The Little Mermaid’s Ariel is best known for her flowing auburn mane. But, as it turns out, the mermaid’s makeup look is equally important—and iconic. “Makeup Designer Peter Swords King and I discussed the initial concept early on, and we decided that Ariel needed to be a natural, ethereal beauty,” says makeup artist Kat Ali, who shared a breakdown of actor Halle Bailey’s mermaid-core makeup on Instagram as a nod to eager (and curious) fans. “Ariel is the youngest mermaid sister, and we wanted to create a ‘no-makeup’ makeup look with a siren twist, the result being glossy, polished, and youthful.”
In dreaming up Bailey’s fairytale aesthetic, the team focused on the skin, cleansing with Bioderma Micellar Water before applying Glossier Priming Moisturiser, Avène Soothing Eye Contour Cream, and Glossier the Balm Dot Com to create a fresh, healthy canvas. “I used MAC Face and Body foundation (a classic) lightly—less is more with this look,” says Ali. “It’s easier to add product than to take it away.”
Ali relied on Tom Ford’s Eye Color Quad Eyeshadow in Suspicion to create Bailey’s warm, effulgent eye look, and notes that those recreating the look at home should use their fingers for application to get the most out of the product, eliminating any harsh lines with a clean and fluffy brush. And don’t forget the spotlight! “That’s the lightest color in the quad right in the center of the lid,” she explains. And last, the lip. “For Halle’s lips, she really liked the idea of a visible lip line slightly darker than her own lip color to introduce some subtle definition, so we used MAC Cork for that, which I followed with a slick of Chanel 174 Rouge Angelique lipstick,” says Ali.
The understated glamour played with Bailey’s (natural!) locs, hair hue, and styling, the work of hair designer Camille Friend, who told Allure that she utilized multiple shades of extensions wrapped around Bailey’s locs to achieve the resulting ginger, with various textures mixed in to ensure maximum underwater movement.
So if you think that mermaid-core is all down to exaggerated glitter and cool hues, think again—the modern mermaid plays up her natural features, both above and under the sea.
This article was originally published on Vogue.com