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Uncanny Valley Makeup

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Some ladies wear Cover Girl, she wears Dutch Boy.

"Ronald Reagan is a triumph of the embalmer's art."

Generally, people use cosmetics to make themselves more attractive. A little extra color or definition can make a world of difference. In the wrong hands, however, or taken too far, that dab of lipstick, powder, and paint can push a person straight into the Uncanny Valley. The human face disappears into the make-up, leaving something profoundly unnatural: a clown, a porcelain doll, or a something just plain grotesque.

This is disconcerting enough even if accidentally incurred in an honest effort to achieve perfection — if a character cultivates Uncanny Valley Makeup on purpose, like the semantic colors on a venomous snake, be on the alert for serious, premeditated creepiness.

Bonus points if the person is wearing an old fashioned Pimped-Out Dress, a frivolous multicolored outfit, or an all black outfit. Or they may also dress in a skimpy outfit that was intended purely for Fanservice. Additional bonus points if worn by a Creepy Crossdresser.

Depending on the circumstances this trope can be considered a good source of Nightmare Fuel or Fan Disservice.

See also Makeup Is Evil, Cosmetic Catastrophe, Impossibly Tacky Clothes, Excessive Evil Eyeshadow, Skin-Tone Disguise.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Samurai 7 (anime adaptation of Seven Samurai), Gorobei, Rikichi, and Heihachi are forced to dress in drag as part of an undercover mission. Gorobei and Rikichi sport laughably gaudy visages - Heihachi, however, makes for a very pretty lady.
  • An example occurs in Ouran High School Host Club when the host club dresses as women to cheer up Haruhi. They wear makeup that is hilariously overdone, wigs, and gaudy dresses. Likewise, every production done by the Zuka club features a lot of this. Likely this is because most of the characters already look like that...
    • And it's actually lampshaded by the Host Club when they see Haruhi in it, claiming "IT'S TOO THICK!"
  • In Tenchi in Tokyo, Ryoko applies makeup to herself by the pound. The result is her face looking so creepy and silly looking that her rival Princesses Ayeka all but pisses herself with laughter at the sight of it.
  • Shortly after joining The Shinsengumi in Peacemaker Kurogane, Tetsunosuke gets jealous at Yamazaki Susumu, who does his spying work crossdressed as a beautiful woman. Tetsunosuke grabs a spare kimono and borrows Susumu's makeup box, ending up looking more like a Kabuki clown than a lady, to the horror of innocent bystanders.
  • Ms. Chono in Yu-Gi-Oh! wears so much makeup, it may as well be a mask. After a run in with Yami Yugi, it breaks off like a porcelain mask.
    • In the manga, he causes it so she'll never be able to cover up her perpetually angry face. In the anime, she has to apply on thick amounts just to look normal, and any time she tries to act mean her face will crack.
  • One Piece's Emporio Ivankov wears so much makeup it really is a mask. When he runs into a guy that throws acidic poison on his face he just peels off a layer of makeup and goes on with his business.
  • In the Pokémon: The Original Series episode "Pokémon Fashion Flash", Misty receives a makeover from Team Rocket's fake salon that makes her face look clownlike and oddly decorated. Ash laughs his socks off over it.
  • Done for laughs (though very slightly dramatic) in Eureka Seven when Eureka tries makeup.
  • The Ganguro girls in Durarara!!. So much makeup...
  • Ripple-chan from Anpanman is a living lipstick tube that loves to give the girls of Anpanland makeovers. Unfortunately, the dresses she gives them are a bit too flashy for everyday wear, and the makeup is this. However, at times, she can give an appropriate and beautiful amount of makeup with a less showy outfit (like she did with Dokinchan to make her look like a princess).

