Crime, both true and fictional, has long been an entertainment obsession. Thanks to movies, TV shows, books, and podcasts, even those of us who aren’t particularly ghoulish in everyday life will temporarily escape into tales of homicide from a safe distance. I’m no sadist, but I’ve seen every episode of every Law & Order series umpteen times. Scream? I’ve watched all the sequels at least twice. Even so, I never thought our collective morbid curiosity would ever carry over into cosmetics, but that’s exactly what’s happening with Makeup a Murder.
Makeup a Murder is an indie beauty brand created by self-taught makeup artist Theresa Spencer. Between the brand and Spencer, over 45,000 Instagram followers are already familiar with Makeup a Murder’s grim take on cosmetics, which includes references to poison, gore, and crime scenes. Upon visiting the brand’s site, you’re greeted with a group shot of some of the products overlayed with the words “slay faces with crime scene investigation makeup” in all caps.
It’s a relatively small but definitely distinct makeup collection with some pretty unusual product names. There’s colour-shifting eye shadow in shades like Ricin and Radioactive Waste (which are packaged in test tubes), Evidence Marker Lashes, Luxury Blood Chunky Glitter (also available in a shade called Laser Gun), Finger Print Setting Powder, the Bloody Blender Sponge (which is not actually bloody, just red), and the Criminology Forensic Brush Kit.
Just out of curiosity, I asked forensic biologist Lou Serico if any of the products actually resemble what he’s dealt with in the crime lab. “Luxury blood is the worst to work with,” he griped. “You have to centrifuge the glitter down and the stars gum up the spin baskets.” He’s kidding, folks. But in all (or at least slightly more) seriousness, Serico says, “In almost 20 years, I didn’t get a whole bunch of experience with laser guns or radioactive waste.” That’s probably for the best.
Now, just because this makeup is murder-themed doesn’t mean the looks have to be gory (though the brand’s site is filled with photos of Spencer done up to look like a zombie). There’s nothing inherently murder-y about the products other than the packaging and names, and the brand’s Instagram page is filled with bright, not-at-all-macabre makeup looks — unless you consider Garfield emerging from someone’s cheek macabre.