Beauty & Wellness

I Put Fall Produce on My Face, for Beauty

When I shop for clothes, I tend to shop with my hands—where in the rack is that one deliciously squishy sweater or silky smooth slip? Which pieces feel just OK to touch, but make up for it in sleeve volume? 

But when I shop for food, I shop with my eyes. It’s the colors! Let me tell you, a farmers market table piled high with a sunset of carrots, fat tomatoes, apples with splotchy red tans where the light hit them longest…. It’s a visual feast that gives me the same breathless feeling I get staring at a Northern Renaissance still life, except an artist didn’t mix those colors from greasy paints in tubes, THE GROUND made them. I covet my farmers market haul as much as I do the latest season of candy-hued Dior 5 Couleurs eyeshadow palettes. And letting myself indulge in the aesthetics of food has inadvertently made me a healthier eater and a better chef, too, because in chasing beautiful colors, I’m also A) shopping the freshest local products and B) prioritizing fruits and veggies over starchy fried foods. Speaking of beige alternatives, have you ever seen a head of purple cauliflower? It was so beautiful I had to own it immediately. Which is all to say: I often leave with too many fruits (I’ve taken to baking them into simple cakes once they go soft) and newly in-season vegetables I have no idea how to cook. By season’s end, I will.

Now that we’re well into September, the farmers market is being repainted in swaths of new colors I’ll have to teach myself to work with, culinarily speaking. But I’ve also been itching to actually paint, on my face specifically, with juicy, saturated makeup that approximates these hues. I reached out to the folks at Grow NYC’s Union Square Greenmarket, and their lovely publicity coordinator Brian walked me through what’s returning to farm stands this month. Of course, the colors didn’t disappoint. 

Preface: Before I did anything, I prepped my face with Ilia’s Serum Foundation, patted in with a beauty sponge. I spot-concealed any red spots, and then added warmth back into the tops of my cheekbones with Dr. Hauschka’s liquid bronzer. I brushed my face weeds, known in some circles as eyebrows, with Glossier Boy Brow in Clear, just to give them some shape but forewent mascara to let the colors shine. Then I swiped on Tower 28’s clear Lip Jelly, which looks like a gloss but feels like a moisturizing oil. I’ve taken to wearing it indoors for a fun alternative to balm. 

Now, onto the main course!

Cranberry Beans from Lucky Dog Organic

Once you take them out of their colorful shells, cranberry beans are about the same size as pinto beans, with a milder flavor. If you’re cooking them, you should start with a simmer, but if you’re using them as makeup inspiration, the first thing you’ll need is a green eyeliner. I used Dior’s Diorshow Pro Liner in 456 to block out small dashes from my lashline to just above the crease of my eye. (I wanted the texture to show when my eyes were open, too.) Next I did the same thing with Danessa Myricks’ matte Colorfix cream in Valentine, a medium-toned pink, which I packed onto a small brush. This stuff is pigmented—a little goes a long way. Finally, I used Colorfix in Bloom, which is a bit darker and brighter, to fill in the gaps between my eyelid sprinkles. Also using Bloom, I drew two flicks—one in the outer corners of my eyes, and one in the inner corners—to reference the pods’ pointed ends. 

Assorted Winter Squash from Samascott Orchards

I loved the way each squash section sort of echoed the shape of my eye, so to emphasize the similarity, I outlined my lid with Glossier Colorslide eyeliner in Nectar. I find eyeliner pencils easier to wield than liquid, but it also helps to sharpen the tips to a very fine point, lightly softening the pigment over the flame of a lighter. Once I had the shape right, I made a gradient of green and orange on top with Colorslide in Stable Relationship and Jumbo—having the yellow underneath helped the two colors blend together more easily, and I could also be more confident about the shape as I added them in. If you want, you can totally stop there! It’ll look unexpected yet subtle enough to wear to your grandma’s. But to really channel the winter squash, I filled in my shape with C’est Moi’s Visionary Makeup Crayon in Dove, a super creamy, chubby pencil just as versatile as squash itself. Roast it? Puree it? Zoodle it? The world is your sheet pan!

Einset and Vanessa Grapes from Phillips Farm

Grapes are purple. Easy enough, right? Wrong! Because when you really look at ’em, that oh-so-thin skin on a grape ranges from golden yellow to crisp red to wine to deep violet. Starting with a few of Rituel de Fille’s Color Nectar Pigment Balms (Wasp, Bloodflower, and Glasswing), I buffed a gradient of yellow to purple from my right eye to my left eye. You can do this with your fingers, but I found it easier to use a small brush. Once I got to my left eye, I found I wanted a darker purple to really seal the deal—I picked up Danessa Myricks’ Colorfix in Tribe and buffed that into the outer corner towards the center of my eye. Finally, I drew a thin line of green with the Dior eyeliner underneath my lower lashline and popped a coat of Flesh eye gloss on top to further blend the shades and add some juicy shine. 

Italian Plums from Toigo Orchards

Italian plums are like regular plums, but they’re smaller, sweeter, and more oblong. Their insides are juuuuicy, but the outsides are… sort of powdery. To get a similar look on my eyes, I started with a coat of Tribe from my lashline to my crease, and pulled it down to my lashline, too. Using a pointed Fenty brush, I smoothed over the outer edges to soften the line without blending it up or out—I wanted to maintain some roundness. After letting that set for a moment, I mixed Life on Mars and Gossamer powder eyeshadows from the Claropsyche Psyche’s Box palette and packed it onto a fluffy brush. I tapped that mixture on gently to mimic the plums’ chalky skin. I was surprised by how wearable this look was—dare I say hot? Between this eye and this Italian plum cake, you’ll bring a lot to both literal and proverbial tables.

Ali Oshinsky

Ali Oshinsky is a writer and licensed aesthetician based in New York. She spends a lot of time thinking about high-tech skincare and what John Mayer‘s beauty stash might look like, and though she probably has six lip products at the bottom of her bag at any one time, if you asked her she’d say they’re all lost.

More from Style