The day is May 19, 2018. The world’s first biracial royal ascends the church steps to be greeted by her actual Prince Charming. He bites his lip and utters the words that lip-readers decipher around the world: “I’m so lucky.” So lucky, indeed. A woman became a capital-d Duchess that day. And on July 15th, I became one too.
I’ve been obsessed with all things royal since rumors of the dreamy couple began, and Twitter users/amateur detectives were tracking flights from Toronto to London.
All of Megan Markle’s beauty looks seemed so effortless—just like her wedding day. She lets her skin shine through (hello, freckles!) while also having fun and experimenting with makeup.
I decided to take inspiration from her royal highness while adding a bit of funk to her classic looks. Truth: I’m not a princess (yet!) but I do love makeup and pulling inspiration from meaningful places. My quest was simple: transform into my very own version of the Duchess.
Instead of overseeing the Commonwealth, my reign extended from Brooklyn all the way up to my castle on the Upper West Side, where the ELLE offices are located. And while I might not be attending red carpet premieres and meeting Queen Bey, I too take my golden chariot (the Q express train on the 2nd Avenue line) to NYC beauty events, drinks, and parties. And while nobody curtseyed, I did get some appreciative, bow-down looks. Ahead, my five most successful Duchess looks, so you can try ’em yourself.
That Markle Sparkle could easily be called the Duchess Glow. Her skin always looks so radiant and dewy. Creating the shine—without looking sweaty—isn’t an easy task. The trick is prepping and priming the skin correctly. The M·A·C Prep + Prime Fix, a cult-favorite product, is the perfect hydrating mist. It creates a great dewy base from which to build out the glossy look. To create the perfect amount of shine, I grabbed the Bobbi Brown Highlighting Powder to add a bit of light to my face. Moving in a C-shape near my temples and just above my cheekbones made for the perfect hit of highlight. I’m always after a palette that can stop traffic, or in this case, a Duchess’ chariot.
Send (Charlotte Tilbury) nudes. Her lip color was the perfect balance of natural with a bit of shine—it truly captured the Duchess’s vibe. She’s a nude gal, with an unshakeable belief that less is more, and I wanted to channel that while still wearing a gloss. Setting powder was also key when I went toe-to-toe with NYC’s humidity; I want to look as polished as the Duchess, but 100 percent humidity plus being stuck underground on the subway much of the day does not allow me to live my most glam life. Setting powder does.
The Duchess dons her natural look for daytime events like polo games and formal teas. My nudes look is perfect for board meetings and beauty luncheons. Parallel lives.
While she’s known for more low-key looks, Ms. Markle is no slouch when it comes to glam. She seems to always capture that Old Hollywood-vibe with the help of bold eye makeup. For my rendition, I grabbed Benefit Roller Eye Bright liner paired with Stila Magnum XXX mascara. Not a very ladylike name, but it gets the job done.
Pop of Plum
Plum lipstick is always a good idea. I saw a red carpet photo of the Duchess wearing gorgeous blue sequins paired with a berry pout and I knew I needed to try it. Charlotte Tilbury’s Lipstick in Sofia Vergara provided the perfect not-too-red-not-too-purple color. I loved the bold pop of plum and was stoked to discover it pairs perfectly with my skin tone (not always the case). This one lasted all day and would look great on every skin color.
Whenever I wear a dramatic lip color, I try to keep the rest of my makeup more natural—just like the Duchess. Feathery brows keep the attention on my lips but also play a very important supporting role.
Summer in New York looks less beachy and relaxed and more sweaty and sad. I try to channel my California roots—the Duchess and I share hometowns—by applying blush strategically. The key is adding a bit of blush for flush where the sun would naturally hit my face. I started on my cheeks and finished by grazing my nose with just the slightest boop. I also wanted to bring the supporting pink tones out in my lips. Laura Mercier’s Glace Touch offered the perfect bit of highlight and shine for my pouty pink lips.