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I Tried To Cure My Resting Niceface With Makeup

Does this dark lipstick make me intimidating?

I suffer from "resting niceface."

Resting niceface is a condition where your relaxed, resting face looks extra friendly and approachable. Even if you’re tired or unhappy, your face says, “Hello! Please talk to me!” It’s the opposite of “resting bitch face,” where your resting face seems angry, even when you’re not. I’m not a huge fan of the term “bitch face,” for obvious reasons. It feeds into the idea that women should appear happy and pleasant at all times even though they're not robots. Plus, men can have a resting mean face too. (Granted, “resting mean face” doesn’t sound as cool and edgy.)I would gladly trade my resting niceface for a resting bitch face. I would do a face transplant with a Halloween jack-o-lantern if I could find a willing surgeon. Because the secret is: I’m not THAT nice. I don’t want to chat with strangers. Ideally, I’d live in a cave and never talk to anyone. When I’m walking down the street in a crowd of people, clipboarders and people selling things always single me out. Sometimes people yell “bitch!” after me if I scurry away because I couldn’t live up to the niceness my face promised.I needed a way to look less like a cherubic baby and more like an intimidating modern woman. I decided bold, edgy makeup was the answer. As black lipstick becomes less goth and more mainstream, I decided to try out some darker makeup to see if I could look less goody-goody and more burn-a-hole-in-your-soul-with-lasers-I-shoot-from-my-eyes.Disclaimer: I am obviously not a professional makeup artist. I'm just a regular person who tries to wear makeup.
Joanna Borns / BuzzFeed

Resting niceface is a condition where your relaxed, resting face looks extra friendly and approachable. Even if you’re tired or unhappy, your face says, “Hello! Please talk to me!” It’s the opposite of “resting bitch face,” where your resting face seems angry, even when you’re not. I’m not a huge fan of the term “bitch face,” for obvious reasons. It feeds into the idea that women should appear happy and pleasant at all times even though they're not robots. Plus, men can have a resting mean face too. (Granted, “resting mean face” doesn’t sound as cool and edgy.)

I would gladly trade my resting niceface for a resting bitch face. I would do a face transplant with a Halloween jack-o-lantern if I could find a willing surgeon. Because the secret is: I’m not THAT nice. I don’t want to chat with strangers. Ideally, I’d live in a cave and never talk to anyone. When I’m walking down the street in a crowd of people, clipboarders and people selling things always single me out. Sometimes people yell “bitch!” after me if I scurry away because I couldn’t live up to the niceness my face promised.

I needed a way to look less like a cherubic baby and more like an intimidating modern woman. I decided bold, edgy makeup was the answer. As black lipstick becomes less goth and more mainstream, I decided to try out some darker makeup to see if I could look less goody-goody and more burn-a-hole-in-your-soul-with-lasers-I-shoot-from-my-eyes.

Disclaimer: I am obviously not a professional makeup artist. I'm just a regular person who tries to wear makeup.

Day 1: Dark Lipstick

BuzzFeed

I realized I was nervous to try dark makeup. I didn't know if I was ready for my face to stand out.* I searched for the darkest lipstick I could find that was still technically reddish. I assumed dark lipstick would make me look like a baby who ate a popsicle, but I was shocked when it actually looked good. My lips looked like a plush velvet couch and I felt like my resting face definitely looked less nicey-nice.

I got in an argument with one of my co-workers, who thought the lipstick was black. IT'S OBVIOUSLY NOT BLACK. I was also told I looked like a "punk little baby," which was not my desired aesthetic. I did worry that edgy makeup mixed with resting niceface would bring about an Avril Lavigne-esque vibe.

I also felt like the dark lipstick made me look younger more than intimidating. I was mistaken for a teen at Starbucks, which was kind of cool. A man catcalled me on the street saying, "That's a good color on you!" It was not a welcome comment, but he could've been referring to the lipstick.

I also managed to startle my husband. "You look like a radically different person," he said. "But I like it."

"You like it???"

"Well no...but it's fun."

*This thought alone made me realize the reason I'm not intimidating is probably tied more to a fear of standing out than to my friendly baby's face.

(Lipstick: Nyx soft matte lip creme in Transylvania.)

Day 2: Bold Eyebrows

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I get that drawing in bold eyebrows is a staple for people who are good at makeup. I was scared to do it because I have light eyebrows and I worried a sudden eyebrow enhancement would look extreme. I'm not used to seeing myself with bold eyebrows — it always looks a little Groucho Marx-y on me.

The change was not as jarring as expected. This was probably my favorite look from the week. A co-worker told me she couldn't remember if my eyebrows always looked this good. I definitely felt more sophisticated, like someone who owns a blazer. Mild intimidation factor achieved.

(Eyebrow pencil: Brett Freedman Brett Brow in pale blonde.)

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Day 3: Bold Eyeliner

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I understand that for a lot of people, winged eyeliner is just a normal, everyday look. I'm blown away by those people.

I felt like I added a lot of eyeliner, but maybe I could've used more? I startled myself when I looked in the mirror throughout the day. But I did get compliments on the eyeliner specifically.

I definitely don't look more intimidating. It's possible I look LESS intimidating. I think I look afraid of my own eyeliner?

For a long time my dream has been to be one of those people who have effortless cat eyes every single day. I think I can finally let that dream die. As cool as cats are, I have to stick with human eyes.

(Eyeliner: Urban Decay 24/7 waterproof liquid eyeliner in perversion.)

Day 4: Blue Lipstick

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OK. I really thought I was buying black lipstick when I got this color. I wanted to be a goth princess of darkness. But it showed up blue on my lips. Fine. Blue can be just as intimidating as black.

And I DID feel more intimidating as I was riding the subway. I even got a few weird looks. Blue lipstick is a power move. When you see someone with blue lips you think, That person does not give a hoot about conventional lip standards of beauty. Not a hoot!

And it worked. I was in a big crowd walking past people with clipboards. This was my moment. For the first time EVER, none of the clipboarders tried to talk to me! We'll never really know why. But I'd like to think they took one look at me and thought, No way, man, that woman doesn't play by the RULES.

I was also told I looked like a Snapchat filter. Let's say that's a compliment!

(Lipstick: Nyx cream lipstick in stone fox.)

Here's proof that the lipstick looks black every place but my mouth.

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Day 5: Smoky Eye

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I've never really grasped the concept of the "smoky eye." Whenever I watch a tutorial it looks like you just spend a lot of time layering and blending eyeshadow until it looks like your eyes are just gray blobs. That being said, it is extremely difficult to make it look not terrible. I had to start over three times just to get it to look sort of OK.

But after fighting with the eyeshadow for way too long, I started to get the appeal. Dark eyeshadow definitely makes me look more severe, in a good way. Like I'm hiding a secret that will destroy you. (Maybe?)

When I got to work I was told my makeup looked "intense." Hey, intense is almost intimidating.

(Eyeshadow: Urban Decay Naked Basics palette in crave.)

After a week of bold makeup

I never quite looked like a creature of the night or scared any children. That's probably because intimidation is more of a feeling than a look. Sure, you can put goth makeup on a baby deer, but it will just look like a goth baby deer. (Which would look amazing. Let's do it.)

While makeup can't change my resting niceface all that much, it can give me the attitude needed to chug a Mountain Dew, crush the can on my forehead, and let everyone know that I'm here for serious business only before riding off into the sunset on an alligator. And if I REALLY want to be intimidating, I should forget makeup and just hiss at people like an angry cat.

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