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Courtesy of Beauty Bay

NikkieTutorials on her dark side and the trend that’ll be the new Euphoria

TextAlex Peters

As her sell-out palette comes back, we speak to the beauty lover about all things make-up including whether there is a brand in her future

Nikkie de Jager is bringing some positivity to this trash fire year. Alongside the global pandemic that we have all been living through for the past six months, the make-up artist known to her millions of fans as NikkieTutorials, has gone through some personal hells of her own. 

At the beginning of the year there was an outpouring of love and support from the beauty community after de Jager came out as transgender. The circumstances, however, were complicated and the timing hadn’t been her choice. Other difficult events quickly followed including a terrifying experience last month when she and her fiancé were robbed at gunpoint in their home.

Despite everything, however, de Jager has stayed strong, continuing to bring joy to her followers with her beauty tutorials and finding solace herself through the make-up. At the end of last month, she launched an eyeshadow palette with Beauty Bay, her first collaboration in four years. Full of bright colours in a variety of matte, shimmer and duo-chrome finishes, the palette comes with a symbolic light-to-dark design which she says is a representation of her in all her glory. 

“When you first get to know me, it’s this really bright personality with bright funky colours,” she tells Dazed Beauty. “But there's a deeper, darker side to me as well. And I'm not just talking about depressing stuff. I'm also talking about, you know, growing up with horror movies, and I think this palette really is me and I am both worlds all at once.”

The palette was an instant success, with waitlist numbers reaching over 87,000 and the first drop sold out in eight hours with four palettes being sold every second at its peak. It means a lot for de Jagger who put so much of herself into the product, from a shade named for her brother who passed away a few years ago to incorporating elements of her Dutch heritage, something that she hasn’t always played up during her career. 

When she first started making YouTube videos, she says, her only examples of other bloggers were English and American influencers. “I always thought I had to speak English all the time,” she says. “I almost was, not ashamed of the fact that I spoke Dutch, but I almost tried to hide it.” Over the last couple of years, however, that’s started to change as she noticed how well her followers responded to it and she even implemented a Dutch “word of the day” into her make-up videos. When creating the palette she knew she wanted to include some Dutch into the shade names which range from the bright yellow ‘Vla’ (pudding) to the neutral ‘Basic Trut’ (basic bitch). “It's funny how with Dutch, it has been this entire journey. And now we're here and I'm teaching everybody a little bit of Dutch every time!” she laughs. 

While beauty influencer x brand collaborations are a dime a dozen at this point, working on this palette had particular significance for de Jager who felt that she had something to prove following a controversial partnership in 2014. Since then, she had shied away from putting her name to anything until she was sure the circumstances were right. And then Beauty Bay came knocking. “It was time for me to gain back trust for me with brands, but also for my followers to trust me after what happened in the past,” she says, explaining why she decided on another collaboration when so, so many of her peers are launching her own brand. “This was the natural step to go with because you have the flexibility of working with a brand that is very established.” Coming out with her own brand eventually is not an option she is ruling out however. “I mean, who knows what the future holds. I think it's a dream of any make-up lover to be able to create products that they dream of. So I'd never say never but who knows what the future will hold? I don't know.”

As we’ve all learnt from this year, it is impossible to know what is coming. For de Jager she has taken lockdown as a time to slow down and find inspiration in the unexpected. “Where before I would travel the world, now it's like, what's the trend in my living room?” she laughs. “But I think it's very important to look around and you can find inspiration in nature, in buildings and also social media. One of my favourite things is finding smaller artists and having them do a takeover on my stories and just get inspired by new talent.”

When unhappy things have come her way, it is still make-up she turns to, as she always has done, the solace and comfort she finds in the art untainted in the transition from hobby to career. For her, it will always remain a source of self-care. “For me, it's totally closing off from the world when I do my make-up. It's so much more than just brushing on an eyeshadow or pounding in the foundation with a blender,” she says. “It's spending that love and attention on yourself in a way that no one else can and time and time again it has comforted me.”

Looking to the future, de Jager is excited by the creativity she’s been seeing from people as they’ve been experimenting with beauty in lockdown. She predicts blush is making a big comeback and in true e-girl style welcomes all non-traditional placement from on the nose to the forehead. (“Just because we're talking about my palate, if anyone hasn't tried ‘Zomer’ as a blush, you're running late. Get to the bus now!”) Other trends she’s excited about are intricate, soft eyeliner – soft enough for an everyday look but unique in its shape – and a 50s-influenced style that she believes Ryan Murphy’s new One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest-inspired show Ratched will herald. It is, she says, the new Euphoria in terms of beauty. 

“I’m really liking how shows are changing the (beauty) industry,” she says. “Now, with Ratched, it’s giving that 50s, retro-make-up. One thing I noticed on that show is that one colour that we basically never use on the inside of the eye is like a red pinkish colour, because it always makes you think of like pinkeye or an infected eye. But on the show, they use this soft pink red colour on the waterline and it is stunning! I love it.”

You heard her, everyone. Pink eyes at the ready.

The second drop of the NikkieTutorials x Beauty Bay was released on September 30. The palette is available here

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