Konnichiwa my friends… Welcome to the sacred session of geisha makeup. Today we will learn how to whiten the face, apply red eyeshadow, contour the face, and get that famous red pout…
Hmmm? You’re asking how to create the bloodied side of my face? That wasn’t a creation, my dear…
*giggles in shrill laughter
(Check out more pictures of my Halloween nights as a geisha here!)
2 weeks before, I didn’t have any idea what/who I wanted to be for Halloween this year.
My best friend and I went to check out some costume shops in Singapore with zero intention to rent any. We just wanted to get into the Halloween mood and see ourselves in weird costumes.
I wasn’t keen on busting S$50 and onwards for a Halloween costume this year. Budget constraints.
So I went in search for a cheaper alternative. I had sort of decided on the idea of a geisha but kimonos are known for being exorbitantly priced – the quality of the fabric, number of layers and all.
I knew that, in Chinatown, they sell one-layer kimonos that are more like bathrobes. I bought a bright red one with motifs of flowers and peacocks and also a fan that looks Japanese.
The Boyfriend’s mum, who is an excellent seamstress, helped me make the obi. The obi is the sash-like belt that holds the kimono together. I mean, it is meant to hold the traditional kimono together due to its many thick layers, but in my case, it merely functioned aesthetically. My kimono would look less like one without the obi (look at picture on the left below, taken in shop).
The Boyfriend’s mum made the entire thing out of a piece of black cloth, and she added some sponge thingy for the ribbon, a flexible material for the obi, and fasteners.
I couldn’t find any Japanese wooden clogs and didn’t want to spend money to buy a Japanese geisha wig. So I made do with pink slippers and my own hair.
In the end, this was what I put together.
Kimono – S$15.00
Kimono waist band – Model’s own
Fan – S$8.00
Slippers – Model’s own
Hair accessories – Flower (model’s own), dangling chopsticks (S$1.50)
Okie, it's kinda lame saying 'model's own' since I am my own model. But play along with me!!
Total cost of costume = S$24.50
It’s interesting to see what we humans can come up with given limited time and resources, isn't it?
Geisha Eye Makeup
I wanted my geisha look to retain as many traditional elements as possible.
Many geisha looks I saw on YouTube don’t have the geisha essence at all, like you wouldn’t associate it with a geisha if not for the white complexion and the title of the video with ‘geisha’ in it.
Some have too many colors on the face, with yellow, purple, orange, green, pink, red on the lids. Geishas or maikos (apprentices) don’t do their makeup with so many colors! I appreciate that people can get creative and add a fun twist to a traditional look, but I wanted to exhibit the demure, refined and subtle feel of geisha makeup.
The real traditional makeup for geishas consist of only the colors red, black and white, and slight variations of those like pink (to contour) and brown (for the brows).
I also decided that half of my face would be reserved for disgusting, rotten, bleeding skin. Okie, so half of my face wouldn’t look demure, refined and subtle at all. Lol.
If you notice, my eye makeup was kinder and friendlier for the first day, although my friends thought otherwise. They said I looked scary for both days. Haha!
No, look past the gore, and at the eye makeup, please. Heh heh.
Day 1 Eye Makeup
Day 2 Eye Makeup
I had my eyes drawn fiercer for the second day, to suit the mood of the place (Sentosa), and also to balance the amount of blood that would be a result of torn skin under my eye.
You can see that for Day 2, I brought the red eyeshadow higher up, packed on more layers, and drew a thicker eyeline. This was before mascara to meld the real and false lashes, so you can see my lashes playing peek-a-boo.
Primer – Urbdan Decay Primer Potion in Eden
White eyeshadow – Sugarpill pressed eyeshadow in Tako
Red eyeshadow – Sugarpill pressed eyeshadow in Love+
Eyeliner – Kate Gel Liner in BK-1
Fake eyelashes – Ardell Demi 101
Brow - Sugarpill pressed eyeshadow in Love+, Revlon Colorstay Eyeliner in Blackberry (love that this has some red undertones, perfect for geisha’s eyebrows)
How To Create Flawless, White Complexion
Endless are the possibilities once you manage to whiten your face. You can be a ghost, vampire, geisha, clown, joker, chinese opera singer… plenty!
