A detailed guide to nailing Jess Connelly's choppy bangs and snogged lips from the #WonderxJCon cover shoot
When I think of Jess Connelly, I think of blush-swept cheeks and red lips. I think of deep brown hair––parted down the center and tied back into a low ponytail––and bright-colored acrylic nails. My mind flies to the slicked back blonde hair and matte brown shadow she donned on the cover of her JCON album.
Over the course of her career, the 28-year-old songstress has sported many memorable looks––a thought that was both daunting and reassuring. As we planned the beauty looks for Wonder’s cover shoot with Jess Connelly, the big question hanging over our heads was this: how could we strike a balance between something new, and something still indisputably true to JCon?
The answer came in the form of a piecey fringe, pin-straight hairstyle and a blended-out, moody red pout.
Ahead, we talk to the hairstylist and makeup artist who made this look a reality. What products did they use? What expert advice could they relay to beauty beginners looking to try the look themselves?
Scroll through and find out.
Take Me to Tokyo
It didn’t occur to us that Jess’ look was reminiscent of Money Heist’s main female lead until someone from the team paused mid-layout and proclaimed it into our consciousness.
I’ll admit: at the time of shoot prep, I had just started watching Money Heist, so it seems that without realizing it, Tokyo’s symmetrical one-length haircut and above-the-brow fringe crept into our beauty moodboard. With a little help from hair stylist Mycke Arcano and his arsenal of clip-on bangs, Jess brought her very own version of Tokyo to life.
Hi, Mycke! We’re curious: what were your thoughts upon seeing the beauty concept for the shoot?
Mycke: Personally I was a bit challenged, [wondering] if JCon would let me do those looks on her. To my surprise, she was so game, telling me, “Do whatever you want, dear.” LOL. Upon seeing the pegs, I was ecstatic because they were very current yet edgy and chic––editorial and runway hairstyles––which is what I miss doing.
How did you manage to achieve the pin-straight locks and piecey bangs?
Mycke: Since JCon doesn't have a blunt fringe, I've used a clip-on hairpiece and did a custom blunt cut on it. I sectioned her hair into two, secured it with bobby pins, clipped the hair piece on the pinned area, concealed the hairpiece with her hair and flat ironed it. I used the Camille Albane Paris Gloss Serum for a sleek finish.
Do you think that face shape still plays an important role in determining whether one should get a fringe?
Mycke: There are specific haircuts for all face shapes. Some face shapes can rock a bold and full fringe and some can just have a side-swept or textured fringe. But I do believe that we can rock any look, it just needs to match our personalities and confidence will follow.
What kind of bangs would you recommend our readers to try?
Mycke: I would totally recommend a textured fringe, like the tiny, piecey layers. Some can rock blunt cuts above the eyebrow level, too.
Paint It Red
Now, on to second part of the beauty equation Jess Connelly rocked in our shoot: the makeup. Long-time followers of our covers would know that this month's makeup looks are considerably pared back compared to some of the eyebrow-coloring, glitter-festooning fun we've done in the past. Considering our theme of the month––Style Edit, that is––it was of utmost importance to keep the looks relatively true to Jess' 90s-meets-now branding.
And that is how this makeup look was born.
A relatively understated combination of flawless matte skin, sharp arched brows, a sweep of darkness and a coat of mascara right by the lower lash line and a show-stealing red gradient lip.
It might look simple, sure. But let me tell you, there were plenty of little steps involved in making this look come to life: nourishing the skin to get that matte-not-flaky base that foundation would adhere to perfectly, filling the brows with the right product, mixing four (yes, four) different reds to nail that perfect dark-to-tender ombre pout. Who better to give us a play-by-play than the makeup artist, Zidjian Floro, himself?
What were your thoughts upon seeing the beauty concept for the shoot, Zid?
Zidjian: I remember my nerves just getting into me because I'd finally be doing Jess' makeup. It was quite intimidating at first because I know Jess has a specific type of way of beating her face and I've always believed that makeup and beauty are very personal. No one has the exact same skin type and features; that's why I don't have a makeup routine per se but have trusted products that I can whip out of my kit.
