Straight up, Gerard Way’s eye makeup in My Chemical Romance’s “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” video was a game changer for me. By the time I was in my mid-teens I had every pot of silver-grey eyeshadow and every pitch black eyeliner that promised to stay on my inner rims that Sephora stocked, accumulated with the reckless abandon of someone desperately trying to spackle over a gaping emotional void and paying with their parents money.
Then out saunters Gerard Way, pasty, suit-clad Gerard Way, with the red-ringed eyes of a runty Victorian orphan consumed by scarlet fever.
I was in love.
In my mind, makeup’s sole function was to mask deformity. It was a mandatory, additive process to make upfor a lack that was somehow both an aberration of nature and a personal failure. There was no joy in it, only the fleeting hope that some new chunk of colored talc would make me look like Mischa Barton, which in turn would make life bearable. Of course I only looked like myself with eyeliner, which somehow made me feel worse than when I started, like my face was such a monstrosity it absorbed and nullified all attempts at ornamentation, like a black hole consumes light.
Gerard Way’s unconventional approach to cosmetics opened my eyes to makeup that’s purpose was not to affix atop your skeleton like a prosthetic limb, or even create the illusion you look sort of like Mischa Barton. It was confrontational, and it gave me a way out of endlessly failing to emulate others. I could play within the popular concept of attractiveness, create my own, or oppose it altogether. Of the many positive characteristics punk rock fostered in me, one was I was always down to thwart a good convention.
So for Halloween, here’s what I did. I covered my face in Hard Candy’s Glamoflage concealer in Light. I couldn’t find my liquid foundation, whoops! This was just a base for me since I’m already insanely pale, but if you’re not insanely pale and need/want to be, this will do it. It is very high coverage.
I don’t even think I used powder to set, that concealer finishes nicely.
Eyes, the key to looking halfway dead is getting a good rusty, orange-red instead of a crimson red. Urban Decay had a shade called “Gash” which was the Holy Grail of influenza-face, and this sentence is my begging them to re-introduce it. Since “Gash” wasn’t an option, I used Kat Von D‘s “Rewind” from the Mi Vida Loca palette (which is a dead ringer for MAC’s “Cranberry”) with “Harpsichord“, a dark coppery orange color on top. I applied both with a Sephora crease brush, and made very little attempt to either blend them together or blend them into my face. The crease brush is great, because you want to cram eyeshadow into the corner of your eye, along the side of your nose, almost up to your brow, bone and down past the corner heavily on your lower eyelid. I do this just for the inner half of each eye, the outer half is about contrast. I like to counter the warm red/orange with a cold bruise-y blue-purple-gray for maximum grossness. So I dusted off the same crease brush, patted down some Kat Von D “Echo” (Mi Vida Loca palette) on my upper and lower eyelids, extending in a v-shape a good half inch past the corner of my eye (like the sloppiest cat eye you’ve ever done) covered that mess with some black (Kat Von D – “Black Metal“, Mi Vida Loca palette) and blended half-heartedly. I put a bit more black in the crease to make my eye socket look extra hollow.
Tried to do a fun zombie contour, knew I would need something more gray, did it anyway. Just a real heavy handed regular contour (cheekbones, jawline, hairline) plus a vertical line from the corner of my mouth down to my jaw, like a skeleton. I think the shape actually worked, but avoid my mistake, go for a grey or greige (NYX blush in “Taupe” maybe?) bronzer definitely just make you look like you over-contoured by accident.
If I was trying to look scary, I would dab some concealer/foundation on my lips and end it there. But I was dressed normally and wanted to look like I had scary makeup, not like I gave up after the face painting portion of the costume, so I tried to class it up a bit.
I put on black liquid liner, slight wing but nothing fancy.
For lips I tried NYX liquid lip cream in “Stockholm” but it looked less vampy and more of a pretty (but normal) medium berry color. So I dabbed some of Kat Von D‘s “Rosary” lipstick in the middle of my upper and lower lips, and it looked the perfect amount of creepy and cute.
Curled lashes, Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara, per usual. I look half awake without curled lashes to begin with.
On to nails,
Blood splatter nails
I fell for the good old Pinterest so much harder than it looks trickery. The pins suggested paint your nails white or nude, let dry, then do a blood splatter technique by dipping a straw (one pin suggested a coffee stir stick would work better, I tried both) in a couple drops of red (preferably jelly-type) nail polish and blowing it a few inches from your nails. They all said it would be a mess and get all over your nails and whatever surface you were doing this on (this is accurate) however, they did not mention that only about 1 out of 10… blows… would be productive. Good old physics, that nail polish does not stay as a perfect film over the straw for very long, before it gets pulled up into it. You have a half second window to dip, position over your nail, and blow through the straw. Even then I couldn’t predict even a general place where the splatter would land. Good times. Someone suggested watering the nail polish down with nail polish thinner, this seems possibly useful. I’m not big on taping/covering my cuticles pre-nail art, it always seems like a waste of time, but in this case it’s probably worthwhile.