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Katherine Gallagher

One Small Step for Agriculture? Scientists Grow Plants in Moon Soil for the First Time

star trek spock eyeshadow

From Matt Damon’s Mars potatoes in The Martian to the valuable space-grain that Tribbles were so fond of in the second season of Star Trek, science fiction has given us no shortage of opportunities to watch plants grow in space over the years. In fact, the lead horticulturist for NASA’s International Space Station (ISS) has said that she was first inspired by Star Trek: The Next Generation ’s Geordi La Forge. Nonetheless, the exact interaction between lunar materials and Earth’s terrestrial biology (specifically, experiments that determined whether plants could actually grow in the powdery gray soil that covers the surface of the moon) has eluded scientists so far — until now.

For the first time in human history, researchers from the University of Florida have successfully grown plants in moon soil — technically referred to as “lunar regolith” — from seed to sprout. Results from the NASA-funded study were published in Communications Biology on May 12, and they provide considerable insight into the future of interstellar agriculture.

star trek spock eyeshadow

A Meticulous Experiment

This particular lunar regolith was originally collected by Apollo missions 11, 12 and 17. The catch? They only had about 12 grams of it to work with, so each critical step of the project had to execute flawlessly in order to complete the experiment.

Researchers first divided the lunar soil into 12 separate plastic plates typically used for cell cultures. Then, they carefully moistened the soil with a nutrient solution before adding a sprinkle of seeds from the Arabidopsis plant, a small flowering weed native to Eurasia and Africa. To create the experiment’s control group, seeds were also planted in soil that simulated extreme environments on Mars and Earth, as well as a terrestrial substance made from volcanic ash that mimics authentic lunar soil. 

“After two days, they started to sprout!” said Anna-Lisa Paul, professor in Horticultural Sciences at the University of Florida and lead author on the paper, in a press release . “Everything sprouted. I can’t tell you how astonished we were! Every plant — whether in a lunar sample or in a control — looked the same up until about day six.”

As the experiment progressed, the researchers found that the authentic lunar soil plants were developing more slowly. Many showed signs of severe stress, similar to those indicating adverse reactions to salt, metal and reactive oxygen species. Although the plants indicated that they found the lunar soil environment stressful, the few tiny sprouts have proven that lunar soil wouldn’t interrupt the signals involved in plant growth.

Gardening in Space Is No Easy Feat

The idea of growing plants in space isn’t exactly new — astronauts from the Soviet space program spent more than a decade proving they could cultivate seeds in microgravity. The effort finally paid off in 1982, when they harvested roughly 200 Arabidopsis seeds from a greenhouse module on the Salyut 7 space station, taking them back to Earth where they were able to germinate and produce healthy plants. When American astrophysicist Michael Foale stayed on Russia’s Mir space station in 1997, he was able to germinate seeds of Brassica rapa — commonly known as mizuna — also bringing them back to Earth to develop into viable plants.

star trek spock eyeshadow

Since then, NASA has continued the study of plant growth in microgravity on the ISS. The Vegetable Production System, a space garden known as “Veggie” that’s about the size of a carry-on piece of luggage and holds up to six plants, successfully cultivated pak choi and mustard greens in 2021 . Later that year, astronauts threw a taco party after harvesting red and green Hatch chilies using the same system.

The Veggie system works by protecting plants in a “pillow” filled with clay-based growth medium and fertilizer. These special bags help distribute water, nutrients and air around the roots, which would otherwise suffocate due to the way fluids in space form bubbles. Another ISS growth chamber, the Advanced Plant Habitat, uses LED lights and controlled-release fertilizer in an automated enclosure, complete with cameras and over 180 different sensors that connect directly to a team on the ground at Kennedy Space Center.

Moon Farming Has a Future

Necessary nutrients, like vitamins K, C and D, break down over time in the freeze-dried food traditionally consumed in space. Growing healthy produce in micro- or zero-gravity provides a solution to vitamin or nutrient deficiencies among astronauts while reducing reliance on freeze-dried and prepackaged meals (after all, all it took to give sailors scurvy was a lack of vitamin C). Plus, investing in space agriculture now may come in handy for the next generation of explorers, should humans end up colonizing other planets or lose existing landscapes for healthy crops on Earth due to extreme weather events.

