While the prospect of Halloween weekend might strike fear in your heart (you still haven't planned your costume, have you?), it hardly rattles Isamaya Ffrench. In fact, the holiday is an opportunity for the master makeup artist to do what she does best: create transformative looks that are equal parts dark and glamorous.
Pop culture novelties such as House of the Dragon and Pearl are sure to flood your Instagram feed come Halloweekend, but this year, Ffrench is revisiting a classic: the clown, an enduring theme in horror films and literature.
Specifically, Ffrench is partial to Pennywise from It. "He has such recognizable features that you can alter and adapt it to your taste, and it will still be Pennywise," the founder of ISAMAYA beauty says. "You can change the colors, use a different wig, add lenses, or even use face jewelry."
Before Ffrench gets into the step-by-step process of creating your very own creepy clown look, she gets some Halloween makeup etiquette out of the way.
"Halloween is a long night... your face is likely to sweat and produce sebum," she says. To help increase the longevity of your look, apply an oil-absorbing cream and a gripping primer all over your face and neck before going in with any makeup.
"Once your look is finished, always use setting powder to hold the pigment in place. If you [used] a bald cap, you can go over the whole look using a little bit of Pros-Aide — or whatever liquid glue you used — with a sponge. Gently pat areas such as the T-zone and around the mouth, the most common spots where makeup fades or creases."
Now let's get into it: grab your clown shoes and red balloon and buckle in for Isamaya Ffrench's 10-step Pennywise Halloween makeup tutorial.
Glue your eyebrows down using somePros-Aide. Run it through the eyebrow with a mascara wand. Make sure the hairs are coated against the grain as well. Stick them down to the skin and let it dry for a bit. Press some powder into the eyebrows to speed up the process.
Prepare the skin for the bald cap by getting rid of any grease on the skin in the areas that the cap will adhere to. Use alcohol to do that — if there are oils and residues on the skin, the glue will not do its job properly and the cap will lift off.
Take your Pros-Aide again and start applying it generously from the top of the nose, across the eyebrows, and towards and around the ears. Place the cap and pull it all the way down, as far as it goes. Stretch it well to make sure it’s flat and that there are no air bubbles left inside.
Cut the cap around the nose and mouth. Use acetone on cotton buds on the edges to blend the cap into the skin.
Use some more acetone to make a hole in the center of the ears. Work your way around the hole until you can pop the ear out. Glue the edges of the hole back on the skin around the ear.
Glue the back of the cap on the neck using some more Pros-Aide. It doesn't have to be perfect, as the wig will cover it anyway.
Cover the whole face with a water-based white face paint and a big brush.
Next, take the [ISAMAYA Beauty] Industrial Colour Pigments Eye Shadow Palette. Use the shade “LEATHER" and a thin brush to shape the eyebrows from the base of your actual brows all the way up, faking an exaggeratedly high arch. If you want to wear contact lenses, this is the time to put them in!
Using the shade “LEATHER” again, line the eyes in the bottom water line, under the eye and along the edge of the eyelid, then smoke it out. Apply a bit of the shade “CUPRUM” around the edges to add a color gradient and blend that well.
Use the shade “LEATHER” to draw the outer edge all around the lips, making sure you exaggerate the lower lip further down towards the chin.
Mix the shade “BRASS” with a mixing medium to create a paste and apply on the lips, inside the black line you just created.
Use an oil-based makeup remover on cotton buds to trace a line from the outer edges of the lips to the middle of the cheeks, curving it up all the way to the eyes and above them. This will map out the shape of the smile and remove the white base, so it doesn't blend with the colors you’re applying on top.
Using the shade “BRASS” again, fill the areas that you just cleaned. Add a little bit of shade “LEATHER” on the edges to shape it even further.
Take some eyelash glue or pros-aide, apply a thin layer on top of the copper shade on the lips and on the smile shape, and add some tonal glitter to give more dimension to the look.
Repeat the same process around the tip of the nose and finish off the look by wearing your favorite Halloween wig!