It’s been 10 years since Gossip Girl premiered, and yet I’m still blown away by how fashion forward it was. Even though Blair Waldorf and Serena Van Der Woosen are usually considered the trendsetters of the show, the one character whose style I constantly drooled over was Vanessa Abrams. Played by Jessica Szohr, she was a true NYC It girl before it was a thing. Growing up, she was definitely one of my biggest style inspirations because of how realistic her outfits seemed. She slayed every single brightly colored outfit, and always managed to look gorgeous in her soft pink makeup.
In an effort to bring back the nostalgia from my teen years, I decided to recreate this fellow Brooklyn girl’s makeup routine for a day. I spent my entire weekend binge watching the first three seasons to get her look right. The best part is that I only spent $24.50! Here’s a breakdown of the best drugstore makeup and online beauty products I used, and how you can pull it off.
A blank canvas
Before I put on any makeup, I like starting with a clean slate. After prepping my skin with my facial cleanser, I used e.l.f.’s Beautifully Bare Lightweight Concealer Stick to even out my under eye shopping bags. I have really sensitive skin, so I figured that a concealer stick that covers smaller areas was my best bet. My skin breaks out if I breathe the wrong way so using this light concealer was a must.
Her signature splash of color
If there’s one thing that Vanessa will forever be known for, it’s her bright pink pout. Colourpop’s More Better was perfect for the job. This matte lipstick has been living in my purse for almost a year now, so I was beyond happy that I didn’t have to spend any extra cash. It doesn’t hurt that it’s only six bucks!
Vanessa never leaves her house without blush, but Cassandra does. Because I’ve never shopped for blush before, I had no idea where to even start. “What shade of pink matches my skin tone? Am I going to look like a clown?” popped up in my head as I walked up and down the aisles of Sephora and Ulta Beauty. I ended up feeling overwhelmed by the sea of pink and walked out empty handed.
That’s when I knew I had to improvise. One of my go-to makeup palettes is Ashley Tisdale’s Night Goddess -12 Color Eye & Cheek Collection. It’s packed with both bright and natural eyeshadow shades, as well as a bronzer, highlighter and blush. The rosy shade was way too pigmented on me, so I mixed it with the bronzer for a subtler look. It costs $11.99, although I won it in a contest run by my favorite podcast, Ladygang.
Now, for the main event: The eyes and brows
I’m a firm believer in using the same thing twice, so of course I whipped out my makeup palette again. I stuck with a natural brown eyeshadow for my eyelids, turned to the rest of my palette and came up with an idea. I love how defined Vanessa’s eyebrows are, and welcome any chance to up my brow game. I decided to DIY my own brows by first lining them with the grey eyeshadow from my Illuminate palette, and then gently filling them in. I may have gone a little brow crazy and overfilled them, but I love how they turned out. Lily Collins, eat your heart out.
After I spent 10 minutes straight drooling over my brows, I picked up the cheap eyeliner pen I got from Forever 21…And then promptly put it down so I could freak out internally. Full disclosure: My last battle with eyeliner ended with me almost poking my eyes out. So I went extra slow this time, said my prayers and hoped for the best. I actually think I did a pretty okay job! It looks like my dramatics paid off. If you’re like me and you’re all thumbs, the Essence 2-in-1 Eyeliner Pen is super easy to use and glides on smoothly. It’s also $3.50 so you can mess up as many times as you’d like!