It probably won’t come as a huge surprise to find out that I love cartoons.
I don’t mean that I love them ironically or as a guilty pleasure. I mean that I LOVE them. I would rather watch cartoons than almost anything else. The entire reason that I have satellite TV is because at any given time, there are at least three channels playing episodes of Spongebob Squarepants.
I’ve liked cartoons my entire life, but I didn’t fall in love with a series until I was in high school. Enter The Powerpuff Girls.
Everything about this show is the best. The gorgeous retro city design. The '50s sitcom satire. The cuteness contrasting with the violence. The weird, creative, honestly scary villains. And most importantly: three complicated, fully realized female superheroes.
The Powerpuff Girls showed me that toughness comes in many guises, and it’s not just bulging dude muscles that can change the world. They showed teenage-me that I could be all about glitter and unicorns AND ALSO be a smart, capable person. So when I was looking for beauty influences, where else would I turn but to the three animated ladies who so influenced my life?
When it comes to which Powerpuff I am most like, it’s not even a contest. I’m smart, I’m good at leading in a crisis, and I can be a little bossy. Plus my favourite colour is pink.
Obviously I’m Blossom. And that’s who I decided to get inspired by for my Powerpuff look.
Blossom’s hair in the show is long and red, held back in a ponytail with a heart-shaped clip, with a giant red bow on top of her head. Oh, and she has bangs. That is a lot of look for real life, so I simplified things a little.
Since my natural hair is obviously more Sedusa than Powerpuff, my first step was busting out my T3 straightener. I flipped my ends outward rather than ironing them flat, as demonstrated in my awesome straightening video.
Blossom’s bangs are parted in the middle and then again off to the sides, but however I tried to style this IRL, it looked wrong. Instead, I combed my bangs with my fingers to make them kind of chunky and piecey, then set them with hairspray.
I split the rest of my hair into two sections horizontally, with the smaller section on top, and pulled the top bit back into a simple half-up style. I used a little bit of hairspray to get control of any frizzies, because how can you fight crime in this heat with flyaway hair?
I cut this red bow off a gift box last Christmas. Originally I stuck it on my bulletin board because I liked it, but now it’s gonna be used for beauty purposes.
I slid a bobby pin through the back of the knot, then pinned it into my half-pony to hide the tie. Because a bow IN your hair is waaaaay more wearable than a bow ON your head.
My hair isn’t red in real life, but for some reason it photographs with a lot of gingery-blonde tones. That’s pretty perfect for this look. Unfortunately for people who aren’t me, I had a very hard time finding anything truly temporary that would make an entire head of hair red. There’s always coloured hairspray, or that “hair mascara” stuff, but I find that goes on unevenly and looks cheap. How can you save the world from Mojo Jojo with crusty hair?
So you can either use a semi-permanent dye like Manic Panic, which I’ve used and am comfortable recommending (I dyed my hair pink and purple last year--it was awesome) or you can just say “Whatever, Powerpuff Girls do what they want,” and keep your natural colour. It seems like the world of temporary hair dye just isn’t caught up with my imagination yet.
Here is my finished hairstyle from the front. All business.
And from the other angles.
I wanted a soft look as a base for dramatic eyes, so I kept my skin pretty basic and used what I always use: Smashbox BB Cream, YSL Touche Eclat under my eyes and some liquid concealer to cover up any spots and scars. I set everything with a very light dusting of pressed powder, using a big fluffy brush rather than a sponge.
My default blush is SUPER BRIGHT PINK, but I feel like Blossom would be a little more restrained than that. I applied a tiny bit of shimmery pink blush on the apples of my cheeks. It took me a minute to come around to the MAC Mineralize blushes, but I’m happy that I did. Gentle is a gorgeous pinky-gold colour, and perfect for faking that saving-the-day glow.
Almost ready to fly out and meet the Beat-Alls.
After repairing six out of ten of my nails with tea bags, I grabbed a box of Sally Hansen Salon Effects nail strips in Pink-A-Dot. I wanted something super girly that also brought to mind the retro, pop art-esque animation style of the show, and this print fit the bill.
If you’ve seen these at the drugstore and thought, Well they look good, but they’re probably really hard to put on, I can assure you that they are not. They are super easy and, with a good top coat (Sally Hansen Insta-Dry is THE BEST), they’ll easily last a full week. Probably even two.
