Glow Up, Series 3, Episode 4: Spaghetti Testers

I too would like some sage advice from a woman sitting in a shopping trolley, please.

I would like to congratulate everyone for making it through an entire social media themed episode without once mentioning the word “Hashtag”. It’s what we call GROWTH.

Hickory Dickory TikTok

This week the MUAs are having to fully embrace the social media side of the makeup industry with their first challenge being to create a TikTok video that shows them going from a bare face to a fully realised look. I wish they had given them a little bit more freedom to do whatever they liked, especially as Abby Roberts was the guest judge and her Halloween one from last year is easily one of her best

speaking of Abby Roberts, the prize for winning the TikTok challenge is the opportunity to get to make a video with her for her 16.4 million followers – it’s A BIG DEAL and no surprise that fellow social media star Ryley was a little overwhelmed by it

and boy was she gunning for the win.
Each of the MUAs got assigned a different station at The Selfie Factory – which is basically where every middling Instagram influencer goes to take those photos that makes them look like they’re in a private jet. For her room Ryley was given a roll top bath, a giant duck and some checkerboard flooring

You know, like you always see on social media…?
Her grand plan for social media domination was to create a graphic eye that echoed the floor pattern while also accentuating her birth mark which resulted in a very good look

the video however, it started off strong, her lipsync to DaBaby’s Rockstar made it a little more interesting, however it kind of petered out towards the end when it just became Ryley being cute in the bath tub

all in all, it felt more like something for your Instagram Stories that’ll disappear in 24 hours as opposed to a TikTok video.
I was a little surprised by the general lack of lipsyncing in the videos, the only other person to do it was Samah, although she only did a bit and then rocked back and forth like she was in a motion simulator at Alton Towers and showing her nostrils to all and sundry

as much as I think the video is high art and should be hung in The Louvre for generations to come to marvel at, my favourite part was the look of confused concern from Sophie as she watched it unfold

that is the look of a friend desperately looking for a compliment to give.
As for Samah’s look, I’m not sure I get “boujie, high fashion loving Floridian” from it

but I do really like it. There’s something about its otherworldly shine that reminds me of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and I find that very interesting and I’m always up for an exceptionally gaudy cupid’s bow.

The biggest challenge in this task was trying to create a look that married into the background that you were allocated, whether it be referencing the colours or using the props to create a character and story. Craig was very much the latter as he constructed a full on Ken Loach style drama about being in debt and planning a bank robbery because he was given Barbie’s Dream Bank Vault as his background

the upside of his spot was that he got to play with a money gun which looks like a lot of fun

Meanwhile Dolli gets to borrow an umbrella from the lighting crew, Jack gets to burst as many balloons as they can like they’re playing Ninja Monkey Bloons Defence in 2011 and Alex gets to dump cornflakes on the floor like she’s started a dirty protest against Kellogg’s

Ma’am, this is a Lidl.

In order to accentuate the fact that his TikTok character was drowning in debt Craig was accentuating his eyes bags, which Abby informs us is a trend… imagine having to draw on your dark under eyes and not looking constantly like a sleep deprived swamp witch?
Craig’s look is very cool though, I love the way the pink liner and his lips go over the black and white stripes

it gives it a very Escher style sense of depth and perspective. Also, in a turn of events, Dom thinks the lines are actually straight! Unfortunately we don’t know how he did them because he skipped over that part in the video to make sure we got plenty of footage of him shaving, weird move by ok! It did have a lot of energy though, which can’t really be said for Sophie who had the same issue of frontloading the video with footage of her priming and doing her base and then doing a massive, accidental Doctor Who style time leap to the finished look all set to Death Bed by Powfu, which was part of a big TikTok trend awhile ago. While the video was a touch disappointing the finished look was absolute fire

It’s the sort of avant garde style you’d see in a W Magazine photoshoot, maybe sans the wool vest though.

