Monday, 29 March 2010

001: Sharon Tate Makeup Tutorial

Stupid me forgot to back up my posts at before I closed it down. Thank GOD for google cache!

Sharon Tate, The Fearless Vampire Killers, 1966

Sharon Tate was so, so beautiful. Seriously. Stunning.  I was surprised that no one has posted a tutorial on her look as I think it’s a much prettier and natural than other 60s icons as Twiggy, Barbra Streisand and Edie Sedgwick. I’m not a makeup artist, just a keen amateur so please be kind with my tutorial. I wouldn’t know how to make a youtube vid, so I’ve just put together some research photos of Sharon and I made a drawing of her eyes (all that money spent on art school has not gone to waste. :D) with some annotations of how to apply the makeup. I’ve also posted a step by step tutorial with a product list from when I tried this look out myself.

The focus of Sharon’s look was always her beautiful, large brown eyes, the rest of her makeup was quite natural. She had clear, tanned skin and was the epitome of the California Golden Girl. Her clever use of eye-makeup made her eyes seem even larger than they were, as I hope you can tell from the photos below:

Left: Sharon with and (Right:) without makeup

Please read below the cut for epic postage…

Clockwise from top: Jean Shrimpton, Twiggy, Edie Sedgwick, Barbra Streisand

Makeup in the 60s was all about the eyes and this style of makeup with the darkened socket line and heavy lashes is typical having progressively intensified from the late 50s, which in turn, was probably influenced by 30s makeup, particularly that of Greta Garbo, who was famous for her large, hooded eyes. I hope you can see the similarities between Greta’s makeup and Sharon’s in the late 60s:

Greta usually used black on the waterline, although Sharon did do this also, she usually left the waterline natural, or lined it in a light coloured kohl to make the eye look bigger.

Sharon had several different ways she applied her eye makeup.

Here are some collages of her different eye makeup styles grouped into four “looks”. For lack of a better descriptive term, I’ve named two of her styles after Greta Garbo as the the application is very reminiscent of her. You can see variations on a theme within the collages and her use of false lashes. Apparently she was fond of individual lashes.

1. Dark lid and Flick

1. Dark Lid and Flick - mid/dark brown shadow over lid to natural socket-line and extended outwards to form flick. Black liquid liner along top lash line and flicked outwards to frame the shadow. Several coats of mascara on top and bottom lashes close to roots.

2. Sharon's Garbo Eyes

2. Sharon’s Garbo Eyes – Natural shadow base. Brown liquid liner in and just above the socket line and ending on a level with the bottom lashes. Brown shadow along the lower lash line, brown pencil extending outwards from outer corner of the lower lash line to meet the extended socket line. White kohl along the lower waterline Lots of mascara on the top and bottom lashes.

3. Blended Garbo Eyes

3. Blended – Natural shadow base. Dark brown shadow applied with a dry brush and blended into and above the socket line and into a higlighter powder on the brow bone. Top lash lines possibly lined in black. Brown shadow along the lower lash line, leaving a slight gap from the waterline, curving upwards towards the end of the eyebrow. Black kohl used on the waterline. Lots of mascara on the top and bottom lashes.

4. Sharon's Smoky Eyes

4. Sharon’s Smoky Eyes - Mid brown shadow applied over lid, blended well, up to and just above the natural socket line. Dark brown shadow used to darken the socket line.  False lashes and lots of mascara on both top and bottom lashes. Waterline maybe kohled in a dark colour. Lower lash line can be lined in a dark shadow.

As said, the rest of her makeup was left quite natural. Debra Tate has said that Sharon’s favourite lip product was Vaseline and that she would keep pots of it in her car. Debra also said that Sharon would use her eyebrow pencil as a lipliner, as you can see, here:

You could use a nude or peachy coloured lipstick or lipgloss as in these photos:

Finish with a sweep of bronzer or a peachy blusher as a light contour on the cheeks and temples.

And that ends the research and piccies. Onto the nitty-gritty.

Here’s a more in-depth how to and what to use when applying Sharon inspired makeup.

Based on 2. Sharon’s Garbo Eye, I drew a picture to clearly define the look for you to try out yourself. I’ve found that the key is to make sure that your eyebrows are well groomed in the lovely arch that Sharon had. This exposes more skin on the brow-bone and so adds space around the eye so you have more skin to work with, making it look immediately larger. In an interview with Debra Tate, Sharon’s sister, she mentioned how Sharon would sometimes use a darker shadow in the inner corner of the eye, from the start of the eyebrow, down to the corner of the eye. This shading just adds a bit of depth to the corner of the eye. Use concealer afterward underneath the eye to clean up and keep the skin around the eye, bright.

Click for a larger view (opens in a new tab)


Foundation (I used Mac Face and Body Foundation because it’s sheer)
Translucent powder
Blusher – a countour in a soft peach/rose (I used Clinque Quick Blush in Hurry Honey (£21)
Bronzer (optional)

Lid Primer (optional)
Brow pencil
pale/med taupe eyeshadow
warm dark brown eyeshadow
(I used Pure Eye Shadow Set in “Day”, a compact of five shadows which contains all the necessary shades for this look)
Eye liner in a medium brown, either pencil or liquid liner
Eye Kohl in a white/cream colour

Vaseline (Lip Therapy with Rose and Almond adds a little colour) or a nude coloured gloss


Sharon did try a few different brow shapes, but the one that suited her best was an angled brow, left fairly natural and full at the inner corner, shaped to an arch, then a fine brow line finishing just above the outer corner of the eye. She would use an medium brown eyebrow pencil to fill in the brow and use eyebrow gel, water or vaseline with a clean mascara comb to brush the brow hairs upwards

Sharon had lovely, sun-kissed skin with a clear complexion. Prepare your skin with a moisturiser and use a nice, sheer foundation to even out the skin-tone and use concealer before applying powder to touch up any imperfections after applying your eye makeup to get a nice, natural and clean base.

