Pin It
Drag Race Queens _ Marta Klara _ 2

A brutally honest review of RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni’s make-up lines


TextTom RasmussenIllustrationMarta Sadowska

Crystal Rasmussen spills the tea on products created by Trixie Mattel, Aquaria, Miss Fame, Alyssa Edwards, and Willam

Just when you thought you were safe, just when you thought you had control of how much dominance RuPaul’s Drag Race has over your life, BOOM – basically every queen ever brings out a make-up line. Indeed, we are in the golden age of both make-up, drag, and capitalism and so it really does figure. 

But just because a queen is good on the telly doesn’t mean she’s going to make great make-up. Just because a queen can turn a mug, doesn’t mean she’s gonna turn out a great palette. So here I am, your friendly neighbourhood drag queen with a penchant for hating on capitalism but also loving getting free things (it’s not capitalism if you didn’t buy it!!!) to take you on a tour of these make-up ranges. 

From glitters to glitter gellies (autocorrect changed that to bellies three times, which sounds very appealing to me TBH), from shadow palettes to more shadow palettes, what does it mean to put your good name next to some questionably named eyeshadows and sell it for 50 notes? I don’t know. But I’m here to try to help you find out. Moreover, if any make-up brands out there want to partner on a line, you can drop me a tweet or a DM and I’m there.

Let’s do this ladies!

WILLAM – COVERBOY

OK, so Willam is a controversial queen. She speaks out, often about things I totally disagree with, and her drag – while it might be very fazionne-forward – is also spangled left, right, and centre with garms from the heinously homophobic D*lce and Ga*banna. Hell on earth. Now let’s discuss her make-up range COVERBOY. 

I see what she was trying to do with the title – to invoke the iconic brand COVERGIRL, the same brand which used to sponsor every season of America’s Next Top Model; the same brand via which mean girl model Jade Cole turned one million teens instantly gay after her literally flawless attempt at a commercial for COVERGIRL in ANTM Cycle 6. Shots of Jade walking through the staged party at a glamglam mansion, intaking breath sharply then forgetting her lines as she approached the camera dead-on. We have no choice but to WHAT? Stan

Now, COVERBOY is indeed an exciting idea, but the execution leaves much to be desired – or so we might think. The packaging – from the box to the container, to the actual glitter gel there in the pot looks like something you find in a bargain bin at New Look just after Christmas. The boxes are made out of that clear plastic that annoying electronics come in that no matter how hard you try you just can’t open without a pair of scissors. What’s another chipped tooth? Anyway, the product itself – these Glitter Gellies – smell just like a grape gel pen. Nostalgic? Yes. What I want on my face? No. And yet, after the initial disappointment, when swiped across a cheek or dabbed on a lip the glitter jelly is an actually gorgeous brilliant product. It’s a conundrum: how one gets glitter to stay the fuck on your cheek, esp when they are as un-angular as mine, and yet FUCK! This glitter, in colour Gem, stayed there all the livelong day. 

It’s good, if you can get past the fact that the box looks like the kind of thing you give your three-year-old niece for Christmas. The lashes, on the other hand, are very ‘First Time In Drag On A Staff Night Out’ vibe; a very ‘You Love Drag But Have Never Dared Do It Before So You Get Ya Gal Pal To Do Ya Face And She Puts A Bit Of Blue Shadow On Ya Eye Lid And Then Sticks Some Massive Feather Lashes On Over The Top So It Looks Like You Are An Expert But Then You Actually Commit To Drag And Ten Years Later, In 2020, You Find A Pic Of Yaself In Drag For The First Time Wearing These Lashes And Post It To Stories Like ‘Omg I’ve Come So Far In A Decade’’ vibe. That’s no bad thing – sometimes we need to rush a face. Sometimes we need to stick on a lash and some glitzy jelly and get on stage. This is make-up for a Gay On The Go! 

NB: Having now researched the brand it turns out there are six lash types available and not all of them are like this.

Glitter Gellies: Beat or Beat-Down? Beat
Lashes: Beat or Beat-Down? Beat-Down

AQUARIA X NYX

Of all the palettes on show here, this one is the most affordable – at £16 – which, compared to Miss Fame’s kit at £59, is the difference between the money most of us get for a drag gig and not. That’s worth considering – who doesn’t want a night off? At first sight, this palette is the most underwhelming – opening it to find a red, a turquoise, a kind of lemon shade, and then three similar-ish white/silver/grey shades. Obviously I’m not as good as Aquaria at a mug, and I thought that she would use every single product in the palette perfectly, but I was stumped. So I went about my face using only the black and the white – which were good, pigmented.

