DSM Girl Gang Workshop: Hair & Makeup

Words: Emily Hostetter
Photos: Meanz Chan and Janelle Ketcher

I will be the first to admit that I just don’t get makeup. My routine has been more or less the same since high school: concealer, blush, mascara, and eyeliner if I’m feeling fancy. I’ve added brow pencil to the lineup in the past few years, and my freshman year of college did see a disastrous foray into the world of colored eye shadow, but other than that, I haven’t strayed from what I know.

I’ll also be the first to admit that I watch a lot of tutorials on things like “Shaping the perfect brow,” “How to contour,” and that most elusive move of all, “Achieving the perfect liquid-liner cat eye.” Given the continuity of my routine, you can guess how well these tutorials paid off. My brows remain two wild sisters, my contour left me looking like a marionette gone wrong, and the cat eye grew and grew and grew in my repeated attempts to make this “simple, subtle look” stay even on both sides.

When the Hair and Makeup Workshop went live on the Girl Gang page, I felt like someone had finally come to my rescue. I needed some guidance, I needed it in a private, non-judgemental environment, and that is exactly what Safiya and Khadija of S & K Glam Team provided.

The fourteen other women who showed up to Gravitate that Sunday afternoon came in with every imaginable level of skill. I looked around the room and felt the same way as when I look around the gym and see someone really fit working out: can you not do that next to me? Kinda seems like you’ve already mastered what the rest of us came in here to learn. As it turns out, I had nothing to worry about, and by the end of class, everyone was chiming in with questions, hopping up to get a closer look at the demo, and letting out our own “Ah-ha’s!” when things finally clicked.

The class kicked off with base-layer basics, led by Safiya, and right off the bat I learned that foundation is supposed to go on before concealer. Who knew?! After walking us through the mountains and valleys of highlighting and contouring, Safiya moved on to eyes, and I was ready to quit before I started. Remember that eye shadow foray I talked about? It should be mentioned that this included some extremely liberal smoky eyes. Please see unfortunate stock photo below for reference.

Me, circa 2004

Me, circa 2004

Needless to say, it was with great trepidation that I dug out the darker shades in my highly abbreviated eyeshadow collection and began to follow along. My fears were quickly assuaged when, miracle of miracles, a look began to emerge that was wispy rather than smokey, less like a forest fire and more like that steam that emerges when you pour water on the coals in a sauna.

I’ll cool it with the word pictures for a while.

We finished up with an equally miraculous cat eye, and while I won’t reveal all the secrets and tricks we learned in case Safiya and Khadija host again (and you’d better hope they do), I will tell you that my makeup game is stronger than ever. I feel equipped and capable and like I can finally own all the lotions and potions that I’ve vainly attempted to smear across my face in the past. And, okay, fine, I will reveal one other trick: concealer can be used to shape up your brows. (!!!) Watch out, Zosia Mamet, I’m coming for you.

Also me, circa 2017

Also me, circa 2017

After a quick break, we moved on to hair, led by Khadija. Shocking though it may be, I also do not understand my own hair, but I’m a little more confident here. This can mostly be attributed to Mollie at Salon W, who gives me great haircuts to which I do no justice. Another model was needed for the hair demo, and after a brief and mildly panicky pause, I raised my hand and said I’d do it. I really love sitting in front of a room full of people and being the center of attention because I am great at making normal, human faces and sitting in a relaxed posture.


Luckily for me, Khadija is a magician, and a very kind one. We had already bonded when she let me borrow some next-level concealer during makeup, so I knew I was in good hands. She waved her wand and bang, my head was full of the most perfect curls you can imagine. People with natural curls do not have curls this perfect. Also, I may have gotten a wand confused with a straightener, and magic confused with much-practiced and worked-for skill, but either way, Khadija did something amazing. From my perch at the front of the room, it was clear that the entire crew was having no trouble replicating what she taught them. I can also testify that she made flat iron waves incredibly achievable, because in my disbelief, I tried it from home later that week and was incredibly pleased with the results.

I cannot recommend S & K Glam Team highly enough. Safiya and Khadija are truly talented, and truly lovely gals with whom to pass an afternoon. If you have an event coming up (*cough* #girlgangtothenines in Mach), or just need to feel a little glammy, contact them. And if they offer another class, do not procrastinate like you did on eating those leftovers from Django last week, which have now taken on a life of their own in the back of your refrigerator. Sign up immediately. You will look amazing and come away empowered to do your thing, girl.

Actually me, circa 2017

Actually me, circa 2017