How To Make Yourself Look Like Blood

Welcome to Make Your Face, a makeup tutorial series with a simple mission: makeup by you (me) for your (my) own entertainment, Establishment-style.

What up, dudettes? Guess what today is??? (I just found out, too):


And you know, mofos, I don’t typically talk about my period to people I don’t know, or, at least, people who don’t happen to be in my personal physical presence when I happen go on a menstruation-related rant, BUT. This is something that needs to be talked about. That WE need to talk about, and as I am best at talking about sensitive topics when I talk about them on a personal level…well, here we go! If you are squeamish about extreme overshare re: periods and red lipstick, here is your cue to exit.



GOOD RIDDANCE (to anyone I don’t want to talk to at a specific point about this specific thing but may want to address again in future, you can still GET OUT NOW, ’cause I’m gonna go there like Degrassi. Really), losers! Let’s talk blood. For assistance in the overshare department, we shall enlist the assistance of my good ol’ toxic boyfriend Jim, who I really should never talk to again but goddamn, sometimes does he feel so nice:


TOO nice, and then real mean; that’s why I can’t talk to him much. THAT SAID. This is going to be a weird and extremely intimate episode of Make Your Face, and Jim Beam has been a reliable companion in the trenches, much as I may (typically) despise his company now, so. Here goes!

Look. I have spent most of my post-pubescent life trying to avoid the horror show that is living through a menstrual period. Cis men who may be reading this: it is a THING, and by ‘thing’ I mean a time when your body takes a big-ass slice of control of your life and mind. Not to say that it renders you incompetent, or interferes with your mental functioning in such a way that you cannot cope with the demands of modern society, NO. But my good friend Lindy really knocked me out with the revelation — about five years ago now — that it is entirely possible to recognize the experience of menstruation and even cater to it without denying its existence, IF! Of course, you take a moment to acknowledge the experience of human beings who exist in this world OUTSIDE of the lens of patriarchy.

That said, obviously, the experience of menstruation renders cis women (and non-binary people and trans men who experience menstrual periods) NO LESS than that of people who don’t. We just currently live in a weird time that, like, from a cis woman’s perspective, reads a lot like, “Yeah this happens to you, that’s cool, but also you’re stupid because of it, if you acknowledge it.” But we’re not stupid because of it! Menstruation is a mega thing, and any cis dudes or non-menstruating people who are still reading this “makeup” article: just imagine what it would feel like if suddenly your entire hormonal system, which affects your mental functioning, physical feeling and entire existence, fluctuated wildly on a maybe-monthly basis.

Just *imagine* waking up in the morning, ready to go about your work, wanting to go about your work, while your entire body rages a different message to you, or many conflicting messages in a rapid series accompanied by a significant amount of pain. Now, realize that the entire standard of capitalism by which we are all judged ranks you as a lesser and in fact maybe even garbage, worthless human being due to your suffering of this experience. You really have NO value unless some higher-level man who does not suffer from the same affliction wants to fuck you. But it’s not even an “affliction,” it’s just your life!

*Dies a thousand deaths,* *I’m being dramatic because I’m on my period right now,* *I hate you,* *please don’t leave me,* *oh my god middle school sex ed did not prepare me for this shit,*

LET’S GO!!!!

Here’s the thing, ya jerks who don’t menstruate: Those of us who *do* “suffer” the experience of menstruation invent very excellent coping mechanisms to deal with it. And one of those “FUCK-YOU-BUT-FOR-REAL-I-am-smiling-at-you right-now” tactics, for me, is my lipstick, particularly RED lipstick. I own more than 30 red lipsticks at today’s count. Here is a gloss:


Which transfers — unfortunately — easily.


Paper towels are the best and greatest method of removing lip product. Paper towels are, unfortunately, not so good at containing period leakage! That requires expensive designer shit.


I started my goddamn period at age 14, hoping it would never come to me personally.

It. Hurt.


So much.

And it was so SMALL, visually, what came out of me; it felt incredibly anticlimactic.

