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If you’ve ever suffered the misfortune of losing a loved one as well as witnessing a friend experience loss, then you’ll know that grief looks very different on different people. Although scientists such as Barbara Fane have revealed that individuals experiencing grief suffer from a similar disruption to the following brain areas, the outcome can vary. After losing someone the parasympathetic nervous system is impacted, resulting in insomnia and shallow breath. The effect on the prefrontal cortex/frontal lobe can impact your ability to express your emotions. The impact on the limbic system, can cause you to be easily triggered by things that remind you of your lost one. Whilst experiencing this biological onslaught, after losing someone, many people put their appearance to the back of their mind. However, as our contributing beauty writer Alysha Yates recounts, relief may come in the form of your beauty routine.

My mother would always dress herself in red. Her toenails gleamed with a glossy merlot finish come rain or shine.  In a reoccurring six-week effort to mask her relentless greys, she’d blitz intruders with her favourite semi-permanent dye, Crazy Colour- Fire. When she discovered my Sleek eyeshadow palettes, her request never wavered, “red with a little smoke on the sides.” Of all the ways she’d wear red, nothing served her better than sporting her signature scarlet smile.

So when I lost my mother in 2015 to the beast that is breast cancer, I couldn’t look at red the same for a while. My memories of overturned bloody dye bottles and dwindled lidless lipstick applicators brought me nothing but instant flashbacks of what I had lost.

Days after she passed, at each family gathering, I’d be swarmed by sympathetic apologies and faces filled with commissary for what could not be helped. With each pat on my back, I grew to fear the pain of my mother’s memory, serving only as a reminder for the unnerving fact that I’d no longer see her bright red smile again.

Alysha Yates Fashion Psychology
Alysha Yates Wearing Mac Dance With Me & Fenty Beauty Uncensored

Nevertheless, I had already agreed to write my mother’s eulogy for her funeral. I had run out of words while trying to finish writing and I decided to search for inspiration. I sat knee deep in photo albums, flicking through images of my mother, wadding my way through years of her life, buried in her memory. Hour after hour went by and I found myself with her again. She was aged 20 at a party, posed arm in arm with a best friend, both with matching classic square red manicures. Aged 25 on her wedding day, lips deep scarlet pursed and pouted for a glamorous flick.  She was aged 36, hair tinted and aflame, head down styling one of her clients at her hair salon.

Tears met my lips as I surrendered to her vivid red memories and I felt her with me once again. Fond memories rushed back and gave me the comfort I needed as I saw how attached my mother had been to this colour, how she would always endeavour to express herself throughout her life with these red accents.

At her funeral, we wore red rose brooches and our lips beamed a deep raspberry red. My mum loved to wear a mix of MAC’s Rebel with Russian Red. On that day, we brought her memory to life. Now, as her 4th year anniversary approaches, I soothe my grief by wearing red and my most treasured way of remembering her is by embracing a beauty routine that reflects my mother in spirit.

The world’s most influential makeup artist, Pat McGrath MBE recently left her mark all over Couture fashion week. Her delicate touch has resulted in many arresting looks in fashion weeks the world over, several of which were created with products from the self-titled Pat McGrath Labs. In order to gain a deeper insight into McGrath’s transformative powers we’ve conducted an investigation into the science behind some of her latest looks.

Extreme Eyelashes - Valentino

Fashion Psychology
Source: patmcgrathreal/Instagram

Delicate feathers fluttered down the runway with every blink at Valentino’s Spring 2019 Couture show. To create the bold look, the intricate feather-lash extensions were glued to the model’s lashes and coated with McGrath’s new FetishEyes™ Mascara.

So what does science say about this mesmerizing look?

Our collectively admiration for longer eyelashes dates back thousands of years. Researchers Mulhern and colleagues found that enhancing the appearance of women’s eyes through the use of eyelashes and mascara significantly increased attractiveness as rated by both male and female observers. Eyelash growth is also said to have a positive psychological effect on women (Jones, 2011).

Some researchers have reasoned that we find long eyelashes endearing because they are typically possessed by those who we are hardwired to find cute – babies! And as we have learnt from the Baby-Face Stereotype, adults are rated more favourably when they have features (such as long eyelashes) that draw similarity to infants.

Glitter and Gloss - Givenchy and Margiela

Fashion Psychology
Source: patmcgrathreal/Instagram
Fashion Psychology
Source: patmcgrathreal/Instagram

In a show that largely featured simple, minimalistic makeup looks, McGrath ensured that Cara Taylor took center stage. Following her third haute couture collection for Givenchy, Clare Waight Keller said “I tried to take the most modern approach possible with everything.” McGrath compliment the modernity of the garments by adding in this futuristic look that saw the top half of Taylor’s face covered entirely in glitter. Over at Margiela, the model’s faces were a playground for McGraths brushes. One look that particularly stood out were the smudged gradient fuchsia lips topped off with a glossy top coat worn by both male and female models.

And the science behind all this glitter and gloss?

Evolutionary psychologists claim that are attraction to shiny things is linked to our ingrained need for survival. For example, in a study on children, infants aged 7-12 months old were found to put their mouths to glossy plates much more than to dull ones. Children had also been seen lapping shiny toys on the ground, the way an animal might drink from a puddle. Researchers have concluded that the connection between drinking and shiny design was an evolutionary artifact–a sign that “our crush on glossy is rooted in a primitive desire for water as a vital resource” (Coss, Ruff & Simms, 2010).

Alongside the revival of gloss, glitter makeup is one trend that isn’t going away anytime soon. An easy way to incorporate both of these trends into your 2019 looks is with Pat McGrath Labs’ Lust Lip Gloss Kits.

Flower Power - Valentino

Back at Valentino, McGrath went to work to create an intricate floral makeup look to compliment the gorgeous floral gowns. While the petals were lightly dusted in glitter, McGrath used a small cluster of crystals for the flower’s pistil – a 3D element that helped bring the look to life.

Studies on adornment have long highlighted the positive impact that flowers and floral motifs have on attraction and wealth. In a study on tipping behaviour, researchers found that diners left larger tips for waitresses who wore flowers in their hair compared to when the same waitresses served them minus the flowers (Jacob, Guéguen & Delfosse, 2012).

To get these makeup looks and all of the psychological benefits that come with them, check out the stunning new collections over at Pat McGra