Upon going online to nyx.co.uk there was one review of the palette – ‘5*, this palette is perfect u must buy pigment is great with buildable colours for a unique look’ and then I thought: ‘God bless the NYX digital intern for writing that’. But I also thought it was time to build some colours. But because I only use black, taupe, and sometimes red on my face I decided to try the colours on my hand, like any teen in a regional Boots learned to do before the age of swatching. Anyway, the NYX digital intern was right: they are buildable colours for a unique look!! The turquoise – who knew? The red – stunning, used it on my face the next day. The lemon – a little hit and miss, was unsure how to be fashion-forward and actually use this properly. 

All in all the palette did what it said on the tin: held 10 shadows that were indeed buildable. Then I felt existential about capitalism because if an eyeshadow is not buildable then what is it? Then I realised I’d been sucked in by a marketing term for something that just actually is a thing that the thing being marketed should do. It’s like saying ‘a drivable car’ or ‘a wearable snood’ – duh, we’re all wearing snoods, driving cars, and building eyeshadows already. Silly me. This gets a good rating, but not the best, only because I’m not creative enough to maximise the palette’s full potential. If you’re better at make-up than me then this would be a worthwhile investment.

Influenced or Unfollowed? Influenced

MISS FAME – UNDER MY SKIN COLLECTION

Miss Fame is intimidating, but I’ve also heard she’s dead nice in person and once my friend was on a set with her and asked her to do a video saying hiya to me and my drag sisters and she did it and that was really exciting because back then RuPaul really meant something to us :/. Anyway – make-up – I’d actually already heard about these glitters before receiving them. And not on some #sponcon video but through some drag friends I really trust. We love word of mouth. Anyway, I’m the first to admit that I’m not necessarily a make-up connoisseur (sure I’ve been doing drag for a decade but I’m about the show not the look, and I appreciate drag which is about the look not the show too but we are all different under the sun xo although don’t know why I’m writing this? Sorry Dazed Beauty) (joke I’m very qualified at writing I wrote a book and everything). 

Anyway, while I am not a make-up connoisseur I AM a glitter connoisseur because I have been glittering my beard for six years, sometimes seven nights a week. I have tried everything from MAC to Paperchase, and so I was really thrilled to receive these glitters in FORCE OF NATURE, EARTH SHATTERING and (TAN)TRICK. We love to see it. And you know what ladies? They didn’t disappoint. Stunning, 3D, colourful. Like Miss Fame, they had depth, glamour, power. People (read: one person) even commented ‘that glitter looks really good!’.

Now for the eyeshadows. As packaging goes this was my fave I think: it was glam, thick, weighty, I really felt, as I held the palette in my hand, a slight pang of worry for the environment that there was all this fuss over eyeshadows, and it’s not good make-up unless you feel guilty about Greta when you’re putting it on, amirite? The pans are much bigger than the others, but there are less colours than in Alyssa’s (10 in total). Because Miss Fame knows how to WHAT? Edit. In colours such as NOIRGASM, OR(AN)GY and SKINTIMACY, they are pigmented glitter shadows which pack a real successful punch. The UNDER MY SKIN collection, while dubiously named, gets my highest rating for make-up, lowest, however, on affordability.

How’s Your Head? A few complaints, but overall good!

TRIXIE MATTEL – TRIXIE COSMETICS

‘Okay this is gorjus’, is the first thing I thought when I get the package. But then I thought, ‘Oh my God, is this invoking Japanese imagery here on the box?’ And then I remembered some of the problematic things Trixie has said to do with race, and then I liked the product less because I think she should have thought harder about the imagery on the packaging. To the make-up: one has to give it to her – the lipstick, which comes in a very beautiful heart-shaped case – is UNBELIEVABLY pigmented. Like it’s so pink. Which yes is an amazing thing for when you’re wearing it, but as is the poison chalice with any pink make-up – the colour is so bright it takes days to get off and countless Aesop cleansing sessions where you feel really gorgeous and rich to remove the stain. For two days after I looked like I’d rimmed Little Bo Peep, which isn’t something I’m averse to (Bo, if you’re reading hit me up @tomglitter IG and Twitter), but then it is hard to go to like a meeting with no face on and look like that girl at high school – Lauren, I think her name was – who always, bless her, looked like she’d just taken a big gulp of Vimto. But that’s our fate as fabu pink lipstick wearers!

