Before Frances O’Sullivan was known as Beauty Spock, the Instagram account where she’s gained over 282K followers by creating enchanting, surreal, almost-costumey makeup looks, she was just a girl from Britain who loved movies. “I really liked special effects,” she says. “So I got into face painting and body painting. I did loads of art when I was younger.” Becoming an influencer never crossed Frances’s mind, so when it came time to choose a career, she decided to channel her eclectic creative pursuits into something a little more employable: makeup artistry. But on the side, she continued experimenting. “I started to mix my love of art, photography, fashion and makeup all into one and started doing it on my face,” she explains.
Using everything from children’s face paint to MAC lipstick, Frances would take inspiration from art, architecture, fashion and movie characters to create murals or pinup-esque characters on her porcelain complexion, completing her one-of-a-kind looks with costumes and wigs. She shared these on Instagram under the @beautyspock handle. Two years ago, a few posts of Frances using makeup to transform into different iconic celebrities (Angelina Jolie, Bella Hadid, Audrey Hepburn) went viral, leading her to a feature in Vogue and deals with beauty brands like Nails Inc and Vanity Planet. More eyes continue to flock to her mesmerising account every day.
We got a chance to peer into Frances’s creative process as she created three original makeup looks inspired by fashion week. Frances based the following masterpieces on the S/S 19 collections from Marc Jacobs, Chanel and Brock Collection. Keep scrolling to get a peek inside the spellbinding mind (and process) of Beauty Spock.
How did you first develop this unique way of using makeup?
I first got into body painting from seeing people do prosthetics and special effects. So that's what I started doing. I always loved movies and wanted to work in that industry. I went to London College of Fashion and studied hair, makeup and prosthetics. I really wanted to do gory stuff and aliens and all of that, but now I'm kind of into this new genre of makeup and fashion and body painting all mixed together.
How did you build such an impressive Instagram account?
It started when I did a couple of celebrity transformations with makeup and people really loved that. But I never really tried to be big on Instagram; it wasn't something I was into when I was younger. But putting stuff up that I liked and was going to be doing by myself anyway, it just got attention. I don't ever feel like I'm trying to do this stuff for other people. I just do what I like, and so far it seems like it works.
Walk us through the process of one of your creations. Where does the inspiration first come from?
I never really have something in mind for very long. Usually, I'll just wake up and see a picture or piece of art, something random on my phone or when I'm out, and I'll think, Oh my god. I have to do a look based on that. And I'll just completely go for it; I'll spend the entire day sitting in my room creating something. And then I manage to take a really glamorous picture while I'm still wearing my pajama bottoms underneath.
What products do you use to create your looks?
I used to use actual kids' face paint when I did my makeup. That's what I used in a lot of my early stuff on my Instagram. But as I've gotten more into makeup, I've started using MAC Pro products, which are so good for doing this sort of art on your face. I also love Kryolan—stuff you would use more in the movie industry.
What products do you use to remove all that makeup?
When it's something really heavy, I'll use an oil-based makeup remover. But actually, the other day, I did this look where my whole body was painted in pink and I literally couldn't get it off with anything, so I just poured olive oil all over myself, and it got it off so well. So if I had to have one makeup remover that could get off anything, it'd be olive oil.
What are your favorite makeup products to use for everyday?
I couldn't do makeup without blush. For my everyday, normal makeup, I could probably do my whole face just with blush because it works for everything—as eye shadow, lipstick, everything. I just love that pink, cute, summery look. I specifically love the Sleek blush (£5) and the MAC blush (£33). But sometimes I use lipstick as blush as well. I love MAC's lipsticks (£18). They're just so creamy. You can use them on your lips and have that soft, blended-out edge and use them to create a rosy cheek as well.
Do you have any advice for people just starting to get more creative with makeup?
Take your inspiration straight from what you see and not someone else's interpretation of that thing. Don't feel like you have to stick your work in a certain genre. I first got into doing arty stuff on my face by letting go of the expectation that eye makeup is only for your eyes and lipstick is only for your lips. You just kind of have to break traditional boundaries and do something completely different.
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