I happened across Deep Blue — the first novel of the Waterfire Saga by Jennifer Donnelly — a couple of months back. I loved it and since reading it I have craved mermaid fashion and mermaid inspired makeup. Deep Blue really surprised me. The cover art depicts a young mermaid swimming in a floaty gown with a burning, underwater building in the background. I thought it looked very similar to other young adult book covers about mythical and fantastical beings (such as mermaids, vampires, or witches) which were aimed at the younger end of the genre's age spectrum. I almost didn't buy it but I am so glad I did. In doing so, I've sort of proved to myself that you definitely shouldn't judge a book by its cover.
The Waterfire Saga is actually a series by Disney Publishing Worldwide, although if I hadn't read that on the back, I would have been oblivious. The story follows Serafina, a principessa and heir to the throne of one of the most ancient mer civilizations. Around the time of her betrothal ceremony to a prince from another realm, she begins to have strange dreams that ask her to gather together a group of other mermaids and complete a quest. However (mini spoiler alert), things don't quite go to plan at the ceremony and a war is waged against her people. She flees her city and, without her mother's advice, she must think for herself and take the frightening messages in her dreams seriously in order to save her people.
What surprised me most about the novel was the vast detail. Every minute element is fully explained and Donnelly has created a rich world for these fantastical characters to reside in. From the types of food that the mer eat to the differences in their appearance and multiple languages, Donnelly has breathed life into the mermaid genre that I previously thought suitable only for younger readers. Of course, the storytelling is wonderful, too, and you end up knowing the characters as though they were your own friends.
The mermaid trend, which has filled every pop culture crevice, is still totally hot right now and most teens and Millennial women want to channel mermaid style or have mermaid hair. So I picked my top three favorite merls (mer-girls) from Deep Blue to inspire mermaiden makeup looks.
I decided to put a general base layer on my skin to accompany all of the looks, which would then give me something to build upon.
I followed my normal makeup routine of moisturizing with Nivea, applying Bourjouis Healthy Mix Foundation in "Vanilla," and finishing off with a sweep of pink Bourjois blush "Rose Frisson."
Serafina is of royal blood and heir to the Miromaran throne. From a young age, she has been prepared to rule yet nothing could have prepared her for the dangers she is forced to encounter. She is intelligent, brave, and proves herself a great leader in times of peril. For Serafina's look, I needed something regal yet pretty to show how young she is.
Serafina's hair is coppery-brown and she has an olive complexion. Like me, she has green eyes. I used a bronze eyeshadow ( L'Oréal Paris Color Riche in "Nude") which I thought would best suit her hair and complexion. I then added a layer of Lush mascara called Eyes Right.
Being a principessa of Miromara, I thought Serafina's look needed to look pretty special: enter "peel and stick" craft pearls. I wouldn't necessarily advise anyone to use craft supplies on their skin, as you never know what irritations may occur, but I like to play Russian roulette with my face, so I went ahead and took the risk. Plus, sticking stuff on your face is fun!
First off, I added a couple of "pearls" to the inner corner of my eye as I thought this looked really sweet and feminine and gave a nautical nod to the overall look.
Next I added three rows of stick-on pearls to the sides of my eyes, just underneath my temple. I thought this created quite an intricate, majestically ethereal look; perfect for an underwater princess!
Neela is Serafina's BFF and cousin of Serafina's betrothed Prince Mahdi. She is really into fashion and loves creating new clothes. Neela has a very sweet tooth and is always whipping out a sweet treat for the merls. She is a bioluminescent and radiates a blue light (similar to a lantern fish) when her emotions are high or others of her kind are nearby. She is also a member of the royal family; however, Neela is a princess from Matali, not Miromara.
To begin Neela's look, I added a very light eyeshadow to my eyelid. I brushed it right up to my brow and lined my bottom lashes with it. I did this to symbolize Neela's bioluminescent, glowing skin. I used the lightest shade from Chanel's Les 4 Ombres palette in "Stage Lights."
Next I lined my top lids with a bright blue eyeshadow, MAC's "Electric Eel" because the color of Neela's light is blue. I flicked it out to create a cat eye look in keeping with Neela's sassy, fashionable personality. I then drew the eyeshadow part of the way across my bottom lash line in order to frame my eyes.
Next I added a stick-on blue craft gem to each eye; just at the tip of the winged flick. Obviously I couldn't have the fashion savvy Neela go without a bit of bling to match her makeup. Again, I strongly urge you to use stick-on gems that are actually designed for faces. They're often available at costume shops or Halloween stores.
Astrid is the daughter of Admiral Kolfinn, who is the leader of Ondalina, an arctic mer realm. Initially thought of as Serafina's enemy — like their opposing realms Miromara and Ondalina — Serafina and Astrid did not get along in the beginning. But for the sake of both of their realms, the two teens are forced to work together. Astrid is incredibly strong and great with a blade, but there is a vulnerability bubbling beneath her surface. As you can see, Astrid's coloring is that of a killer whale, which I used to inspire her makeup look.
I started by adding a base eyeshadow to represent the white areas in a killer whale's coloring. I used Bourjois Ombre à Paupières in "Argent" and I remembered and utilized a Bourjois eyeshadow tip: to wet the applicator brush in order to get a thicker, more pigmented coating. I also highlighted the inner corners of my eyes to make them pop.
Next I used a darker shade, Bourjois Ombre à Paupières in "Gris Paillettes" to symbolize the dark shade of a killer whale's colors. Again, I wet my applicator, but this time I swept downwards from underneath the middle of each eyebrow, layering on top of the silver shade.
I added a layer of Lush Eyes Right mascara to lengthen my lashes.
Finally, I added a red lip to complete the look and add a metaphorical "blood thirsty" element. I used Boots' Natural Collection Moisture Shine lipstick in "Crimson." I thought the classic smoky eye and the bright red lip really suited Astrid's bold character.
So channel whichever look catches your fancy or read the book and decide who your favorite character is. Whichever gal you pick, these merls prove that mermaid makeup can be on fleek, too!
Images: Giphy (2); Disney (3); Author's Own