'natural' ultra-white face makeup: 101-level application instructions?
October 22, 2015 1:28 PM   Subscribe

My Halloween costume is just a regular old undead sort of demon: black eyes, horns, and a very white face. My intent is to have a scary pale, almost paper-white visage, but I want it to look less thick/flat and more 'natural' than standard clown grease paint. I have no makeup application experience whatsoever. Can you help me figure it out?

I don't know how to apply makeup earnestly AT ALL and am totally unfamiliar with the lingo. Some questions I'm hoping you can help me with: What tools do I need? (I have none at all.) Do I need to apply stuff differently based on where it's going -- lips vs cheeks vs eyelids or whatever -- or can I just slather it on? There's liquid AND powder foundation, do I need both? How do I cover my eyebrows, or should I not do that? I have several large, unsightly moles on my face, how do I best cover those up?

My only other experience with makeup is painting my face like a clown* and then getting it all smeared off on the backs of other people's t-shirts in a mosh pit, so a more subtle vibe is kind of above my pay grade. Product-wise, I went ahead and picked up white liquid foundation, white pressed powder, and ultra-white setting powder. Will these suffice for what I'm trying to achieve? If I need anything else, it has to be vegan (no animal ingredients, not tested on animals).

Thank you for any advice you might be able to offer, and have a wonderfully evil Halloween!


* a wicked clown, natch
posted by divined by radio to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This is something you definitely want to try in small amount before taking any major steps, but mixing a few drops of a foundation closer to your skin color in with the white foundation will give it a more natural look vs. stark, flat white.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 1:52 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Application-wise: Makeup sponges like these* do a good job of applying liquid foundation-type stuff evenly without leaving anything else on your face (cotton balls sometimes leave little threads). Just squirt a bit on the sponge and slather it on until your face is covered to your satisfaction. Start by covering the largest face areas (cheeks, chin, nose, forehead) and then go back and use the narrow edge of the sponge or your finger to fill in the harder to cover areas. You can pretty much just slather it on everywhere.

Eyebrows are up to you, I think covering them makes sense because otherwise they'll stick out a lot, but if you want that you can go in the opposite direction and fill them in with an eyebrow pencil. To fill in your eyebrows, using an eyebrow pencil close to your natural eyebrow hair color (or darker, to match your black eyes?) draw a lot of tiny short strokes in the direction the hair grows. There are a *lot* of youtube tutorials about this.

*link just for visual reference, they're available at most drugstores near the cotton balls for like $2/bag. No brand is any better than the others.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 2:06 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

I would apply it like it were normal foundation. If you paint it on it will goop up but if you use the technique to stipple it (use a sponge in a bouncing motion) as you would natural makeup it will look more like natural skin.

In that case I would use a face primer to make sure it will last (this stuff works great, I know it doesn't say face primer but it has the same ingredients and much cheaper but if you decide on another face primer you will want to make sure its an oil free primer as the Manic Panic foundation is oil-free or they will separate). Rub it on your face, on your lids, on your neck.. everywhere you are putting the foundation. Let it set in for a few minutes then take a damp face sponge (run the dry sponge under water for 10 squeezes then squeeze all the water out and then use a towel to squeeze it so its fluffy and not super wet) and dab it into the powder then bounce the powder into the skin. Then on the back of your hand put some of the liquid foundation. Dip the sponge into the foundation then stipple (bounce) it across your face. If you think its too sheer let it sit a bit then do another layer, always best to do a layer at a time rather than slathering it on for a more natural look. Once you are satisfied then use the sponge again to go over it with some more powder. Then should lock it all in. Some people use setting spray for staying power (some people use hairspray which I will never recommend for daily use but for a one time thing it may help with the longevity).

I'm at work and can't link videos but memail me if you have any questions.

Good luck!
posted by xicana63 at 2:07 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Also meant to mention, this will create a flat canvas, you may want to consider contouring with a black or grey powder (eye shadow) to give your face some dimension like in this pic whether you are a guy or a girl.. there are some neat effects to do with it..
posted by xicana63 at 2:10 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

you could try something like this applied with makeup sponge as described above
posted by supermedusa at 2:28 PM on October 22, 2015

my bad I see you already have some, dont know how I missed that. as mentioned above there are billions of great tutorials on youtube for expert makeup application
posted by supermedusa at 2:30 PM on October 22, 2015

The white foundation you bought is a liquid, which means that you can apply it with your hands. However, it's easier to get a more opaque layer if you use some type of sponge - you should be able to easily get a package of this type of triangle sponge at the drugstore for a couple dollars. Use it dry if you want more opaque coverage. If you want to sheer it out a little, get the sponge wet, wring it out, and then apply.

In order to avoid the makeup rubbing off easily & to prolong it's wear, you'll want to set with powder. Some types of powder have some coverage (I think your pressed powder probably does, though I'm not sure), and some types are translucent (like the setting powder you bought). You can use a dry triangle sponge or a fluffy brush to apply the power - a sponge will result in a heavier layer of power, a brush in a thinner layer. Since you don't have a brush already, I'd probably just go with the sponge. Once you've applied the powder, you should be able to tap your fingers on your face without and makeup transferring to them, though rubbing your face will cause some makeup to come off. You don't really need both types of powder, so I'd test out both and just use whichever you like best.

You can apply your face makeup to your whole face (plus neck, etc) including your eyelids. It probably won't cover up your eyebrows very well though, so I'd probably just buy a cheap black pencil and fill them in. I don't know which drugstore brands are vegan, though. Another alternative would be to use a gluestick to cover/flatten your eyebrows so that they are barely visible - there are some tutorials on youtube.

For moles, you might need an extra layer of foundation and powder. Apply your foundation, set with powder, then use a sponge to dab on more foundation (don't rub!) and then dab on more powder. If you do this over a large area it will cake up, but over a smallish area it should be fine.

Foundation and especially powder rarely look good on the lips - they tend to gather in the lines of your lips instead of creating opaque coverage. White lipsticks are hard to find and don't usually look very good - I'd probably go with a black or grey lipstick if you think that would work with your look. Black eyeliner pencils tend to work well on the lips, though they may not technically be lip safe.

And I second the idea to contour a bit to add dimension if you are comfortable with that, using grey eyeshadow.

If you try it out and it doesn't look quite right, feel free to send me a picture and I'll tell you if I have any specific tips to improve it!
posted by insectosaurus at 2:30 PM on October 22, 2015

I am an amateur face painter and I'm going to recommend that you return the products that you have bought and then get some Mehron Starblend powder. You can find it at sillyfarm.com (I can't even go there anymore because I will spend All The Money).

Pick up a kabuki brush, white Starblend and grey or black Starblend. Only use them dry, like a super pigmented eyeshadow. You can build the coverage very easily with the powder, it feels like almost nothing on and, best of all, absorbs sweat so your make-up job doesn't end up sliding down your face. Use the grey or black for contour, there are tons of contour videos on YouTube.

I think the liquid makeup is just bound to make you miserable by the end of the night. The Starblend will keep a long time and you can use it year after year.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 5:41 PM on October 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

I should add that I think using a brush to slowly add opacity is going to be much, much easier than trying to get streak-free liquid foundation coverage. You basically swirl the brush in the cake of powder, then swirl it onto your face. Doing it this way, you can choose to have some areas with more coverage than others which will help with the dimension you want to have. Treat it like you're applying mineral powder foundation (there are lots of YouTube videos on that too). Black pencil for the eyebrows, pale nude lipstick for the lips.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 5:53 PM on October 22, 2015

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