    Comic Books 
  • Little Lotta tries on makeup to impress her boyfriend Gerald. She passed by her friend Little Dot on the street, and from what Dot sees of the makeup job, she thinks that Lotta has caught a fever and rushes away, telling her friend to get well soon.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Batman (1989), the Joker wears makeup over his white skin that doesn't have the depth or shading of real skin and gives him a creepy mannequin look, not to mention the fact that his permanent grin-like disfigurement is still easily visible beneath it.
  • In Beauty and the Beast (2017), the pre-transformation prince in the prologue has his face completely caked with powder and makeup and looks garish and creepy as a result. When he transforms back into a human at the end of the film sans makeup, he looks much better.
  • In John Carpenter's Escape from L.A., Bruce Campbell plays the Surgeon General of Beverly Hills, a man obsessed with achieving physical perfection through plastic surgery. The prosthetic makeup he wears for the part — sculpted cheekbones, a thinner nose, a squarer jaw, visible hairplugs — makes the character look more like an animated mannequin than anything else.
  • As mentioned in Literature, Effie Trinket from The Hunger Games. The contrast between her and the residents of District 12 at the reaping scene is unsettling.
  • The Mystery Man from David Lynch's Lost Highway has no eyebrows, as well as a fairly subtle combination of eyeshadow and lipstick that renders his face fairly... uncanny.
  • In My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Toula's family is preparing her for her wedding, and they are in such a hurry that everyone pitches in to do her hair, makeup, and dress her. The end result is that she, in Toula's words, "looks like a snow beast".
  • Not Okay: At least twice Danni wears extravagant eye makeup featuring graphic eyeliner in bright colors. Her manicure is also unusual; instead of having the tips of her nails painted white or cream, those tips are painted in bright colors, different for each finger.
  • Divine in Pink Flamingos. Her character's charming personality isn't helping things, either...
  • Pavi's faces in Repo! The Genetic Opera have a shade of this to them. It helps that they're skinned off of various women and hooked onto his face with clips. Features like eyebrows and lip color are pretty clearly redone in... post-production, as it were.
    • Blind Mag's makeup in her first appearance, too. It's partly because of her "Uh-Oh" Eyes, but the heavy eye-makeup and impossibly long fake lashes don't help matters. Subverted, though, in that Mag is one of only two good-hearted people in the entire movie, and the makeup is probably imposed on her- when she's viewed in flashback before she was lured by GeneCo, her eye makeup looks much more natural.
  • In Shaolin Soccer, the hero's love interest tries getting a makeover to look prettier... but it fails spectacularly, with excessively heavy makeup and a huge '80s Hair wig.
  • Near the end of shooting the original Star Wars movie, Mark Hamill suffered a car wreck. For the remaining pick-up shots, George Lucas used a body double. Less than 2 years later, they were filming The Star Wars Holiday Special. To hide Hamill's facial scars and to match his look from the original film as much as possible, they used a lot of makeup.
  • The Joker in Suicide Squad (2016) uses this to emphasize his sociopathic Monster Clown look. What's particularly notable about him is his lack of eyebrows... but yet, unlike eyebrow-less animated characters, such as Pitch Black, Joker's face still moves as though he has eyebrows, which majorly creeps some viewers out.
  • Your Make Up Is Running causes this trope in the railroad car scene of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. Laura and Ronette's smeared and melting lipstick and eyeliner makes them look like terrified clowns, and the result adds to the horror of the scene.
  • The Warriors. The very, er, colorful gang colors give it a camp quality in hindsight.
    • The Furies, especially. Particularly because their glowering expressions never seem to change under the bright Day-Glo face paint.
  • "Baby" Jane Hudson as an adult in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?. Bette Davis suggested the idea she never washes her face, she just cakes new makeup on every day.
  • Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, seeing as how he was intentionally meant to invoke Uncanny Valley (makeup was used to make his skin look unnaturally pale and flawless, and Christopher Lloyd avoided blinking when the camera was on him).
  • The iconic Oompa-Loompas in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory have bizarre orange faces with white eyebrows.

