Friday, October 18, 2013

Simple, Doable Halloween Makeup Ideas For Grown-Ups

There are countless unique makeup ideas and tutorials out there, but let's face it: you're not an amazing liquid eyeliner artist, you don't even own eye shadow primer, and you definitely don't have 4 spare hours to concoct a professional, blog-worthy look. Don't despair! I think it's better to pull off something realistic than to attempt something outlandish and have it look like poo. Here are some simple, realistic things you can actually do to be the sultry siren you've always wanted to be at your friend's Halloween party. I've put the costume ideas mentioned in red to make them easier to find or skim through.
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The most basic of basics is black. Cat eyes of all kinds have been back in vogue for a few years now, and if you've never really tried winging your eyeliner out to a fierce point, now's the time to start. You can build on it. 
Maybe the most important part of dramatic eyeliner is choosing a shape that actually suits your face. Mess around with a few different ones so you don't end up looking gaudy. Go upward from your bottom lash line to create a point. A long, thin point or a shorter, thicker one might be better for you. I almost never do my lower lash line, but maybe you should. Just remember to take your time, start from the center and use short, controlled stokes.

10 Shortcuts to Get That Perfect Flick of a Cat's Eye

If you don't think pointy cat eyes suit you, try experimenting with different shapes. Don't be afraid to get a little funky; it's Halloween after all, try something new! For example, you could create a very thick line that ends in a block shape instead of a point. Anything with a squarish shape ends up looking futuristic, a la Daryl Hannah in Blade Runner


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You could also try drawing lines that don't necessarily follow your natural ones to create the illusion of bigger eyes. Examples of this would be Twiggy and cute or creepy doll looks.

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Try a pin-up look in the form of a simple but dramatic point that also stems from your lower lid. Pair it with an intense, high-quality red lipstick for that classic look. Tie a black, white or red bandanna around your head to become a rockabilly or biker chick (Sons of Anarchy costume, anyone?), Rosie the Riveter, Bettie Page, a sexy horror punk zombie, Elvira, et cetera. 

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Don't be afraid to wear falsies! There's a really awesome Japanese specialty brand started by a Harajuku girl that sells amazing original ones. Brands like Mac and Paperself are also expensive but excellent. You can find all sorts on eBay and at Halloween stores. If they're too long or the wrong shape, trim them. 



Use the adhesive that comes with them to attach tiny manicure rhinestones to your face! You could be an elf, fairy, mermaid or nymph if you use some ethereal silvery makeup accents and stick enough of those on.

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Expand on this by creating skin texture coming from your hairline, on your cheekbones, or around the eye area by powdering pigment over lace or fishnet:


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If you really want to go to town and want your makeup to be your entire costume, you could try transforming your eyes themselves into things. Like cats. Or a galaxy to match your leggings.
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Ok, we've talked about eyes. What about lips? Try lining your lips with black pencil and blending it outward. To the right is what it looks like blended inward. You'll look like an intense scary zombie, demon or angry dead girl who likes to crawl out of TV's. 

If you're brave enough to go for full black lipstick, invest in a nice one. Another idea is to try a very dark colour like navy, plum or a rich green.

Black works best on people with pale skin and dark hair because of the dramatic contrast. Navy looks good on blondes, and of course, emerald is best on redheads. These combinations aren't set in stone, though. Test out some colours at the MAC counter of your local department store and see what best brings out your eyes. 

Try navy lipstick for a futuristic/android look, or for a dark, unusual twist on a sexy sailor girl. Plum works great for witches, and of course, fairies and Poison Ivy look spectacular when their lips seem to be dripping with absinthian venom.

Lime Crime's Serpentina, Poisonberry and Styletto opaque lipsticks are one option, though there is an awful lot of drama surrounding that brand and its owner. At any rate, their lipsticks smell and taste of cocoa butter, and the glosses are thick and sticky. I've seen some bloggers complain about the fact that these dark colours don't wear well, but, I mean, you're going to need to reapply at some point. Using primer will also help but I don't find it necessary. What I do instead is apply a small amount of either liquid foundation or BB cream to my lips, and find that it works well to make colours pop and help them stay on.


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Maybe you don't own a crazy lipstick like this and don't have the time or money to invest in something you might only wear once or twice, but you really want to try the look. Well, do you have eye shadow pigment you could use instead? Mix some with clear gloss or use a lip brush to apply it over pre-glossed lips. This works with any colour of the rainbow. 

Silver lips for a sexy space lady/FemBot? Yes please. The gold on the left is Lime Crime's Carousel Gloss, without primer.


Dark lips become the focal point of your ensemble and work well with a black outfit that has an equally edgy detail or two, like epaulettes, feathers, spiked shoulders or hardware.


Another tip for these or any other looks is to add a light, shimmery eye shadow pigment to the inner parts of your lips, either with a brush or finger. Pair white with a gold luster with warm colours, or silver with blue or black for a futuristic finish. This trick makes gives your look more depth and dimension and is especially good for enhancing small/thin lips.

Another fun one to try is a sort of "lip ombre" where you subtly blend colours into each other horizontally across your lips. Even if you're not wearing any costume in particular, you can still create a fun, sexy focal point for your look with an idea like this, which also uses Lime Crime colours, btw, so sorry if you hate them:


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If you decide to go all-out on your lips, you might be left wondering what to do with your eyes. Light, smokey eyes will keep all the focus on your mouth and might work best for those with lighter skin and hair. If you're not afraid to be bold, try varying intensities of the cat eye. 

Finally, if you have dark hair, turn up the volume on your entire face by doing dark lips, cat eyes and power brows all together!


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And, if you screw up completely and decide you want to wear a paper bag over your head, why not make one of the insanely creepy DIY geometric paper masks by Steve Wintercroft?





Whatever you end up deciding on, just remember that it's Halloween, or All Hallow's, or Samhain, or the deh-vile's birthday or whatever you want to call it, and that you're never too old to get whimsical or crazy.

(Originally Published 10.24.12)