You can go pure-white, but for my geisha look, I wanted to go for ivory-white. (You can compare my friend's white Joker face with mine here)
Wash your face, moisturize well. Apply a matte primer. I used Monistat Chafing Relief Powder-Gel (Oh no! I'm running low on this!).
Twice, so actually both days, I applied the foundation mix on but had to remove it and start all over again because the foundation mix worked terribly on skin that had any traces of oil.
Mix your foundation with white paint. My foundation mix contained about 70% Revlon Colorstay Foundation in Buff, and 30% white face paint. Use a toothpick to mix the 2 components well.
Apply the foundation mix as you normally would. I used my finger to apply strokes of the mix on my face and used Sigma F80 Synthetic Flat Top Kabuki Brush to stipple it on my face.
Bun Bun Makeup Tip: The Revlon Colorstay Foundation is known for its rapid rate of absorption on the skin. Fused with the thicker formula of white face paint, you gotta work very, very fast so that the mix would not look chalky or settle in chunks on your skin.
The higher the percentage of face paint used, the thicker the mix will be, the faster you have to move.
Set the foundation with white face powder.
If you don’t have white face powder (which I presume most of us don’t because who uses white face powder on a regular basis?), use the lightest face powder you can find.
For the first day I used a setting powder from SANA which is a very pale beige color with very fine shimmer. When taking pictures, the flash reflects these shimmer bits and my face looked more white. Fabulous!
For the second day I used Sugarpill eyeshadow in Tako, a matte white, with the MAC 188 Small Duo Fibre Face Brush.
Now that the base is done, it is time to bring some color and contour to the face. I used MAC Sheertone Blush in Pink Swoon on the cheekbones, not the cheeks, towards the temples. The cheeks should be void of color.
Using the MAC 217 Blending Brush, contour the sides of the nose.
Move on to bloody mess!!!
How To Create A Bloody Mess On Your Face
For the scarring and bloody mess, Petrilude was the one I turned to. This guy is such a pro in creating disgustingly rotten skin. He does drag makeup tutorials too, if you’re interested.
However Petrilude and most other people like goldiestarling use liquid latex to create the prosthetic. I went to many art and costume shops in Singapore, but they either don’t sell it or haven’t even heard of it.
I found it at Artfriend and Popular but they were going at S$40+ for a big bottle. Firstly, I don’t need that much product; secondly, I wasn’t going to dish out so much money for only a small amount I will use and might even be allergic to.
Yup, getting an allergic reaction to liquid latex was one of my concerns too. I read that some people might experience skin burns, breakouts, rashes from using liquid latex on the skin. =S
I tried using Elmer’s glue and gelatin in place of liquid latex but the effect weren’t realistic – the edges cracked when dried, my skin felt tight and uncomfortable, and it washed off easily when in contact with water.
Then xteeener came up with a vampire makeup video tutorial and she used eyelash glue to create the effect that I thought only liquid latex could create!
Even thought she only used it to create small marks on her model, I was ecstatic! YES!!! Finally, a product that I have and is not too expensive to use in this way!
Some people mentioned that eyelash glue IS ACTUALLY liquid latex. Well, I’m not too sure about that because the consistency of eyelash glue is a lot more diluted than the liquid latex I see used by Petrilude and goldiestarling.
In the above picture, the one on the right was created using the glue + tissue method employed by the gurus, but mine failed terribly! Either I used too little lash glue (expensive okie!! =.=") or lash glue just isn't as strong as liquid latex.
Eyelash glue is also more susceptible to tearing from movements, from personal experience.
The picture below was taken about 5 hours after I first applied it. The neck has many folds and is the part that moves the most, so it isn't such a great idea to make a wound there, especially if it's held with just eyelash glue. The tear from the side of the face was due to... too much talking and laughing? Haha, it was near my mouth, which enjoyed a lot of muscle movement too.
Yup, definitely some lessons learnt here.
No tearing was experienced for the first day's makeup though because the wound was located away from areas that involved a lot of movement.
Anyhow, I was grateful to have found out that eyelash glue could be used to create the effect I desired (the closest I could find anyway).
