Halloween Tutorials: 1 $30 chemise, 3 Badass Shakespearean Bitches

What do you do with a BA in English?

Okay, so I’m a massive Shakespeare dork. Even though I’m currently all tangled up in the beauty industry, I still fantasize about being the cool interdisciplinary English/theater/history teacher who stokes the fire for the Bard in skeptical high school students. My WMD (if you will) would definitely be field trips to live theater and copious film screenings. That’s what our guy was all about, after all: performance. Entertainment. Unparalleled poetry and character direction built right into the cadence with painstaking, heartbreaking precision.

HEY, you may have noticed that I swiped the title for this blog from Hamlet’s “Makeup is LIES and DECEIT, Ophelia” accusation from the infamous “Get thee to a nunnery” speech! Ten points for your nerdy wizard school or whatever if you’d already guessed.

Anyway, I found a $30 “Medieval Chemise” on Amazon, so I built three different Shakespearean costumes for xoVain last week. And dude, it doesn’t get much more comfortable than a nightgown for late-night/early-morning revelry.

I could’ve torn through the Bard’s heroine oeuvre if my nonexistent self-restraint were allowed to roam free, but Desdemona felt like poor taste in light of October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month (I have some stuff to say about that on xoJane, btw) and I’m not quite up to Lavinia-stage amputation for a last-minute Friday. But these costumes are cheap, easy, and badass (just like me! … wait.). If you have $25 bucks, a little makeup, and 15 minutes, you have no excuse.


No excuse.



Ay me.

Give me my Romeo; and, when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night

Urban Decay Naked Basics

Urban Decay Naked Basics

Poor Juliet. First love is torment enough without your parents being total control freaks. My favorite Juliet will always be Olivia Hussey, so I wanted some strong brows (also, pro tip: thicker brows make you look younger). Check out my glow-y, eyebrow-celebratory tutorial on xoVain.

Lady Macbeth


Yet who would have thought the old man to have so much blood in him?

Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty.

Anastasia Tamanna Palette

Anastasia Tamanna Palette

An actress meant for television drama, the original stage mother-type, or just a bloodthirsty bitch? The beauty of these plays is in the freedom of interpretation. My Lady M is pretty into all things sanguine, so let’s get the show on the road: xoVain has the tutorial.



Rosemary, that’s for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember.

 By Gis, and by Saint Charity,
Alack, and fie for shame!
Young men will do’t if they come to’t,
By cock they are to blame.
Quoth she, before you tumbled me.
You promised me to wed.

Hamlet is the absolute pinnacle of English literature. If you’ll allow me to quote myself (and you will, because this is my blog and I do what I want), “Shakespeare really got to go nuts with Hamlet, careening from dazzling wordplay to lowbrow goofiness to arguably the most eloquent exploration of mortality and what it means to be a human that’s ever been put to the page.”

Guerlain  Eyeshadow Duo in Cygne Noir

Guerlain Eyeshadow Duo in Cygne Noir

It’s some GOOD SHIT, okay? See how I did this pretty-dead-girl look over on (say it with me now) xoVain. As for the chemise? Now it’s the ultimate Wet Nightgown Contest! Little-known fact–kind of a big deal in medieval England.


Killer Queen: A Royal Revolution Katy Perry Tutorial

This confession appeared on xoVain today, prefacing my review of Katy Perry’s Killer Queen: Royal Revolution fragrance. I liked it, okay? I TRIED THIS PERFUME AND I LIKED IT, HOPE MY BOYFRIEND DON’T MIND IT.

The makeup tutorial I created to go along with the review ended up getting cut, so I figured I’d post it here in case any of you are going to an 80s party or wanna be a goofy pop star for Halloween. I’m not exactly a Katy Perry fan, but her music is catchy and I gotta give props to the chicks fighting the good fight by daring to be curvy in public.

A quick note first: Perry is a cultural appropriation lightning rod right now. A battle is being fought in the pop music sector as socio-political gaffes (like a popstar co-opting another cultural style in a music video) are no longer getting swept under the proverbial rug. I’m not a radio listener (or a music video watcher), and I don’t exactly have much feminist theory under my belt, so I’m going to leave that conversation to the more experienced writers of the internet.

All right, onto the dumb stuff!

When Tom walked by, he said, “That’s very … makeup-y.” Nailed it.

When Tom walked by, he said, “That’s very … makeup-y.” Nailed it.

I’ve always wanted to try a Katy Perry makeup look (if you haven’t, you’re lying), so when Topshop’s gorgeous 4-pan Atlantis Eye Palette came into my life, I knew the time had come. They say blue shadow isn’t for the green-eyed? Psssh. There are no rules in beauty!

