Tuesday, December 17, 2013

PAINT IT BLACK: MAKE UP TIPS AND TRICKS FOR FEMME FATALES




May favorite onstage look: dramatic, lush-lashed coal black eyes and over-lined lips



 We all know how the classic Little Black Dress is always an elegant but extremely sex-aaaay wardrobe choice, right? Well, for a really arresting look for the stage or Holiday parties, there’s no way you can go wrong with black make up. Black eye make up is every bit as timeless as The Little Black Dress. Alluring and exotic, it has been used for centuries, from the application of   kohl eyeliner in ancient Egypt  (which was allegedly Cleopatra’s secret weapon of seduction) to modern times. Velvety black eye make up calls to mind the smoldering intensity of 1920’s silent film stars and legendary vamps like Mata Hari…as well as the bad-girl sassiness of early 1960’s girl groups like The Ronnettes. In the 1970’s, lush liner and thick false eyelashes adorned the lids of everyone from Raquel Welch to the stars of Valley Of The Dolls. More recently, starlets like Kristen Stewart and Taylor Momsen have rocked pitch black eyes to great affect.

 The key to beautiful black eyes is shading. If you get very graphic with your application, you’ll wind up looking too Goth- and unless that’s your intention, you need to make sure that you blend your black eye make up carefully, which will soften it up a bit, but still retain the intensity. 
Metallic smoky make up in shades of black, silver & white

When I use black shadow, I always prefer a pearly or iridescent shade, because when water is added, it magnifies the color. A matte shade doesn’t work this way; it can’t be made wet because it will just look muddy.   Also, any type of pearly or iridescent eye shadow will work, even drug store brands. I prefer using Nars Nightbreed (a gorgeous black shadow flecked with tiny specks of silver glitter) but Urban Decay and even Wet And Wild both have a black pearly, sparkly shadow that works almost as as well!

First, I apply the shadow dry, all over the lid with a small brush, really working it well into the roots of lashes. Next, I brush upwards, into and above the crease in my eye, blending it well, and sort of swooshing the outer corner of the eyelid upwards and outwards. Then I line the bottom lid with the same dry shadow, and bring it up at the outermost corner to meet the top lid’s extension, so that it creates an inverted sideways  “V” shape.  After that, I go over the lid with a soft brush full of the black shadow that I carefully wet then pinch dry before applying to the top lid and just barely above the crease. It will be layered over the dry shadow, creating a smudged, smoky effect.
Pearly black shadow dry, and intensified by wetting it

 Next, I add on thick lashes to the top lid, then line the top and bottom lids with MAC’s Blacktrack gel liner, though a soft black pencil would probably work just as well. After the liner has dried-or just after the pencil application-I go over the liner with a small, soft brush loaded with the dry iridescent shadow. This diffuses the harsh line and makes it softer and thicker. Finish this look up with a pearly white powder shadow highlight just under the eyebrow at the outside corner, and you’ll be good to go!  For a bit of glitz, lightly dip your dry fingertip into a pot of MAC’s Reflects Pearl cosmetic glitter, and pat it on carefully to the white highlighted area. Because the glitter is applied dry, it will “migrate” just a little, adding a touch of sparkle, which will show up under any sort of lighting.  This looks terrific either onstage or for Real Life.  The reason I love this particular glitter so damn much is because it is so highly reflective…it’s truly my favorite glitter ever. The individual flecks are large enough to really catch the light, but not too big, so they don’t give you that over-the-top Hot Mess At A Club look. I’m not being facetious when I tell you that I (seriously!) have a container of Reflects Pearl in my earthquake kit…cause if there’s a Global Apocalypse, I want to look good!

Teal shadow by itself, and  mixed with black

Red shadow by itself,and mixed with black
Still another way to use black eye shadow is to mix it in with other brighter colors. This will tone the colors down a bit, but they’ll retain their richness and make them more complex.  I like to mix black pearly shadow into emerald green, dark blue, teal and even red. Red eye shadow on it’s own will look crazy and garish, sickly or clown-like… trust me, you do not want to use it on it’s own!  But mixed with black, it’ll create a soft burgundy color that creates a sophisticated smoky eye look. Words to the wise- don’t get the red shadow close to the lash line. It can cause eye irritation in some individuals. When you mix the red and black shadows, stipple in the red above your eye crease, and blend it onto the outside corner wing.

 You can even use black on the lips- sounds crazy, I know, but it looks incredible!  Think of Tim Curry, as Doctor Frankenfurter in The Rocky Horror Show, but you’ll definitely want to go a little less extreme. What you’re after is a sculpted, kissable look. Apply the red lipstick first… and use a nice red with blue- as opposed to orange- undertones. 



This looks amazing on every skin tone from the ghostliest pale to richest brown; not only that, the blue tones in the red will make your teeth appear brilliant white! Blot the lipstick just a little, then take a soft black pencil and line the outside of your lips. Shade in the corners of your mouth, too. Then apply another coat of the red, and if you need to, smudge and blend the black into your lips with a lip brush or your finger.  For a party, apply a little bit of clear gloss only to the bottom lip at the center for a bee-stung look.  If you’re going to wear this look onstage, forego the gloss and use a small dot of pearly white, light pink or even gold eye shadow to create the same illusion.

 Remember, cosmetics are the most instantaneous and temporary changes we can make to our appearance, so don’t be scared, just take an hour or two to experiment and have fun playing!



 For more make up  tips and tricks, try my  instructional  DVD 
“Bombshell: Dramatic  Make Up For The Stage, Photos And Glamourous Occasions” available here:






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