How I Found Crazy Self-Confidence From “Festival Beauty”

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festival beauty

Photo: c/o Zoe Weiner

I have never considered myself a “festival person.” In fact, the last time I tried to go to one (EDC Los Angeles in 2010), I ended up heading home before I even made it into the event. But despite the fact that the actual act of standing in a field and listening to EDM has never appealed to me, I have always been fascinated by festival beauty. I’m one of those people who loves all things sparkly and over-the-top (my laptop has a pink glitter case on it, and I’m currently wearing a pair of rhinestone-encrusted sandals, just to paint a picture for you), so I’ve always secretly envied the women on social media expressing themselves so freely with their makeup and hair. Festival goers somehow seem so carefree and confident.

So, when Sephora invited me to check out their beauty tent at the Panorama Festival in New York City last weekend (an event I’d admittedly never even heard of before they emailed me), I responded reluctantly. They told me they would have a team on hand, stocked with everything from hair glitter to holographic makeup to help me create whatever look I wanted. It was time. It was time that I had a bonafide festival experience – flashy frocks, sparkly locks, and all.

Walking into the festival, I was immediately overwhelmed. I had decided on an outfit I thought to be “festival chic” — a yellow crop-top and skort combination paired with sneakers — and used every holographic item in my vanity on my face, which still felt understated compared to what everyone else had going on. When I entered the Sephora tent, the entire place was covered in glitter and packed with people getting glammed up. It was a circus, in a good way, especially for someone like me who was new to the scene.

My first stop was at the IGK counter, where a stylist crafted my hair into a set of groovy-looking “space buns” before spritzing them with IGK Holographic Hair Foam and dousing them in a coat of electric blue airbrush spray from HUSH. Perhaps overly enthusiastic at this point, I hit up an Amika braid bar where the rest of my hair was put into two French braids and decorated with gold rings. Finally, it was time for makeup, which involved tattooing my face with gold stars and painting my eyes in holographic everything care of one of the best palettes I have ever had my hands on.

festival beauty

But I didn’t stop there… I picked up some loose glitter off the ground (yes, really) and covered my face and body in it — a move I copied from an 8-year-old girl. What had gotten into me? I knew I would never wear any of this in real life, but in the moment, I was consumed in that carefree confidence. Going full-on festival as a grown-ass woman was liberating.

So, my next move was chatting with Sephora makeup artists Jeffrey English and David Razzano about how to achieve this on a normal night. “I think it’s about separating the trends,” said Razzano. “Maybe try wearing the buns without the spray and take out the piercing. Or, maybe one night, a cool slicked-back hairstyle with the little [gold] freckles…that would be hot.”

“Mix and match to find the right combination for you,” added English, now referring to makeup. “And with any of the crazier makeup colors that you’re maybe not sure about, like the blue shade in the holographic palette, just pop it on your eye.” Whether or not you're going to a festival, you can totally pull this off.

Later that night, I strongly considered showing up to a date I had planned with my hair and makeup look still on. I even put out an Instagram poll asking if I should do it, and the result was a resounding “YES GIRL.” But I compromised, as the Sephora pros suggested, taking out the buns and braids while leaving in the glitter. And honestly? I’ve never felt more like myself. Coachella 2019, here I come.