Beauty and the Geek: Harley Quinn Style Makeup

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Originally, I wanted to do a new stealth cosplay tutorial starring Harley Quinn. But unfortunately, I realized despite Harley’s many outfits, I had nothing in my college student budget closet that really worked for her. Even so, I wanted to still do something about Harley Quinn, and then it hit me. In one of my previous Beauty and the Geek columns, a reader had commented that they thought my duel Starfire/Nightwing eye makeup reminded them of Harley Quinn. So I thought, why not do a Harley Quinn inspired makeup tutorial?

Let it be said, this is the most makeup I’ve ever worn at once, and that’s not a bad thing. I say, figure out what your comfortable with. Experiment sometimes, see what’s fun. If makeup isn’t fun for you, don’t bother with it. If it’s difficult find down-to-earth beauty bloggers that aren’t intimidating (I’ve watched many beauty vloggers and have just felt intimidated) to learn from. I’ve been experimenting recently, and I gotta say, this Harley Quinn makeup was a lot of fun.

Step One: Base Face

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There’s fresh faced, no makeup me!

Good foundation is so, so hard to find. Not that there aren’t a hundred different kinds, there are, and that’s why it’s so difficult. I like to look at swatches before I buy foundation, so I actually know the color of the brand I’m looking at before hand. Foundation bottles lie! Also, know your skin type. Certain foundations are not good for certain skin types. How many of us have bought a foundation only to find later it made our face shiny, greasy, or break out? So it’s really important to figure out what type of skin you have.

Beauty and the Geek Tip: Match your foundation to your skin type.

I have combination skin, which means I have oily areas—typically around my cheeks and T-zone—and dry patches—usually around my eyebrows or my nostrils. For my skin, I use Revlon Colorstay Foundation for combination skin. But even before I apply foundation, I use concealer to hide those pesky dark circles. The under eye concealer I use is Maybelline’s Dream Lumi Highlighting Concealer, and I paint a triangle shape under my eyes, not a circle.

Beauty and the Geek Tip: When concealing under eye circles, paint a triangle shape under the eye, not a circle.

Then I use a combination of a round beauty sponge and a stipple brush to apply my foundation. I get all my brushes from ELF cosmetics because their brushes are cheap, but for the most part hold up. Their studio collection, which is what my stipple brush is a part of, works really well. The beauty sponge I have is from an off-brand company, because I’m not paying eighty dollars for a round beauty sponge, no matter how many beauty vloggers tell me is the best thing since contouring.

I use Hard Candy’s Glamoflauge concealer to hide blemishes, and then I’m done for my base face. Note, while Hard Candy’s concealer does work, and is really heavy duty, it separates if left alone to long. Which happened to me. Shaking it up doesn’t help either. I’d recommend squeezing some out of the tube to get any excess watery liquid out.

Beauty and the Geek Tip: Hard Candy’s Glamoflauge Concealer separates, test before using on face.

Step Two: Eyes

For my eyes, I had the two perfect eyeshadow palettes for Harley Quinn makeup. They’re both from ELF and they’re duo quads. One in red and white, the other in blue and black. Neither are matte, the red and blue have shimmer in them. While the white and black have glitter. I’m only using the red and blue shadows for Harley Quinn’s makeup design.

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I’d like to point out that the blue and red of these palettes are super pigmented. Which is great, less product to use. The black and white of the palettes, are sadly, completely useless. The black shows up when you use it, but barely. The white barely shows up at all and clumps together when you try to brush it on your eye. So if you’re looking for affordable shadows in blue or red, try finding singular ones from ELF or another company all together, because these duos weren’t worth the other color.

Okay, so with an eyeshadow brush, I applied the red and blue shadows first to the base of my lid. Then with a crease brush—another ELF product for only a dollar—I used the black shadow from a Wet ‘n Wild palette I have called Spoiled Brat. I blended the two colors on each lid together. Since this is a Harley Quinn inspired makeup design, I went pretty liberal with the black, red, and blue on my lids. You want to be careful playing with the black shadow, however. Black shadow is really difficult to fix once you mess up. You can use a q-tip to try and fix tiny errors, or a piece of tissue to fix larger ones, but because it’s black eye shadow, it smudges a lot.

Beauty and the Geek Tip: When using black eye shadow, be very careful as the shadow will smudge and is difficult to clean up or fix.