It’s not just about providing astronauts with fresh produce on missions that may last months or years at a time, but also about their mental health. NASA’s Human Research Program is currently studying how space gardening affects astronauts’ moods and whether it can help them cope with isolation or enhance their connection to Earth while stationed between the stars. So far, no one involved in the study has viewed their work with plants in space as anything but advantageous.

star trek spock eyeshadow

There are still several variables that need addressing when it comes to the moon soil experiment, such as whether or not the location where the soil was collected would have an effect on how the plants respond to it. The study also indicated that plants grown in younger moon soil showed more minor signs of stress than those grown in mature soil, which is exposed to more cosmic wind and solar rays on the moon’s surface.

One thing is certain: The experiment offers a far better understanding of cultivating plants for food and oxygen for extended stays on the moon and future space missions than we had before. And it couldn’t have come at a better time, seeing as NASA’s Artemis Program plans to return humans to the moon and build a basecamp on the surface by 2024. The research may also help identify more sustainable farming techniques for our own planet’s uncertain future.

“This research is critical to NASA’s long-term human exploration goals as we’ll need to use resources found on the Moon and Mars to develop food sources for future astronauts living and operating in deep space,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “This fundamental plant growth research is also a key example of how NASA is working to unlock agricultural innovations that could help us understand how plants might overcome stressful conditions in food-scarce areas here on Earth.”


star trek spock eyeshadow

Star Trek: Why Eye Shadow Was So Prevalent In the Original Series

Several Star Trek actors wore heavy eyeshadow in the Original Series, and the reason why dates back over six decades.

The longevity of Star Trek  allows fans to look into the way TV shows were made in the past. Countless changes in the medium -- both culturally and technologically -- render formerly indispensable techniques obsolete. And the franchise's 50-year history provides a unique opportunity to observe those differences, often in ways the producers never intended.

For instance, eagle-eyed fans have noticed the propensity of eye shadow in the Original Series -- a touch that’s not visible in subsequent Star Trek series. It was simply a reality of  producing TV shows at the time and normally wouldn’t merit mentioning. However, the show itself has outlasted the televisions it was designed to be screened on, and the make-up on the cast simply can’t hide from advancements in technology.

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Television was often broadcast live in the early days, and it drew from theatrical actors who could handle the rigors of a live performance. That included things like blocking a scene, which entailed a great deal of movement from the actors, mostly because television cameras were large and couldn’t move easily or quickly. Star Trek has always relied on theatrically trained actors for its cast -- William Shatner was a notable Shakespearean actor, as were Patrick Stewart and Avery Brooks -- which made stage practices natural, including make-up.

Among its aesthetic purposes, eye shadow can help the performer’s eyes stand out, a key feature onstage when one is attempting to project to a large audience. Star Trek wasn’t on stage, but many of the technological limitations of television at the time still made those methods desirable. TV screens were much smaller in the 1960s than they are today, and screen resolution was much lower. Furthermore, the show aired when TV was making a huge transition from black and white to color. That meant a lot of Star Trek viewers still watched the show in black-and-white. Eye shadow helped the actors stand out, the same way they would to viewers in the cheap seats during a live performance.

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Naturally, no one making the show had any idea what kind of advancements would take place in home entertainment, or that Star Trek would last long enough to be shown on them. The advent of high definition and big-screen TVs made old-fashioned stage tricks like heavy eye shadow unnecessary. An actors’ make-up could appear more natural without drawing attention to itself as much, while more maneuverable cameras meant that close-ups and similar effects could be used much more readily, necessitating more natural make-up.

Star Trek itself took time to adjust to these changes, which helped conceal such techniques for many years. The Original Series wasn’t remastered into 1080 HD until 2006, and release plans were delayed further by the decline of HD DVD and the rise of Blu-ray. Only then did the use of heavy make-up become more apparent, piquing fans’ interest. It’s far from the only bit of theatricality exposed by the enhanced detail,  but the routine use of eye shadow on the show makes it stand out among the rest.

