How to Become a Swan Queen

An intensely beautiful makeup tutorial.


Black Swan (2010) starred Natalie Portman as Nina Sayers, a goody-two-shoes ballerina who takes trying to be “perfect,” as she says repeatedly throughout the movie, to scary levels after being cast in the lead role of Swan Lake. Nina’s obsessions often manifest themselves visually in completely terrifying ways, like when long black feathers start sprouting from her skin, but the movie is also full of crazy eye candy thanks to the professional dancers in the ballet scenes and the gorgeous costumes designed by Rodarte. The dark, elegantly spooky makeup Nina wears as she plays the Swan Queen is particularly eye-catching and easy to re-create at home, even if you don’t intend to go out in toe shoes and a tutu.

What you’ll need:

Step One:


Use the gray cream eye shadow to cover your entire eyelid and just slightly above it, as well as your lower lash line. You can apply this using your ring finger or a Q-tip if you’d like to be more precise.

Step Two:


Trace your upper and lower lash lines with the black liquid eyeliner, staying as close to your eyelashes as possible. Connect the top and bottom lines at the inner and outer corners of your eye. At the inner corners (by your tear ducts), extend your lines toward the bridge of your nose. At the outer corners, draw and fill in a small wing shape.

Step Three:


Coat your angled makeup brush with black cream eye shadow or gel eyeliner and use it to make diagonal upward strokes at the outer corners of your eyes. Continue the lines upward, towards the outer points of your eyebrows, until you’ve created two dark wing shapes extending out almost to your temples.

Step Four:


To create a feathered effect, clean off your angled brush and dip it into some white cream eyeliner. Dab small white strokes over the black from the last step, then draw a small white line along the inside of each vertical line you drew in step two.

Step Five:


Use your your lip liner to lightly outline your natural lip shape, then use the same liner to fill them in completely. Blot your lips with a tissue and then apply a matching lipstick over the whole thing—this method of applying lip color makes sure it’ll stay in place for a good long time.

Step Six:


Finally, use an angled brush to apply blush along your cheekbones. Suck in your cheeks like you’re making a fish face and brush the blush along the hollows, starting at your hairline and brushing in toward your mouth. Then slick back your hair in the tightest, sleekest bun possible and feel as perfect as you look—no scary feather outbreaks required. ♦


  • Mimi7 November 20th, 2013 11:26 PM

    How cool! The Black Swan is such a great movie, and the Rodarte costumes are especially incredible.
    The makeup really captures it and I love the first picture, very swan like.

  • elliecp November 21st, 2013 2:41 AM

    this is so amazing omg I might just become a swan from now on

  • lexilikes November 21st, 2013 12:28 PM

    I dressed up as black swan for a fancy dress party and this would have been so useful! Beautiful makeup. ugh now have to think of a suitable occasion to wear it.

  • Sophii November 21st, 2013 3:09 PM

    Wow!! This is so cool! I always love learning new eye makeup designs. Well, that’s my next fancy dress costume makeup sorted! I love Black Swan so much xoxo

  • julalondon November 22nd, 2013 5:53 AM

    Black swan is one of my favourite movies ever and I absolutely love the costumes and makeup they used in the movie!! The only problem is that I wear glasses and that kind of eye makeup doesn’t work with glasses… Anyway, GREAT tutorial!! You are really beautiful! <3