While Sophie’s was a very sedate affair, the same could not be said for Alex who from the moment she saw her set was firm in the idea that she was going to paint herself pink and paint herself pink she did

It’s maybe not the cleanest makeup we’ve ever seen but there is something sort of Andy Warhol about the very flat, monochrome pink with the pops of green from the eyes. Also I love the clash that the pink has with her hair, it really added to the subversive vibe of video. Which was very very much The Anti-TikTok. The biggest issue with the video, for me at least, was the fact she kept moving around the frame in all of her cuts, she never really centralised herself which made it a little hard to concentrate on.
As an aside, my favourite part of the whole episode was the moment the MUAs were told to get cracking with their videos and Alex almost started running in the wrong direction

Truly a queen after my own heart.

Dolli also went for a bold, full face paint as she went from Dolli to Dairy with one slightly timid shimmy

much like her main makeup look last week she was playing with a black and white colour palette but heeded the judges’ warnings about bleeding and smudging and came out on top with a very polished look

The TikTok Cow Challenge starts NOW!

While Jack wasn’t giving everyone heart attacks while mercilessly bursting balloons as their rivals did their eyeliner, they were going all out in their watercolour clownery

I really love this trend of dappled, painterly eye makeup looks and Jack pulled if off nicely and I think the judges were a bit dismissive of it. The video was a little overly chaotic but I can’t be mad at a video using Blinding Lights and I thought the shot of Jack coming up to blush their nose was really cute

respect the nose blush, please.

An Unofficial TikTok Video Ranking

  1. Dolli’s Dairylea Dancing
  2. Jack’s Painterly Clown
  3. Craig The Bank Robber
  4. Samah’s Was Good, Actually
  5. Ryley’s Bath Time
  6. Alex’s Supermarket SMASH!
  7. Sophie’s Lackadaisical Flower Power

Due to her creativity and the look being the most fun of the lot, Dolli is given the win while Alex and Samah fail to impress the judges and find themselves in the red seats going into the next challenge.

Get Your Filter

Continuing the social media theme the main challenge of the episode is for the MUAs to create a look that makes their model look as though they’ve used a face filter. Which in all honesty is basically “just do a makeup look guys, we’re kind of running out of ideas”. I think what makes a social media filter successful is its novelty and humour which is why I think Sophie’s, however well done, didn’t go down well with the judges

the prosthetics are incredible – the entire effect is extremely convincing, and in a post-Mugshot Challenge world that’s maybe not great. It made everyone extremely uncomfortable, a fact which Sophie seemed to unabashedly enjoy

and at the end of the day she said her whole aim was to go against the grain of the regular, beauty filters and do something a little grittier, which she pulled off in spades.

Samah was also doing prosthetics and making life incredibly difficult for herself as she tried to construct a set of mermaid’s gills out of scar wax when gill prosthetics are a thing that very much exist. While the judges weren’t too impressed by the gills it was the fact she did the Halloween Mermaid staple of pulling a pair of fishnets over your face to create the scales that drew the most ire,

I didn’t mind it, I think something with smaller holes might have been better but it’s still recognisably a mermaid and has that cartoonish, filter quality that people enjoy. I do think the shape of the lips was a bit of mistake, it’s not so much threatening siren as it is morose high school goth. That being said, the colouration of the piece is exquisite and the eye makeup is beautiful and I think the success of it lies in the fact it made Samah, Maya and the model do the fishy face in the mirror

so it clearly had an audience appeal.

While Samah maybe didn’t capture the horror of a siren, Jack certainly unearthed my childhood fear of having mushrooms growing out of my face

I still remember watching the David Attenborough documentary about Ophiocordyceps, the fungus that hijacks the mind of an ant, like it was an actual horror film.
Jack had initially planned to glue actual mushrooms to their model’s face but found that they were too wet to hold in place so had to Blue Peter it all together with cotton buds which honestly should have been a “DING DONG!” moment but I suppose Val is rationing them after she gave out two last week.