It’s an incidental detail, but a historic one --  a sign of where television came from and the ways it got around the technological limitations of the time. As strange as it may seem, a little pronounced eye shadow is a sign of the show’s durability and just how much the medium has changed since Star Trek first aired. Its value as a link to that era is inestimable, even if the side effects look odd to contemporary eyes.

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meanwhile on the enterprise

prokopetz :

Boring, realistic explanation: Male characters in Star Trek: The Original Series are wearing visible eyeshadow in some shots because 1966 was right in the middle of the transition from black-and-white to colour television in America, and TV makeup artists were still adjusting to the fact that stage makeup is easier to see in colour broadcasts. The truth we know in our hearts: Male characters in Star Trek: The Original Series sometimes wear eyeshadow because the future is fabulous.

Not to derail a perfectly nice, succinct post, but I’ve wondered about the makeup on TOS for some time now and this made me want to look into it some more. Screen makeup interests me in general, but the makeup for TOS is such a particularly common point of discussion/parody that it’s especially piqued my curiosity. That it has to do with airing for black-and-white sets and TOS generally being filmed for much poorer viewing conditions than we can watch it in now is what I’ve always heard and assumed, but I wondered if there was any more thorough information out there.

Well, I was really hoping I would find some source out there from the production team saying “yes these are the particular makeup choices that we made and here’s why we made them,” but sadly, I did not; the rare few things I did find about the makeup on TOS were all focused on things like Spock’s ears and the other alien makeup. (Which is cool, just not what I wanted.) So instead I went digging around the history of makeup in film and TV to piece together some sense of context for those makeup choices. I can’t say I uncovered anything particularly shocking or unexpected, but I still think there’s some interesting things there, if you’re into this sort of thing.

A disclaimer: I am not remotely an expert on any of this, and certainly don’t have any personal experience with it either, I just did a few hours of internet research and then made some small deductions from that. I’ve done my best to be accurate, but I may well have missed something. If you’d like to go looking for yourself, my sources are at the end.

Part One: What We Have

To begin with, I wanted to take a look at some of the makeup in TOS, just to get a good solid idea of what we’re talking about here. Prepare yourself for a lot of images.

For our purposes, we can divide the makeup seen in TOS into three categories. First there is makeup that is clearly supposed to be makeup, in-universe. We pretty much only ever see this on women.


[ID: Three headshots of women from TOS in a row. On the left, Uhura wearing prominent pale eyeshadow. In the middle, the unnamed personnel officer from Court Martial , wearing a stripe of pale blue eyeshadow above each eye. On the right, a dancer from Wolf In The Fold , wearing heavy smokey eyeshadow and mascara.]

Then there’s the alien/monster makeup. Obviously, when it comes to that we’re getting into effects makeup territory, with masks, body suits, prosthetics, full body paint, etc., but that level of stuff is a whole other article. But there’s also the occasional example like Ruk, where a somewhat milder amount of makeup is used to indicate a nonhuman look.


[ID: A shot of Ruk from What Are Little Girls Made Of? , wearing heavy purple contouring around his eyes, temples, nose, cheeks and jaw.]

Then there’s makeup which is not supposed to be taken as such, but rather is serving the usual role of stage and screen makeup—emphasizing features, establishing a certain mood, making people look older or younger or more tired or more sinister and so on and so on. This is the area I’m mostly going to be concerned about here.

Figuring out what falls into what category here can be tricky, however. For example, while some of the makeup for women clearly falls into category one, there are also plenty of cases of women who obviously have some amount of makeup on even when it makes no sense for them to be wearing it. The most extreme example would have to be when Eve takes the placebo Venus pill at the end of Mudd’s Women .


[ID: A side by side comparison of Eve. On the left, Eve before she takes the pill, wearing no obvious makeup with messy hair. On the right, Eve after the pill, now with lipstick, blush, eyeshadow and mascara, with her hair brushed and styled.]

