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Day#16: Butterfly

Butterfly Queen

We’re half way done with the 31 Days of Halloween makeup challenge! Let’s celebrate with a big ol’ body painting project for day 16! This beautiful Monarch Butterfly inspired look requires very few products and even a beginner could achieve it. Believe me, body painting is not my strong suit as a makeup artist, so if I can do it, so can you. My strategy here was to keep one half my face really natural and have the other side kind of staring to morph and develop, then expand and take over down on the neck and chest area. The inspiration is really a Monarch Butterfly’s metamorphosis. And she’s a Queen because…well, she IS a Monarch. Okay, let’s do it!

As far as a costume goes, you can wear anything in the same color palette as the one you choose for the paint job, and a pair of costume wings would also work. I just went with a black tube top and black pants. Of course, I didn’t wear this out, but if I did, I still don’t think I would have worn anything crazy. I’d let the makeup speak for itself as much as possible! However, I did want my hair to still look amazing, so I put on my Bellami Hair clip on ponytail extension piece in a black color that matches my hair. My contacts are the Ttdeye Real Khaki contacts and obviously optional.


First, I put foundation on one half of my face. I used this same one to go back in and cover the rest of the skin on my face after all the body painting was complete. I used the Hard Candy Glamoflauge Foundation, with the Kevin Acoin sensual skin enhancer as my under eye concealer. I set that all in place with the Laura Mercier  translucent setting powder. On one cheek, I brushed on a very very light wash of the La Femme Blush in the shade Red. I then filled in one eyebrow with my usual, Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip Brow Pomade in the color Dark Brown. On my lips, I used a color that I knew would be similar but darker than the base of my wing color. So I went with the Colourpop liquid lipstick in the shade Bad Habit. Feel free to put on some false lashes, but I kept it natural with some regular black mascara on the one eye.


Moving on to the painting portion… I used Mehron Pradise Paint in the following colors: Red, Yellow, Orange, White, and Black. These are water activated paints and I mixed them together to create the base of the Butterfly’s color. Monarchs are a bit more orange than mine came out, but that’s alright. It’s unique and beautiful. I stared on my face with a mix of red and white paint to create a sort of pink color, going over and around my eye. I then mixed that custom pink shade I made with orange paint. With a medium flat paint brush, I blended that outward from the first pink color into the general shape of a sideways Butterfly, or one wing.In various spots over the wings, I pat a wash of yellow paint to add some highlight to the base color. The longest end of the wing extended upward toward my temple and the bottom part of the wing covered over the top of my cheekbone. I strategically placed the crease of the top and bottom wing, or where they meet, just at the lash line of my eye. This way, when I blink or look down, the curve of the wings really fit and flow with the shape of my face. Paying attention to the way the face and body move in order to find the placement of all the body paint is really important for this look because it looks so much more flattering and fitting this way. This goes for any paint job, by the way.

I repeated this color blending process onto the neck and chest. As far of the shapes of the wings, I made it into sort of a collar-effect with the pink and orange base color for the wings and really created the shapes I wanted after that with black paint. There are no rules and you can make this your own. So if you feel that it looks best with only parts or half of your neck and chest painted, go for it. Make sure to follow the same process of laying down the pink color, then orange on the outermost portions, and highlighting in various spots with yellow. For the very bottom of each “wing” you create, create a pointed or semi-pointed shape so that it tapers like a real wing.

Outline time! This is the most fun part because you get to create the shapes and design that is really specific to the Monarch Butterfly. Go around the outer edge of everything you just painted with black paint. Do this with a brush that is the appropriate size for the part of the body you’re working on. That means you’ll need to use a small-ish synthetic brush on the face and a medium to large brush on the neck and chest. I recommend using a tapered brush as opposed to a flat brush so that you can create curves and different sized lines with the black paint. If you used a flat brush, you’d be more limited in the shapes you can paint: the size of the flat part of the brush or the size of the side of the brush. You just want to let your brushes work for you and help you out.  I ended up making the chest portion look like one large wing with multiple tapered points, because that fit best on my body. And the wing on my face was more defined and shaped like a traditional butterfly wing. I masked my brow by making it black as a part of the outline. That is one example of making the makeup fit the shapes of existing facial features.

Now, with this black paint, when you create the Monarch lines, I recommend you look at a reference picture of a real Butterfly to see how the lines connect and transition. Again, pay attention to the curves of your body and make sure the lines fit and flow in the areas you’re painting. Start by creating curved lines that extend inward from the outline (on the neck/chest, think more upward) that are slightly thinner than the outline itself. You want to think of making little humps or oblong McDonald’s arches, with the hump facing the outline. Fill in the spaces between the curves of the humps and the outlines with black and keep going. They do not have to be perfect, but try to stick with the same general shapes, going in the same direction. For every thick outline line, there should be little humps or McDonalds arches branching out from it. Don’t get overwhelmed. Work in small sections, step back and look at it from far away each time you complete a section and then move on. If you mess up, don’t fret. You can wipe away and mistakes with a makeup wipe and paint over it again as needed.

Next, give the Queen some shimmer! I wanted to add a metallic element to the Butterfly, so I grabbed the Mehron Metallic Powder in the Gold color. You’ll need the mixing liquid that goes with these metallic powders to activate the product into a thicker consistency, such that you can actually paint it on. I, however, ran out of the mixing liquid. So I improvised and used 100% pure glycerin to activate the powder. All you need to go is carefully pour out some powder onto a mixing palette (or any flat surface like a paper plate), and add a couple drops of the fluid. You can mix it up with the back of your brush and then start painting it on. Unlike the black details, I wanted a more flat and rounded synthetic brush to apply this product because I knew I needed that shape to help me out. I painted that gold color onto the tips of each pink/orange portion of the wing. I tried not to go over the black paint, but rather just tried to stay on the pink, where I needed to go right up against the curved black edges of the outline. On the face, I did this on the very outsides, but I did this on the chest in a more layered effect, at the bottom of each large detail section. This gold actually blended into the pink/orange pretty nicely. But if you’re having a hard time, just go over the edge of the gold with the remainder of product on the brushes you used for the base wing color earlier to help create a smoother gradient.

For the painted details on these wings that really sell the Butterfly effect, I added some white dots. With a small detail brush and white body paint, I painted circles in various different sizes over the black outline. You can use a ton of dots like I did, or you can keep them more sparse. Just make sure not to skip them because they are signature for the Monarch Butterfly. Make sure your black paint is dry underneath before you do this so it doesn’t start to turn grey. If you’re having a hard time making the white dots show up nice and bright, make them more opaque by going over them with a white eyeliner. Lime Crime white liner called Lunar Sea is a good choice.

As if the gold metallic powder wasn’t enough, I wanted the wings on the chest to look like our Queen was dipped in literal gold. The best way to achieve this was to glue on some gold foil. I got gold foil flakes in a little pack from Walmart, and it came with adhesive. I’m warning you, this stuff is super messy and gets everywhere. It stuck to my fingers more than to my chest where I wanted it. But when I finally got it on, it was worth it! I just lightly brushed the adhesive on part of my black outline on my chest. I then tried to press the gold flakes on top in little sections at a time. Lastly, I added some shading under the bottom edges of the wings to make them appear as if they were sitting on top of the skin, casting a shadow. You can skip this step if you’d like.


That’s all there is to it! Now you’re a beautiful Butterfly. See you tomorrow for day 17 of 31 Days of Halloween!!!


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