How To Look The Part Of A Sci-Fi Dystopia

Welcome to the latest how-to from Make Your Face, a makeup tutorial series with a simple mission: makeup for your own entertainment, Establishment-style.

This week, Jennifer Culp mixes a self-care extravaganza with a look — skull shirt, shock of yellow hair, red lips — straight out of a sci-fi dystopia. Appropriate, no? As always, her handy tips, like the ones below, are paired with cultural analysis and social justice advice.

It’s been a rough week and a half; we should all take care of each other, and ourselves.

  • If you want to rock a really vivid unnatural hair color, bleach your hair first. It needs not only the depigmentation and light base the bleach offers, but also the damage the bleach does to your poor hair to make the dye cling properly. Sort of like roughing up a wooden surface before you spray paint it! (Probably not.) Semi-permanent dye IS capable of leaving a subtle stain on unbleached hair, depending on hair shade and texture, dye color, and the fickle whim of the hair dye goddess.
  • Shampoo and dry your hair before dying. NO CONDITIONER!
  • Try not to get dark dye on light skin. (You guess why!) You can cover your hairline, ears, and neck with Vaseline prior to dying if it’s gonna be a concern.
  • Leave the dye on for a while. Hit it with some low heat from a hair dryer to help it really stain that hair shaft.
  • When you wash the dye out, THAT’S the time for conditioner! Wash the color out using conditioner instead of shampoo. Sleep on a black pillowcase.
  • Home manicures are like this: base coat, usually two coats of colored polish (your mileage may vary), top coat. I proselytize the gospel of Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Top Coat in the red bottle even though you only get a half-use out of each bottle before it dries up, because it is magic. When it comes to painting the stuff on, roll up on it smooth and confident. Too much product is better than too little; shoot for three-four strokes per nail. The brush shouldn’t drag into the coat of polish; it’s more like using the brush as a means to to just delicately glide a smooth layer of the lacquer on top! If you get bubbles, put a glitter coat over the top of ’em. If you get polish on your cuticles, big deal! You can peel it off in a warm shower. (Use 100% acetone remover to take off glitter polish later; it’s SO much easier than the healthful-for-your-nails stuff!)
  • Freezing spray plus hair dryer on a low setting can make your hair stay where you want it.
  • Curling your lashes can help keep your eyeglasses cleaner!
  • What’d I say the three P’s of eyeliner were a few months ago — patience, persistence, practice, or something? That sounds good, yeah. It’s true!
  • Wet eyeshadow applied with an angled brush is an easier alternative to liquid liner for liquid liner noobs.
  • The point of highlight and contour is to act as your own lighting director, basically. Put bright shiny stuff where you want a highlight, put darker stuff where you want shadow. You are NOT LIMITED TO NEUTRALS. See what you can get away with!
  • Bright red lipgloss is an inherently aggressive makeup maneuver. It looks like bright shiny candy blood, and it WILL travel (though judicious application of lipliner can force it to stay within your liplines). When you wear bright red lipgloss, you WILL get it on your teeth without realizing it, you WILL inadvertently shoot someone a bloody-mouthed smile, and you know what? You might find you like that little thrill of “that’s right, don’t fuck with me” that zings up your spine when somebody flinches a little at your grin.
  • Take care of yourselves. Check in with each other. DON’T NORMALIZE.
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