Inappropriate Beauty Muse: Sissy Spacek In Badlands

When teen murder queen Holly plays with makeup, beauty inspiration ensues.

I’ve been on a bit of Terrence Malick kick since some dude in my science-fiction class did a comparison between 2001: A Space Odyssey and Tree of Life. So, of course, this included a rewatch of the 1973 classic, Badlands.

Now enough about my bougie English-major life, and more about MURDERS.

Turns out, Martin Sheen's and Sissey Spacek’s characters were based on the real-life 1958 murder spree of Caril Ann Fugate and Charles Starkweather. She was the youngest woman to ever be tried for first-degree murder, and still holds the title. She was 14.

So that’s some fresh-faced beauty inspo, amirite?

While Charles was put in the electric chair, Caril actually got out on parole and is wandering among us. She claims that she was basically kidnapped and that Charles was the mastermind of the whole situation, but he said that she “was one of the most trigger-happy people I ever met.” So it all remains a mystery.

Anyways, although she herself had some straight-browed, surly baby-murderess vibes going on, I’m going to be showing you how to get Sissy Spacek’s wide-eyed eyeliner look from Badlands.

So you want to start out with a barely-made-up canvas. Keep your foundation to a minimum, and leave your brows looking light and messy. Put on a little rosy blush, because you want to look like you’ve just been fishing with your outlaw boyfriend, frolicking through sweeping cornfields, etc.

Next, eyeliner. Now, in Badlands, it honestly looks like she’s used a bits dried up charcoal to do her liner, but since this is a beauty tutorial, I’m going to pretend she had a freshly stocked makeup bag. And skill.

Using Maybelline EyeStudio Master Precise Liquid Eyeliner, draw a thin line on your lower lashline starting from the edge of your iris. Start to veer the line out straight just before you reach the end of your eye. Remember to leave enough room so that you get that negative space between your top and bottom lines.

Create quite a dramatic wing, but don’t flick it up like you would with a traditional cat eye. She actually has quite a sleepy, serene look because the eyeliner goes out in a horizontal line.

Next, line your top lashline, creating a parallel extension on the outer edge, and also extending the line near your tear duct at the angle of your top lid.

If you are going for a faithful Badlands look, don’t apply mascara, in fact this would look even cuter if you had those opaque but really blonde eyelashes?

Now, to make the whole thing look a bit more graphic, line your waterline with a nude eye pencil. I used Illamasqua Medium Pencil in Vow.

If you’ve left your nude pencil to languish alone and unloved without its lid for a year, gently heat it up using a blowdryer, or I just hovered it over a lighter for a second. This makes it heaps creamier and long-lasting.

Line your waterline and also smudge some of the liner in between the two lines to define that space a little more.

In Badlands, she actually has a third line going into her crease and flicking out with the other two. I tried this a couple of times but ultimately, I just don’t think I have enough space between my brow and my crease for it to work. Try it out, though!

Now for the fun bit: fake freckles.

Obviously, if you are running across state lines in a battered up car, sleeping under the stars and driving off into the sunset, you are going to get a little sun-damaged. I haven’t had any freckles for a couple of years thanks to the militant sunscreen police, but darn they are so cute.

What you need is a cool-toned brown matte eyeshadow and a small round eyeliner brush. Tap your brush into the shadow and practice a bit on your hand to get a feel for the pressure you need to use to get different sizes. Then just go to town on your face, making small and largish dots. Don’t worry if they look a bit harsh at this stage. You want to focus them across the bridge of your nose, across your cheekbones and feather then up in between your brows.

Then, taking a translucent powder and a fluffy brush, lightly brush around the areas you put your freckles (conveniently, it’s your T-zone). This will diffuse your freckles a little and make sure they stay on.

Lips-wise, I just used a little bit of a browny-nude lip pencil, Essence Lip Liner in Soft Rose, to make my lips look a little fuller and matte-r, and that’s it. It’s very hard to pry me away from using a bright lip, but I’ll sacrifice my beloved for some babygirl murderer vibes.

Now remember to look vaguely bored and mindless, because, as Holly says, “I wasn’t popular at school on account of having no personality and not being pretty.”*

*Don’t actually do this; instead wow people with your wit and amazing eyeliner skills.