  • In Bridget Jones' Diary Bridget goes out partying with a "friend" who is always able to bring down her self-esteem with cutting remarks and ends up convinced that she is horribly prematurely aging. As a result, the next time she goes out she spends ages applying lots and lots of makeup, to the point that when she arrives her friend Tom tells her she looks like Barbara Cartland.
    • In the sequel, she goes out to a fancy dinner with Mark Darcy and, in a hurry as ever, makes up in the cab on the way there. She can't work out why everyone at the party is looking at her strangely, til Mark sends her to the ladies' room and she finds that, in the dark, she confused plum eyeshadow with rouge...
  • In Bridge of Birds, this is apparently the standard of beauty - among the many, many preparations Li Kao claims a beautiful woman makes every morning are "checks to make sure that her makeup has hardened into an immovable mask" and "looks into the mirror for any visible sign of humanity, and is relieved to find none".
  • In A Clockwork Orange, the sociopathic culture of the young is partly indicated by the crazy way they dress and the insane makeup the girls are described as wearing:
    These sharps were dressed in the heighth of fashion too, with purple and green and orange wigs on their gullivers, and make-up to match (rainbows round the glazzies, that is, and the rot painted very wide).
  • Queen Beatrix of Counselors and Kings is already a Cloudcuckoolander with an often disturbing Lack of Empathy, but the whole effect is not helped by her habit of wearing white wigs, heavy white makeup, and thick eyeshadow, lending her the appearance of an automaton or a reanimated corpse (and behind her back, it's often gossiped that she's forgotten she isn't one of those options). In the third book, she's explicitly noted to look both younger and more beautiful without her makeup though even that is an illusion.
  • Discworld: In Wyrd Sisters, Magrat goes overboard on powder and mascara when going out to rescue Nanny Ogg from the Duke's dungeons, and is described as looking like "two flies that had crashed into a sugar bowl". She also leaves a guard tempted to make a sign to "ward off the evil eyeshadow".
  • In the Goosebumps book The Haunted School, Tommy's classmate Talia is bullied because she wears a huge amount of makeup that makes her look unnatural and even creepy (they are only twelve years old.) It turns out that she escaped from the colorless world and is completely gray from head to foot, so she uses the makeup to hide her real appearance.
  • Effie Trinket from The Hunger Games. She wears technicolor wigs, but then you find out the whole Capitol wants to look like this.
  • In A Series of Unfortunate Events, Count Olaf has a group of henchmen that help do his bidding. In his group, there are two women, with white powder all over their faces, and they are never depicted without the face powder.
  • In the later part of Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon, Pilate's granddaughter Hagar goes and buys makeup along with new clothes in the hope of impressing Milkman Dead so that he would find her attractive again. However, on her way home, her clothes and cosmetics get ruined in the rain, as her bags tear, so by the time Hagar returns home and tries all that stuff on, Pilate and her daughter Reba could see that her new clothes are ruined and her makeup is now so smeary that it makes Hagar cry until she catches a fever.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Are You Afraid of the Dark?:
    • In the episode "The Tale Of The Many Faces" a struggling model named Emma visits a strange woman named Madame Visage who gives her some powder that apparently helps her get a modeling job. The powder didn't really do anything, considering that Emma was pretty to begin with. (It does seem to almost hypnotize those around her, who will drop everything to mention how pretty she is.) However, it's revealed that Madame Visage is a Vain Sorceress and the face powder has properties that keeps girls' faces looking younger and the skin smooth. She wants the faces to be in peak condition so that she can steal them and use them as her own face as a way to keep herself looking younger.
    • Another episode called "The Tale Of The Mystical Mirror" features another Vain Sorceress named Mrs. Valenti who hires only in her words "beauties" to work in her clothing boutique and she is later revealed to regularly kill young girls in a ritual to keep herself eternally young and beautiful while she was actually centuries old. She gives her employees a compact filled with makeup, and she makes sure to keep her "youthful" face covered with so much makeup that her face looks like its made of plastic and she appears rather Stepford Smiler-ish.
