Monday, May 12, 2014

Put On Your War Paint - Girl Gang Makeup Tutorial

I sadly lost a friend very recently, and I'm still working through a lot of how I feel about that. You can read more about all the sad and painful parts of it over here, but in this post I want to do something a bit different and celebrate one of the really positive aspects of my friendship with Chloe, rather than just mourning her loss.

You see, Chloe and I both had a tendency to get a bit...angry. Okay, that's a total understatement. Even when talking across the world, we could wind each other up to an absolute frenzy of delighted ferocity, so I can only imagine what would have happened if we'd ever been in the same place at the same time. Chloe had far more reason to react violently to people that pissed her off than I did; she'd been through an absolute fuckton of shit, and comparatively nothing particularly bad has ever really happened to me. But we both got the same fierce joy from the idea of punching out the teeth of people who deserve it, and I took a lot of comfort from her acceptance of my burning desire to break some faces when I got angry. I always felt like that urge, that desire for violence was something to be denied at all costs, and hidden at all times. But Chloe not only accepted that part of me, she actively encouraged me to get it out and explore it - intellectually at least, since the fact is I would be a dreadful physical fighter. We agreed that should we ever get into a physical fight together, I could do the kicking because of my powerful horse thighs, but she would have to do all the punching because I'd be sure to break my hand. One day, while complaining about people we wanted to punch that we weren't allowed to punch, and imagining what we might do about it if we could, we came up with the idea of starting a girl gang.

This image created by BabsBabsBabs

Not just any girl gang - the punkest, femmest, most misandrist girl gang ever. We were going to ride into town on bright pink, bedazzled, loud as fuck motorbikes, and start fights with sexist assholes. We were going to kick in teeth, break arms, and punch the wind out of people until they understood that women are not to be trifled with. We were going to have jackets, like The Pink Ladies, but way more punk, in pink denim with studs and dripping letters and artfully tattered edges. We were going to have tattoos across our knuckles that spelled out MISANDRY.* There would be No Boys Allowed, and it was going to be BAD ASS.

But sadly, it's not ever going to happen now. I mean, it's not like it was super likely to happen anyway, considering we lived on opposite sides of the world and were both pretty consistently too broke to travel. But telling each other stories about our amazing magical girl gang was something that cheered us both up enormously, no matter how down we were. Since losing Chloe I've been pretty down, so I decided to put together a makeup tutorial for our mythical girl gang. She always encouraged me to push myself more, to examine what I thought my limitations were, and a big, bold, makeup experiment is the least I can do to try and keep that legacy alive in my life while dealing with her sudden absence. 

A while ago I came across a fascinating little idea a while ago called CV Dazzle, and I've been meaning to do some experimentation with it ever since. It's basically a project that came up with ways you can use hair and makeup to avoid automated facial recognition systems. Since being in a girl gang with Chloe would have almost certainly involved a great deal of activity where the police would inevitably get involved, the potential to avoid facial recognition seemed like a really valuable aspect to build into my war paint design.  I picked out a test pattern that looked possible, and got to work!

Test Pattern courtesy of CV Dazzle
Starting with a blank canvas!
Because I wanted to use loose eyeshadows in order to get super bright, vibrant colours, I started by just washing my face and putting some primer on my eyelids. (I personally love Eccentric Cosmetics vegan High Intensity Primer, but use whatever you want/have) There's no point doing anything else at this point if you're using loose shadows, because they have a tendency to get EVERYWHERE, and you'll very likely just have to do foundation etc again if you do it before the shadow. The colours I decided to use were The Queen, from the Hello Waffle Frozen themed collection, Normandy from the Geek Chic Cosmetics Mass Effect Collection, and The One from the Geek Chic Cosmetics Babylon 5 collection. I wear The Queen and Normandy a lot, but it was good to get some more use out of The One. It's lovely, but so FUCKING SPARKLY you can only really wear it every now and then.

Left to right: Normandy, The Queen, and The One
There are as many different ways to use loose eyeshadow as there are people wearing it, but I usually like to pat the colours gently on first, just kind of smooshing them in place.

Urk. Don't worry, I'm not leaving it like this. 
Once it was all more or less where I wanted it, I pulled out my Pro Angled Shading Brush from Furless Cosmetics. I love this brush SO much.

