10 Apr 2013

Masked Ball Makeup (Period Makeup)

Venice Carnevale 2013 Gran Ballo Mascheranda

Here's one I forgot to post last month!

As mentioned in some (reasonably) recent Facebook posts, I was lucky enough to attend a masked ball in Venice as part of the 2013 Carnevale celebrations.  I wanted to go the whole hog, to dress up in period costume, period wig, jewellery, makeup, the lot.

Research into the makeup suggested simple; very whitened, powdered, matte makeup, red "rouge" and a stained red lip.  Minimal eyeliner and mascara, just enough for definition.  Essentially this was the same for both men and women :-)

The photo above shows the finished look - albeit obscured by masks :-)

There wasn't a lot to do except layer on the white and make sure the finished look was a pale white, matte powdered finish, enough coverage not to be patchy, but not so much coverage that it was a mask itself - ie not a clown/geisha white.

The products and techniques I used were as follows:


PrimerI needed this to last from 5pm until about 5am, so I used Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch - my favourite go-to primer

Red CorrectionI'm prone to a bit of Irish ruddiness, and I needed to make sure that was masked-off, so I used l'Oréal Studio Secrets Primer Anti-redness - sparingly, I didn't want to look Halloween white, just 15th Century white!

Face, hairline, ears, neck, eyelids, deécolletage etcA fortuitous purchase at a fiver each in the Illamasqua sale, I used the Illamasqua Cream Foundation and Illamasqua Powder Foundation both in #100 (white).  MAC Fix+ to finish.

Undereye Concealer/correctorMy trusty BBU Palette came into its own here, how otherwise would I have sufficiently pale correctors?  Here I used the Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer in Porcelain Bisque as an undereye concealer...

Blemish concealerScore again for the BBU Palette, using this time a mix of the Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealers in Porcelain & Alabaster and Illamasqua Skin Base in #01 (white) to create an uber-pale face concealer for any minor blemishes.

ArmsMAC Face & Body in White - a PRO store only item (annoying, as Brown Thomas stock Face & Body in all other shades except white), this isn't used much but came into its own for paling-down my slightly tanned arms.


BrowsI didn't want the brows to be too sculpted, so wanted to just use a slightly greyed powder - the Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Medium was perfect for the job, even though it's a contour powder.  My brows were not going to be on show anyhow, as they were hidden by a mask.

EyelinerEye makeup wasn't a huge thing in the 15th century, however I needed to just give a bit of definition for the camera, and to make sure that my eyes didn't disappear completely behind the mask.  I tight-lined the upper waterline only in Urban Decay Black Dog powder eyeshadow and the lower waterline in MAC Eye Kohl in Fascinating (white), which I also applied under the lash line and into the inner corners).

MascaraWith all the water around and the threat of rain, I figured waterproof was the way to go!  So I used Chanel Sublime de Chanel Waterproof Mascara in #010/Noir, barely painted on with MAC 205 (Pro) fan brush.


BlushI'd actually managed to forget to bring an appropriately coloured blusher with me, despite bringing more than 4kg of makeup to Venice!  I discovered KIKO Cosmetics in Venice and purchased their Soft Touch Blush in 107/Tomato and used it high on the cheekbones and pulled down softly.  This look didn't need a contour or highlighter - a contour would have made it look too theatrical, and there was nothing to highlight as my entire face was already whitened-out!


StainThe lips just needed to be stained very simply with red - I used a pink-based red (Dior Diorific Lipstick in 040/Marilyn, blotted and removed a few times, and then removed finally to leave a long-wearing stain only that lasted the night.

If you're remotely interested, look here for my costume-making post.  My mask was one I'd purchased from Ca' Macana (side note: these are the guys who made the masks for the movie Eyes Wide Shut as it transpires!) on a prior visit to Venice some years ago.  My wig was rented and my hair jewellery was something that I made myself some time ago.  Overall, the ball was immense fun and I'd love to do it again, however given the ridiculous expense involved, am not likely to!


  1. You guys look amazing, Ive heard good things about the brand Kiko

    1. Thanks a mill!!! We had a lot of fun :-)


Thanks for reading!


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