  • Endora of Bewitched wears far too much makeup, especially for a woman her age.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The makeup worn by the Sisterhood of Karn.
    • Worn as part of Gallifreyan formal wear in "The Deadly Assassin" — a whitish lipstick, pearlized white powder on the brows and cheekbones. Notably, more sympathetic characters are not shown wearing it.
    • Used as literally as possible in "The Robots of Death", where everyone, male and female, wears makeup to make their faces resemble the Raygun Gothic robots of the setting — beings that cause Uncanny Valley in-universe. In particular, a delusional man who identifies with robots paints his face to more closely resemble the stylised faces of the robots — literally using makeup to make himself resemble a being that causes an in-universe uncanny valley effect.
    • Helen A imposes this on all the citizens of Terra Alpha as part of her Stepford Smiler dictatorship in "The Happiness Patrol".
    • Done intentionally with the actresses playing the Weeping Angels, to make them look really creepy. It works.
    • "The Time of the Doctor": Tasha Lem wears stylized makeup, most prominently including a raccoon-like stripe across her eyes, that emphasizes how detached she seems.
  • Mimi Bobeck (played by Kathy Kinney) from The Drew Carey Show frequently wore more makeup than was necessary healthy for the proper brain functioning of those around her.
    • Taken up a notch when special guest star Tammy Faye Bakker would play Mimi's mother, Tammy Bobeck, for two episodes.
    • This was a running gag for a long, long time. One episode had her recovering from skin damage to her face and unable to wear makeup. Instead, she covered her face with a fan until she could get sat down and set up a small projector to shine strongly colored light on her face to replicate the effect of her normal makeup.
    • Another episode had a follow-up to the earlier "Mini Mimi" gag where the woman she hired for the prank reveals that she kept the look afterward because it gave her Mimi's Kavorka Man powers.
    • And of course, the cherry on this joke sundae is that the one time we see Mimi actually do makeup for another person, she does a very tasteful and restrained job. And of course, what department in the store did she first apply for? Cosmetics.
  • Goodbye My Princess: The empress's make-up is off-putting by modern standards. Her shaved-off and painted-on eyebrows are especially odd. Truth in Television, though; that style of make-up was common in the Tang dynasty.
  • In How I Met Your Mother, the makeup that makes Barney look fat (possibly just Ted's imagination, we'll never know) is positively horrifying. Just take a look.
  • The IT Crowd has one character who Roy says puts on so much makeup that when he breaks up with her will be like breaking up with The Joker. They show her and his description seems accurate, especially when she starts crying and her makeup gets smeared.
  • In LazyTown, the two main heroes are played by human actors and most of the other characters by rubber puppets — the antagonist, Robbie Rotten, is designed in such a way that watching him leaves the primal parts of your brain wondering which of those two things he is. On an intellectual level he's obviously a human in heavy makeup, but that makeup gives him the rubbery look of the puppet characters even despite the expressiveness of his face.
  • The League of Gentlemen has Papa Lazarou. His face really is black and white like a minstrel, and he has to paint over it with makeup to appear normal. Well as normal as a demonic, polygamist blackface minstrel who runs a Circus of Fear, can look anyway. Papa learned the makeup skills to cover his minstrel face from his various wives.
  • Cruella De Ville as portrayed on Once Upon a Time has this. It is revealed in a flashback that the result of exposure to magic ink painted her face with overdone makeup and caused her blonder hair to become black and white. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • Toddlers & Tiaras: The excessive makeup that includes heavy eyeshadow, unnatural blush, fake lashes, and fake tan is especially unsettling since the girls of the show don't pass from the age of 10. This, combined with Age-Inappropriate Dress is the reason why many people criticize the show and many others watch it due to morbid curiosity.

