WINNERS REVEALED: Merry Little Elf Makeup Contest

By December 20, 2017Announcements

It’s time to announce the winners of our Merry Little Elf Holiday Makeup Contest!

But first, we would like to extend a huge “THANK YOU” to all our participants, the semi-finalists, finalists, and our judge!

This year, our fabulous judge, Nathan Johnson, created a personalized scorecard for each finalist to determine the winner.

Judge: Nathan Johnson

There is no better way to spread holiday cheer than with a winter makeover, except when that winter makeover has an ELFIN theme! This years holiday contest is tailor-made to stretch your imagination and challenge your skills.

What is a holiday elf to you? For some it will involve realism and complex prosthetics, for others it will be more artistic-perhaps more of a cartoon or pop art interpretation. As long as you have fun, there is no right or wrong.

Here’s what Nathan was looking for:

  • Creativity: As long as you delve into the elfin world, there are no limits to what you can create. This is your chance to show personality and flair, take risks, and express yourself. Here’s a tip, don’t do Google searches and copy or modify an existing makeup…be yourself and be a true creator. If you create from your own imagination, you’ll rack up higher points.
  • Realism: Does the makeup look realistic? Whether you make a woodland elf, an elf prince/princess, a LOTR Elf, an elf who just survived an epic battle, a cartoon recreation, a pop art elf, or whatever other elf you can imagine, make sure that the character is realistic for the genre you are working within.
  • Combination of Skill: The more difficult and complex techniques you utilize, the more likely you are to get higher points. If you use prosthetics, practice getting perfectly smooth edges and making sure the coloration is realistic. If you create a cartoon character, make sure to perfect highlight/shadow and precise application techniques. No matter what you try to create, pay attention to every detail, including symmetry, blending, and over-all accuracy. The better your use of combined skills, the higher points you will receive.
  • The Story: I want to read a few lines that tell the tale of your character. Not what you did, but who it is, what happened, etc. Include your in the “description” box in the entry form below. This is your chance to sell me the makeup through storytelling. Historically, this is the most overlooked section of the contest and in the past in has been what has made or broken the winner.
  • Final Image: Bring the image to life. This comes down to clear photography, use of props, costumes, and setting. Does the image enhance and further the make-up artistry? Delicate and tasteful Photoshopping and use of lighting/ring lights are acceptable, but Instagram/Snapchat filters and Facetune correcting apps are not.
  • Final note: Good luck and have a ton of fun. I cannot wait to see the amazing magic you’re going to make.

Merry Little Elf Contest Scoring:

Makeup Artist Amanda Westgard Makeup  Contest Submission

Artist: Amanda Westgard

  • Creativity: 9/10
  • Realism: 8/10
  • Combination of Skill: 7/10
  • The Story: 2/10
  • Final Image: 8/10
  • Total: 34/50

Comments: I do appreciate the uniqueness of this application. Of all the submissions, it is by far, the most out of the box and purely of your imagination. The camouflage, the tribal lines, and the amulet, all tell a very bold story that makes the imagination run wild. But there were two things missing for me. Equal weight was given to all 5 categories. Instead of writing the story of your character, you simply named her.

Had challenged your imagination for a few sentences of story, that would have garnered full points from that section, instead, that accounts for the loss of most of your points. Second, is the combination of skills. Your ability with detail (the brows, the spots on the nose, etc) is superb. It shows you are a great artist. But, if you had considered using more skills—either prosthetics or highlight/contour to reshape the face, for example—your look would have been over the top perfection. You did great work. In the future, really challenge yourself and don’t forget the story!


Makeup Artist Monique Lovecchio Makeup Contest Submission

Artist: Monique Lovecchio

  • Creativity: 6/10
  • Realism: 7/10
  • Combination of Skill: 5/10
  • The Story: 10/10
  • Final Image: 7/10
  • Total: 35/50

Comments: I appreciate your take on bringing to life a shelf elf who is makeup obsessed. It is a very creative concept.The makeup application is lovely. It combines many beauty techniques. There are two things I want to point out. Green and red/pink must be used very carefully on the face for several reasons. First, people can get a greenish or yellow hue if they are ill.

Second, when reds/pinks are used improperly around they eye people can look like they are sick or have been crying. I think you have done lovely work above the eye, but I want to take a look at the inner corner and the lower lash line. The red inner corner is evoking images from many a horror movie where someone becomes infected with some deadly strain and the inner part of their eye goes red. Combine this with the green below the lash line and it almost has an unintended sinister or ill feeling. when you add in the nude/ colorless lip and lack of blush, the feeling of un-wellness carries through a bit more. She is an elf and she loves makeup, right? Some color in the lips and color in the cheeks would have made her far more jolly, AND they would have gone a long way to counter the red inner corner and green below the lash line. It is very in trend to do cut creases, nude lips, overly shaped brows, and minimal blush, but leaving some—or all— of them out might be more appropriate to the character you are creating. Additionally, the only thing that makes this an elf, and not a makeup using holiday colors is the hat. I would encourage you to consider a few other techniques to finalize the look. My main take away for you—you have a lot of skill and you’re a great story teller. I would just reconsider some application techniques/ color placement and knowing when trend makeup helps or hurts a character. Great job.