The dreaded bald caps were very much out again as both Craig and Dolli had incorporated them in their looks. The latter so that she could enhance and caricature her model’s features more clearly and the latter so that he could paper mache his model’s scalp with newspaper cuttings about Marilyn Monroe

I don’t really see it as an Instagram filter so much as it is just a very cool makeup. It didn’t need the thin curls of hair poking through that look a bit like the spaghetti testers you fling at the wall to check if it’s ready or not. The placement of the newspaper is incredibly well thought out and the glitter lip is very well done with maybe a slight issue of symmetry here and there.
Dolli’s bald-cappery was slightly less successful as it was quite visible in the final photos

it’s a pity that she had the issues with the scaring wax cheeks because I loved that her model looked like Wayland Flowers’ puppet Madame with it all on

but it was just a little too ugly and I think the rethinking with the very circular blush was a clever rejigging of her look. The Main Challenge looks have been very stacked in favour of quite special effects makeup concepts and I do wonder if we’ll get something that puts Dolli, a more glam focused MUA, in her comfort zone.

It also wouldn’t be a Glow Up Challenge without someone attempting straight lines and both Ryley and Alex found themselves up against the exacting wrath of Dominic Skinner’s spirit level. Ryley’s hopes lay in her take on the golden ratio as she divided her model’s face into a monochrome map of triangles that made her model look a bit like an Art Deco Batman

I love the fact she left the eyebrows and mouth bare, I think it adds a slightly comedic element to it and if it were a filter, would allow for expressions. I am however quite sure that this is already a filter? Or was one at some point – it just not wildly inventive but I do think her linework was better than Dom made out.

Alex’s angular offering was a take on the pixilation trend of days gone by, which again is a very cool concept but the 15 minute penalty for being in the red seat undid her a bit and her lines were just that little too messy

I think the fact she also made the squares so big makes some of her colour placements and choices seem a little off – she has actually since redone the look on her Instagram where she made the squares much smaller and allowed her to play more with highlights and shadows, you can see it HERE.

And if you were wondering what the eliminated contestants did:
Nic did a very funny pastiche of a beauty pageant contestant with a very well applied lip prosthetic that you can see HERE.
Elliott went all philosophical on us and made did a makeup on Instagram icon Ophelia that depicts the negative side of beauty filters. Needless to say, a bald cap was involved, you can see it HERE.
Xavi turned himself into a sex robot. Need I say more to pique your interest? You can see that HERE.

An Unofficial Filter Makeup Ranking

  1. Jack’s Fungal Horror
  2. Ryley’s Geometric Batman
  3. Sophie’s Choices.
  4. Craig’s Marilyn Maché
  5. Samah’s Sad Goth Mermaid
  6. Dolli’s Distortion
  7. Alex’s 8bit Forfeit

Giving Lip

The judges ultimately decide that neither Samah or Alex did enough to get them out of the Face Off Chairs and so our two Bottom 2 Goddesses find themselves in a face off over a Pop Art Lip

which is a tough ask in only 15 minutes.
The trick of it is to apparently work from the outside in – starting with the liner because it’s harder to apply over a liquid lip, which kind of goes against your own logic and why both Samah and Alex both immediately laid down their chosen lip colours first. Samah suffered the worst consequences of this as her colours smudged together a bit and didn’t have quite a neat enough finish

she also made things harder for herself by making the liner so thick, meaning she had to squash it all together whereas Alex achieved the necessary volume but her highlights were a little chunky and looked a bit like her model had several tictacs stuck to her lips

It was a tight run race and ultimately the axe falls on Alex’s time in the competition and she’s given the chop

It’s always hard when someone with such a loveable personality gets eliminated – there was just something very relatable about Alex that made her a joy to watch and if you want to keep up with her on Instagram, where she is an absolute blast, you can follow her at LipglossLezza – which is a God Tier Instagram handle. Do it for the Coco Flops photoshoot alone.

And so, 6 MUAs remain…

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