Because I’m doing big eyes--and because Powerpuff girls technically don’t have lips--I went pretty subtle with the lipstick. Well, subtle for me.
Perfect for smooching Rowdyruff Boys, don’tcha think?
This is the key to the entire look, and I’m gonna get DETAILED. I hope you’re ready.
In the show, the Powerpuff Girls have purple eyelids. This presented a problem, because I have never found a purple eyeshadow that I love on me.
Rather than spend hours at Sephora and leave cross, I decided to apply the same principle to my eyeshadow as I have to my lipsticks--namely, that mixing otherwise average colours together can create something awesome.
I used Purple Pumps (Lancome) as a base and applied it all over my eyelid and up to my browbone (usually where your crease would be). I didn’t extend it past the outer edge of my eye--I wanted to keep a round shape. Then I used Water Lily (Bare Minerals eyecolour) overtop to cool it down and give it some shimmer.
Neither of these colours are good on me by themselves--Purple Pumps is far too livid, Water Lily is too eighties frosted--but together, they looked pretty excellent. The day is saved!
Then I used a slightly shimmery shadow about the same colour as my skin (MAC, Shroom) from the edge of the purple all the way up to my eyebrow.
I don’t have pink eyes, obviously, but I still wanted to reference that in the makeup. I took a bright pink shadow by L’Oreal (sadly discontinued, but it is a slightly more matte dupe of Woodstock by Urban Decay) and used it as a "border" for the purple. This meant extending it out a little near the outer corner of the eye, and tracing the crease/browbone. After I was sure I had the shape right, I blended it like crazy, focusing on taking it up toward my eyebrow, rather than down towards my lashes. I wanted to maintain a clear distinction between the purple lid and the pink crease.
This is called a cut crease, and now you know how to do it.
Obviously if you’re more of a Buttercup or a Bubbles, you can do the contrasting cut crease in green or blue.
Then, as always, I highlighted the inner corner of my eyes, my lower lashline and my browbone with a very light shimmery shadow. I used Kitten by Stila for this, because it's a perfect colour.
And here are swatches of all the colours I’ve used so far.
Then I used liquid liner (Lorac Front of the Line PRO) along my upper lid. Because I wanted my eyes to look rounder, my line was very thin at the inner corner and then became very thick starting at the middle of my eye. I took this big line all the way to where my eyelashes end, and then did a little baby flick. We’re talking the kitten heels of cat eyes here.
The Powerpuff Girls are sometimes shown with a couple long lashes on the outer corners of their eyes. I cut a pair of fake eyelashes that I already had in half, then glued the “inner” half, which had more of a gentle lash gradient, to the outside edge of my eyelashes.
Once the glue was dry, I applied mascara to the entire concoction and then hid the false lash band and the adhesive by going over it with my liquid liner again. Voila!
I wanted to do something neat for the lower lashes, too, but I could NOT figure out how to do fake lower lashes--even just a couple!--without looking terrifying. Eventually I settled on lightly lining my lower lashline with black pencil liner, then drawing a couple very thin, angled lines with my liquid liner on the outer corner to suggest longer lashes there.
With black mascara on my actual lashes, this blends together pretty nicely. I also lined my waterline with white eyeliner to embiggen my power peepers.
Finally, I filled in my brows a little better using dark brown, matte eyeshadow and an angled brush. I kept my natural shape--all the better to frown at villains with, right?
Here’s a close up of the finished eyes. I'm super proud of this:
And here is the entire thing! It’s super colourful and about as subtle as a punch to the face, but isn’t that what we expect from a Powerpuff Girl?
I’ll be honest, guys--I haven’t really done super-colourful makeup like this since I was in college. I’ve gotten lazy and minimalistic as I’ve gotten older. But as I played with these bright, fun colours, I started to remember why I fell in love with makeup in the first place. And I think it’s awesome that The Powerpuff Girls reminded me of that.
AND NOW WE DISCUSS. What’s your favourite cartoon? Are you more of a Blossom, Bubbles or Buttercup? How do you feel about SUPER colourful eye makeup? Should I make this a regular thing while I fly around, saving the world?
Also, I’ve heard that this year there’s going to be a new PPG episode, featuring Ringo Starr voicing a villain called Fibonacci Sequins. How mad am I that I didn’t come up with that name first?