The Real Reason Chelsea Peretti Started Smearing Makeup All Over Her Face During Quarantine
The comedian's subversive beauty tutorials are the best thing on Instagram right now.
With nowhere to go and no one to see, comedian Chelsea Peretti's cheeky — and relatable — Instagram makeup tutorials kept us laughing even during the darkest early days of quarantine. So, for the July issue of InStyle, we caught up with Peretti to chat all about her best and boldest looks. Keep reading for her thoughts on becoming the best new beauty influencer on the block.
Your quarantine beauty tutorials have been nothing short of inspirational. How do you do it?
I was wearing pajamas every day and kept hearing people say, "You should get dressed; you'll feel better." But I tried it a couple of times, and I really didn't feel better. I was just less comfortable, and there was no one to see the effort I had made. I noticed people doing full hair and makeup and model-like poses on Instagram, and it seemed like lunacy to me. I think it's less crazy to smear makeup all over your face than to try to look cute right now, and the first time I did it, it just felt right. It's my version of a workout — like, let me get one little chunk of creative time in my day so I don't go crazy. So as soon as my son goes down for a nap, I bust out my palettes and start messing around.
How have your nearly two million Instagram followers responded?
The best feedback was anyone who said, "This is helping me get through quarantine." There were a few nurses, especially. If I can give anyone under the extreme pressure of this pandemic even a second of relief, that makes me feel like being dumb is a value. Some people re-created the looks from my videos too, but because I've already established myself as an influencer, that's just par for the course.
From drawing eyeballs on your forehead to creating a second set of lips, your looks have been so bewitching and unique. Which one is your favorite?
Those are powerful looks — they're not for everyone, but they're practical for the times we live in. It gives you freedom to operate, as if the aliens are coming tomorrow. I really liked it when I drew teal sunglasses on my eyes for a "nighttime" look. I love wearing sunglasses and hats — anything where I can hide, so I felt very safe behind those glasses. I could see it being a high-fashion moment; I thought it was a borderline shootable editorial look.
Speaking of bold beauty statements, what prompted you to write "Help!" in red lip gloss on your forehead?
Our country is a complete shit show right now, so I think we're all looking for some sort of help or divine intervention. It's cathartic to write on your face and use makeup for something more profound. Also, I think the hidden subtext of most influencers' makeup is "Help!" I just literalized it.
Do you watch tutorials often?
I do — I find them to be funny and soothing. I'm obsessed with the Home Shopping Network and the cadence that people use when they're selling stuff, and beauty tutorials are similar. They also use a very particular language; they're forever "popping something on" with a brush. But the way some of them contour by drawing stripes, triangles, circles, and crazy shit all over their face is insane.
As a new influencer on the beauty block, can you tell us about any trends that should be on our radar?
It's not a time to run frivolous errands, so you have to bring it back to the essentials. You can cover your roots with a sleek side part held back with a chip clip for a more polished look. If you have a bag of onions, the nets they come in make great veils. That's more fashion, but it's something to watch. And putting a bunch of product on a plate and then rolling your face in it — that's a trend I want to start.
What does your beauty routine consist of these days?
I make my eyebrows thicker, because I plucked them to the high heavens in the '90s to look like Gwen Stefani. I wore more natural shades pre-pandemic, but my colorful Fenty palette is now a key property. It's great for doing a second pair of eyes or sunglasses on your face. I also use Marc Jacobs eyeliner in Ody(sea), which is fitting because I've been on quite an odyssey myself. And my crucial product for removal is Koh Gen Do's cleansing spa water.
How do you think your regimen will change post-quarantine?
I look forward to getting my hair colored, a facial, and a manicure and pedicure. I'm not that kind of girl, by the way — I think sitting in a salon for so long is a waste of time. But now that I've been completely deprived, it sounds amazing.
What beauty advice do you hope to impart to the world?
Don't obsess about beauty to the exclusion of your brain, your creativity, your humor, and your empathy. There's a lot more to think about. If you sacrifice the hour that you normally devote to beauty stuff and spend it on something creative instead, you could still look beautiful much of the week — but you'll get more done.