Once upon a time (about a year ago), in a kingdom where both the sun and the subjects are always smiling (also known as Los Angeles), there lived a twenty-something young woman who, for the first time, was getting bored of her makeup.
And that twenty-something young woman was me.
Cue the sound of a million illuminated angels crying.
I had recently started a new job where my makeup and my creativity quickly became very important. I was getting tired of the same makeup uniform day after day: a cat eye with Kat Von D Lolita Liquid Lipstick, or, occasionally, if I was feeling particularly saucy, a red lip.
Red lips for spring? Groundbreaking.
I've always loved color, but, for some reason, when it came to putting color on myself... I'd hesitate. If I use blue on the lid, what do I blend it with? If I apply green glitter, what color should my liner be?
I was stuck. I had artist's block. And I HATED it. It was like hitting my perfectly contoured forehead against a brick wall.
For a while, I tried looking at different Instagram pictures and recreating certain looks. But that fizzled fast. My creations only seemed like watered down versions of the original, like Aladdin: The Return of Jafar and songs you've never even heard of, in comparison to Aladdin, the movie with "Friend Like Me" and "A Whole New World."
Speaking of Disney, it was around this time that I purchased my Disneyland annual pass. And I had a Disney sickness. I was going once a week. And don't get me wrong, I was always smitten with Disney, but having Disneyland close sparked the old flame — the attention to every single detail in the park, the music that gently sweeps my soul away with its sweet melody, and, perhaps most importantly, the cultivated color palettes that convey mood and emotion in each movie.
Disneybounding involves wearing the color scheme of a particular character in the details of your outfit. For example, here I was channeling the Queen of Hearts:
And, out of boredom with my makeup, I decided to try the Disneybounding technique on my face.
I started with Rapunzel from Tangled. I can't be sure why because she is my least favorite Disney princess (#sorrynotsorry). I decided to mimic the pink and lavender tones of her dress with shadows on my eyelid. I used a gold pencil toward the inner corner of my waterline to reflect her golden hair. Lastly, I drew on freckles because... she has freckles.
And suddenly, I was hooked. I started doing looks inspired by all the princesses.When I exhausted my options there, I moved on to villains.
Then, I just pulled ideas from whatever character I was feeling the most at that particular moment.
That lasted for 150 days. And I documented every single look.
Soon, I got bored of Disney (I mean doing Disney looks — don't get ahead of yourself!). So I took inspiration from foods, drinks, classical paintings, Broadway shows — pretty much anything with a color palette that I was even remotely fond of.
I discovered a science for breaking down my looks. If I wanted to do a traditional smoky eye, I would put the darker color on the lid and use the other colors as transitions. If I wanted to do a smoky crease or a liner look, I would use the prominent color in the inspo as the liner, the lighter and/or brighter color in the inspo as the lid color, and the darker color in the inspo as the crease or outer V color. I learned that cool colors tend to read as shadow, which recede and create depth. Warmer colors read as highlight and pop out a bit more. I let those observations govern my placement as well.
When all else fails, look at the main colors and shapes you see in your inspiration. Start with the most important attributes, the things that pop out at you the most, and work from there. And always always blend, blend, blend like it's your friend, friend, friend. TRUST AND BELIEVE it took me a while to understand what that actually meant.
Soon, I was experimenting with colors in places I would have never thought to do otherwise. I did a deep, royal-blue smoky eye with a bright red transition with white polka dots and glitter for a Crimson Peak inspired look.
I added subtle graphic shapes to complement a lemon yellow eye for nod to Pokemon/Pikachu.
And, most importantly, I was inspired again. I looked forward to putting on my makeup each and every morning.
Now, clearly, I'm not the only human to be using this rad technique. Recently, @skelotim gained internet fame for creating looks inspired by various snack foods. And @girlgreybeauty finds inspiration in literally everything and turns it into lip art. (Look at this. How is she even human?)
The moral of this story is quite simple: when in doubt, geek it out. When you're hitting a creative roadblock, borrow inspiration from whatever tickles your fancy, whether it be food, alcohol, landscapes, musicals, classical art, anime, cartoons, or, of course, Disney movies. Inspiration can be found everywhere if you know what you're looking for.
Peace out. I'm off to Neverland.