Photography & Retouching: Holly Broomhall
Styling: James Fickling (clothing by Krasimira Stoyneva & Bianca Saunders)
Hair & Make-up: Cat Parnell
Models: Tuomas @ AMCK, Thomas @ AMCK, Roland @ AMCK & Alysia @ Established
Written by Cat Parnell, Hair and Make-up artist
In our society the media is constantly telling us what men and women should use to make themselves look more “handsome” or “beautiful”, but in this exciting generation of freedom and tolerance many choose to abandon these outdated categories. The way we behave or choose to express ourselves is no longer connected to our sex or anatomy, instead, it corresponds with our own identity and preferences which is hugely empowering.
As an artist, I strive to find products that can be gender fluid as it adds a certain amount of flexibility to my craft and keeps things exciting. When working on this editorial I twisted gender traditions by adding a soft and feminine touch to Thomas and Tuomas and a more masculine guise for Alysia.
To create a lustrous effect on the skin of the male models I began by misting Caudalie Beauty Elixir over their faces, followed by Jurlique Moisture Replenishing Day Cream and finally, YSL Touch Éclat Blur Primer to prep the skin. Combined, this made the skin appear iridescent, ethereal and ultimately, feminine.
To achieve a balmy and soft look with reflective highlights I used MAC Creamcolour Base in “Pearl”, which I love for the creamy and pearlescent effect it produces. Highlighter is something that is solely targeted at women, but when blended with a small amount of cream and applied sparingly to the cheek bones, a man’s skin is subtly transformed to achieve a healthy and radiant appearance.
Alysia required a hard edge to stand out beside Thomas and Tuomas. Applying a matte finish to her skin created a masculine sheen which contrasted dramatically next to the male models’ pearly finish. To begin the steps towards beautiful matte skin I found the Embryolisse Emulsion HyrdaMat Moisturizer worked wonderfully.
The hair of a woman is often seen as a protective blanket which adds a fragility to her appearance; this was not the intention for this shoot. I used Bumble and Bumble Defrizz along with their Brilliantine styling cream to slick her hair back into a low messy bun and create a bold presence.To generate texture and whimsy in the hair of the men I used two hero products: the Fudge Salt Spray and American Crew Light Hold Texture Lotion, which I roughly blow-dried into the hair. As a final touch, I opted for Bumble and Bumble Dryspun Finish spray to give their locks a soft wispiness.If your hair is a little longer, don’t be afraid to use heated tongs to create movement, I used Cloud 9 Original Iron to achieve this on Tuomas. For a truly unique texture, style your hair into plaits and glide your straighteners over them.On reflection, this editorial was a real eye-opener for me as an artist, as it allowed me to consider how hair and beauty products can be used to achieve a gender freeing aesthetic. I find it inspiring that this generation can celebrate the uniqueness of an individual’s sense of self, and display acceptance towards those who object to gender conformity.