  • The Music video for Fall Out Boy's America's Suitehearts features Pete Wentz in some freak facepaint that makes him look like he has a large smiling black mouth full of teeth.
  • Emilie Autumn has some sort of creepy porcelain doll/french aristocrat look going on.
  • From the world of 90's Visual Kei, ex-Lareine bassist Emiru. Any grown man who can have a little girl as a stage persona and get away with it definitely has a place here, especially if that stage persona has a distinct air of Creepy Child about it, what with it's twisting off a doll's head (3:27-3:35) whilst looking blankly into the camera amongst other things.
  • Most of Lady Gaga's music videos, including "Born This Way." The protruding horns/cheekbones, flesh colored eyebrows and this little ensemble.
  • Vocaloid has Matryoshka. It's either this or something else.
  • Every Robert Palmer video featured a group of models made up to look like emotionless mannequins.
    • Word of God was that Palmer did not find that look attractive, and was bemused at his female fans showing at concerts trying to look like the models in the videos.
  • Nicki Minaj looks like an IMVU character in the video for Super Bass, especially the eyelashes.
  • Kesha: "We R Who We R".
  • Joan Jett's album cover for Bad Reputation.
  • David Bowie's more exotic looks tend to fall into this territory: consider Ziggy Stardust, the Pierrot clown in the "Ashes to Ashes" video, and the characters in the 1. Outside booklet. When he did some self-parody as the British Rock Star Screamin' Lord Byron in the Short Film Jazzin' for Blue Jean, he made sure that "Mr. Screamin'" used such makeup too, with full-face, metallic makeup complete with painted-on shadows that give him the look of a living painting.
  • Klaus Nomi employed this as part of his alien persona.
  • Taco's version of Puttin' on the Ritz uses enough lipstick, eye liner and shadowed eyebrows to make his face look a bit off.
  • Gary Numan, with his "android from outer space" persona similar to the aforementioned Klaus Nomi, most prominently sported this look during his Tubeway Army and early solo years.

