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It’s Not All Evil: Deconstructing The Beauty Of Female Villains

Spine-tingling stunners in their own right, there’s more to them than their chilling cackles.

Thin, arched eyebrows? Sunken cheekbones? A bold red lip? These are your standard signatures of a definitive villain. Here, we dive deep into these looks you can try on for that added dash of irreverence and courage.

As evil as they appear to be, the true beauty of villains lies in their backstories. Understandably, the culture of fear instilled in us when we were kids never really leaves even when we grow older. To this day, we still shiver and shudder at the thought of the antagonist. Think: Maleficent, Kill Bill’s O-ren Ishii, and Harley Quinn.

Learning more about their stories, however, we find out what turned them into the villains they are. We then sympathize and start to see them in a different light. This coming May 28, thanks to Disney, I have a strong feeling that another villain will be added to the aforementioned list of well, understanding—Cruella de Vil.

Speaking of the beauty of villains, in conjunction with Disney’s Cruella, a live-action film that explores Cruella De Vil’s backstory, MAC Cosmetics has released a bold, edgy, and glamorous nine-piece collection that celebrates the iconic villain. With this in mind, I couldn’t help but shift the focus towards a different facet of their beauty—makeup. How are villains portrayed through makeup? How do we perceive villains through their makeup?

In an attempt to answer those questions, here we have a deconstruction of the makeup looks of some of the most infamous and iconic female villains. Let’s go over them one by one, shall we?


Thin, arched, and raised eyebrows  

disney villain

Eyebrows frame the face, and villains exemplify that more than anyone. Do you remember the animated Maleficent, Ursula, Cruella de Vil, and the Evil Queen from Snow White? Their thin, arched, and raised eyebrows establish their villainous nature and heighten the impact of their facial expressions. Also, I’d like to believe that the thin eyebrows create space for my next point.   

A statement eye

Whether it’s colorful like Harley Quinn or intensely graphic like Nina from Black Swan, a statement eye is the perfect real estate for a villain to sow fear without just a look. When a villain needs to say something through her eyes, a bold eye look does all the talking. (Trembles.

Defined cheekbones


Maleficent’s Angelina Jolie is the poster child for defined cheekbones in the assemblage of anti-heroes. Doing so to one’s cheekbones adds structure and angles, which eliminates the softness of the face. Can you imagine a villain with a soft face? Possible, but typically, they like to go in on the shadows and sullen expression.

Pink blush

From contouring the cheekbones, we now go to the pink blush, which is seen on Regina George and Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy. A pink blush adds a touch of innocence—perfect for Regina George’s seemingly sweet character and Poison Ivy’s allure. This proves deceptive, especially when the villains navigate their way into the narrative with their inherent sense of cunning.   

A beauty mark


Seen on Ursula, Baby Jane (Bette Davis from Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?), and now on Cruella’s Emma Stone, a beauty mark draws attention to the character and adds a bit of attraction and mystery. It’s also fun signature to do when recreating their makeup looks. 

The bold red lip


Last but not the least, a bold red lip, of course! Maleficent, Ursula, Cruella De Vil, Catwoman, Helen Sharp from Death Becomes Her—the list goes on and on. A bold red lip is basically a villain trope, which is rightfully so. Just like any villain, a bold red lip commands attention, symbolizes power, and exudes confidence. 

There you have it: six makeup looks that exude and evoke the beauty of female villains. By the way, I have one more thing to add about the beauty of villains. They may be decidedly despicable, but they teach us confidence, especially one that encourages an expression of our true, unapologetic selves through makeup.