Let's talk about the red lip you did on Jess. From skin prep to finishing touches, what products did you use to achieve the look?
Zidjian: All I could think of was doing a diet version of snogged lips, which takes your usual red lip into a more editorial feel. In terms of the makeup process, when it's my first time doing someone's makeup, I have tried and tested products that I usually grab.
|NARS Multi-Action Hydrating Toner, P2150
|LAURA MERCIER Infusion De Rose Nourishing Oil, P3250
|LA MER Moisturizing Soft Cream, P19300
For skincare, I used the NARS Multi-Action Hydrating Toner which really lives up to its name in terms of not making the skin dry. It's also perfect for mild scrubbing dead skin on the lips. I followed with a Laura Mercier Face Oil which hydrates the skin even more and makes everything you put on top just sink into the skin. For moisturizer, I used the La Mer Moisturizing Soft Cream. I usually skip primer when it comes to editorials cause the makeup doesn't need to last all day and it's easier to change looks/wipe makeup off. To even out her complexion, I used the La Mer Soft Fluid Foundation applied with a dense makeup brush then pressed down to the skin with a beauty blender.
|LAURA MERCIER Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Concealer
|NARS Bronzing Powder in Laguna, P2250
PHYSICIAN'S FORMULA Murumuru Butter Bronzer, P895
|LAURA MERCIER Caviar Stick, P1450
When it comes to concealer, my current obsession right now is the Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Concealer. Although it claims to be matte, the finish looks healthy and hydrated, which makes sense if you use it to brighten up the t-zone. It just looks more natural to have a matte t-zone and a more dewy perimeter of the face. To bring back some warmth on Jess' skin, I used the NARS Bronzing Powder in Laguna and Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer. I kept the brows bushy with brow powder from K-Palette and some Elmers disappearing purple glue stick gently applied with a spoolie. I didn't use an eye primer and [went straight to] using the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick just to add some warmth and definition. It's very hard to find a matte cream eyeshadow––that's why I just love the Laura Mercier Caviar sticks. They’re so easy to apply and when it sets into the skin, you can build up product and color on top of it.
SUNNIES FACE Fluffmate in Hot Sauce, P345
SUNNIES FACE Fluffmate in Major, P345
To finish the look, I used four types of red to get the perfect diet snogged lip. When it comes gradient lips, I do the lining first then blend-in the darker colors towards the inner parts of the lip. I started by lining the lip with a mid tone red lip liner then smudged it with a brush. I followed by blending in Sunnies Face Fluffmatte in Hot Sauce then I followed with Major. I finished it off with a dark, burnt red shade patted into the inner part of Jess' lips. The key to this look is to have a really dark, almost black inner lip slowly fading into a warm or even cool red lip.
Despite the local love for liquid lipstick, there are still a considerable number of Filipinos and Filipinas who steer clear of a bold, red lip. Do you have any tips for easing into a red lip?
Zidjian: Makeup, for me, has always been a two product type of thing. It's very rare that I use just one product and [find myself] happy with it. I like seeing dimension, blending colors into each other and into the skin, mixing products together. When it comes to finding the right shade of red lipstick, I think that it's important to always mix in a blue-based red and an orange-based red. If you're afraid to try a red lip, why not try orange first or a deeper nude, perhaps?
Baby steps are important. You have your whole life to play with makeup!
Do you have a favorite, fool-proof red lipstick?
Zidjian: I remember when I was starting, I would usually buy Maybelline or Ever Bilena lipsticks. I am not afraid to admit that I still love them until today. Although I use higher end products now, I still love me a good fairly priced lip color. Sunnies Face Fluffmatte in Major and Hot Sauce are in my list of red lip faves. Try the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencils and Laura Mercier Velour Matte Lipsticks, too, if you're feeling fancy.
See Jess Connelly sport these looks in action. Catch up with the lastest episode of Wordplay with Wonder here!
Photography Borgy Angeles
Art and Art Direction Alexandra Lara
Fashion Direction Nicole Blanco Ramos
Styling Karen Bolilia
Beauty Direction Cessi Treñas