Thank you to everyone who participated in QC’s Mermaid Makeup Contest, Sparkling Surface category. Below is Nathan’s critique of the three finalists. Click here to view Nathan’s critique on the Deep Sea category finalists.

Here’s what Nathan was looking for:

Effort: The winner of each category will demonstrate the diversity of their skill, technique, and imagination by creating a detailed and captivating look. Although the makeup is fundamental to the contest, the more visually stunning the look is, through tasteful use of the hair, costume styling, and accessories, the more points will be awarded in judging.

Skill/Technique: Higher points will be awarded to students who demonstrate the use of polished makeup skills, detailed application, symmetry (when it is supposed to be symmetrical), and a diverse use of techniques.

Photo Quality: A good quality image is essential. The photograph should be clean and crisp. Higher points will go to images that look like they could be on the site of an influencer, or in a professional portfolio. Avoid images that are blurry, messy, or have cluttered or thoughtless backgrounds (e.g. messy bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.). Any images that are not a realistic version of the artist’s actual work will be disqualified (e.g. anything more than gentle retouching, including blurred skin, visible or over-retouching, filters, etc.).

Fun/Originality: I expect to see joy, wonder, beauty, and horror! Have fun every step of the way!

Story: A few sentences about your character, and the story behind him/her, can do a lot to sell your image. Don’t fall into the trap of telling what you did with the makeup, instead tell the story of who this person is. The stronger your story and concept, the more precise and clear your application will be.

Final note: Mermaids are one of the most popular forms of fantasy makeup in the internet stratosphere. Try to delve into your own imagination, and not the images and how-to’s of others for inspiration. Copying someone else’s how-to or slightly modifying the same make up that has been done a thousand times before, will not show your creativity, skill, or imagination. Anyone can copy a makeup look, but it takes a true artist to actually create something original that others will eventually want to copy. Challenge yourself to make something brand new, in doing so, you’ll truly awaken your inner artist.

Finalists & Scoring

Artist: Claudia Domrose


Mermaids have started to adapt and to copy humans to be able to stay secret and to survive. Their skin and shape has started to change and their Scales fade. They cut their hair and all the little shells and ocean treasures have mostly fallen off…


  • Effort: 8/10
  • Skill/Technique: 9/10
  • Photo Quality: 10/10
  • Fun/Originality: 8/10
  • Story: 7/10
  • Total Score: 42


There is a tremendous amount of creativity and skill here and I really appreciate it. The reinvented interpretation of scales and gills is beautiful. The eye application is extraordinary. The use of highlight and contour to reshape the nose is perfect. The small details in this application, including the color use in the scales/gills, the chartreuse speckles around the eyes, the sharp liner that reshapes the eye at the tear duct, and the reshaping of the lip and the philtrum are gorgeous. Although the shell on the forehead is applied with incredible precision and depth, demonstrating highlight, contour, and detailed work, it still looks like a painted shell, so it takes away from an otherwise realistic application. I would have liked to have seen you commit to the image a touch more. Carrying the application into the neck and putting on something other than a sweater would have been two great options. I do adore your story—but it doesn’t seem to match the image. I don’t think she looks at all like she could stay a secret…

Artist: Adela Simpalean


Me, the Sea Divine
Mother of all my senses… balance of my thought, laugh and anger, fear and joy…
Dance and fight… soft caressing love or sharp might…
Sparkling light and fearing shadows,
Flesh for spirit, sounds of silence…
Fire of the ocean, sparkle in my soul…
I flow into myself and there she glows


  • Effort: 10/10
  • Skill/Technique: 9/10
  • Photo Quality: 10/10
  • Fun/Originality: 8/10
  • Story: 6/10
  • Total Score: 43


There is a lot of great stuff happening here. From a beauty perspective, the foundation and blush are flawless. The eye makeup is symmetrical and balanced and the use of glitter adds a romantic and ethereal touch. I would have loved to see a little definition on the upper lash line—the right touch of liner would really add dimension to an otherwise beautiful the eye makeup. I would also recommend being a bit more gentle with the glitter above the lip. For the hair, I do wish you carried the glitter into the back, even if only on a few strands. Nonetheless, three thoughtful additions that really put this over the top are the hair, the bodice of the dress, and the little triangle of material that evokes the tail. The only thing that prevented a win was the story. Although I love a poem, this didn’t create the captivating story that took us into the world of the character the way some of the others did.

Artist: Alba Rut Carpio Gaona


The King of the Lotus river had six beautiful daughters who were blessed by the gods. Each of them was in charge of maintaining balance in the six rivers that were connected to the ocean. The legend said that if he was to have a seventh daughter, chaos would ensue and all balance would be lost. Many years passed and the Kingdom was thriving; but he had a seventh daughter named Utsuri… [Read the full story here.]


  • Effort: 10/10
  • Skill/Technique: 9/10
  • Photo Quality: 7/10
  • Fun/Originality: 9/10
  • Story: 10/10
  • Total Score: 45


The story is exceptional and it sent this image over the top for the win. All the details of the story are reflected in this application and it all comes together to create a unique and captivating look. The pearls on the face are applied with precision and discretion. The unique brow block and application does wonders to reshape the forehead and add an air of mystery. The soft dots on the forehead, cheeks, and chin work well with the contour and highlight, bringing the character (and her story) to life. The commitment to the image, with the hairpiece, wig, and ears is lovely. I wish you had committed to a background the same way you committed to everything else. Even a plain wall is better than a cluttered background. Excellent work.

Congratulations to Alba for winning the 2018 Mermaid Makeup Contest Sparkling Surface Category with your creative ocean princess look!

Alba wins the BECCA Cosmetics Ocean Jewels Eyeshadow Palette and INC.redible’s In A Dream World Iridescent Sheer Gloss!

Thank you once again to all the artists that submitted entries for this contest! And to the three finalists, you should all be very proud of your work!

Looking to enroll in some of QC’s courses? Learn more about each course here!

Catherine Hammond

Author Catherine Hammond

More posts by Catherine Hammond

Leave a Reply

Special Offer