Makeup Artist Adela Simpalean Makeup Contest Submission

Artist: Adela Simpalean

  • Creativity: 7/10
  • Realism: 8/10
  • Combination of Skill: 6/10
  • The Story: 10/10
  • Final Image: 9/10
  • Total: 40/50

Comments: This is a lovely makeup and it is very true to an existing character. I have a tremendous amount of respect for that. As a whole, the application is nearly flawless. The skin, lips, and cheeks are perfect. The eyes have just enough detail to make them the focus. The details on the forehead are lovely, not fully symmetrycal, but that can easily be overlooked. I commend you on doing a beautiful makeup and making sure the image continued to tell the story. The one thing that would have sent you over the edge would have been the use of some more skills. For example, if you’d added an elf ear of some sort. Congratulations.


Makeup Artist Jessica Shay Makeup Contest Submission

Artist: Jessica Shay

  • Creativity: 7/10
  • Realism: 10/10
  • Combination of Skill: 9/10
  • The Story: 8/10
  • Final Image: 9/10
  • Total: 43/50

Comments:I have to admit, there is nothing original about this concept. There are a ton of online how to’s teaching people how to put broken ornaments on the face. That being said, you did it beautifully. You actually did it better than most of the people teaching the how-to’s. With the application, you hit two sides of makeup very well. With the use of ornaments, their adhesives, and the complimentary wounds and bruising, you demonstrated a wonderful, horrible, and realistic, use of prosthetic work.

Also, the beauty makeup you did is precise and gorgeous. BUT, I do have to ask, if someone was in this big of a fight, would their eye makeup still be this perfect? probably not. Thank you for the story as well. I will make one last confession. If it wasn’t for your story, no one would ever guess this is an elf. It looks like a woman who got into a nasty situation at Christmas Town Shopping Center. The use of an elf ear, would have taken this to a whole new level (as possibly would have a beauty makeup that reflected her trauma, even in a small way). Again, the work you did is superb. In the future, I want you to innovate beyond what everyone has already done. Just because you can do it better, doesn’t mean it’s innovative. This is excellent work, next time show me your imagination.


Makeup Artist Cara Sawtell Makeup Contest Submission

Artist: Cara Sawtell

  • Creativity: 7/10
  • Realism: 10/10
  • Combination of Skill: 9/10
  • The Story: 9/10
  • Final Image: 9/10
  • Total: 44/50

Comments: I find both the story and the makeup fascinating. I want to give you great kudos for fully committing to the story you are telling and for using a great combination of techniques to make it happen. Yes, this is a makeup challenge, but sometimes, it is the lack of perfection that best tells the story. The skin and lips are perfect, except where you don’t want them to be.

I love that you used the broken ornaments in a variety of ways, shapes and sizes. The candy cane through the mouth is a great effect and it sells your story. Remember, if a candy cane pierced the cheek the would would likely not be so huge, consider a smaller wound and more bruising. Like I said earlier, you have not done anything with the candy canes or the ornaments that has not been done before, many times, but you did fully commit to a story. What really sells this is the fact that you can tell her makeup was precise and beautiful before she got into her sugar related debacle. The smudged eye makeup, combined with the other techniques you used really make the image click perfectly with your story. Also, you used an elf ear. It is definitely not the most realistic, but it really goes far to add a final detail to your look. You did a lovely job. It is your combination of skills, willingness to tell a story, attention to detail, and presenting an image that truly corroborates the story that set you apart. Great Job.


Final notes from Nathan: I want to send out my congratulations to all of the amazing artists who participated. Each of you has the makings of a winner, but I did have to make the final decision based on the 5 guidelines that were laid out in the beginning. I am so proud of all of you and I look forward to seeing all the magic you make next time. Congratulations to all of you, but especially to our winner Cara Sawtell.

Congratulations Cara for winning our 2017 Merry Little Elf Holiday Makeup Contest!

Cara wins a Tarte Limited-Edition Treasure Box, a Sephora “Fox in a box” sponge set, and a Too Faced “‘Tis the Season to Sparkle Glitter Set”.

Student Prize Winner

The lucky winner of our student prize draw is QC Makeup Academy student Michele Clauser! Michele wins a Too Faced “Boss Lady Beauty Agenda”!

Thank you to all the artists who submitted entries for the contest! And to the 5 finalists, you should all be very proud of your work. Once again, congratulations Cara for winning the 2017 Merry Little Elf Holiday Makeup Contest!

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