You can find thousands – or even millions – of makeup gurus on Instagram, all vying to show off their latest “no makeup” makeup looks. Wading through thousands of smokey eyes, you might stumble upon Heather Moorhouse’s (@makeupmouse) account. Specializing in avant-garde makeup, Heather boasts over 150,000 followers, all of whom eagerly await her latest makeup creations.
Her brightly colored looks are so intricate, it’s understandable to mistake them for part of a professional photo shoot. Ready to discover Heather’s beauty secrets? ENTITY spoke to Heather to learn about her creative process, favorite sources of inspiration and more!
ENTITY: Your makeup looks can be considered avant-garde. What inspired you to go beyond natural looks?
HEATHER MOORHOUSE: For me, the fun of makeup doesn’t come from looking pretty. While a flawless base or a great winged liner are definitely lovely and take real skill, I feel makeup can go much further than that.
I find it really exciting that with just some pigment, a face can be completely transformed.
So I often try to play with colors and textures to make something new. Plus, it’s temporary, so why not experiment? If it looks terrible, it all washes off, so I see no harm in having fun with it.
ENTITY: Can you talk a little about your use of 3D objects (like lace, sequins, etc)?
HM: That all comes from my interest in experimentation. The challenge of thinking of ways to incorporate unusual 3D items means I have to think more about the practical ways of getting a solid object to stick to skin – which is obviously soft and movable – while working with or against its natural shape. I also love using items which are not necessarily beautiful on their own, such as cardboard, paper or sweet wrappers, and turning them into something great.
ENTITY: How did you get started with makeup?
HM: I first started experimenting with makeup when I was at university. I never really wore much more than an occasional bit of eyeliner or mascara when I was at school and college, but I have always enjoyed dressing up and creating costumes. Sometimes I would try to add makeup or face paint to complete my costumes for parties. Creating these makeup looks was a lot of fun for me, so I would often just practice makeup designs on my face in my room on campus and then wash them off when I was done.
ENTITY: Are you a trained makeup artist?
HM: I’m entirely self-taught from experimentation and YouTube. I’d love to train for film, photography and theater makeup one day, but that would be a long way off.
ENTITY: Do you do these looks on other people or just yourself?
HM: Until recently, all my work was on myself. When using myself as my blank canvas, it gives me the freedom to create whatever I like and to spend as much time on it as I want without concern about a model feeling uncomfortable or anyone disliking what I’ve made. Makeup is very much a way to relax for me, so I like it to keep it as stress-free as possible.
That said, I have recently started collaborating with more friends on art projects, which has led to me doing more makeup on others. It’s very different to sitting in your room by yourself drawing on your face, but the additional challenge comes with the fun of sharing ideas.
ENTITY: Is makeup a full-time career for you?
HM: Sometimes makeup feels like a second job as I spend the majority of my free time creating makeup looks, photographing them, filming them, editing them and interacting with my peers on social media. However, currently I work full-time in digital marketing. My days are spent in spreadsheets, emails and websites. It’s a little dry, but I enjoy logical challenges as much as creative ones, so I enjoy my day job. I’d struggle to give either of them up.
ENTITY: Do you wear your makeup looks in public or is it just something you do for fun in your home?
HM: I mostly just wear them for fun and for photos or videos, but I bring out the makeup in full force for Halloween and costume parties.
ENTITY: On average, how long does it take to complete each look?
HM: It generally takes me one to two hours to complete a look depending on its complexity, plus an extra hour for taking photos, setting up my space and adding any extra costume or styling. I’m not sure if that is fast or slow. People often seem to be quite interested in how much time my looks take me, but I really just enjoy the process, so I’m generally not looking at the clock. It leads to some late nights.
But I sleep much better if I’ve turned an idea into reality.
ENTITY: Who are some of your major inspirations?
HM: My inspiration comes from so many places. I love the makeup artists Alex Box, Pat McGrath, Isamaya Ffrench and Sam Schavlev for their constant drive to push beyond the boundaries of makeup artistry. But there is also a huge amount of inspiration to be found from the online makeup community on Instagram. Artists like @kelseyannaf, @juscallmetara, @gretaag and @dominiqueldr are amazing content creators who also provide mutual support through their social media presence.
Inspiration doesn’t have to just come from other makeup artists though. I love modern art, and am often inspired by Kandinsky, the Expressionists and Secessionists all the way up to Gerhard Richter.
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