Have You Met Salwa Yet?


Well now's your chance. Should you ever find yourself unwillingly confronted with a makeup slump, be it some kind of cat eye purgatory or an endless array of nude lips that you just can’t shake, here’s just the person to shuttle you to a state of makeup hyper-creativity. Salwa Rahman, aka @urgalsal_, is the UK blogger creating screenshot-able eye looks left and right, featuring all shades of ROY G BIV. She entered our lives through makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes last fall, and now she’s here to enter yours thanks to Tom, who hopped on a plane to England to get some shots just for you.

Salwa’s not a makeup artist, but a recent university graduate who just likes some good old fashioned makeup fun. Her tools? Watercolor paint brushes, like the kind you’d buy in an arts and crafts store (they draw more precisely, she says), and her go-to tip is that a liquid lipstick does the job of any eyeliner, and then some (just dip your paint brush in a tube to find out). But enough talking, now. Let Salwa take it away.

“When I was a kid, I avoided anything ‘girly.’ Never really liked makeup, never really got it, and then... I started secondary school. I was 12, 13, and at that age you've got friends who start to try makeup. I thought maybe I should try it, too. It was very basic stuff, like mascara, and we used to love kohl eyeliner. We used to pile on that shit like no tomorrow, but just on the bottom [of the eye]. And then my sister got Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencil. That was the turning point, where I was like 'Oh, this is something I can get into.' It was like a really wicked teal, turquoise, bright color. I picked it up and smushed it onto my eye and I felt really cool. I was like, ‘Yeah, this is it. I'm vibing with this.’

Then I moved onto lipstick, and I had a big phase where I was into bright colored lipstick. I remember saying to myself when I was 15 that I was never going to wear foundation, never going to need that shit. I used to love wearing really deep, aubergine purples, because I thought it was different and that not many people would rock a deep lip. It was very much more the color aspect than it was the ‘perfecting’ aspect that was appealing to me. It was more like 'Oh, this product is nice. Let me pick it up and smash it on my face.'

There was period of time when I did ‘normal’ makeup. Then I sort of stopped giving a shit. Genuinely, I just stopped caring. There'd be times where I'd be doing my eyeliner, and you know there's that whole thing where you have to have a perfect flick? And rub your eye until it's red and it bleeds, but the line is sharp? I actually used to spend quite a lot of time doing that, and I wasted so much energy. One day I was doing my makeup and I was like, you know what? This is just fine. Not caring so much about perfection, you realize how restrictive it can be. It sort of grew from there. I thought if I want to literally scribble on my face, quite literally grab an eyeliner and just ch ch ch [pretends to draw] and leave the house, I can do that. I have the autonomy and the agency to do that. It's not your face, it's my face. So the experimentation with that grew, and I started to play around with colors, shapes. My current look is very much founded on the fact that I really don't care what anyone else is doing.”

—as told to ITG

Salwa Rahman, wearing Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil, NYX Vivid Brights Eyeliner, and Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz. Photographed by Tom Newton in London on November 9, 2018.