Here's what's worth trying from Halsey's makeup line
I put the singer's beauty products to the test.
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As a talented singer, writer, producer, and artist, Halsey is best known for her music, which dances a delicate line between straight-up poetry and pop princess tunes. In 2020, not only did she release a plethora of new tracks for her fans to jam out to, but she also debuted her first-ever poetry book, “I Would Leave Me If I Could." And now she’s kicking off 2021 with a brand-new makeup line, About-Face, which aims to make products "designed to celebrate every version of us."
Halsey has never been a stranger to rocking eye-catching outfits and avant-garde makeup looks. From mesh tie-dye tops to glittery cat-eyes to a colorful buzzcut, the 26-year-old artist frequently expresses her identity through her exterior appearance. In fact, About-Face intends to do just that: Provide you with a smattering of colors and finishes to play with your visage every day.
What is About-Face?
About-Face launched with 11 different products for the eyes, lips, and face, and it’s available only through the brand’s website at the time of publication. Excluding the Blend Tool, a soft-touch sponge that slips onto your finger for applying primer, and the Matte Fix Spray that you spritz on makeup to set it, each item comes in an array of fun colors and finishes. The prices range from $14 to $32, which is similar to other celebrity lines, like Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty or Lady Gaga’s Haus Laboratories.
Dubbed as “makeup without rules,” About-Face was inspired by Halsey’s diverse fanbase and surrounding artistic community. According to the website, each product was created to make its users feel beautiful regardless of what stage of life they’re in. The singer recognizes that humans are messy and complex and aimed to develop items that reflect that very sentiment.
The line has three collections: Light Lock, consisting of shiny lip glosses and liquid, powder, and cream highlights; Matte, which includes lip liners, lipsticks, setting spray, and liquid eye shadows; and Shadowstick, composed of the brand’s eight creamy eyeshadow sticks.
How did I test About-Face?
For my test, I nabbed two cream highlighters, four powders, two liquid highlighters, eight lip products, and five shadows. After receiving my products, I put each item to the test over the course of a week. Because I had a ton of different shades to try, I experimented with new eye and lip looks every day. There aren’t any complexion products (think: foundation, concealer, bronzer, or blush) besides highlighters, so I did my base as I normally would, which consists of the e.l.f. Poreless Putty Primer, the Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint, the Morphe Eyelid Primer, and the Coty Airspun Loose Face Powder. Then, I chose the day’s eye hue, lip combo, and glow. Although I didn’t receive every shade in the line, I got a great idea of what About-Face offers in terms of its formula, staying power, and usability. I also wasn’t able to test out the Blend Tool or the Matte Fix Spray.
From best to worst, these are the About-Face products I tested and my ultimate ruling on them.
1. Matte Fluid Eye Paint
What it claims: These powerful, punchy colors should swipe onto the eyelid with ease for a smudge-proof, matte finish. They’re up for grabs in six moody hues: “Lost Unfound” (a midnight blue), “Dionysus” (a cool-toned orchid), “Cloned” (a dark brown), “White Noise” (a pigmented white), “Smell Before Rain” (a neutral beige), and “Smoke Signal” (a forest green).
What it’s like to use it: The About-Face Matte Fluid Eye Paint is a cool concept: Unlike many popular liquid eyeshadows, this formula dries down matte instead of a pearly or shimmery finish. One swipe of this product is supposed to deliver rich, buildable pigment, so that’s how I decided to test it—and boy, that's no lie. I initially used the shade “Smoke Signal,” a forest green color, and the doe-foot brush provided an insane amount of formula and pigment. The creamy liquid blended with ease, which was a relief considering how much product came out of the bottle.
If you get anything from this line, I recommend snagging these silky soft liquid shadows, especially because they didn’t crease too easily when applied on top of my everyday primer.
