Hayley Williams’s Makeup Artist Spills Her Behind-the-Scenes Beauty Secrets – Allure Magazine
Whether Paramore’s “Misery Business” automatically played on your Myspace page or you’ve only listened to the band’s songs once or twice, you probably know who Hayley Williams is. And if you don’t know the lead singer’s name, you probably know exactly what she looks like. Her vibrant hair colors and eye makeup of the early 2000s pre-dated the rainbow hair and makeup trends all over our Instagram feeds these days.
Full disclosure: I fall into the second category. Paramore was far from being the soundtrack to my teenage angst. I was more of a Jonas Brothers fan girl at the time when Paramore blew up in 2007. However, I was fully aware of Williams’s strong, rebellious look. I admired how her focus wasn’t — and still isn’t — on being conventionally pretty. Back when fiery asymmetrical hair was her signature style, she inspired the kids around me to be bold with their style and feel confident not fitting into the prim-and-proper mold of suburbia.
Ten years later, Williams is still a force to be reckoned with in a beauty sense. She started her own line of bold hair dyes called Good Dye Young. Ironically, her hair is a gorgeous shade of platinum blonde at the moment. Now, her makeup has suddenly taken center stage. (Pun intended.) YouTube is filled with tutorials for recreating her recent looks from music videos and performances. To find out the stories behind those looks and how Williams’s makeup has evolved over the past decade, I FaceTimed with her right-hand man, Brian O’Conner. Not only is he the co-founder of Good Dye Young, he’s also done her hair and makeup for the past 10 years.
“I’ve done her hair since ‘Riot’ — right before ‘Misery Business’ came out,” he tells me from backstage as Williams does a sound check for the next stop on Paramore’s European tour. “From then on, any hair cut, color, and styling have pretty much been me. For probably five or six years now, I’ve been doing her makeup. At this point, everything — as far as hair and makeup goes — has been me.” This includes photo shoots, press tours, and performances, making it clear O’Connor has been very, very busy.
In the past, O’Connor went for cleaner, sharper lines with what he considers her “crazier” looks. “This time, it’s a lot less about winged liner or anything like that,” he adds. In fact, through the past 10 years, he’s taken Williams’s look from ultimate emo girl to retro realness.
“For this go around of touring, we’ve tried to stick with a Blondie-inspired look,” O’Connor says. “We’ve been looking at Debbie Harry a lot and feeling really inspired to recreate iconic done-but-not-overly-polished looks from the ’70s. I’ve done a lot more smudging and fading out. “
O’Connor says “we” a lot, by the way, because all has been a team effort. “It’s definitely a joint relationship, but Hayley is very stylish and kinda thinks outside the box for herself, too,” O’Connor says. “That makes it a lot easier for me to creatively flow off of that. What’s good is we’re so close that neither of us gets hurt or offended when we go, ‘Em, I don’t know about that.’ There’s been plenty of times on certain things when she’s shut me down, and afterward, I was like, ‘You know what. She was right.'”
One thing they’ve been disagreeing on lately is wearing bright lip colors on stage. Williams’s biggest concern is smudging when she holds the microphone too close to her face. “When she looks back at photos, she doesn’t have to worry about her lipstick wearing off during the set,” O’Connor adds. “She doesn’t fuss with getting touched up. She just does the show.” Instead, Williams sticks to more neutral shades because it doesn’t look as noticeable when it starts fading throughout her performances.
Something they definitely agree on is using organic, clean beauty products whenever possible. O’Connor says Williams loves RMS Beauty, in particular. “The cleaner that we can go, the better,” he says. “But sometimes it’s just harder to for stage looks. Because you’re under certain lighting and sweating, you need something that just stays put for an hour and a half.” In that case, they’re fans of Milk Makeup. The cult-favorite brand has played a major part in the creation of Williams’s most popular looks this year. I asked O’Connor to give me the inside scoop on four of them.
The “Hard Times” music video
When the music video for the first single off Paramore’s latest album After Laughter came out, several of my friends sent me screenshots. Why? At one point, Williams had amazing color-block makeup. Her yellow-and-blue look eventually inspired me to wear the trend for five days straight, which I documented for Allure, of course. O’Connor tells me he thought of doing the bold eye makeup at the last minute. They played around with different ideas for the days leading up to the shoot, but they didn’t come up with a concept until Williams sat down in the makeup chair.
To get the shapes to look perfectly geometric, O’Connor enlisted Williams’s help. “We kind of both had to do it together because to have them look really even and spot-on, you have to step back,” he explains. “We would cohesively go in and do a little bit together to make sure it stayed even with her face.”
Now that the video has been out for three months, O’Connor says he sees at least five or six fans at each show on Paramore’s tour who have recreated the look. “That’s been really cool because usually when good things that happen, they just sort of come organically,” he adds.
Fader’s June 2017 cover
When I asked O’Connor what his dream look to do on Williams would be, he said he just did it. Williams was Fader‘s cover star last month, and she looked surprisingly subdued. “It was very clean and simple,” O’Connor explains. “Everyone’s known Hayley for being loud and bright — whether it’s her outfits or her hair or her makeup. For me, it was fun to do a really simple, clean, kind of muted, not-in-your-face sort of look. I love the crazy, grungy, out there stuff, but I like when she let me do really beauty stuff because it’s a little bit out of her comfort zone. To me, that’s fun.”
BBC Radio 1 visit
Last month, Paramore stopped by BBC Radio 1 in London to do a live performance. This time, my best friend Brooke requested I recreate Hayley Williams’s look. Her lids were smeared with a glittery lilac, her arches were dotted with blue, and her lips were painted with a metallic bubblegum pink. (It’s Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain in 08 Wild Blush, to be exact.) I was living for it.
O’Connor laughed when I brought up this look because it was also put together minutes before Williams had to do her thing. Because they had an early morning call time and they were up late for a show, O’Connor only had an hour to get it all together. “It was one of those early morning, half-asleep, let’s-do-this looks,” he says. “I was like, ‘how can I keep this clean, fresh, but still her style?'” So he took inspiration from how Williams does her makeup on her own. “She’ll usually put one round dot right at the arch of her brow or maybe just toward the end of her eyebrow,” he explains. “Then, she’ll do these three little, imperfect lines under her eye.”
For Radio 1, O’Connor skipped the Twiggy-like lines and covered Williams’s lids with, again, Milk Makeup’s Eye Pigment — this time in a shimmery taupe called Peep Show. Then, he set it with M.A.C.’s Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Soft Frost, a pearly white that shifts to violet. “I wanted [the shimmer] to not be so noticeable, but when the light hit it, it has that gleam of illumination with a couple of different colors,” he explains.
The “Told You So” music video
For most of the music video, Williams wears a circular pair of yellow-and-black sunglasses, so O’Connor wanted to do an “abstract, peek-a-boo look that peeks through.” He also kept to the monochromatic theme with candy apple red lipstick. “Normally, she’s a matte lip girl, but I convinced her into putting gloss over it,” he says. “That was fun because there was a fan that was going, and Hayley kept getting hair stuck on her lips. She’d look at me, and I’d laugh.” Having the kind of partnership where you two can keep having fun for a decade straight? Now that’s what makes a dream team.
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