Big make-up is having a moment: Here's why and how to do it at home

As we kick off a week of content dedicated to The Power Of Beauty, read all about the latest beauty boom and see how top make-up artist Nikki Wolff created Maya Jama's look for our cover shoot

BIg beauty: Two women who have experimented with their make up pose for the camera
(Image credit: Marie Claire UK)

As we kick off a week of content dedicated to The Power Of Beauty, read all about the latest beauty boom and see how top make-up artist Nikki Wolff created Maya Jama's look for our cover shoot

Glow Up star Maya Jama kicks off our spring campaign The Power Of Beauty over at Marie Claire UK. Stay tuned throughout the month of May as we celebrate the transformative power of beauty and champion the industry we love.

Big makeup is having a moment.

After nearly a full year locked down, there aren't many words to describe the sheer, unadulterated joy a good haircut, a new make-up look, or a manicure can bring.

The strange new world of work-from-home freedom was liberating, for a while. Not having to work in the office meant wearing your favourite jogging bottoms and no make-up some days because, well, no one could could actually see you with your camera off on Zoom, right?

That is, until we were a year in and realised we hadn't tried a new make-up look for a full twelve months, and most of our favourite products were lying untouched at the back of our beauty cabinets.

Pair the empowering, mood-boosting feeling of pulling off a new beauty look with the undeniable popularity of TV shows like Glow Up - reality TV shows and TV shows generally have soared in popularity over the last year because, well, there hasn't been an awful lot else to do - and you'll see just how into beauty the nation seems to be right now.

Hence the theme of our shoot with TV and radio presenter Maya Jama. The Power of Beauty is a campaign championing the transformative power of beauty and supporting an industry that has been dealt one of the worst hands over the last year. Just last month, the Beauty on the Brink campaign, run by Millie Kendall, MBE, CEO of the British Beauty Council, highlighted that almost 5,000 salons in the UK have had to close their doors for good.

After a year inside, it's time to celebrate the beauty industry in all its glory and get creative with our looks.

So, why is big beauty having such a moment?

In short, because we've been locked up for the best part of a year with no real reason to experiment with our hair or make up. You might think that lockdown would offer you more time and opportunity to do just that, but we're sure you'll agree that actually, with nothing to get ready for and no one to see, it often felt a bit futile.

Now, with the world opening back up again, it's time to have some fun. 

"It’s time for playful makeup with vibrant colours and creative techniques," says Beauty and Style director at Marie Claire UK, Lisa Oxenham. "As well as being the fun and freedom we’ve needed after this past year, makeup can also be used as a form of self-expression, as a statement, and as a meditative routine."

"We can experience huge emotional and psychological benefits when wearing makeup," she says. "It’s a form of self-care, helping to strengthen positive emotions through the perception of caring for ourselves."

Maya's look for The Power of Beauty shoot 

For our cover shoot, world-famous make up artist Nikki Wolff did Jama's make up. Keen to read a little more about how the artist to the stars - think the Kardashians and more - created this iconic look for the shoot?

Well, you're in the right place. "It's a cross between a high glamour and a space age-y feel: a 'this is the future of beauty' look," says Oxenham. "What I love also is that the stock motion really shows the intricacy of the make up. It's not just self expression, but a way of being creative."

Nikki agrees, sharing: "Spirits are up, outfits are bright, and people are experimenting with their makeup, feeling free to try things they haven’t done for months while they’ve been in lockdown and wearing happy colours to represent their mood."

"I think people want to wear happy colours to highlight their feelings and that carries through to make up looks as well."

Ally Head
Health, Sustainability and Relationships Editor

Ally Head is Marie Claire UK's Health, Sustainability, and Relationships Editor, eight-time marathoner, and Boston Qualifying runner. Day-to-day, she works across site strategy, features, and e-commerce, reporting on the latest health updates, writing the must-read health and wellness content, and rounding up the genuinely sustainable and squat-proof gym leggings worth *adding to basket*. She regularly hosts panels and presents for things like the MC Sustainability Awards, has an Optimum Nutrition qualification, and saw nine million total impressions on the January 2023 Wellness Issue she oversaw, with health page views up 98% year on year, too. Follow Ally on Instagram for more or get in touch.