How To Make Your Face Glow In The Dark

  1. The name of this column has changed! It shall henceforth be known as Make Your Face. Its mission remains the same: makeup by you (me) for your (my) own entertainment, Establishment-style.
  2. A bunch of beautiful humans sent pics of their own droid and space faces this week! If you do your own version of any Too Much look, please please let me know on Instagram or Twitter (and The Establishment on their Instagram and Twitter); it totally makes my day! Here are some of them, with my own versions in the corners:
  1. This video is mesmerizing. Human beings and the stuff they get up to, man.
  2. Glow-in-the-dark stuff is BULLSHIT. I will not be satisfied with The Future until I can make my hair light up in glowing neon shades at will to communicate my mood like a bioluminescent squid, and I have yet to find the glow-in-the-dark product that actually glows brightly enough for my taste. The best way to view glow-in-the-dark stuff is during an elementary school cave tour, on the part where they make you turn off all the flashlights to see how dark it is but your friend slipped you some glow stickers beforehand. Ceiling stars are pretty cool too, I guess, but their low luminescence is part of their charm. If you really wanna glow, you’ve got to go with blacklight.

First, make yourself look pretty, however you want. There are makeup products that purport to glow under blacklight, but if you are like me, you will not have any on hand because you decide you want to do this suddenly and you don’t have the patience to wait for shipping, dammit. You might think that any white or neon-colored product would glow under a blacklight, but you would (sadly) be wrong. I used regular old normal-light makeup, planning to add my glow later. I applied charcoal gray NYX Slide On pencil to my upper waterline and smushed it up into my lashes:


I then applied super shiny white E.L.F. eyeshadow with a fingertip to my lids; black shadow in a round arc just above the crease of each of my eyelids, patted on with a small brush and blended out with a fluffier brush; liquid eyeliner on the upper lid (the shape of Kat Von D’s Tattoo Liner brush tip has been life-changing for me); and mascara on the upper and lower lashes.

And then came the fake lashes! Remember to wait until the glue gets tacky before sticking them to your skin. Tweezers can be helpful when it comes to sticking tricky-shaped lashes in the right place. (You probably shouldn’t use manky old soldering tweezers to stick things on and around your eye area, but at least I washed them with soap first.) Then I put three shades of blush on my face. A good friend — a wise friend — once told me that blush is the key to appearing healthy and not-at-all-undead to others when you feel like garbage, and she was right.


This is the color I typically use to contour my cheekbones. Everybody’s skin looks different in shadow, and experimenting with different shades can yield much more natural-looking results than indiscriminately grabbing a medium brown (if natural is what you’re going for, of course! I find that dark green is also a really flattering contour color on me, and weirdly easy to pull off in grocery store situations).

Here is roughly where I put the stuff, in approximation of the color of the product:


Then I put on some gunmetal glitter lipstick, because I like the way dark lip colors look in low light. And THEN, I replaced all the lightbulbs in my bathroom with blacklights! (Note: clean your bathroom thoroughly beforehand if you want to avoid the experience of deep existential horror at your own disgustingness. You can purchase the blacklight bulbs at Lowe’s, and if you only use them once or twice a year to take bathroom selfies, they last for a really long time!)

Other highlighter colors will disappoint you — pink, green, blue — as none of them glow very brightly under blacklight. Classic yellow, on the other hand? This is quite literally the scenario in which it shines. Take a minute to write any hidden messages you want to leave on the mirror for the person/s with whom you share your bathroom. (It washes off really easily! It also washes off of glasses lenses really easily, should you have wondered.)


I am fairly certain that it is safe to draw on yourself with highlighter. It hasn’t killed me yet. You could draw SO MANY COOL GLOW THINGS on yourself at this point that you might find yourself temporarily paralyzed with indecision. Shooting for a sort of warped wide-eyed cartoon thing, I gave myself luminous freckles.


And THEN! Glow wig!


My mother-in-law gifted me this miracle for my birthday a few years ago; it hails from the wig shop in downtown Asheville, North Carolina. I imagine any fluorescent-colored wig will glow satisfactorily under blacklight. My white wig, surprisingly, doesn’t glow worth a damn, but the pastel pink my friend Liz gave me exudes a low-key otherworldly aura in a blacklit bathroom. I haven’t tried any potentially glowy hair-dye colors other than Manic Panic’s Electric Lizard, which I HIGHLY recommend for normal life but haven’t yet thoroughly tested with a blacklight. Anyway, a good wig will never let you down. Just LOOK at this thing:

Be sure to allow for at least 30–45 minutes to marvel at your own beauty in the mirror. An iPhone camera can’t fully capture the unearthly color a blacklit neon yellow wig casts on your skin, but you will try anyway.


SO many selfie possibilities!

It gives you terrifying Deadite eyes if you let the blacklight reflect off of your contact lenses!


It turns white objects like fake flowers into strange flat Photoshopped-looking shapes!

It creeps you out in a slightly terrifying, reliably thrilling way when it soaks into your hands and continues to glow faintly for hours through multiple washings!

Have fun, kids, and remember to change the bulbs back to normal as soon as you’ve terrified your significant other with the drawing you left on the mirror. Too much blacklight’s bad for your eyes.

Like what you read? Give Jennifer Culp a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.

The author has chosen not to show responses on this story. You can still respond by clicking the response bubble.