It took me a long time to incorporate color into my wardrobe. When I say long, I’m talking 20 years. Up until about a year ago, I wore all black or all white, depending on the season. One day, my Colombian friend who works in fashion said she was sick of me dressing like a goth detective and unilaterally decided she was going to start styling me; color was non-negotiable. I became a convert to the newly colored side of my closet practically overnight.
Now, I’m a maximalist when it comes to color. Bright pinks, blues, yellows, and reds live on my hangers. My friends like to joke that I usually look like I’m going to a disco or my own quinceañera.
Along the same timeline as my wardrobe rebirth, I learned to incorporate and embrace vibrant colors in my makeup. Makeup color can be scary to the average person; I’ve learned from talking to people. Bright shadow palettes are always exciting and fun to look at, but do they really have a place on the everyday street? Yes, they absolutely do.
One color trend in particular is catching the attention of beauty editors and makeup aficionados everywhere: bright color shadows isolated in the tear ducts, or what we’re calling mermaid tears.
When I’m learning any new thing, whether it’s Japanese or how to cook Bolognese, I call a pro—in this case, it was celebrity makeup artist Rob Scheppy.
Meet the Expert
Rob Scheppy is a hair and makeup artist famous for his work on the Kardashian-Jenner clan, as well as the likes of Lindsay Lohan, Kate Beckinsale, and Annita, just to name a few.
Rob also happens to be my friend and my neighbor. He does my absolute favorite glam. His fresh-faced and natural beauty looks can make a day go from 0-100 in one hour or less. Like any artist, Rob also loves to play with colors. Naturally, I called him to teach me how to execute the best mermaid tears look.
How to Create Mermaid Tears
The technique starts with choosing a color. Experts always turn to the client’s skin tone and eye color, or an old-fashioned paint wheel. “To determine which colors will compliment your skin and eye tones, just hold the color next to you and see what works, or look up color charts for complimentary color theory,” Rob says. He asked me what I planned on wearing that night; I told him it was a beige dress with blue accents. “We’re doing blue moment”, he exclaimed. Blue is one of my favorite colors, so I was very excited about this.
To achieve the perfect mermaid tears, the right applicator is also a necessity. “Determine the brush size with the space you are applying product.” Rob notes. “For a small space, use a smaller brush for precision application. For sharp lines, use a small angled brush.”
For my mermaid tears, he used a small, dome shaped brush with a tapered tip. He recommends using cream or liquid formulas, like Danessa Myricks Beauty Waterproof Cushion Liner, for bright color applications. The brand’s color Blue Skies is what we used—Rob called it “liquid blue jeans in a pot.”
Liquid colors dry down quickly and don’t require any setting powders. Within minutes, my eyes popped like blue headlights. He applied the color into my tear ducts and slightly into crease to create minor graphic effect. He complemented the blue with browns and taupe color powders on the rest of my lids and waterline. I used to think that color needed confidence, but now, I strongly believe that color gives confidence.
Rob says diving into colorful makeup the first time can be an easy transition, “Try an unexpected color in place of what you usually do,” he suggests. “Swap your pink blush for lavender or yellow.” For those who are still trepidatious, rest easy knowing that no color is a set-in-stone commitment: “Explore what you think will look good on you and if you don’t like it, it’s just makeup and you can wipe it off and try something else!”