For that tiny-ass little amount of blood, it extracted an extraordinarily painful toll from my then itty-bitty little non-sex-having body. It hurt SO. MUCH. So badly, my whole little undeveloped body clutching up uncontrollably around an organ I’d then never even thought of and today never even plan to use!

So, ya know, fuck that shit.

MAC Russian Red is The Color, when it comes to red. Much like the hormonal IUD I had inserted in September 2014, this color just DOES the fuckin’ thing. I have had this particular tube, my first, since autumn 2007. It holds up.


NYX offers a lower-priced alternative, however. You’ve got to go for matte, AND you’ve got to be careful when it comes to NYX “Perfect Red” vs. “Pure Red,” depending on your individual skin tone and preference. One, quite blue-red! The other, very orange.

My boobs used to ache horribly upon the advent of my period. Now, it’s all in my hips and thighs: agonizing, horrific cramping out of nowhere, and it’s all for the sake of a tiny spot of purpley-redness in my underwear. There ain’t no egg in that shit; I’ve gotta IUD! If this is truly some Eve and the apple business, I’ve got a bone to pick with her and, more so, God.


This fancy red NARS sample is an extremely professional matte red.


Once, during my last office job tenure, my period made me feel so sick I went and dry-heaved miserably in the bathroom for about 15 minutes. Weirdly, a queen ant wandered out onto the floor of the single stall at the same time and surprised me with her hugeness; I could not crush her due to fear of the sheer visceral sensation of *smush.* I hope she is thriving somewhere outside a VA facility today. She was so big, I was scared of her!

Please don’t smush me, God, but I will still fist-fight you over periods if you exist and will consent to battle with me at some point.

Dude!! I just found this pic of my cousin and me in my room. I was wearing my MAC Russian Red lipstick in this photo, obviously:


Because that’s when I bought it, and red lipstick is the best.

I always crave bourbon while I’m on my period. I think I feel like if I can just dehydrate my entire body enough, I won’t suffer as much. And it works, a bit! Temporarily! But….not that well. Lipstick is better.


NYX Extra Creamy Round lipstick in Snow White, though it arrived partially melted, helps to ease the pain.


“Chaos” is the very best extra creamy round NYX ‘stick, though, no foolin’!


OH MY GOD, I still have saved in the back of my drawer my very favorite lipstick from high school approximately 15 years ago!!!


During high school I mostly wore that early CoverGirl matte stick that dried your lips out like a mummy and then they included a gloss at the other end to apply over top of it. Nowadays companies are just like “here, it’s matte liquid lipstick.” But this Revlon ‘stick in “British Red” really held me down once I figured out how to devote a small portion of my consciousness to not-smudging my lipstick. Here is exactly what I looked like during high school:


It still looks fantastic with mattifying powder applied over top!


NYX Liquid Velvet in Cherry Skies is dark-dark red, like the uterine clumps that come out of you on the third or fourth day. Gorgeous!!


TV On the Radio’s “Wolf Like Me” came on during the taking of that picture. Honestly I can’t figure why men are associated with werewolves at all. Who the fuck knows moon-ruled blood and violence like cis women?

I would be remiss in any accounting of red lipstick without mentioning NYX’s “Alabama,” which will forever remind me of my glorious late step-grandmother-in-law Kris, who I met in the restroom at my sis-in-law’s wedding without realizing any relation and, well, game recognize game. I took a bunch of buckeyes from her yard the last time I saw her (with her blessing), and goddamn if they aren’t comforting to rub when you hurt.


Anyway if you wanna perfectly apply non-matte red lipstick so it doesn’t smudge all over the place, you should use a lipliner both inside and outside your lipline and carefully apply the color with a brush, then blot. I typically don’t give a fuck, because I typically wear red lipstick at times when I don’t give a fuck, such as the sloughing off of my uterine lining.


My current Holy Grail of red lipstick is Gwen Stefani’s Urban Decay collaboration in 714, pictured here, and less flatteringly, here:


A portrait of the artist at work (“work” being, bleeding):


You know? Menstrual periods are hardcore as fuck. Bleed on, badasses.

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