Topshop Atlantis

Topshop Atlantis Eye Palette

I started out with a full-coverage base à la Ms. Perry, using Hourglass Immaculate Foundation and Too Faced Cocoa Powder Foundation for a matte, doll-like finish. (The latter smells like chocolate. I think Katy would approve.) KP’s got some Brows with a capital B, so I used Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil with bold, steady strokes. The waxy formula helps tame unruly hairs, while the rich pigment fills in everything evenly (and don’t even think about buying a brow pencil without a spoolie on the other end!). Check out my gradient brow tutorial on xoVain for more detailed info.

Tap some highlighter (like Benefit High Beam) onto the high planes of your face, then blend with a damp sponge.

Tap some highlighter (like Benefit High Beam) onto the high planes of your face, then blend with a damp sponge.

Palette time! Pack the light blue-turquoise shade onto your upper lid with a short-bristled shadow brush (I love this MAC #219 Pencil Brush’s tiny tip), then bring it down along your lower lashline.


Don’t worry about achieving perfection; we’ll blend later. Add the navy blue shade in a V-shape around the outer corners of your upper and lower lash lines.

Swirl a fluffy blending brush into the shimmery white shade in the palette, and buff out the blue edges in tiny circular motions. You can pack extra white shadow into the inner corner of the eye and directly under your brow arch for a brightening effect.


Use a black liquid liner (my favorite is Kat Von D’s Tattoo Liner) to draw a rounded cat eye. Think ‘60s mod; Katy’s got the Zooey Deschanel wide-eyed thing going on. Use a concealer pencil or white eyeliner to line your lower waterline for that huge cartoon-eyes effect.

It’s not Katy Perry if you don’t wear fake lashes. I used a random drugstore pair that was on hand, but I’d definitely recommend a thicker strip for more authenticity. Finally, I used NYX Butter Gloss in Créme Brulee for a muted lip that didn’t compete with my crazy upper face.


KP extra

Lunatic transformation complete.

Bonus: my gorgeous friend Sara in the same makeup! My pictures of her ended up kinda sucking (still working on the whole how-to-use-a-camera thing), but we had a blast anyway.


Add some bright pink lips and a Marilyn wig and you’re Jessica Lange from the American Horror Story: Freakshow Bowie tribute.

Is there life on Maaaaaaaars?

Is there life on Maaaaaaaars?

Can we talk about how fantastic that sequence was for a second? Four days later and it’s still stuck in my head. Ryan Murphy, you ridiculous genius.

How fucking excited are we for Halloween?

Ugly-Pretty: Zombie Level

In Girl World, Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.
-Mean Girls

Gawker made fun of Brit Morin’s “Pretty Zombie” makeup tutorial today. I don’t know who she is either, but we all know Halloween is a time to look hot, not scary. If you’re too lazy to buy a two-foot $39.99 piece of Spandex from Spirit Halloween, Brit has you covered. Look ugly-pretty with items from your own makeup drawer!

Braaaaaains … I have none.

From Gawker:

Here are the steps:

  1. Apply primer to your face, as you would if you were applying normal make-up, because that’s all you’re doing, is applying normal make-up.
  2. Apply a foundation that is one shade lighter than your natural skin. WHOA WHO’S THAT DEAD GIRL? It’s you.
  3. Instead of applying brown bronzer, as you normally would, apply gray bronzer (eyeshadow). Do NOT skip this step, as it constitutes almost the entirety of your costume.
  4. Add “a touch of brightening powder” over the gray “to soften the look.” Dial that grey back. Dial it way, way back.
  5. Brush your eyelids with a couple neutral shades of shadow. Start with something “vanilla-like” on the inner eyelid, moving to “beige” on the outer. Don’t be afraid to get really crazy here, experimenting with the rainbow spectrum of beige—it’s Halloween—but don’t get really crazy.
  6. Use an espresso shade to give yourself a great smoky eye. Above all, keep it subtle. You want to look dead, not like you’re from Jersey.
  7. Use eyeliner and mascara to help give your lashes “a fuller look.”
  8. Line your bottom lash with red lip liner. The tutorial suggests using a lip liner that one commenter later pointed out is not eye safe and could lead to eye irritation or even vision loss. Follow your heart on this one. (You can’t follow your eyes because you are blind now.)
  9. Put red lipstick on.

It should be noted that I used my own makeup kit as a costume one year, but these were my results:

Apple: the preferred smartphone for zombies everywhere

Nobody’s going to accidentally have sex with that zombie.

Nope, they will know exactly what they’re getting into.