As a makeup artist, I’ve seen hundreds of makeup tutorials online. The ones that really amaze me are when women use makeup to turn themselves into comic book characters, Disney princesses and famous celebrities. So you can imagine my jaw dropping when I heard about Paolo Ballesteros.
Paolo Ballesteros is a 32 year old actor and TV host in the Philippines who is known for his wacky, comical impersonations. What brought him international fame was his talent for turning himself into female celebrities using only makeup, wigs and colored contacts. His most famous of these transformations include Kim Kardashian, Beyoncé, Tyra Banks, Charlie’s Angels, Ariana Grande and Angelina Jolie.
So how does he do it? It’s basically by using the classic contouring method – applying highlighter and bronzer in the right areas to ‘change’ the face’s shape. To do these transformations yourself you need a professional makeup palette like e.l.f.’s, which contains all the necessary products.
What you need to know is simple:
- Bronzer (dark color) makes features softer/recede into the background
- Highlighter (contrasting light color) makes features sharper/bring to the foreground
The end transformations look uncannily similar because you can sharpen cheekbones, narrow the nose and strengthen jawlines simply by using bronzer and highlighter.
Start with the face
Depending on who Paolo is turning into, the products in this step will vary. When he’s aiming for Tyra Banks or Beyoncé a darker foundation shade is used over the face, hairline and sideburns.
Then comes the concealer – to give the face a brighter look concealer is used
- Under the eyes
- On the T-zone
- Above the lip
Then brows and eyes
- fills his own brows with the right color brow powder
- then using a brow pencil, the brow shape is drawn and filled in according to the celeb in question
- if his brows are too thick for the look, concealer and light brow powder is used along the top to thin the brows
The eye makeup is pretty straightforward. However, when the shape of the eye differs from his, Paolo uses highlighter and dark eyeshadow to reshape his own. For his (spot on) Lucy Liu eyes:
- Highlighter is used on the inner eye corners and the eyelids to make them look flatter and smaller
- The outer edge gets a winged eye with dark eyeshadow to make the eye shape narrower
- Mascara is concentrated on the outer lashes to add to the winged effect
On to contouring
Because Paolo’s jawline and features are distinctively male, he has to do some major sculpting to make them more feminine. His Maleficent makeup is a perfect example of how contouring works. To create the character’s sharp, jutting out cheek bones (without prosthetics) you start with:
- Applying highlighter to the cheekbones and blending towards the nose
- Apply bronzer generously directly under the cheekbones and blend close to the highlighter
This process creates an obvious contrast between the two areas, which is what makes the cheekbones look so sharp. Another example of major contouring is making the nose narrower – something Paolo had to do to imitate Dakota Johnson’s Caucasian features.
- Apply highlighter on the nose from bridge to tip
- Apply bronzer heavily on the sides of the nose and nostril curves, then blend
Finishing the pout
- First define the lip shape over your own with a lip pencil
- Fill in with lipstick or lip pencil
- To plump, outline the cupid’s bow with a white pencil/highlighter and add white eyeshadow to the middle of the upper lip
Are you as impressed as I am? Makeup is capable of a lot, including giving a Filipino man the ability to turn into an American woman. If that’s not amazing, I don’t know what is!