2. Light Lock Powder
What it claims: The four Light Lock Powders come in reflective, almost futuristic packaging that is, quite frankly, a pain to pry open. The small compacts feature a mirror on the inside, along with a pan filled with the glimmering product. This highlighting powder is available in four shades: ”This Bliss” (a glitterly pearl), “Stay In Bed” (a pink-hued peach), “Smother” (an icy lavender), and “Lightspun” (a shimmery bronze).
What it’s like to use it: I tried all of these and, as promised, the formula is buttery soft and shimmery, but not as glitter-driven as the Light Lock Sticks (more on those coming). I found this to be more wearable than any of the other highlighters in the collection because of how buildable it is and the emphasis on sheen rather than glitter. I also preferred the compact packaging of this over the others and envision myself reaching for it often when I want a glow. My personal favorite was “Stay In Bed” for its unique shade and smooth application.
3. Light Lock Stick
What it claims: This ultra-creamy highlighter is for sale in three hues: “Greek Tragedy” (a pearly white), “Please Indulge Me” (a soft pink), and “Reluctance” (a warm peachy tone). Its formula claims to be non-sticky, and is “loaded with refracting pearlescence that locks gently onto the skin for a glass-like finish.”
What it’s like to use it: I’m a huge fan of cream highlighters, especially for a super easy “no-makeup makeup” look, so I was psyched to try these out. However, this product was almost a little too creamy for my liking. When I opened the shade “Greek Tragedy” for the first time, it had fallen out of its roll-up cylinder and even looked a little melty. When I put it back together, I opted for a swipe on the highpoints of my cheeks, my cupid’s bow, and the tip of my nose. It was easy to apply and impressively opaque for a highlighter. Each shade provided a rather glittery glow that was easy to blend into the skin and build up from a subtle to beaming highlight, depending on what you’re feeling that day.
4. Matte Fix Lip Pencil
What it claims: These ‘90s-reminiscent lip pencils are matte but provide creamy, buildable coverage that keeps your lips smooth. They come in six shades: “Lost Time” (a deep red wine hue), “Paper Romance” (a burnt maroon), “Cradled” (a beige with hints of rose), “Pink in the Morning” (a pink-hued nude), “Madness” (a dark plum), and “Clockwork” (a brown-beige).
What it’s like to use it: The line’s lip pencils are great. They glide onto the lips like a figure skater on ice and provide an opaque amount of color. The brand claims that they can last up to seven hours, and while I didn’t see that kind of performance, they held their ground for a few hours, even after I drank coffee from a mug and sipped on my water bottle. The formula is infused with moisturizing ingredients, like vitamin E and sodium hyaluronate, so they’re not drying, which I liked. One thing I found strange: Despite there being a fair amount of lip products in this line, none of them are designed to be used together. There are many shades that coordinate well enough, so it might be fun to mix and match lip pencil and liquid lipstick shades, but none are a perfect match.
5. Light Lock Highlight Fluid
What it claims: According to the website, the Light Lock Highlight Fluids have a “molten, crystalline” formula that provide a dewy glow. The liquid highlighters are available in three shades: “Fight or Flight” (a shimmery pink), “Shaken or Stirred” (a light gold), and “Sunstruck” (a bronzy glitter).
What it's like to use it: I was stoked to test out these liquid highlighters, but this is around the time that I began to really struggle with About-Face’s packaging. The cap that goes overtop of the Light Lock Highlight Fluid was difficult to press back on because the mirrored slats have to match up with the bottom for it to click in place. I found this especially disconcerting because I wondered how hard it would be for folks with hand-strength or dexterity limitations.
In testing the highlighter itself, I tried applying it two different ways. First, I dabbed it on top of my foundation before the Light Lock Powder, as I’d normally use a liquid highlighter. The dropper didn't work too well, but this method was effective in that I received blendable, glitter-like pigment from the oily formula. I also used it before applying a sheer foundation to see if it would peek through at all and provide any type of sheen, but that didn’t work well. For $32 a bottle, I don’t really think these liquid highlighters are worth the cash.
