Here's My Black & White Movie Beauty Look Because Apparently It's Halloween?

Wait a minute. You mean to tell me that Halloween is this weekend?
Publish date:
October 30, 2014

This year, to plan for Halloween, I did what I do best and pretended that it wasn’t happening and ignored it altogether. Funny thing is, that didn’t stop Halloween from happening. Like it or not, I had to come up with a costume.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Halloween. The holiday basically revolves around makeup and candy, my two favorite things. It’s just that sometimes, planning a costume can seem like such a tall order. How is there not an app for this yet?

I always feel the pressure to outdo what I did the year previous, and I’ve had some good ones. Last year, all I did was dress up as Miley Cyrus and fall down a flight of stairs so I figured that really shouldn’t be that hard to beat.

My Halloween costume, like everything else in my life, revolves around my hair. Since I’m working with silvery-white hair right now, I got the idea do a full face of greyscale makeup, like I walked out of a black and white movie, or season 4 episode 19 of "Pretty Little Liars" which was black and white for no apparent reason. I immediately got more excited about doing that than anything else I had come up with (The Ghost of Christmas Past) so off I went.

I know Trista already slayed a look very similar to this over on Vain earlier this week, but our final products are a little different. Mine is a little more dramatic because I’m going to be under very dark bar lighting all weekend, and if I didn’t really go in on the contrast and contouring, no one would even realize I was wearing makeup at all.

Here’s how I did it.

I wanted my skin to be, not stark white, but the shade of my skin if it was shot in black and white.

Yea, that. A light grey. I blended two colors of Mehron StarBlend high quality stage makeup on the recommendation of my friend Tiela who happens to be professional zombie, like actually.

Mehron StarBlend is a cake makeup that can be applied wet or dry. I used white makeup with just a tiny bit of black blended directly into the pan to achieve the shade of grey I was going for. I know this sounds like the worst method of mixing makeup imaginable, but the white rinses clean with just a quick run under the faucet, so don’t judge me. In this case, since I was going for heavy coverage that was anything but natural, I opted to wet down the cake makeup and apply it to my face with a brush.

Mixing a custom color and applying it in the manner I did took a lot of trial and error (a lot of error.) I kept making the white too grey, or mixing it way too dark, which made it read blue instead of grey, making myself look like a gargoyle. OR re-mixing the color halfway through application and not matching the first color I mixed. So many ways to mess this up!

I was really just making it harder on myself than it needed to be. All I needed to do was wet down the white pan, mix in the tiniest bit of black, and apply one even coat to my face.

And then LET DRY. This doesn’t take long at all, but unless the thin coat of Mehron has adhered to your face, you’re not going to be able to put anything on top of it.

Next, contouring. My favorite! To achieve a shadow that worked with the grey base, I used a matte black eye shadow. Black Lace, the black matte from the Sephora Collection gives you insane color payoff with very little work. One or two swipes of your brush and you’re set to go.

Contouring with black on top of grey is sort of a blessing and a curse. You don’t necessarily have to achieve a natural look, because it’s Halloween, but it’s easy to overdo it, especially with a product that’s as cooperative as this.

I applied my initial contour with a medium sized brush exactly where I wanted it, and then blended it out with a big poofy brush.

I had a bit of trouble getting the contour shadows to look even, because the eyeshadow tends to stick to the dried down Starblend and not want to diffuse. Because of this, I applied and blended out little by little, until I could cut glass with my cheekbones.

For my temples and hairline, since the contour is more subtle, I swirled by big floofy brush right into the eyeshadow and applied it directly.

For my eyes, I started with a (sort of) smoky eye. I know that a dude in a black and white movie wouldn’t be wearing anything on his lids, but I wanted to make my eyes pop and add dimension to my face where I could, because I still kind of felt like a two dimensional corpse.

Confession: I’m not great with eyeshadow. I mean I can pull it off if I ever need to, but a true, great smoky eye is a little unattainable to me. I loaded up a little fluffy brush with the same black eyeshadow, said a prayer, and gently worked it into my crease from side to side. I didn’t even screw it up! I did add a bit more to my inner corners, where I’d usually apply an illuminator or a champagne shadow, because I thought doing so accentuated my eyes even more.

On my lower waterline, I applied NYX Retractable Eyeline in White because I’m basically an anchor on your local nightly news.

Up top I applied Maybelline’s Eye Studio Gel Liner. It gives you dramatic, precise results and is surprisingly easy to use.

I topped it off with Maybelline Falsies because I know what’s good for me.

This look obviously calls for dark lips, but I thought black lips might be a little shocking against the pale grey, so I opted for a dark grey lip. I used Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Smoke, a flat, dark grey with no shimmer.

DID YOU KNOW that Urban Decay’s lip liners and eyeliners are made of the same formula, and just come in different colors? BOOM. Just blew your mind, happy Halloween. They’re probably going to off me for telling you that.

While this look is very matte, I did use a drop of Benefit’s High Beam Illuminator to give my lips a bit of dimension (see below).

Oh, I also used the same pencil to define/draw on my brows.

I think grey in place of black is one reason why this look works as well as it does. While the entire thing is made up of black and white, there’s no plain black or white anywhere on my face.

Last, contour your jawline. You're almost done!

Okay, anyway, here:


Is it good or am I playing myself?

Should I have been The Ghost of Christmas Past? It’s not perfect but I think I got it pretty damn close to what I was going for.

WHAT ARE YOU BEING FOR HALLOWEEN?!? Tell me in the comments! And tweet me your costumes all weekend!

Tweet me your costumes (but please don’t outdo me) at @TynanBuck.