It doesn't blend everything out perfectly (mostly because you would really need more than one brush for that) but it's absolutely fantastic for when you just want to soften up everything and make it look nice quickly and easily. I use this literally every day for my work makeup, because it takes me maybe 30 seconds tops to blend out my eyeshadow. In this instance, it did a really great job of blending the purple and grey together, as well as taking the grey a little bit up my lid.

I also used the angled brush to dust The One across my browbone for some added sparkle and oomph. Once I'd blended that in, I added a nice crisp flick of eyeliner, because good eyeliner was a passion and a definite talent of Chloe's. Finally I added a ton of fat black mascara, so I could glare at people from under big femme lashes.

Now, here's where it all gets a bit avant garde. One of the guiding principles of CV Dazzle involves breaking up the natural lines of your face, because those are a large part of what facial recognition software uses to determine what is and is not a face. So it was time to get a bit more...adventurous.

I put some BB cream all over, to make my skin a more uniform colour, but deliberately didn't do any contouring, since the whole point of the CV Dazzle method of hiding is to mix up the usual light and dark parts of your face. To make the stripes, I used Hello Waffle's eyeshadow Anna (also from the Frozen collection), mixed with some foiling medium, applied with an eyeliner brush. I picked this one because while the bright fuschia colour is stunning, it's not something I would normally wear. It's a bit...well, girly. But it's something Chloe would have managed to wear and make it look badass, so I wanted to give it a shot. In an attempt to add some shading, I then brushed some Maybelline Colour Tattoo in bright purple along one edge of each of the stripes - unfortunately, that stuff is just as patchy on the rest of my face as it is on my eyelids, but ce la vie. To make the edges of the stripes stand out a bit more (and cover the patchiness) I used liquid eyeliner to do some nice dramatic sweeps.

For the lipstick, I figured something that made the middle of my lips darker than the outside corners would fit in with the general CV Dazzle principles, since it's usually the other way around. I used Urban Decay F-Bomb to do a sort of cyber punk geisha-esque thing, and discovered it's actually much harder than you would think to paint crisp lines on your lips.

After all that, it was time to do my hair. Hair over your face is apparently one of the best and most easily applicable ways to avoid facial recognition software, so I did some little tendril things with Mr. Reluctant Femme's hair wax.

And voila, the completed look!

I was feeling preeeeety darn pleased with myself by this point, as pretty ready to run off an start a Mad Max-esque gang of misandrists. However,  Mr. Reluctant Femme pointed out that before I pack my bags to go and burn the patriarchy down, it might be an idea to see if this look would actually work to avoid facial recognition in the way I thought it would. So I fired up Pictriev, a weird little search engine that uses facial recognition algorithms to tell you what celebrity you look like. Just to test it out, I first put in one of my Facebook pictures, and this is what I got;

Ahaha, Ellen Page, really? And 25?? Pictriev, you are TOO kind.

 When I put in one of the photos of my complete Girl Gang look, this is the result I got;


How freaking cool is that? Think of all the misandry I could do without getting caught! I'm delighted I came up with something that not only looks awesome, but is also potentially protective as well.

There will probably be a whole post on this at some stage in the future when I have some more brain free to think it through, but the tension between how eye catching this look is in person, and how untraceable it is using technology is really fascinating.  I think it's pretty unlikely many human eyeballs would fail to notice someone wearing this walking down the street - but to the technology we increasingly use to track the population at large, it's invisible, an "anti-face".

Anyway, I'm going to go ahead and call this experiment a success. What do you think?

*Before anyone jumps in with any "Not all men" nonsense, or "misandry is as bad as patriarchy", I'm going to go ahead and warn you to just think about it before you open your mouth, and then don't. When I imagine a misandrist girl gang, I don't mean to seriously imply that every single person identifying as male actually deserves real life physical violence. It's a fucking fantasy, I'm sure you've imagined some things you wouldn't really want to come true as well.


  1. I love it!
    And I'm glad you found a use for F-Bomb.

  2. Mineral eyeshadow and body art both are very much popular today. It is good and beneficial too if we select the best product.

  3. Out of curiosity I tried up loading a photo of me to pictriev (no makeup) and got face not found! so I am not sure its the dazzle that did it.


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