Create a Mystic Ocean Creature!

There’s no doubt that mermaids are pretty trendy this summer… and there’s a reason for this – their colors are bright and they’re mystic and mysterious! So, we want to see what mermaid-inspired looks you can create!

Whether your mermaid lives deep in the ocean or sunbathes on the surface, tap into your creativity and create a detailed mermaid character! This contest contains two categories: Sparkling Surface and Deep Sea. Enter one category, or both!

To enter the Sparkling Surface category, your mermaid should be glammed up and ready to party. Think magical and ethereal – this mermaid brings happiness to the lucky few who spot her!

For the Deep Sea category… who knows what lives deep in the waters.  Your mermaid – or should we say sea siren – should be ready to face any creature that comes her way. Unless she’s the predator of course…

You don’t have to be a QC student to enter this contest! Everyone is welcome. There is an amazing prize for each category, plus a special prize for students who enter!

Submit your work soon! The deadline for entries is August 1st!


Special Offer

Available to contestants only. Receive $100 off your makeup course! Submit your contest entry to receive the promotion code.


How It Works

There are two categories for this contest! If you’re feeling inspired, feel free to enter both!

  1. Once you’ve completed your makeup look, submit a before and after photo through the submission form. Be sure to indicate which category you’re submitting to!
  2. On August 2nd, we’ll post the semi-finalists on QC Makeup Academy’s Facebook page. Here, votes will be counted by the number of likes each look gets! Be sure to like all your favorites! Though votes will play a big part in deciding finalists, the judges will make the final decision as to who will proceed to the next round. Voting will end at 12pm EST on August 6th.
  3. On August 6th, the finalists for each category will be announced on our Facebook page! The finalists are chosen based on Facebook votes and the judge’s choice.
  4. The finalists will be scored by QC Makeup Academy’s Executive Makeup Artist and tutor, Nathan Johnson. He will provide plenty of feedback to the finalists! The grand prize winner for each category will be announced on August 8th!

Please read the rules above carefully before entering the contest. You must include a before photo (model with no makeup) in order to qualify for the semi-finals. You will automatically be disqualified if your photo has been edited (e.g. use of a filter on your photo, smoothing or blurring of the skin, etc.). Poor photo quality will also be penalized during the semi-finalist selection.

Category 1: Sparkling Surface

Create a glam mermaid character!

For those of you that adore glam looks, consider this category! Play with color, sparkle, and texture! We want to see where your imagination takes this look. Be sure to send us a written description of the look you create!

THE PRIZE: Sparkling Surface Category

The winner of the Sparkling Surface category will receive BECCA Cosemetics’ Ocean Jewels Eyeshadow Palette and INC.redible’s “In a Dream World” Iridescent Sheer Gloss (combined estimated retail value of $70).

Ocean Jewels Eyeshadow Palette by BECCA Cosemetics
In A Dream World Iridescent Sheer Gloss by INC.redible

Category 2: Deep Sea

Is special effects makeup your passion?

We want to see what kind of creature you can create! Show us your best deep-sea mermaid! Consider facial injuries and other details. Be creative and don’t hold back – we’re open to disturbing makeup! Show us those skills and create an amazing mermaid. Be sure to send us the inspirational story behind your look!

THE PRIZE: Deep Sea Category

The winner of the Deep Sea category will receive Tarte’s limited edition Pro Cruelty-Free Lashes from their “Be a Mermaid & Make Waves” collection, Tarte’s “Rainforest of the Sea” Eyebrow Palette, and two bottles of special effects blood (combined estimated retail value of $70).

QC SFX Blood
Rainforest of the Sea Eyebrow Palette by Tarte Cosmetics
Limited Edition Pro Cruelty Free Lashes from the Be a Mermaid & Make Waves Collection by Tarte Cosmetics

Your Tutor & Judge

Nathan Johnson

Executive Makeup Artist

Nathan Johnson is a New York City–based celebrity makeup artist with over 20 years of industry experience. Nathan has worked on over 300 famous faces including Paula Abdul, Lea Michele, Kyra Sedgwick, Kevin Bacon, Paul McCartney, and more. More than anything he loves to bring out the beauty and confidence of the everyday woman. Nathan will be judging each submission based on the following criteria…


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.


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.). This doesn’t mean that you need an expensive set up, it just means you need to clean the oils off your camera lens, or to borrow a better phone or camera. Incredibly gentle retouching is acceptable, although your makeup should be doing the perfecting on its own. Blurred skin, visible or over-retouching, filters, and ring lights, will result in a loss of points because they blow out, smooth, and perfect the makeup and image, making everything appear far better and more beautiful than it is in real life. Any images that are not a realistic version of the artist’s actual work will be disqualified.


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


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. For example, this mermaid is one believed lost to legend. Her family was hunted to near extinction and the few that survived sought safety in the deepest trenches of the sea and have lived below the surface for centuries. Once friendly and beautiful, they have evolved into gorgeous but terrifying monsters. You get the idea…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.

I would advise against the typical and overdone techniques usually associated with mermaid makeup application– fishnet stocking scales, the abundant use of glitter, crystals, and shells—unless you are using them in original, unique, or reinvented ways.

True creativity is difficult, that is why there are so many trend copiers instead of trend creators. I challenge you to be a creator. I cannot wait to see what comes out of the most beautiful, or darkest, reaches of your imagination. Good luck!

Prize for QC Students & Grads

Though this contest is open to all, we’ve decided to have a special prize that is reserved exclusively for QC students and grads!

If you are a student or grad, be sure to include your student number when you submit your entry! At the end of the contest period, we’ll draw a winner at random! The lucky winner will receive the Ciaté London “Mermaid Glow” highlighter (estimated retail value of $40)!

This summer is the perfect time to start your career as a professional MUA!


Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve answered the most common ones below! You can also read through the contest rules for more information, or contact us if your questions still aren’t answered!

Can I enter if I’m not a QC student?

Yes, you can! This contest is open to anyone who has a love of makeup, whether you’re already a member of the QC Community or not!

Can I enter both categories?

Yes! You can enter both categories, and your submissions will be treated separately from one another.

Can I enter more than one look per category?

Yes, you can. However, if you’re selected as a finalist we’ll only pick one of your submissions to feature in the top three.

When will the semi-finalists be announced?

The semi-finalists will be announced on QC Makeup Academy’s Facebook Page on August 2nd. You’ll be able to vote for the finalists by “liking” your favorite image in each category.

When will the winners be announced?

Voting will continue until 12 PM EST on August 6th. The three finalists (per category) will be chosen based on a mix of judge’s choice and Facebook votes. On August 8th, we’ll announce the winners!

What happens if I win?

And we hope you do! We’ll contact you via email or by phone to arrange delivery of your prize. We’ll need to speak to you first, as we won’t send out any prizes before we can verify your address either by phone or email, so make sure you’re available to chat!

You can read the full contest rules here.

Looking to launch your makeup career?


Please read the guidelines above carefully before entering the contest.

Enter Contest

Click the button below to submit your photo entries. Remember to include a before and after photo, as well as a description of your makeup look!

Submission Form

You may also choose to submit your photos via email. Please send your name, address, contest category, photo description, and before and after photos to [email protected].