from this MAC mixture:

And you're done! Here are some pictures of the final look- I'm not happy with the lighting (and the silly facial expressions- eek!) in many of them, but hope you get a good idea of how the final product looked!

And finally, I couldn't resist playing with the black and white setting on my camera, in an attempt to re-create the famous cover of Adele's album, 21. Dorky, but fun!

See the resemblance? Me neither ;) Adele has all the angles and lighting down!

Thanks for reading, everyone! I'd love your feedback on this one!


  1. Gorgeous! Look at those lashes!

    You've got such a steady hand with that liquid liner. I'm still practicing...

    1. Dear Beauty Insiders,

      I’d like to Introduce you to… the one and only makeup brush you’ll ever need.

      Why you need it:

      Mieoko’s flat top brush is perfect for medium to heavy coverage – that doesn’t look caked on. It will never leave your foundation uneven – we promise. Our brush is made from only the finest quality high density synthetic taklon bristles. The new Mieoko Flat Top Brush is an essential addition to your makeup bag. Our flat kabuki makeup brush provides you with a flawless and seamless makeup application – every single time.

      And the best part? It doesn’t shed. Your pets shed, your makeup brushes shouldn’t.

      These brushes usually sell for $24.00. But today we’re going to give it to you absolutely free.

      And remember – you’re getting it totally free.

      So what are you waiting for? Get yours before it’s gone. Supplies are very limited. All brushes will be given out on a first come first serve basis.

      Click here now to get your FREE Mieoko Flat Top Makeup Brush.

      Why would we do that?

      To promote our fabulous new American Beauty Association

      We went through a process of hand selecting the softest most cruelty-free brushes we could find. Our makeup brush has been compared to the Sigma – F80 Flat Top, the #1 selling brush on Amazon.

      Put yourself back in control of your coverage, with one less caked-on layer of foundation. The Mieoko flat top brush allows nothing to stand between you and your makeup application. Imagine perfect skin all day, every day 24/7.

      It works with all makeup, including creams, liquids, minerals, powders and does not soak up excessive amounts of product like other brushes. And that’s just for starters. This small compact brush is really handy for on-the-go full coverage, whether it’s a quick car mirror fix or a little late afternoon pick-me-up.


  2. Aww, thanks! Liquid liner is one of my favourite things to apply, now that I've gotten the hang of it! I swear that using ones with a felt-tipped applicator makes it a lot easier. Revon's is great, and Make Up For Ever has a new collection of liquid liners that I've been wanting to try!

    1. http://www.vogue.com/vogue-daily/article/get-adeles-beauty-look/

  3. Looks like Vogue is stealing my thunder! ;)

  4. Amazing! Great tips, definitely going to try this soon. Very easy to follow and great picture steps. Thanks!

  5. Thanks, Lindsy! Glad you enjoyed it... let me know if you end up trying out the look! :)

  6. I love your Adele inspired makeup, I think I should try it sometime, it was really well explained... I just hope to get enough time for it hehehe. See you on MUB ;)

  7. Thanks so much for the kind feedback! And thanks again for compiling the blog list on your notepad- it was a great idea, and a wonderful way for us bloggers to gain a bigger audience.

    See you on the boards ;)

  8. Great job. I would make the eyebrows darker and the crease darker. I think in pictures they look very light than in person, probably. I love your choice of color, especially the lips. I have to have that color now. :)


All of your lovely comments make my day! Thanks for taking the time to share your musings, ideas, and opinions. Feel free to leave a link to your blog- I'd be happy to check it out :)