This Makeup Artist’s Viral Skull Makeup Is Blowing Up on Instagram – Allure Magazine

No matter what month it is, you can catch Vanessa Davis’s stunning skull makeup on her Instagram 365 days of the year. The London-based makeup artist doesn’t limit bone-inspired beauty to just Halloween season. Instead, she adds some glitter, neon paint, and intricate designs to make the anatomically awesome makeup a year-round thing.
Her skull-inspired designs are anything but basic. Each have themes like butterflies, lace, or mermaid tears. Naturally, this has earned her an apt nickname: the Skulltress. More than 225,000 people follow her on Instagram to see what spooky skull makeup she comes up with next. We caught up with Davis to find out just how long it takes her to create a single skull makeup look from start to finish and what the deal is with all the skulls.

What inspired you to only do skull makeup?

“My original inspiration was a last-minute Halloween party at a club in London in October 2015. I didn’t have a costume ready, so I painted half of a skull on my face. I was approached and photographed non-stop throughout the evening. This coincided with opening an account on Instagram, @the_wigs_and_makeup_manager. I noticed that the successful makeup accounts specialized in either a particular style or subject, so I chose skulls, which also worked as my heritage is Mexican and English. I am fascinated how skulls are portrayed in fashion, art and tattoo art, particularly by Alexander McQueen and [artist] Damien Hirst.”

How did you build your social media following?

“It wasn’t until I got my first shout-out on a large makeup platform for my Hand Skull makeup and gained 300 followers in a day that I realized that it was like a game. I began understanding how it all worked. Now, I am getting lots of extra paid opportunities through my platform, and my growth has skyrocketed to 225,000 in 18 months.”

How long have you been doing makeup?

“I have been a makeup artist for 15 years now. I got my B.A. at London College of Fashion. Currently, I manage the wigs and makeup department at the English National Opera, which explains my theatrical style.”

What are your top two favorite looks?

“My top two favorite looks which I have done are currently my Golden Disco Skull and my recent Holographic Star Skull. I created them because I love using color and mixed media in my makeup art to distort the face and add varying shapes and textures. I’m fascinated by the way light hits bone structure and how to amplify and exaggerate this using Swarovski crystals, spikes, large sequins, and chunky glitters.”

How long does it take for you to create a complete look?

“It takes me between six to 10 hours to complete one look. This includes photographing, editing, hash-tagging, posting and tidying up.”

Do you ever wear the skull makeup in public?

“I never wear the skull makeup in public — only if it’s a costume party! People love skulls and find them scary and fascinating, after all they are all part of our anatomy.”


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Now, go behind the scenes of Sienna Miller’s May 2017 cover shoot: