For some, a lipstick is just a lipstick. But for others, it’s a source of strength, creativity and expression. In our series Power Faces, we’ll explore the relationship between strong women and the makeup they choose to wear — or not. Our eighth subject, Scarlett Costello, is a model and student living in New York City.
I love my eyebrows now, but to be honest, I don’t really think of them. I was born with a unibrow, so these are just my eyebrows, you know what I mean? But I did start waxing them at a really young age, probably in sixth or seventh grade. My mom is a hairdresser, so I grew up in a salon basically my whole life. I’d be there with her after school, and the waxing woman, who’s my mom’s friend, would wax my eyebrow because I was embarrassed of it. Then in high school I just became a lot more confident, and became attracted to things that no one else had. Like with clothing, I liked to dress like no one else would — I just like the individuality of it.
I did end up feeling, like, why didn’t I just embrace it? The real answer is that for a long time I had to pluck it for modeling. I signed with Ford Models at a young age, so it was better for modeling jobs. But it’s also been going well since I started making my brows kind of my “thing.” Bushy brows have definitely become more of a trend, too, but I’m not going to lie, some days I do want that perfect “Instagram” brow, just for a certain look. But that’s the fun thing with makeup — you can fake anything.
I’m a painter, so makeup for me is another way of creative expression. When brands started expanding with more bold colors and textures and things like that, I was attracted to the idea of bringing those artistic aspects to my own face. I feel most like myself with makeup when I have everything in front of me and can just go crazy with the colors, no time limit, just explore. Other times, I’ll just straight-up do art on my face — something different, definitely not an everyday look.
The thing I notice about my own work and my face is that I feel like my art crosses over. I really understand how a face works, and I feel like I can draw eyes and eyebrows and lips really well because I do draw that on myself. I go to art school, so I’ve learned a lot about color theory and certain shadowing and techniques so there’s overlap there. I love coordinating my makeup to my outfit, too; it’s part of my style.
I don’t wear makeup every day. I always give my skin a break if I feel like it’s starting to get irritated, and a lot of times I go to school early in the morning so I don’t have time to do makeup. It’s a good going-out thing for me. I can’t go a day without the Anastasia Beverly Hills brow gel, though — the clear one. I’ve gone through, like, seven tubes of it. I’m a really big fan of the Glossier concealer, but I use it all over my face, more like a foundation.
My go-to look is just kind of a “no makeup” makeup look. I’ll do the concealer, bronzer, put the same bronzer in the crease, my clear brow gel, and maybe lip gloss, or just lip balm. When I go home to California, where I grew up, I wear a lot less makeup, especially because I’m usually there in the summer. But in New York, I feel like you can be anyone. You can do anything crazy and there are always events or things to go to. I’ve had a lot more fun doing makeup in New York.
I love working with makeup artists on shoots. I’ve been on sets for a long time so I’ve grown up with that, and I’ve learned about so many different little tips and tricks and products. Every makeup artist is different, and everyone sees your face a different way. I think every human sees their face differently than other people do, so what I think works best on me isn’t necessarily what other people think works best on me.
The other day, a makeup artist prepped my face by just massaging coconut oil into my skin for a really dewy look, and then she was using a Tata Harper serum that she buffed into my skin with a brush. Literally the day after, I went and bought a little foundation brush to buff the Boscia face oil I use every night into my skin at home. I love picking up tricks like that — I’d never seen someone do it before, and I was like, “Oh my god, I have to do this now.”
Putting on makeup is definitely a ritual for me. I always sit on the floor in front of my big mirror and just play with things. Sometimes I’ll turn on a show or something, but usually I play music. I’ve been listening to so much Abba lately, it’s insane. The 10 minutes right before I go to bed at night is another ritual for me. That’s the skin-care routine, and that’s a whole different deal. It’s very thorough, and I’ll put on music and light a candle. My roommate, who’s my best friend, is also obsessed with skin care, so we’ll do our routines together. It’s really cute; I love it.
I feel so empowered by makeup. It helps me overcome a lot of insecurities, like when I go through those periods and my confidence is low. It can really pull you out of a certain mood when you’re feeling down. It’s not even about wearing makeup to make me feel more beautiful. It’s just the act, just kind of sitting down and caring for your own face and being tender with yourself, then being proud of the outcome.