The past year has been an eventful one for makeup fans, with the Golden Globes, Oscars, and Super Bowls being just a few of the high-profile shows where we got to witness transformative magic. And while we were certainly entertained by the glitz and glamour, it’s important to remember that the ‘makeup artists’ (as they’re often referred to) had a lot of hard work behind the scenes.

One of the biggest trends of the last year has been dark makeup, and celebrities have been embracing it with open arms. We took a look at the most popular dark makeup looks and how to make them, as well as the unique (and sometimes quirky) techniques utilised by the ‘makeup artists’ to achieve these looks.

Top Trends

Whether it was Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road or Melissa McCarthy in Ghostbusters, both ladies looked sensational as they tore down the screen in scenes that were equal parts scarring and scary.

And then there was the stunning transformation of Dakota Johnson into Kaya, the mysterious and seductive heroine of the Maze Runner saga. We were blessed with the spectacle of seeing a teeny, tiny Dakota transform into an incredible, Amazonian woman in just a few short hours. It was such an impressive display of craftsmanship that it became one of the most Googled makeup transformations of all time.

But it was not only Hollywood icons who stole the show with their dark looks. We saw numerous YouTubers post incredible videos of themselves undergoing transformation tricks using makeup products from the likes of Morphe, Maybelline, and La Mer.

The Biggest Transformation

While many of the above-mentioned actresses went for a soft, seductive look, our favourite YouTube makeup artist, Zoella, opted for a much more gruesome transformation. In the video below, we see her take on the persona of Pennywise, the infamous clown from the It series. Zoella is one of the most popular YouTube bloggers in the UK, and is a legend among her 322K+ subscribers for transforming herself into some of the most iconic film characters. Through using makeup products like Vichy, YSL, and Shu Uemura, she was able to craft a terrifying Pennywise that would frighten even Stephen King himself.

While the above videos may seem like they were shot using sophisticated equipment and trick photography, the fact is that they were all created using a simple webcam and one or two items of makeup. With a little bit of skill and practice, anyone can become an outstanding makeup artist, and with the right inspiration and tutorials, you too can be creating incredible transformations using only items already in your own home.

How To Make Them

With all the YouTube videos showing us the dazzling results of amazing makeup artists, we were determined to learn the tricks of the trade. And you can too with the help of the internet, of course! Whether you’re a seasoned professional looking to better your craft or an everyday makeup fan who just wants to try out some new looks, this article’s for you.

The first step is to determine your character’s (or celebrity’s) personality. What is your character’s (or celebrity’s) narrative? What is your character’s (or celebrity’s) emotional arc? What are they trying to get across to the audience? What are they hiding? These are all important questions to ask yourself before starting any transformation project.

The next step is to choose your makeup looks. Varying between smoky, mysterious, and gothic, these looks can be difficult to achieve but with the right products and some practice, you can master them all. Start by choosing two to three base looks, one softer and one bolder (like a smoky or dark and light look). Once you’ve mastered those, you can take on more elaborate looks like Disney characters or anime characters.

The next step is to decide on the costume for your character (if any). For example, you could take on the persona of a ninja and cover your face in black to better contrast with your costume’s white clothing. You could also choose to go for a classic Halloween costume like a witch or a zombie.

Once you’ve decided on your costume, it’s time to start preparing your face. For the softer looks, a good starting point is to use a tinted moisturizer with SPF 50+. However, if you’re going for a bolder look, you may want to go for an un-tinted moisturizer and skip the sunscreen. As for the eyes, go for a dark brown or burgundy eye shadow as the base, and then add some white or yellow along the top to create an illusion of dimension. For the final touch, add some white eyeliner along the top to make it pop.

The Final Step

Now that you’re all suited up and ready to go, it’s time for the big reveal. Begin by blending a small amount of waterproof mascara along the top lash line and then slowly lift from the center outwards, ending with the mascara’s blackest point at the outer corners of the eyes. Next, use a Q-tip or a clean makeup brush to gently remove the eyeshadow along the top lash line, revealing the inner beauty of your eyes underneath. Finally, use a small amount of waterproof mascara to finish off the whole look. Voila! You’re ready to go on a rampage and make the wicked laugh!

Of course, this isn’t the end of the story. After the laughter stops and the cameras stop rolling, it’s time to play the part and pretend that this is all normal. But until then, you must be a scary, menacing stranger to everyone around you.