Beauty


Instagram @emilydougherty

By now, you likely know a bit about ASMR, the “oddly satisfying” hashtag trend creeping into your Instagram Search and Explore page. Typically, the video category covers an array of topics ranging from calligraphy and slime to cake decorating and paint mixing, but Emily Dougherty, ELLE magazine‘s Beauty and Fitness Director, has recently discovered unchartered territory that caters to the beauty-obsessed. Enter: lipstick destruction videos.

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Watch this and then keep reading so you know what I’m talking about.

How do you feel? Unusually soothed? Slightly infuriated? Both? It’s perhaps the mixed emotions that are causing these videos to go viral—you kind of have to watch them twice to comprehend what’s happening. “People either find them relaxing or really violent,” Dougherty tells me in response to the heated debates taking place in the comments sections of her posts. Sure, there’s something kind of heart-breaking about watching someone destroy a brand new Dior lipstick, but she assures me we shouldn’t feel this way. Despite the fact that her following has quadrupled over the last month, she’s not solely doing this for Instagram content.

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She’s actually creating the exact, custom shades expert makeup artists use on a daily basis. (Mashing up lipstick formulas to get the perfect tone is a common practice among professionals.) “I decided to reach out to the makeup artists that I respect the most and ask them what their favorite combinations are so that I’m not sacrificing bullets for the sake of Instagram. They legitimately do this,” she says. It’s true, they do, which is how she’s been able to get several recommendations from the likes of Sir John and Troy Surratt. After filming, she saves each mixture in a little case for future use. “These lipsticks are handled with love and care, and not an ounce is wasted,” she says.

Dougherty originally came up with the idea after being inspired by the pages she works on for Elle. “One of my favorite parts of the magazine is when we manipulate the products each month for the still life photos,” she says. You know the smears of lipstick and crushed eyeshadow photographed in the pages? Yeah, that’s her (and the photo team). “I also love the oddly satisfying videos on Instagram and it seemed like the perfect combination.”

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When I ask if they’re as soothing to produce as they are to watch, the answer is a solid no. “The bullets like to hop around. They’re tricky little creatures so you don’t want one to hop off camera,” she says. Yes, beauty editors have access to a whole closet of lipsticks, but she really only has one shot with these specific products—especially because she’d have to clean the whole setup to start over. There’s no time for that.

Also, the audio, a critical aspect to ASMR, can be an issue because of her open-air office. “I need to hear the sound of the cutting, not the sound of a fellow editor,” she jokes. Dougherty films most of the videos during the work day since there’s no editing involved. It’s a quick process which allows her to post quite frequently. Low lift, high impact.

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If you’ve become somewhat addicted, she says to stay tuned. She’s now featuring nail polish in some posts, and she has more ideas in the works. “People keep coming up to me and asking me to do their favorite mixes. There are endless blends.”



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