You guys already know that I am a proud, banner-waving nerd, and that there’s nothing I’m nerdier about (or love more) than Lord of the Rings--I’ve already demonstrated that I’m basically an elf.
One of my favourite childhood memories is my dad reading The Hobbit to me. Every night for about an hour, we’d sit in the formal lounge and I’d listen as Bilbo and the dwarves fought trolls, riddled their way out of dark places and got closer and closer to the Lonely Mountain.
I was about five, and I could read just fine. But I liked spending time with him, and even though I couldn’t have explained this at the time, I loved that he was sharing something with me that he so clearly loved.
But there was one thing about it that he didn’t love--there were no female characters for his young daughter to identify with. So he made Smaug the dragon a girl.
That’s right, pedants. He up and turned the strongest, most beautiful, most dangerous monster in Middle-earth into a lady monster.
Maybe this is why Smaug has always been my favourite Hobbit character. I mean, the dwarves are fine. We don’t know much about the elves yet, except that they seem like jerks. But Smaug the Magnificent? With her red and gold shimmering scales? With the powers of hypnosis and flight, who pretty much just wants to be left alone to nap in a mountain, covered in jewels? Who can’t relate to THAT?
I mean, OK. She DID displace an entire line of dwarves and steal everything they’d ever created. And she DID lay waste to an entire town and blight the area. But who among us is perfect? That’s still a lady-dragon I could get behind.
This idea took root so deeply in me that it is WEIRD whenever I realise that Smaug is, in fact, a dude dragon. And is voiced by my Imaginary Boyfriend Benedict Cumberbatch in the most recent Hobbit movie. If you have not seen The Hobbit 2: Electric Boogaloo, you should absolutely go see it, if only for Smaug. That dragon is the most amazing thing I have ever seen in a movie, and as far as I can tell, the entire reason computers were invented. He might even be the reason Benedict Cumberbatch was invented. We may never know for sure, but I volunteer as tribute to find out.
It should be obvious where I’m going with this: I took my lifelong love of glamourous lady dragons and came up with a look that is mega-dramatic and beautiful.
Obviously dragons do not have adorable banged bobs. Ridiculous, I know. To give myself a sleek, reptilian look, I wet my hair, sprayed it with some very hard-hold hairspray, and combed it back from my face.
To stop my bangs from flopping forward again, I gave everything a quick blast with my hairdryer to set the hairspray in place. Enjoy my forehead, everyone.
Smaug’s nail game is on point. It’s even referenced in the movie--supposedly he has nails like spears. My nails are not quite spearlike in length or sharpness (anymore), but they still look pretty good, and here is how I decorated them.
I started with two coats of Essie’s Leading Lady, a sheer deep red polish loaded with lots of fine red glitter. I wanted this to recall the sheen of dragon scales, the glow of fire, and still also be something I could wear in my life without getting bizarre looks from family members at holiday parties. Tis the season to have your life judged.
After that, I had planned to use a gold glitter nail polish overtop for a fantastic glitter-on-glitter ombre. But then I realised I didn’t have the nail polish I thought I did, so I improvised by painting Urban Decay Heavy Metal glitter eyeliner in Midnight Cowboy on the tops of my nails, fading down into a gradient. It worked just as well, and the skinny brush was totally perfect for delicate work.
I finished everything with a clear topcoat--Sally Hansen Insta Dri is still the gold standard of amazing topcoats, as far as I’m concerned--and once it was dry, my nails looked fantastic. Gaudy, but not TOO gaudy. I think most dragons would approve.
To begin with, I am going to say what I always say: Perfect your canvas. This means apply foundation, conceal any spots/redness/under-eye circles, and set with powder. The basic building blocks of any makeup look, really.
Instead of applying blush, we are going to contour our cheekbones to make our faces look more angular. As always, I am using a light brown matte eyeshadow (MAC, Wedge) for my contour shade, but use whatever works for you!
Suck your cheeks in like you’re making a weird fish face, then brush the contour shade underneath your cheekbones. Clean your brush on a towel or tissue, then blend it well. If you can see a harsh line, you need to do more blending! If all you see if a muddy mess on the side of your face, you need to do less. Try again!
Next, we highlight. I am using a light gold shimmery eyeshadow as highlighter here because, duh, it’s gold and I’m a freaking dragon. IT’S WHAT I LIVE FOR. I applied it all over my eye sockets--brown to lash line--and down the bridge of my nose, right above my lips’ Cupid’s bow, above my eyebrows and around the very tops of my cheekbones by my eyes, blending downwards a little so that the shimmer isn’t just SITTING there.
