I’ve always been fascinated by circus performers. They spend weeks on the road, entertain hordes of strangers night after night with exciting and death-defying acts, all while dressed to the nines in shimmery, sparkly, eye-catching clothes and makeup. Glitter and shine and deep, bold colors are a common theme, from a feather-topped tightrope walker in the 1920s to a leopard-print-wearing lion tamer in the 1950s to today, when the aerialist Sarah Sophie Flicker and the model, musician, and Rookie advice columnist Karen Elson are part of Citizens Band, a political performance troupe that masters the sleek look of old-timey, high-flying acrobats.

Karen Elson and Sarah Sophie Flicker in their Citizens Band garb.

Karen Elson and Sarah Sophie Flicker in their Citizens Band garb.

In the spirit of the Thrills & Chills theme, I’ve concocted a look inspired by these daring ladies and gents that would look just as great on a Saturday night as it does under the big top.

What you’ll need:

  • Some kind of eyelid primer—I used Urban Decay’s ($10, Urban Decay).
  • A creamy black kohl eye pencil—I used NYX’s glossy black liner in Kohl Kajal ($6, NYX Cosmetics).
  • A matte black eyeshadow. I used NYX Cosmetics’ Nude Matte Shadow in Stripped ($4.50, NYX Cosmetics).
  • Black glitter eyeshadow, such as Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics’ loose glitter in Blaylock ($14, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics).
  • Opaque white eyeliner. I love New York Color’s white brow/liner pencil ($1, New York Color).
  • A lengthening mascara, like Benefit’s They’re Real ($23, Sephora).
  • A high-shine red lip pencil, or a non-pencil color and a stiff, fine-tipped brush. I used Urban Decay’s Super Saturated High Gloss Lip Color in F-Bomb ($19, Urban Decay).
  • A dense, mid-sized eyeshadow brush. I like the e.l.f. Studio Eyeshadow “C” Brush ($3, e.l.f.).
  • Optional: unflavored lip balm.

How to do it:

Step One: Set your foundation.

First, cover your eyelids with an eyelid primer, which will help your eye makeup stay smooth throughout the day.


Next, apply a freshly sharpened black kohl eye pencil along the length of your upper lash line. Make a thick line, then blend it using your brush or a cotton swab.

Step Two: Fill it in.


Dip your eyeshadow brush and into the matte black eyeshadow and tap it on the back of your hand to shake off any excess and avoid getting black powder all over your face. Slowly spread the shadow all over your eyelid and blend it toward your brow bone. This step can take a bit of time, but it’s worth it to be careful, so you’ll get even coverage all over your lid.

Step Three: Glitter time!


Using the same brush, dust a tiny bit of glitter on top of the black shadow, all over the lid and toward you brow bone, for a touch of shimmer—a little goes a long way. (If you have some unflavored lip balm handy, dab a little bit on your lids before you brush on the glitter—it will help it stick longer.)

Step Four: Embiggen your eyezone.


To make your eyes look bigger, apply an opaque white eyeliner to your waterline (the thin ledge between your eye and your lower lashes).

Step Five: Mascara.


Apply two generous coats of mascara to your upper and lower lashes.

Step Six: Lips.


Use your lip pencil (or your lip color + brush) to apply a coat of color to your lips. Create a retro heart shape by rounding out your cupid’s bow (the two peaks in the center of your top lip). Blot with a tissue and apply a second coat to make the color last.

Step Seven: The cherry on top.

Throw on a fun headpiece like the one we made back in January, toss on some fun costume jewelry from the thrift store, and add anything with sequins.


Now go dazzle ’em, beautiful Rookies! ♦