  • An audio example in Big Finish Doctor Who's "Jubilee" - Miriam insists that the purpose of women is to cover themselves in makeup and look colorful for the men. She herself is convinced she's really ugly and that looking 'like a sow rolled in cosmetics' is the best that she can hope for.

    Video Games 
    Web Animation 

  • Homestuck's "Trickster Mode" (normal on the left, Trickster'd on the right) can make characters colorful, invincible, and insane.
  • The Big Bad of Sluggy Freelance 'GOFOTRON' arc, Zorgon Gola, is difficult for most of his subordinates to face, except Lord Grater:
    Zorgon Gola: Are you staring at my lips?
    Lord Grater: Yeah. Do they hurt? Did a bee sting you?

    Web Original 
  • YouTuber Catie Wayne first rose to prominence with her original "character", Boxxy, a parody of the "scene" internet subculture. She later filmed a makeup tutorial on how to achieve Boxxy's deranged chic.
    "What's important to remember about this step is that if you're not any good at it, that's okay because Boxxy isn't either."

    Western Animation 
  • Hey Arnold!
    • At least two episodes feature Helga's older sister Olga break down crying so much that her makeup runs down her face and it looks like she's crying black tears.
    • Another episode has Helga give herself a makeover, in order to make herself look more girly for Rhonda's party. When her mother opens the bathroom door and sees the finished product she gasps and faints, causing Helga to say "Maybe I should've gone a bit lighter on the eye shadow."
  • In the Ruby-Spears Mega Man cartoon, a cosmetics robot looked like this to begin with. When Mega gave her a bad facial it got even worse.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Seen in "Sonic Rainboom" when Rarity lets her new wings go to her head. She enters the Best Young Fliers' Competition herself wearing heavy make-up and a Pimped-Out Dress.
    • Also done in "Brotherhooves Social" as part of Big Macintosh's "Orchard Blossom" disguise.
  • All of the female characters in The Problem Solverz have brightly colored eyeshadow and facial markings.
  • The Ghost and Molly McGee: In “A Period Piece”, Molly feels left out because both her friends, Libby and Andrea have both had their first periods, and thinks that they’re maturing without her. In an attempt to seem more grown-up, she gives herself a makeover with an online makeup tutorial. However, when she reveals herself to her friends, they both scream in fright at her less than perfect makeup job.
  • One late episode of The Powerpuff Girls (1998) had the Villain of the Week, "Mask Scara," fly around giving horribly trashy makeovers to everyone in Townsville as well as some of the billboards. Not as uncanny when it's supposed to be funny, but still really, really ugly. In fact, according to her backstory, she used to be CEO of a cosmetics company that promoted a look like this, and it was a fad for a while, but she thought it would last more than it did, and after the fad became passé she was out of business.)
  • Bob's Burgers: In "Bad Tina" Tina falls in with Tammy, the new girl at school, who insists on makeovers. She puts a lot of makeup on the two of them in the girl's room - when they step outside, the Pesto twins see them and yell "AAAAH! Bathroom clowns!"
  • In Barbie and the Secret Door, the Big Bad, Malucia, wears a lot of makeup. Her lipstick in particular looks very creepy since she's a little girl.
  • The 12-year old Power Trio in As Told by Ginger try to look glamorous in one episode by wearing makeup they made themselves, as Ginger's mom thinks she's too young for makeup and doesn't let her wear any. The fact that they have no prior experience in applying makeup is made very clear.