Then there’s sparkles and sprinkles and I didn’t understand the difference and so I gave the sprinkles (hair and body glitter) – which were little sparkling hearts – to my boyfriend because that’s way more his drag. And then I tried to use the sparkles as highlighter but alas didn’t know what to stick it on with and so I put a bit of Pritt stick on my cheek and lo and behold it worked. Not as good as Willam’s but if you’re a Trixie stan then you’re gonna love Sprinkling and Sparkling on everything and anything: your hair, your body, your cheeks (ass and face), your morning coffee. But be warned: I had a friend who once ate too much edible glitter and he had to go to hospital because the glitter was literally slicing his intestine! We love a glitzy queen! High points for the lippy, a little lower for the glitter but it is really nice xxxx kiss kiss xxx

Banjo String Rating: 3 out of a possible 5

ALYSSA EDWARDS X ANASTASIA BEVERLY HILLS

I think Alyssa Edwards can do no wrong. Yes, her drag might not be ‘polished’ like some of the other girls on this list but frankly who cares because she can WHAT? Entertain. And speaking of entertain, it was entertaining to me that her shadow palette seemed to crumble at the touch of a soft blending brush. But reader, this is no bad thing: it’s actually quite useful when you want to really pack on the colour, really layer up that pigment, really get it all over your make-up t-shirt making you look like a pro because you have a make-up t-shirt. In colours like H.O.E. and Texas Made (fave), and lest we forget Back Rolls and Beast, much like Alyssa, this is a palette that delivers. 

A range of colours, a range of sparkles and matte, a range of emotions when using it like ‘omg is this pressed pigment going to drop down onto my foundation and make me look like I have another case of scabies’ or ‘omg wow I look WHAT? Sickening because this Beyond is so stunning next to my gorjus un-lashed eye’ (hate wearing lashes xx). This is a collab – unlike Willam, Fame and Trixie – and so the quality of the make-up feels expert, on a par with other Anastasia products. At the same time, it’s perhaps, alongside Aquaria’s, the most simple conceptually: a palette full of Alyssa sayings and colours. “I don’t get cute. I get drop-dead gorgeous…” says Alyssa on their website. “And now, you can too! My dream for this palette was to create a colour story that will give you life – one that will bring out the inner beast in everyone.” If there’s one thing she can do it’s turn a catchphrase, and so here we are – feeling drop-dead gorgeous in Alyssa x Anastasia.

Tongue Pop Rating: 4 TONGUE POPs out of 5 TONGUE POPs

Read Next
Reebok x Très Rasché
Behind the extreme beauty looks of the Reebok x Très Rasché collab Beauty news
Kat Von D
Kat Von D has stepped away from her beauty brand Beauty news
kylie jenner lip filler cosmetic surgery trend
Yo-yo lip filler, a dangerous plastic surgery trend, is blowing up Beauty Feature
Ayanna Pressley
Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley opens up on having alopecia as a black woman Beauty news
Matt Bernstein aka Matt XIV beauty look
Matt Bernstein’s colourful, confrontational looks spotlight queer issues Makeup artist
Kylie
Watch out BeautyCon – KylieCon might be coming our way Beauty news
Diana Ross
Sandy Linter on ageless glamour and transforming Diana Ross and Jackie O Icons
Jessica Simpson
Remember when Jessica Simpson launched an edible cosmetics line? Cult Vault
Josh Hight
Photographer Josh Hight celebrates goth & new wave with this extreme shoot Photo story
Miley Cyrus shag haircut
Why Miley Cyrus’s 70s shag haircut is a modern Instagram obsession Beauty Feature
Keash Festival Hair
African American women who use hair dye more at risk of cancer, study finds Beauty news
daisy collingridge squishy artist textile bjork
Squishy artist Daisy Collingridge wants to eradicate boring body ideals Beauty Feature
Thinx
Thinx period underwear may contain toxic chemicals Beauty news
nikkie tutorials transgender coming out video youtube
The beauty community celebrates NikkieTutorials as she comes out as trans Beauty news
Phantasm
WTF is cool sculpting and does it work? Tried and Tested
Nadine and Jawara
Win the chance to attend the opening of Dazed Beauty exhibition, Tallawah Beauty news