How To Look Mean: Makeup And Hair That Will Intimidate People

How to make yourself look so gorgeously unfriendly, no jerk would dare tell you to smile.
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Publish date:
September 30, 2013
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blushes, lipsticks, hairsprays, eyebrows, hair, makeup, don't smile

I was 11 years old when I was catcalled for the first time. ELEVEN! (Screamed the way Patrick Fugit screams it in the backseat of his mom’s car in Almost Famous.) I didn’t even have boobs yet. I didn’t get boobs until I was 21. (Big ups to birth control!) But come on--my mouth hadn’t even “matured” enough for braces yet. Sure enough, though, some scrub was hollering at me on the sidewalk of Coastal Highway.

Here’s the thing all women know and few men begin to understand: there are few things in this life less flattering than a catcall. I’d rather stare at myself in a department store fitting room mirror until the end of days than get catcalled one more time.

Even worse than the catcaller is this dude in every gas station across America who tells me to smile. Sure, it sounds innocent enough. But, I mean, I’ve already got magazines and TV and my own anxieties all up in my face telling me how I should look every day. I do not need some rando in an Old Navy polo telling me I’m too pretty to frown. There’s obviously some sexism in there, too. I have a really hard time imagining anyone telling a man to smile, or that he looks too serious.

Plus, how do you know my smile’s not super-janky and known across the land as the Erection Slayer? How do you know I didn’t just run over my dog? Like, just be a decent human and don’t speak to anyone ever.

My usual defense is to never leave my house. But because I’m an “adult” with a “job,” this doesn’t always work out. So, I’ve been working on ways to use makeup to make myself look meaner and more intimidating.

A more serious and daunting look can also be useful in a work setting. I wear purple body glitter and sheer maxi dresses to work most of the time, but in my fantasies, I have a super-serious Claire Underwood House of Cards boss lady job and I wear shift dresses and a sensible pump and I take cabs to work and all right, this is a very detailed fantasy so I’ll stop now.

I was blessed enough to be born with Bitchy Resting Face and the personality of April Ludgate, but for those of you born looking like you would adopt a dog or talk to a stranger, the look is easy to replicate! You can use makeup to create a meaner look to keep the scrubs at bay.

Let’s start with complexion.

A matte face is very '90s power woman. Imagine the type of woman who would intimidate Ally McBeal in that weird unisex bathroom. That’s what we’re going for. I used Jouer’s Matte Moisture Tint all over and then set it with Revlon’s PhotoReady Powder.

Then, I brushed some L’Oreal Super Blendable Blush in Spiced Plum starting from about the middle of my cheekbone all the way up to my hairline, right at the top of my ear. Keep the blush off the apples of your cheeks. We want a more angular look. I refer to this as "Power Blush” and you can, too.

I put a small, sheer layer of Maybelline Color Tattoo Metal in Electric Blue on my the inner corners of my lids, which reads more as a grey than a blue when it’s applied lightly enough.

I used e.l.f.’s Studio Cream Eyeliner in Black to draw a thin clean line across my lashes with just the smallest flick of a cat eye at the outer edges.

Too much of a cat eye is flirty, and that’s not what we’re going for. We just want to accentuate the eyes with a bold line. Because we’re bold.

The next step is probably the most important part of this process and of your life: brows. A thick, pronounced brow is like a badass fairy godmother who will take your whole look from basic to based.

I used Rimmel’s Soft Kohl Kajal Eye Liner Pencil in Black, which is quite a bit darker than my natural brow but not that much darker than my current hair color. Go for a bit darker than your hair for a real dramatic Boss Spice situation.

Because the color is so dark, I focused on creating the angle of my brows rather than filling them in too much. Though, if you go absolutely insane with it, that will also help keep men from talking to you.

I haven’t plucked or waxed my brows in three years, and mine maintain a shape I like naturally. Make sure to carry the line out all the way a bit past the outer corners of your eyes and taper it off. Try to square off the inner edges of the brows. Focus on angles rather than arches. Brow architecture: that’s my new career.

I then went over my brows with Anastasia Brow Gel in clear. Finish your eyes off with a thick coat of mascara. I use Maybelline’s Falsies.

Finish the look with a bold lip. While I’m all about a pink or peachy lip, that just won’t work for this look. Go for a solid red, or even a darker mauve or crimson. I use Rimmel’s Lasting Finish by Kate Moss in #01.

Now that I have these baby bangs, I feel like my face comes with built in attitude. (Babies are awesome. They literally crap on the haters. And on everything.)

If you don’t have baby bangs, get some! Or slick your hair back. I love hair in my face, but it’s way too free-spirited for this look. I used a combination of Aussie’s Instant Freeze Hairspray and Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Anti-Frizz Serum to hold my hair back in a twist pinned in the back of my head.

Also, don’t wear anything but black. Buy a blazer. Don’t smile.

Do you also get sick of being told to smile? If one person says I shouldn’t complain about being called pretty, I swear, I will burn down Reddit.