Revamping the Vamp

Rachel Hayes
collage trueblood anna paquin evan rachel wood Revamping the Vamp

Top, L-R: Anna Paquin, Evan Rachel Wood
Photo: © John P. Johnson

Bottom, L-R: Michelle Forbes, Deborah Ann Woll
Photos: © John P. Johnson, Jaimie Trueblood

We’re not embarrassed to admit that we have a healthy appreciation for all things vampire here at Daily Makeover. Perhaps there’s truth to this article’s theory that more vampire movies come out when Democrats are elected to United States presidency and more zombie movies come out when a Republican holds office. My last vamp obsession was the Lestat-peppered era of my adolescence… during the Clinton administration. Coincidence?

Political influence aside, vampires are having a major millennial moment. But the new crop of blood suckers are anything but frightening. It’s all about their allure, their sexiness and the fact that they’re all grown up. In fact, it’s almost hard to remember that Buffy was slaying them. Instead, they’re slaying us with their old world chivalry, impeccable bodies, multiple college degrees (one of the benefits of never aging past 18) and superhuman strength and speed. Says Brigette Ellis, Lead Makeup Artist for True Blood, who was also the makeup artist for Buffy the Vampire Slayer: “There’s underlying evil in all vampires of both shows, with horrifying blood suckers and glamourpusses on both ends of the spectrum.” But she confirms that these days, vamps are bringing sexy back: “The vampires on Buffy were made up to look more monstrous, compared to the appeal of the True Blood crew.”

We invite you in (get it?) to learn all about the girls of the genre, the vampire boys and the method behind the madness of the vampire fangs, blood and scary peepers.


The women in the “revamped vamp” genre fall into two categories. First, is the group of voluptuous vampire vixens. Female vamps are typically portrayed as evil (i.e., Victoria in The Twilight Saga and Lorena in True Blood), the exception being True Blood‘s Jessica (to a point). Second, is the heroine/victim, a femme fatale in reverse, characterized by extreme good intentions and a powerlessness to resist the hypnotic allure of her respective older, wiser and hotter vampire man.

Voluptuous Vampires

For new vampire Jessica, Ellis uses a tinted moisturizer and lots of Ardell Fashion Lashes 116 in brown.  Ellis shies away from using mascara in addition. “Just the brown faux lashes against Deborah Ann’s red hair and pale skin looks so dramatic and pretty,” said Ellis. On True Blood, Maryann (not a vampire, but just as scary as one), the team used tarte Eye Couture Day-to-Night Eyeshadow Palette nearly the entire season. The show’s queen (played by Evan Rachel Wood) sported a true red, perfect lip that never bleeds. The Twilight Saga‘s Victoria stays neutral in toned down makeup but wildly sexy long red curls.

The Heroine/Vampire Victim

Ellis keeps the humans on True Blood very bronzed and sweaty (the makeup artists spray them with water) to serve as a contrast to the vampires who are always cool and relaxed. On the show’s heroine Sookie Stackhouse, played by Anna Paquin, Ellis uses Dior Airflash Spray to get her natural pale brunette coloring into gear to play tan and blonde Sookie. Everyday Sookie wears Cover FX Powder as “it’s great for all skin types, I have yet to see it cause someone to break out,” testifies Ellis. NARS blush in Gilda is a favorite of hers. “I love that it mimics the effect of a real blush, to serve as a contrast to the lack of blood flow of the vampires,” she remarked. Her day-to-day waitress lip concept is Smashbox Lip Treatment in Bean and  Laura Mercier Lip Colour Sheer in Baby Lips. Both lip products boast the same hue as a baby’s natural lip color, according to Ellis. Lastly, Ellis loves Sally Hansen Air Brush Legs as it’s ideal for tattoo/bruise/vein cover-up. “We call it ‘barbie legs’ on set!” joked Ellis.

Bella, the heroine star in The Twilight Saga: New Moon played by Kristen Stewart, also has an innocent and utterly feminine look, thanks to makeup artist Robin Mathews: “I’m a fan of Shisiedo moisturizers, they sink completely into the skin, prepping it for makeup.” Mathews also can’t live without Cle de Peau concealers and Stila Convertible Colors. To create Bella’s natural schoolgirl skin texture, Mathews is careful with her application of foundation. Said Mathews, “It should mimic the texture of
real skin and if you see it sitting on top, it hasn’t been applied

Similarly, Beverly Jo Pryor, Lead Makeup Artist for The Vampire Diaries favors a natural aesthetic for the show’s leading mortal character Elena Gilbert. As Elena is also a high school student, Pryor likes to use Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot Pre-Foundation Primer, in addition to Bobbi Brown Long-Wearing Gel Eye Liners and EOS Lip Balm for her.


The look of this new crop of vampire vixens–and those utterly irresistible guy vampires (hello Robert Pattinson)–wouldn’t be complete without their vicious features like piercing red eyes and ferocious fangs. So if you want to embody a blood sucker for Halloween, here’s how to embrace their gorier side.


To get the vampires to look, well, bloody, Ellis colors in the nail beds with ink and rims the eyes with a wine colored eye shadow. For the nail beds, she uses the FX Skin Illustrator Scrapes and Scabs palette. It’s an alcohol-based paint that that the team uses to create an aged blood color. How are True Blood‘s vampiric bloody tears achieved? Mostly via high-tech visual effects, but there is a product that Ellis uses to produce a bloody tear with just a few squirts: My Blood. 


“For Buffy the Vampire Slayer, we’d work with a full denture of fangs and jagged teeth to achieve the vampires’ goulish grins,” explained Ellis. This was in addition to a prosthetic forehead piece also used to create the full look. On True Blood, Ellis doesn’t use contacts nor any extraneous prosthetic pieces. She simply works with a custom-fit set of teeth that go over the actors’ lateral incisors (the two teeth on either side of your two front teeth) that provide a snake-like effect. On True Blood, Ellis says the actors take a “fang break,” where they’ll take a few seconds and slip on their custom-made set of fangs over their teeth. “Then, the effects team will make the transition smoother, and will add in the ‘clicking’ noise that accompanies the morph.” All of that is really complicated for at-home vampire makeovers, however. So for the novice, we think these easy plastic teeth are pretty fangtastic.

Vampire Eyes

The creepy colored peepers are achieved with contacts on The Vampire Diaries and Twilight: The New Moon Saga. Want to see how you’d look with piercing red or bedazzling golden brown eyes? Click here to try on vampire contacts yourself!

Click here to view a slideshow of vixenish vampire inspired beauty products.