    Real Life 
  • Theatre makeup, when seen up close, can have this effect. Since the purpose is to make it easier to read facial expressions from a distance, it often heavily emphasizes the eyes, mouth, and cheekbones. Even the most diplomatic of people would have to say a stage actor up close looks a little overdone, and this only applies to the most standard look. Any time makeup is used to certain effects, such as making a young actor look older, invoking an animal-like look (see Cats or Black Swan), or deliberately going Uncanny Valley to make a performer look like a corpse, puppet, etc., the creepy effect can be multiplied tenfold.
  • Combined with Values Dissonance, this applies to most historically accurate recreations of historical makeup styles, such as the English Renaissance fashion for caking on a pale, lead-based makeup- which often ended up horribly disfiguring long-term users, incidentally.
    • From the 16th-18th centuries, the style for rouge was to apply it in a round (or occasionally triangular) pattern with no attempt to blend it into the foundation, creating a rather clownish effect to modern viewers.
    • Much like the What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? example under Film, it's been suggested that some women never washed their face, they just caked new makeup on every day.
    • There are theories about the high numbers of mentally disabled children in noble families in 18th century Japan, for being caused by babies touching the lead makeup of their mothers and suffering from lead poisoning when it got from their fingers into their mouths.
      • Speaking of Japan, for over a thousand years (surviving in some form from 250 AD to 1870 AD) it was fashionable for women to dye their teeth pitch black. Westerners who saw this practice thought that women were intentionally making themselves uglier to prevent infidelity.
    • There were also unpleasant cases when electric lighting started spreading. A woman with makeup meant for gaslight or candles looked like "a badly painted doll".
    • Throughout the 18th and 19th century when smallpox was one of the most common serious diseases in the Western world, frequently leaving its survivor's skin horribly disfigured with deep pockmarks, a kind of face powder that was really more like grout became widely used in disguising it. The visual effect must have been worse than the scarring.
  • Pageant photography, especially of kids.
    • That owes at least as much to aggressive use of Photoshop as to the makeup.
  • The late great Tammy Faye Bakker Messner (née La Valley), wife of infamous televangelist Jim Bakker (1961-1992) and later Ronald Roe Messner. The woman's makeup would have scared the Joker.
  • Spray tans have been known to produce this effect, creating a strange orange skin tone not unlike the Oompa-Loompas mentioned above under Film. See Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi from Jersey Shore, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner (R-OH), and former US president Donald Trump (hence all the disparaging "Cheeto" nicknames for him,note  among others) for examples.
  • The Japanese Ganguro subculture and related styles. They generally feature tanned skin, light or brightly coloured hair, thick white outlines around the eyes and mouth, false eyelashes and black eyeliner, paired with brightly coloured clothing and accessories.
  • The late Dame Barbara Cartland, prolific romance novelist. Clive James famously described her face as looking like "looking like the corpses of two crows that had flown into a chalk cliff".
  • That "two crows flying into a chalk cliff" analogy could also apply to Taylor Momsen as of late. Ever since she's said she "doesn't fucking care" about being a good role model, she has begun layering her make-up on pretty thick. Michael K of Dlisted has unfavorably compared her multiple times to a panda.
  • Lady Gaga, especially in her early years.
  • Boy George.
    • Especially on his appearances in I Love the (Era), when he's... not so Pretty and still wearing heavy amounts of makeup.
  • Some more Values Dissonance examples: Heavy makeup for women was especially popular in The Roaring '20s, The '50s, and The '80s. Usually, ladies from these eras were tactful in their application of cosmetics, but at times they overdid it. This was especially the case with actresses who were playing characters in historical movies set long before the advent of mass-marketed cosmetics.
  • Some youtube tutorials will teach you how to enter the uncanny valley of makeup, by trying to make you look like an anime character. No, not uncanny valley like an anime character wearing makeup. Looking like an anime character.
    • Worse is when you try to make yourself look like a character that simply doesn't have human facial proportions to begin with. As is the case with this Sonic the Hedgehog.
    • This.
      • Would that be Eye Eye Shadow or Eye Shadow Eyes?
  • When girls are just beginning to wear makeup and experiment with it (usually in their pre-teens), sometimes they can look downright clownish. Maybe they used foundation multiple shades too dark or too light compared to their actual skin color (since many girls' first encounter with makeup is sharing with their mother, sisters, or friends, this is fairly common). Or maybe they used a little too much eyeshadow and blush. Or maybe they had put on the brightest shade of lipstick they could find. Possibly all of that.
  • Lots of the more OTT makeup styles amongst alt fashion wearers in Japan (and the fashion followers in western countries). Contact lenses that make your eyes look impossibly round and huge? Check. Two to three pairs of false eyelashes? Check. So much pale foundation and powder that you look like you're made of chalk? Check. Foundation'd-out lips? Check. Perfectly round clown blusher? The list goes on. The effect is often adorable, but it doesn't make it less creepy.
  • The late Jan Crouch of TBN, a particularly notorious case.
  • Any attempt at bleaching dark skin usually has this effect. Instead of a natural caramel or honey complexion, the cream washes out all pigment from the skin, and the end result tends to be unnervingly pale and corpse-like. One of the less controversial uses of bleaching creams is to even out skin ravaged by vitiligo (as was the case with Michael Jackson), leaving afflicted people in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" position.
  • Many Drag Queens have this look, though it's usually intentional if they're going for a campy larger-than-life persona.
    Trixie Mattel: "Some queens paint for the back row. I paint for the check cashing place down the street."
  • Common with burlesque artists.
  • Many makeup artists on Instagram try to go out of their way to avoid this and look as natural as possible. But trends such as advanced contouring, overlined pouty lips, heavily filled eyebrows in a perfectly angled shape, and Real Is Brown neutrals applied to all skin tones, tend to have this effect anyway.
  • PJ Harvey donned this look for her 1995 album To Bring You My Love, sporting blue eyeshadow and red lipstick. After denying that the makeup was inspired by either drag makeup, Kabuki theatre or performance art, she described it as "Joan Crawford on acid".
  • This is one of the main reasons why some people are afraid of clowns. The makeup can be so uncanny that it's unnerving. Combined with their over the top exaggerated attempts to be funny (which some may find unnerving and/or creepy), it's understandable that some people may find them less than charming.


Video Example(s):


Pepper Ann

Fearing for her sister's perceived lack of femininity, Pepper Ann tries to introduce her to "girlier" activities like makeovers. But as she herself is not exactly into those kinds of activities, well... the results speak for themselves.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / UncannyValleyMakeup

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