How To Create Peeled, Rotten, Bloody Skin For Halloween
Study your face in the mirror, visualize how you want the scar to look like, how big, where should it be placed. You don’t want to do Steps 1 to 6 all over again! NO!
What I did was simply squeeze the eyelash glue right out from its tube along imaginary lines drawn in my head. You may use a light pencil to mark the perimeters of the patch if you want.
Day 1 Wound Sketch
Day 2 Wound Sketch
Add thicker globs of glue on some areas to create dimension. You may opt to use black eyelash glue to give the edges a more natural, decaying effect.
Wait for ever and a day for the glue to dry.
Haha, it takes about 30 minutes for the glue to dry. In the meantime, clear up the mess you created. My table looks like it got hit by a typhoon every time I do my makeup. Tsk.
Check the progress of the drying glue in the mirror every now and then. Use a sharp but safe object, like a plastic toothpick to pry open the sides of the glue to create the effect of peeling skin.
After you’re done peeling whatever and wherever you want to peel, you need to make the glue look like it’s your skin. Conceal it with the foundation mix, using a makeup wedge.
Now it’s time for the gore.
Use red face paint as a base. Then add black face paint at the inner edges, not uniformly, but at random and in messy blotches.
I used OCC Lip Tar in Strutter on top of these 2 layers to build up on the color. I find that fake blood sticks a lot better with Strutter underneath.
Lastly, add fake blood on some random areas. The fake blood I bought this year was so much better than the one last year. That was diluted, too fake-looking, and stupid. This one’s thicker and the coagulated bits were so much more realistic and fun to play with. Like jam. Only blood-ified.
You can stop at Step 12, but I’d think adding some contours to the outside edges of the ‘skin’ makes it look more realistic with the added dimension.
You can use any matte, brown eyeshadow. I used NYX eyeshadow in Dark Brown.
Bun Bun Makeup Tip: When contouring, choose matte finishes. Especially for this makeup look, you definitely don’t want a patch of awesome rotten skin and blood being surrounded by happy glittering shimmer bits.
How To Create That Perfect Geisha Pout
The final step to the geisha makeup is drawing those tiny, red lips.
When you were at Steps 3 and 4, remember to cover the lips too. Now that you’re done with the eyes and face, just pat another layer of white eyeshadow – Sugarpill pressed eyeshadow in Tako – on the lips to set it.
Draw the outline of the pout with a lip pencil, then fill it in. I used Christian Dior Crayon Contour Levres Lip Liner Pencil 243 Rose Cuivre/Coppery Pink (what a long name!).
It’s not even red, but it doesn’t matter really since you’re gonna go over it with a strong red lip color.
Use the most long-lasting red lip color you own and I strongly recommend using a lipbrush to draw the color on.
I used OCC Lip Tar in Strutter and it didn’t budge the whole night. OCC Lip Tars are known for their amazing long-lasing power and I can attest to it.
To give the lips more oomph, I used Lancome L’Absolu Creme De Brilliance Lipgloss in Rose Grenat over OCC Lip Tar in Strutter.
Sigma F80 Synthetic Flat Top Kabuki Brush - To apply foundation mix
EcoTools Blush Brush - To set foundation
MAC 168 Large Angled Contour Brush - To apply pink blush
Loew Cornell Maxine’s Mop 3/8” - To apply white eyeshadow on eyes and lips
Essence of Beauty Crease Brush Duo - To apply red eyeshadow
MAC 217 - To diffuse red eyeshadow
MAC 263 - To apply gel eyeliner
Sonia Kashuk Bent Eyeliner Brush - To apply gel eyeliner
EcoTools Angled Brush - To apply red eyeshadow on brows
SASA lip brush - To apply lip color
1st from top or 2nd from top - To apply red face paint
3rd from top - To apply black face paint
4th from top - To create contours around wounds
Watsons makeup wedges - To dab foundation mix on dried eyelash glue
Toothpick - To pry open edges of the eyelash glue
Okie! I hope you enjoyed the tutorial as much I as I did creating it, even though I took many, many, many hours! *Phew*!
I definitely learnt a lot through this experience and had great fun too!
Share with me my friends, what did you learn from my geisha makeup tutorial? And what would you like to see more of?