LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18: A model backstage ahead of the Sinead Gorey show during London Fashio...


NYLON’s Beauty Editor Tests Out Faux Face Piercings, As Seen On The Fall ’24 Runways

They got a reaction at the office.

Post-Euphoria (and post-pandemic), glitter makeup and face gems exploded as a celebration of going out, being expressive, and breaking rules. But in 2024, that kind of makeup doesn’t necessarily feel fresh anymore — in fact, at this point, there’s little makeup you can do at all that comes across as different and exciting.

But on the Fall 2024 runways, we started to get a look at a different kind of adornment. At Christian Cowan, models walked the runway with (non-sparkly) face gems and studs dotted around their eyes and noses, while Sinead Gorey showed oversized faux brow piercings. And most recently, for the Alexander McQueen show, the consistently cool Emma Chamberlain (who has a real, delicate silver nose ring wore faux eyebrow and Medusa piercings.

Christian Cowan Fall/Winter 2024JP Yim/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Sinead Gorey Fall/Winter 2024Simon Ackerman/WireImage/Getty Images
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Emma Chamberlain at Alexander McQueen Fall/Winter 2024Dave Benett/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

As an adamant fan of face gems in their original, rhinestone-y iteration, naturally, I had to test out the next phase to see if they produced the same delight. Luckily, Euphoria makeup artist Donni Davy (who also keyed the facial accessories at Christian Cowan), came out with Half Magic’s Bold Metallic Face Pearls. The sticky-backed metallic balls come in three sizes and look almost identical to the basic studs we all first got our ears pierced with.

I started simply with a classic eyebrow piercing, using two gems to mimic the look of a curved barbell. I then met up with my best friend, who’s known me for 15 years (and through many fashion phases and hair colors). She went to give me a hug before pulling back and exclaiming, “When did this happen? “Why didn’t you tell me?” I was as excited about the believability as I was for her reaction.

Sam Neibart, beauty editor
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On another night out, I also tried out a nose-bridge and Medusa piercing combo — which looked very cool in person, but made me more self-conscious about my facial symmetry (or lack thereof) than I have ever been before. And though people took notice and complimented me, it was clear they could tell the decorations weren’t real — they just didn’t know what to call them. But the nose-bridge piercing was as effortless to wear as the brow piercing, though admittedly, the Medusa was trickier to position and keep in place. If I had wanted to commit more to the look, I could have used eyelash glue or stashed some extras in my purse, but not having to worry is part of the fun. (The grungiest bars where facial piercings fit in the best hardly ever have above-the-sink mirrors for you to see that your face gems have gone wonky anyway.)

Lalya Halabian, culture editor
Laura Pitcher, beauty writer
Sophia June, culture writer
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My final test was on my unofficial “wear your face piercings to work day” — I chose a silver double-curved-barbell look that got similar responses of immediate acknowledgment and enthusiasm from my coworkers that eventually turned into a faux piercing parlor. ($12 for 60 stick-ons makes them perfect for sharing.) NYLON beauty writer Laura requested a tasteful silver brow piercing (the metal and style everyone decidedly loved best) and immediately went to take a selfie afterwards. “These are the first face gems I’m actually excited about,” she said. And this season, I totally get what she means.