Everyday makeup looks are just a part of CeKeisha Williams’ routine. She is used to glamming up her clients’ hair and makeup for weddings, events and photo shoots (including 225 editorial shoots, for which she is a regular contributor).
But there’s nothing routine about “melting” someone’s face off with just a little—or a lot—of concealer, fake blood and unflavored gelatin.
Williams didn’t think she would develop a passion for special effects makeup—so much so that she ignored the lesson plan in beauty school. But she retaught herself the skills after realizing that kind of makeup could provide an escape from the run-of-the-mill looks her clients usually request.
“You’re not as creative sometimes because people want it the way they want it,” she says.
We sat down with Williams as she showed us how to create a special effects look, using her friend Rinnie Xiao as the model. During the shoot, Williams let her creativity run wild—because a gruesome Halloween look doesn’t always have to make sense. keishadstylist.com
Williams applies beauty products to part of Xiao’s face: liquid foundation, powder, lipstick and eye makeup. She adds dimension by highlighting and contouring. The makeup only goes on the side of Xiao’s face that won’t be covered by the Halloween makeup.
Williams outlines Xiao’s face in black eyeliner so she can trace over it with a type of special effects wax that resembles scarred flesh. She covers Xiao’s left eye with latex, gauze and tissue. She layers more latex over the gauze, topped with foundation to match the skin tone. Williams covers Xiao’s mouth with hard wax that will stay in place even with slight movement.
Williams microwaves unflavored gelatin. She mixes it until it reaches a gooey consistency. She layers the goop until it looks—almost too realistically—like flesh dripping down Xiao’s face. She applies more foundation, again blending it with Xiao’s skin tone. But this time, she adds some zombie-ish muted black and green paint into the gelatin concoction, adding more depth.
She applies the finishing touch: color. A brownish green face paint goes first, then some gray, burgundy and a touch of red. Williams works like a painter, adding each color carefully to enhance the blistered effect. She tops it off with a touch of fake blood, powdering over everything one last time and applying a hint of blue and black lipstick to Xiao’s lips. She extends the look onto Xiao’s ear and neck. On a whim, she sticks safety pins through different parts of the “flesh.” Voila! A perfectly creepy, Oct. 31-ready look.