How to Be a Femme Fatale

Or just look like one.


When the MYSTERY theme rolled around, my mind immediately went to Hollywood’s classic noir films of the ’30s and ’40s, which usually starred a solitary detective, a murder victim (or 10), and a gorgeous woman who may or may not have been trouble. Starlets like Veronica Lake and Barbara Stanwyck lit up the screen with their perfectly painted blood-red lips, soft wavy hair, and inscrutable attitudes that could simultaneously chill a room and make a man hot all over. Looking at these icons, it’s no wonder their style has survived and thrived over the years.

Take Audrey Horne of Twin Peaks for example: her expertly arched eyebrows and cherry-pie lipstick no doubt captured Agent Cooper’s attention. And these days, Lana Del Rey and Dita Von Teese are rarely seen without their noirish trappings. While it may seem like copping the femme fatale look requires a lot of skill and upkeep, I assure you it can be done in a pinch with a few key products and tools. Shall we get started?

You’ll need:

Step One


It’s all about the eyebrows. I don’t really pluck mine, but if you want to give them some shape before you begin, check out Amy Rose’s awesome tutorial. For this, I used a brow powder that matched the shade of my eyebrows, which are dark brown, and I recommend it for people with black eyebrows as well. (If your brows are auburn, check out NYX Cosmetics Nude Matte Shadow in Blame It On Midnight and blondes should try M.A.C. Eye Shadow in Omega.) Apply the powder to your brows starting in the corner closest to your nose and use short strokes to thicken them up. When you reach the middle of your brow, or its natural arch, create a little bit of an angle with the powder. It doesn’t have to be exaggerated, but you just want to add some shape. Then lightly sweep the rest of the brow so that it tapers out toward the other corner.

Step Two


Using a fluffy eye-shadow brush, or even your fingers, apply the lighter brown eye shadow (preferably matte) to your lid, and spread it all over to create a smoky effect.

Step Three

stepthree (2)

You will need the brush for this part, because it requires blending. Dip it into a darker-brown eye shadow (also preferably matte), and start blending it into either the crease of your eyelid, or if you don’t have a crease, right below the bone of your brow. This adds definition. If the line looks a little too stark, add more of the color from the previous step and blend together to soften.

Step Four


Next up comes the eyeliner. I absolutely love Essence’s Eyeliner Pen in black, because it’s super cheap and super easy to apply. (Seriously, I’ve got $30 eyeliners in my kit, but I always come back to this one.) It has a marker tip for application, so starting at the inner corner of your eye, apply the eyeliner as close to your eyelashes as possible and drag it along your lash line until your reach the outer corner. Try and end with a slight flick—not a full on cat-eye, just a little wing. Add a coat or two of your favorite mascara to the top lashes only. I find Benefit’s They’re Real! gives the effect of falsies without all the work.

Step Five


Last year I explained in great detail how to apply red lipstick that will last all day. Choose the red that looks best on you.

Step Six

I made a special video to show you the technique I use to get my old Hollywood waves.

Now all you need is a pair of killer heels and a thirst for revenge!



  • Devan DePue March 26th, 2013 7:04 PM

    This is perfect. <3

  • Kimono Cat March 26th, 2013 7:15 PM

    As a mixed race person, a mid-tone brown eyeshadow wouldn’t show up on my skin. What do you think an alternative shade could be?

  • darksideoftherainbow March 26th, 2013 7:22 PM

    hannah, first of all i want to say that i get sooo happy to see a post from you. i thoroughly enjoy everything you do here and over at xo!! okay, so i just want to tell you how happy i am to see this tutorial today. i saw a picture of emilia clarke at a premiere for GAME OF THRONES (wut wut…can’t wait!) and she was sporty a looking just like this one and i immediately thought, i need to get on this look immediately. this tutorial helped sooo much!! THANK YOU!!

  • Pia March 26th, 2013 7:29 PM

    What do you use to remove Benefit’s They’re Real! mascara. I usually have to use Bi-facil eye makeup remover, and then my oil cleanser… and I still have dark circles of mascara deposit under my eyes after the rinse. I’m about to start putting crisco on my lashes!

  • Ana March 26th, 2013 7:51 PM

    Yes. Everything about this, yes.

  • forevernymph March 26th, 2013 7:59 PM

    I was literally looking for a tutorial just like this! Rookie, you always read my mind ^_^
    I’m in my school’s talent show and I’m singing a Lana Del Rey song with a pianist and I needed something just like this…now let’s hope they’ll let me lie on the top of the grand piano >:D

  • Caitlin Meijer March 26th, 2013 8:03 PM

    oh wow, this is perfect. your eyebrows! they’re magnificent!
    (also i don’t want to be a dick or anything, but i feel like you probably meant ‘noirish’ rather than ‘nourish’, and you maybe should fix that.)

    • Anaheed March 27th, 2013 12:50 AM

      Thanks to you we fixed that typo. (And it’s never dickish to point those out; it’s very helpful.)

  • AnaRuiz March 26th, 2013 8:10 PM

    Hey Rookie, I just had a fantastic idea!! You should have an option of bookmarking our favorite posts so that we can get back to them later!

    • dottie March 26th, 2013 8:53 PM

      I love this tutorial. It actually looks like something I would try (and I almost never wear makeup).

      AnaRuiz: I agree! That sounds like a good idea. But I love all Rookie posts so . . . :) Great thinking!

  • Erykaneisha March 26th, 2013 8:46 PM

    Hannah, you could definitely pass for being Dita Von Teese’s daughter. Juss’ saying.
    Thank you for the tutorial! I have a special event coming up and this gave me SO many ideas! :)

  • disast3rology March 26th, 2013 10:21 PM

    I love that the make-up you use is affordable!! It makes your tutorials even more awesome than they already are! And do you have any skin care tips in general?

  • K8 is Gr8 March 26th, 2013 11:24 PM

    Love! You’re so pretty!

  • madame_addie March 27th, 2013 2:25 AM

    I really love your tutorials Hannah! <3

  • Mary the freak March 27th, 2013 6:52 AM

    I am sure it feels fucking awesome to wear this. You look beautiful.

  • moonchild March 27th, 2013 11:08 AM

    how could i style my pixie cut to go with this?


  • whatever March 27th, 2013 12:52 PM

    hannah ur so badass u go grrrl (◡‿◡✿)

  • kruisin March 27th, 2013 5:20 PM

    May I please have your eyebrows? Mine are super thin and light :/ i can fake it tho

  • Clairebearscare March 28th, 2013 12:19 AM

    I don’t really wear makeup (bare minerals, or if I’m feeling fancy some mascara or eyeliner) but I really want to try this.
    Also, you’re absolutely gorgeous!

  • monalisa March 28th, 2013 3:07 AM

    Wow, Hannah is just so gorj!

  • Tatiana S March 29th, 2013 10:06 PM

    This is perfect! I feel like this was meant for me because I actually recently sent you guys an email requesting a similar tutorial! Maybe that’s just wishful thinking :). But I do have a question, should I straighten my hair before trying to curl it? I have fairly wavy, frizzy hair and I am not sure whether to just start straightening with the flat iron or blow it out first.