A YouTube sensation with nearly half a million followers, Lauren Luke is the go-to expert for women who want to know how to shape their eyebrows and contour their cheeks. But the British makeup guru’s latest video titled “How to look your best the morning after” features a different kind of cosmetic technique: Luke is sitting in her bedroom, and as the camera pulls back, she cheerfully greets us, and we see that she has a black eye, a cut on her nose and a split lip. With only a passing reference to a “rough time,” she launches into an instructional video on how we can use makeup to cover the bruises and other trauma to our faces and bodies.
Thankfully, Luke, whose library of tutorials have been viewed well over 100 million times on YouTube, is only playing the role of a victim in what is, in fact, a BBH-created PSA for Refuge, a U.K.-based organization serving women and children who have suffered domestic violence. But until that revelation comes more than a minute into the video, it feels disturbingly real as Luke talks about how layers of foundation can conceal a black eye, acknowledges that it can be painful to apply makeup to a fresh bruise and suddenly switches off the camera when it sounds like her abuser is headed toward the bedroom.
“The reason that I did this film is because domestic violence–it’s a huge issue, and I really don’t think it gets the exposure that it needs,” Luke says in an interview on the Refuge site.