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How to create Halle Bailey’s ethereal Little Mermaid beauty look

While The Little Mermaid’s Ariel is best known for her iconic flowing auburn hair, her makeup look in the 2023 live action film, starring Halle Bailey, has garnered just as much attention.

Led by the creative vision of makeup artist Kat Ali, Ariel’s natural, ethereal beauty was enhanced by a simple and sophisticated makeup look.

“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,” Ali tells Vogue.

For Bailey’s ‘mermaid-core’ makeup look, which has quickly become a TikTok phenomenon, the team focused on skin.

Before applying Glossier Priming Moisturiser, she cleansed with Bioderma Micellar Water. The, Glossier Priming Moisturiser, Avène Soothing Eye Contour Cream, and Glossier the Balm Dot Com, were applied 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.”

For Hailey’s warm, smokey eye, Ali used Tom Ford’s Eye Color Quad Eyeshadow in the shade ‘Suspicion.’ For those recreating the look at home, Ali notes that its best to use your fingers for application to get the most out of the product, and elimate any harsh lines with a clean, fluffy brush. She also emphasises creating a ‘spotlight’ on the eye. “That’s the lightest colour in the quad right in the centre of the lid,” she explains.

“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.

Bailey’s groundbreaking auburn natural locs was the work of hair designer Camille Friend, who used multiple shades of extensions wrapped around Bailey’s locs to achieve the resulting ginger. Various textures mixed in to ensure maximum underwater movement, she revealed to Allure.

While mermaid-core usually takes the form of cool tones and exaggerated glitter, Halle Bailey’s Ariel is proving that modern mermaids plays up their natural features, both above and under the sea.

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