Eyes are the key to Sharon’s look and she a very particular style to flatter her beautiful brown doe eyes. She more of less stuck to this style, only changing the depth of colour or the shapes of the flicks of eyeliner. The emphasis is on creating the heavy lids and lashes which Sharon was known for. While it helps to have Sharon’s amazing bone structure and deep sockets, for the less fortunate, the illusion can be created by clever shading and definition.

For a typical Sharon look, start with a matte pale to medium taupe eyeshadow all over the lid and blend into the socket (use a primer if necessary). Line underneath the eye with the same taupe eyeshadow, leaving the corners free of colour.

Sharon then created a very strong line of dark brown colour to define the socket line. Follow the natural crease in the eye (if you have one!) or draw a confident line from the inner corner, thickening the line around the apex of the eye socket, gently curving down to a fine point either near the outer corner of the eye, or for a more 60s look, extend the line to end a horizontal with the bottom lashes.

There are several ways you can apply your socket line:

Liquid Liner – Liquid liner gives a cleaner line and is what Sharon would have used. Use a brown shade and once you’re confident drawing smooth lines, try to use a waterproof liner. For liquid liners, I’ve tried Bourjois Volume Clubbing Eye Liner in Kaki Brown (£5.86).

Pencil – a pencil liner can be used instead of liquid liner, it just looks softer. Make sure that the pencil has a good point. (Prestige Waterproof Automatic Eye Liner in “Sepia” looks quite good.)

Shadow – For a softer, blended eye socket, use the appropriate brush to apply a line of dark brown shadow into and just above the socket following the shape on my drawing. The key is to create the thicker, slightly squared off line in the inner most corner of the eye and across the top of the socket, with the line thinning gradually to the outer corner of the eye. You can blend the line to make it softer if you want.

OR… Make your own liner with eyeshadow – As I said above, for a clean line, use a liquid liner. However, I haven’t found a light/medium brown liquid liner in a similar shade to that which Sharon used. Most brown liquid liners are intended for use along the lash line and so are usually too dark and look harsh in the socket line – so I make my own liner. Use a dampened brush and run through a medium brown eyeshadow and use as you would a liquid liner. Pigment particles are loose on a dry brush and so you cannot create as clean a line as you can with with dampened brush. (I actually use a thin watercolour brush for this as it hold liquid and colour well and I’m cheap and don’t have a good makeup brush set. :D ) You can build up colour and control the thickness of line easily with this method but it can need several applications over a day to boost colour.

Finish with a highlighter on the browbone and use a kohl eye liner in cream or white along the waterline. You can use a little brown eyeshadow along the bottom lashes if you choose to. Again, follow the diagram above. Sharon nearly always left the inner corner of her eye free from colour so try to just follow the lash line to make the lashes look fuller.

Curl your lashes with an eyelash curler and use at least three coats of mascara (I’m a bit in love with Rimmel Glam’eyes Mascara in Brown , £6.84)

Sharon also on occasion used individual false eyelashes as lots of long, separated lashes are very important to this look. So if you want to, rather than individual lashes, I tried Eylure Girls Aloud Lashes – “Kimberley” (£4.89) and can recommend them.

Use a bronzer or peachy blusher as a contour on the cheeks and temples.

Sharon’s favourite lip product was good ol' Vaseline. Nude lips were very popular in the 60s and Sharon did wear lipstick or gloss in fleshy shades. Bourjois Eau de Gloss Lipgloss in “Moka Frappi” is a lovely shade (and smells nice) if you’d like to use a gloss.

So there you go! I hope this is helpful to someone. I’ve really enjoyed researching it and trying it out. I owe thanks to the excellent video tutorials of pixiwoo/ for being a great inspiration to me and many others. Related to this look, I really recommend their tuts on Barbra Streisand, Twiggy and Edie Sedgwick. I just hope that they, or another professional makeup artist might do a proper tutorial on Sharon one day, as she really was one of the most beautiful women of the 60s, if not of all time.

For inspiration, I have some photos and screencaps of Sharon on my flickr.

Thanks for reading. Please send me a comment or an email if you try out Sharon’s look.

{Update} March 2010. Many thanks to the lovely people who posted comments about this tutorial while it was on


Johnathon Barill said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

There is obviously a lot to learn about this. There were some pretty good points.

Anna said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Wow! I have been looking for a a make up tutorial on the lovely Sharon Tate for a very long time - and yours was incredibly detailed, clear and top notch!

Please keep 'em comin!

much appreciated - Sharon Tate is a really underrated 60s beauty . . . x

Nathalie said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Thank you for the time you put into laying out these details on Sharon's makeup. She was truly a beauty. The artistry of makeup really is a wearable art form. You've done a terrific job helping the rest of us have a little 60's glamour moment of our own. Thank you.

Kendra said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

this is an awesome tutorial, and so detailed, it's amazing! i'm much more of a fan of nude colors than brights--for some reason i just prefer a more natural look. i'll definitely have to try this out! :)

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

love sharon and you have done an exceptional job on explaining her makeup. Sharon a timeless beauty

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