Though the look is really dramatic, it doesn’t require THAT much stuff.
And here are the pertinent swatches.
As you can see, I’m not going for a bright red dragon look. In the movie, Smaug is more of a deep maroon, so I wanted to stick with a deep burgundy and gold colour scheme for this look. I also decided to do a '70s supermodel style of eye makeup, because that’s how I think dragons would look in human form--larger than life, dramatic, sinuous, bold and generally fantastic.
To begin with, cover your mobile eyelid (the part that moves when you blink) with the gold eyeshadow. Make sure it’s really sparkly; dragons are not known for their subtlety.
Now we start with the red. I am using a MAC paint in Flammable for this because I love the colour and the blendable finish, but you can use any burgundy eyeshadow mixed with a little water or contact lens solution for a similar effect.
Using a very thin brush, start by lining your top lash line about 1/3 of the way across with your burgundy pigment. Then draw a long flick out from the outer corner. Use a playing card or a ruler if you have to--you want this line to be dead straight.
Starting from the top of the flick, draw a slightly curved line that follows your crease (or the curve of your eyeball) across your lid, ending just before your inside corner.
Blend this shape inwards a little at the outer corner, filling in the flame shape oh so slightly. Don’t blend the lashline, though. Keep that very sharp.
The crease line is going to be cut--you probably remember me talking about that here--which just means we’re going to blend the shadow up towards the brow, rather than down towards the eyelashes. Don’t bring the shadow down onto the gold lid; there should be a very clear delineation between red and gold.
Now we take the red pigment and paint a small triangle around the very inside corner of our eyes, right by the tear duct. I got this idea from some of the bonkers makeup in the Perfect365 app, which is BY FAR my favourite thing to kill time with.
Starting about 2/3 of the way from the outside, draw a line underneath your eye and flick it out and down at the end. Again, if you need to use a piece of cardboard to get your line straight, do it. Blend this downwards oh so slightly.
We’re going to come back to eyeliner in a second, because first we need to apply our eyelashes. Dragons in Middle Earth can hypnotise people--dragon-spell, holler--so we’re going to make our eyes EXTRA hypnotic with some long fake eyelashes.
I don’t think I have any sneaky fake-lash application tricks, except that I always use my tweezers to get them on the inner corners. Apply the lash glue to the bland and stick them on, making sure they’re positioned right along the lash line.
Once dry, trace along the band with black liquid eyeliner to make sure there are no weird shiny patches of dry adhesive. Apply two coats of mascara to adhere your natural lashes to the falsies and make everything the same colour.
Okay, now back to the eyeliner. Fill in the gaps in between the red along the lash lines with the gold glitter eyeliner. Take care not to get it on your fake eyelashes.
Draw a line along the inside of the top “tails” where your red eyeliner flicks out.
To finish the eyes, I glued two small rhinestones just under the red liner point of my tearducts. These reminded me of the jewels of my dragon hoard, and maybe even of the Arkenstone.
I defined my eyebrows with a very dark brown shade, making sure to keep the arches very high and angular. Dragons have arched brows, I’m sure of it. I also added burgundy shadow to the “tails” of each brow and extended them out a little further than I normally would for a more extreme look.
Want to see the eyes all together? It’s pretty great.
To make sure I kept the same colour on my mouth as in my eyes, I applied a clear lip balm and then tapped some of the MAC paint overtop. Because I’d blended my eyes with so much of the Burgundy shadow, I then lightly applied a coat of that overtop for a more maroon shade.
I will be real: it wasn’t super pleasant-feeling, but the balm kept it from getting too dry. I used a dark red lipliner afterwards to tidy up the outer line; boy or girl, Smaug would never have sub-par lipstick.
Then I applied a little bit of bareMinerals gold eyecolour to the center of my lips with a small brush, blending outward slightly for an ombre effect.
And, because I can never say no to glitter, I dabbed a little gold glitter liner in the very center of my lower lip because why not.
To finish my Smaug-inspired look, I piled on all the gold jewellery I could find, flipped my hair and ate some dudes. Are you ready to see how it turned out?
I think it’s pretty great.
As far as inspiration goes, Smaug is pretty excellent.
I am really pleased with how this turned out. What do you think, guys--do I make a good dragon lady? Have you seen the second Hobbit movie? Are you a fan of burgundy and gold together like this? Please also share all Hobbit/LOTR stories in the comments.