What it claims: The Shadowsticks come in eight colors: “Kill the Lights” (a matte black), “Chaos Theory” (a yellow with a pearly finish), “Inferno” (a light orange), “Baroque” (a pearlescent pale pink), “Oxide” (a matte-finished white), “2002” (an appropriately named metallic light blue), “Acidic” (an eye-catching yellow-toned green), and “Creature” (a springy matte blue). The one-swipe cream shadows claim to be “bulletproof colors” that have a staying power of more than 10 hours.
What it’s like to use it: I was most excited for the Shadowsticks because I love a one-and-done easy swipe of color. Unfortunately, they just didn’t live up to my expectations. When I first tested the six I received, I wasn’t thrilled with the color choices—neither “Chaos Theory,” a shimmery gold, nor “Acidic,” a metallic-toned light green, seemed like wearable options for most people’s day-to-day lives. But when I started applying them before work, I began to see the appeal to a point. The Shadowsticks are straightforward to apply, as a few swipes of the crayon-like applicator on your lids results in a solid wash of color. Within 10 seconds, I was rocking a funky hue I would never have worn otherwise. The drawback is that they don’t stand the test of time. I have very oily eyelids, but even when worn on top of my everyday eyeshadow primer, they creased within a few hours. If a one-swipe-and-done eyeshadow look from About-Face is what you’re after, go with the liquid eyeshadows.
7. Light Lock Gloss
What it claims: The About-Face Light Lock Glosses have a jojoba oil base that’s meant to offer a moisturizing, non-sticky look to your lips. You can get it in four different shades: “Prelude” (pearly-hued option), “Such Great Heights” (a pink-tone), “Please Obey” (a lavender and purple-infused hue), and “Payton” (a warm golden shade).
What it’s like to use it: I wasn’t super impressed with the formula of these. They were similar to other run-of-the-mill lip glosses I’ve tried in the past and didn't seem like anything I couldn't snag at the drugstore. However, they followed through on the non-sticky pledge, which made my lips feel moisturized while looking glossy, so that was a win. Still, the color and shine didn’t last a long time: I rocked “Payton” on a date night with my boyfriend and it didn’t even survive past the appetizer.
8. Paint-It Matte Lip Color
What it claims: These liquid matte lipsticks comes in six colors: “Slumber” (a ‘90s beige), “Nudist Judas” (a light brown), “So Long Summer” (a rosy-toned purple), “Ask Nicely” (a pale pink), “Cautionary Tale” (a deep plum), and “Take Aim” (a deep, warm-toned red). The company claims that you’ll receive intense coverage that lasts with only one swipe of color.
What it's like to use it: Off the bat, I wasn’t too pumped about this product. I feel like matte liquid lipsticks had their moment in 2016—and should stay there. It’s difficult to find a moisturizing liquid lipstick that won’t fade or leave your lips looking crusty. Still, I did my best to set aside my qualms with this type of product while testing.
These babies are pigmented. With just one swipe, I received a ton of color pay-off, but it took a while to dry down because of the amount of product the doe-foot applicator carried and applied to my lips. When it finally set into place about seven minutes post-application, I was pleased with the even coverage “Cautionary Tale” provided my lips. Like many other liquid lipsticks I’ve tried in the past, though, it dried out my lips and faded away within a few hours.
Is About-Face worth it?
Unfortunately, I don’t think so. While the concept is cool, I wasn’t overly thrilled with many of the products, nor do I foresee myself reaching for many of them in the near future. Quality-wise, I feel that many of these products were misses.
For a beauty line that claims to be inspired by and for artistic, creative individuals of all ages, sexualities, ethnicities, and backgrounds, I was expecting more from About-Face. There weren’t any jaw-dropping items and, for the midpoint price range, I wanted better formulas and wearability.
If you adore Halsey or including super fun colors in your daily makeup looks, maybe some of these items are worth your money. The Matte Fluid Eye Paint and the Light Lock Powder are my personal favorites, but probably items I won't purchase in the future. Just keep in mind that About-Face might not live up to the avant-garde, too-cool beauty line it aims to be.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.