Flung Out of Space: Create a Queer Alien Look With Holographic Makeup

Treating fashion as a form of low key cosplay is a very queer thing. I know I’ve always done it and while you can blame a part of it on my love of genre fiction and being a hopeless nerd, a part of it is discomfort with the assumptions we make about gender expression. It all feels like costumery to me, and the more effortless and natural a certain look is perceived to be, the more uncomfortable and alien I feel wearing it.


I like to call my current look “Witch Empress from Outer Space,” and it’s all about the iridescence. In this political climate, it’s refreshing to feel powerful for a change, and it’s amazing what channeling the spirit of a galactic demagogue will do for your confidence. In case you need a boost, here are range products I love for getting the look.

Makeup Revolution Mermaid, Unicorn and Dragon Hearts

There’s nothing more sci-fi than covering your face in metallic powder. You need comparatively little of this product to get really vivid, brilliant colour across your cheeks and the palettes are wide enough it’s actually like owning several highlighters in one.

Barry M Strobing Cream

If you prefer creams to powders or a less colorful look then this stick is wonderful. It’s a nice day look, or for times when your inner majesty is feeling softer and more femme. The contour and highlight stick set is also perfect for drawing on vicious cheekbones, even if you don’t want to wear a full base underneath. But then again maybe you don’t need them, maybe your witch empress has an adorably soft face that conceals a heart of stone — only you can know your tyrannical alien truth.

Urban Decay Moondust Palette

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If you don’t have the money or don’t want to invest in a highlighter palette, metallic and/or glittery eyeshadow will do the job. The red and pink shades from the Moondust Palette are ideal for this (as are several of the single colours they sell), though as the colours are very strong you’ll probably want to apply them with a dry brush rather than wet. If you want to be horrifyingly, blindingly shiny you can even do a combination highlighter/contour by adding the gold shade — though that probably really is just a festival/club look. You can also do some incredible colour and sparkle dense eye looks with them.

Barry M Holographic Eye Toppers

Speaking of eye makeup and continuing with the holographic theme, look at these beauties! Barry M has four extremely affordable eyeshadow toppers that will basically double your eyeshadow collection. They go on smoothly with minimal creasing and an incredibly intense colour.

Urban Decay Distortion Palette

Urban Decay has a similar but much more expensive palette where the powder toppers are paired with suggested base shades. It’s actually a little hard to use (I ended up blending with my fingers) and much more expensive but the effects are worth it.

Lip Looks

Even though traditional advice is to tone down the lips when you’re wearing all the rest of this but I feel like a bold lip is called for. Don’t worry about it being too much, we abandoned subtle long ago and are aiming for the full checklist from a makeup trends men hate article. I suggest Maybelline’s Color Sensational Lipstick in Midnight Plum. 

Or pretty much anything from the Urban Decay’s Hi Fi Shine range.

This L’Oreal gloss is expensive but also makes a great final touch, especially over purple.

All that’s left is to straighten your spine, put your shoulders back and murder strut your way to victory.

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Siobhan has degrees in information management and medieval history making her lots of fun at parties. She's written for Dirge, Biscuit and Diva and is currently working on a book on the supernatural women of Ireland for Wolfenhowle Press (and if you want to help feed her while she works on it you can check out her patreon here.

Siobhan has written 34 articles for us.


  1. “Treating fashion as a form of low key cosplay is a very queer thing.”

    I can second that! I’ve taken to loosely basing my summer style on one of my favorite video game characters, and it gives me a confidence boost every time!

    • when I was a teenager and very virulently anti-makeup/anything femme (sigh) I felt like the only time makeup made sense is if you were going to be all dramatic about it. “low key cosplay” would have been an excellent term for it!

  2. Hey! British makeup that I can actually easily buy!!!
    I’ve been experimenting with colour a lot more lately. I don’t want to look pretty – I want to scare Nazis and old ladies. And if that means shiny rainbow colours everywhere on my face like everyday is Pride, then I’m not going to complain.

  3. Throughly loving the idea of makeup as low key cosplay. I’m just not sure how that would actually look in practice. Sounds like a fantastic column idea for me!

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