I use a blending brush—this time a duo head brush from ECO Tools—to blend both colors. I often went back and applied more red, or more blue, and then more black. Again, these are very big, bold colors, so I’m very careful with how much I apply.  Expect a lot of going back, fixing things, and adding more color. I also use NYX’s Jumbo Eye Pencil in white to fill in right under my brow bone. The thing about these jumbo pencils is that they’re cream shadows. Anytime you use a thick cream shadow, you have to blend. They’re wonderfully pigmented, but they’re thick. Your first time using them, they’ll seem very intimidating, but I promise, just blend them out, don’t use too much at once, and you’ll be fine.

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Beauty and the Geek Tip: When using NYX’s Jumbo Eye Pencils, or any similar thick cream eyeshadow, you have to blend them out, and be gentle with the application.

After all this is done, and I’m satisfied with my colors, I apply mascara. Honestly, the look would have been better if I had false lashes, but I don’t own and have never used falsies. I’ll just have to stick to my own regular lashes.

Step Three: Face Part Deux

Next, I work my eyebrows and cheeks. For my eyebrows, it’s back to the ECO Tools duo brush with the angled head with my Milani Brow Fix kit in #3. I have dark hair and as such dark eyebrows. When filling in your eyebrows, the color you use should be about a shade or two lighter than your hair. If your eyebrows look too dark and unnatural, use a clean mascara brush and simply comb them out. It’ll help remove the excess product and make your brows look overall cleaner.

Next is cheeks, I have round cheeks—my father tells me I get them from my great-grandfather’s side since he’s Filipino—so it’s pretty easy for me to color my cheeks. Honestly though, I don’t like using blush! But for Harley Quinn, you have to. Harley has big, bold, bright cheeks. So, I use my ELF blush in Pink Passion:

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ELF Blush in Pink Passion

That’s it for part three!

Step Four: Lips

For lips, the first thing you should do is make sure they’re exfoliated and soft. I use ELF’s exfoliating lipstick. The lipstick has a bunch of fancy moisturizing ingredients and mircobeads that are perfect for getting dead skin off your lips. But I don’t stop there, I also use some Vaseline (an oldie but a goodie!) after I allow the exfoliating lipstick to do its job. I remove the lipstick and make sure I have all that nasty peeling lip skin off—ew, just sounds nasty—and then apply a light coat of Vaseline to my lips. I give it a few seconds to settle and break out the lipstick.

Beauty and the Geek Tip: Exfoliate your lips! It’ll make your lipstick last longer.

Harley Quinn typically has really dark lipstick, almost black in color. I don’t own black lipstick—not sure I could get away with it if I did—so I chose a really dark red I own, NYX’s Matte Lipstick in Alabama. For lipstick, I always just get it on, meaning I apply it on the inner parts of my mouth first, not the outer part. Then I go back and clean everything up with an ELF lip brush. I’ll be honest though, I don’t like ELF’s lip brush that much. The hairs fall out a lot, but it gets the job done.

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Since Harley Quinn’s makeup style as far as her lipstick goes does include black, I used another NYX Jumbo Pencil, this time in black, to darken my lips on the outer corners before blending in. I had to do this a couple times until I got the effect I wanted. I was very careful because the black pencil is very pigmented (again, cream eye shadow), and I didn’t want to over-do it. It didn’t end up as dark as I wanted, and a darker lip liner would have worked better, but this still worked well enough.

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Finally, since Amanda Connor’s style of drawing Harley Quinn’s lips always seems pretty shiny, I added a layer of clear lip gloss. Plus, I’m on a lip gloss kick like it’s 1995. (Editor’s Note: I didn’t even know lip gloss was “out.” You can pry my lip glosses from my cold, dead hands.)

The completed look!

And of course, a side-by-side of me and Harley Quinn herself!

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There are a few things I’d go back and fix or re-do. My cheeks aren’t as popping as they could be and my lipstick needs to be much darker around the edges, but I like the way my eye make-up turned out. Harley Quinn is such a fun character, I’d love to tackle some of her outfits. With this, at least, I’ve practiced doing her make up. In the future, I could certainly use this to cosplay as Harley Quinn at a future convention!

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About Author

Desiree Rodriguez is currently majoring in Converged Communications. She's a writer, geek girl, and proud queer mestiza woman. Desiree is an entertainment writer for The Tempest, and contributor for Nerds of Color. Desiree has written for The Young Folks, The Feminist Wire, and Geeked Out Nation.

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