How to get Batman’s eyeliner look, according to The Batman’s makeup designer

Matt Reeves’s character Batman boldly does something that none of his previous on-screen counterparts have done: when the hood is off, he wears heavy, smoky eyes. While Robert Pattinson’s dark eyes certainly make for a compelling and unforgettable image, this aspect of his character design is nothing special. all about the aesthetic. (Honestly, this has a lot to do with aesthetics.) Eye makeup has a practical purpose: Bruce Wayne needs to cover the area around his eyes to completely hide his face by wearing a black hood. Other actors who play Batman in feature films are usually also wore those raccoon eyes, but Batman was the first to admit that the illusion of darkness required some cosmetic skill.

As makeup artist Naomi Donn told Polygon, director Matt Reeves really wanted the makeup to focus on how Batman looks right after he takes off his costume.

“Matt really wanted there to be leftovers [the eye makeup] when he took off his hood,” she explains. “So we pushed it. We actually took the cover off and looked at what was left and used that. Removing black eye makeup is really difficult and we used that.”

According to Donne, it was a trial and error process to get the perfect pair of dark eye makeup that looked good but still held. Between the movie’s rainy setting, sweaty costume, and tense action scenes, they needed something with a lot of staying power. After all, the perfectly emo Batman look was a mixture of pigment, cream eyeliner, pencil, and liquid makeup paint.

“And then,” she says, “to brighten it up, we used this slightly glittery pigment to give it a bit of light so that it reflects light just like his Batsuit.”

While the dark eyeliner is certainly reminiscent of the emo and goth subcultures, Donn says that Reeves’ point of contact with Batman’s looks came from another specific source: Kurt Cobain. Reeves previously revealed how the Nirvana singer inspired him to create the Caped Crusader and how he learned more on the jaded Bruce Wayne than the millionaire playboy. In fact, this connection led Reeves to play Robert Pattinson. Quite naturally, the deeper character threads that connect Kurt Cobain and this version of Bruce Wayne also extend to their visual aesthetic. After all, Cobain sported black eyeliner in the ’90s, even if it wasn’t as messy as Bruce Wayne’s outfit in the movie.

“I liked that sometimes it was very blurry and ran down his face, and other times it was just a smoky eye. But at all times it has never been clean. It always came from the remains of the hood,” says Donn. “It was the way Batman lingered in Bruce Wayne after he took off his costume.”

But as much as we talk about eye makeup metaphors and how the lingering ghost of Batman will haunt Bruce Wayne forever, Donne boils it all down to a universal truth: “It also looked sexy as hell. Men in black eye makeup Indeed Okay.

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