Obviously it’s completely impossible for that to be real makeup. There was no time whatsoever when she could have put it on. It must be category three—there not to be read as real makeup but to make Eve look more glamorous and beautiful. But because TOS sets this and other precedents of women looking this way when they ostensibly have no makeup on, it makes it impossible to tell in most cases whether makeup should be taken as real or not.


[ID: Noel from Dagger of the Mind , standing on the transporter pad in uniform, clearly wearing a layer of basic beauty makeup.]

Is Noel here wearing makeup or not? We don’t know! It’s impossible to tell! She could be, there’s nothing about this situation that would make it unlikely. But we can’t take the obvious makeup that she is obviously wearing as an indicator because we’ve seen women who look like that after living in an icy cave for years, or after being stranded on a post-apocalyptic planet for a week, or after having been raised by a bunch of stranded scientists in a colony cobbled together from spaceship parts. (Yes, I know that last one was an illusion, but nobody commented on it. )


[ID: Three screenshots in a row. On the left, a headshot of Zarabeth from All Our Yesterdays , a white woman with brown hair, standing in a cave wearing heavy furs and mascara. In the middle, Vina and one of the illusory scientists from The Menagerie Part I , standing on the surface of Talos IV; Vina is wearing tattered clothes but clearly also has makeup on. On the right, Rand in Miri , having been captured by the Onlies, but with her mascara and eyeshadow still looking pretty good.]

So you can see things are already getting complicated. But of course the big question being asked here is whether the makeup for the men is in category one or category three.

Let’s start with the humans first.

When it comes to the main cast who aren’t Spock, at least as far as my not-terribly-thorough screencap survey goes, Sulu and McCoy seem to wear noticeable amounts of eyeshadow the most. However, this is not terribly consistent. Sometimes they have it, sometimes they don’t. Scotty, Chekov, and Kirk rarely if ever seem to have it.


[ID: Two headshots of McCoy, wearing grayish-blue eyeshadow.]


[ID: Two headshots of Sulu; on the left he is unconscious with his eyes closed, showing dark blue eyeshadow, while on the right he is looking off to the side with silverish-gray eyeshadow visible.]

Attempting to track down the reasons for the inconsistency is probably a lost cause. Different directors with different tastes, different makeup artists, minor fluctuations in lighting–who knows?

It’s also noticeable on guest stars sometimes.


[ID: Two headshots of Khan from Space Seed , a man with medium brown skin and longish black hair; one shot is of him in Sickbay and one is of him wearing a formal tunic with his hair pulled back. He has heavy blue eyeshadow visible in both pictures.]


[ID: Three headshots of men from TOS. On the top left, Korob from Catspaw , a bald white man with a short brownish-red goatee, eyeshadow and eyeliner, wearing elaborate green and yellow robes with a large eye symbol on the front. On the top right, Apollo from Who Mourns For Adonis? , a white man with short black hair wearing a toga and gold laurel wreath with blue eyeshadow. In the bottom center, Trelane from The Squire of Gothos , a white man with styled brown hair, sideburns and slight eyeshadow, wearing a rich blue coat and white cravat.]

I could speculate on reasons for this. All these characters–Trelane, Apollo, Khan and Korob–are all supposed to be a little otherworldly or unusual, have very strong personalities, and show an affinity for elaborate or over the top clothing in the rest of their appearance, so eyeshadow may have been intended to draw attention to the eyes and also add a bit of eccentricity to their appearance. But that’s just speculation.

Any other uses? Initially I wondered if all that dark blue eyeshadow might have been used to indicate tiredness or illness. This might sometimes be the case—Kirk and McCoy seem to have some going on by the end of Miri , though that could just be dirt in Kirk’s case.


[ID: Side by side shots of Kirk and McCoy from Miri , Kirk from the scene where he confronts the Onlies and McCoy from the scene where he tests the vaccine on himself. Kirk appears to have slight eyeshadow around his eyes. McCoy has his eyes closed and is clearly wearing some blue eyeshadow.]

McCoy’s also got a little bit when he’s sick in For the World Is Hollow And I Have Touched The Sky.


[ID: McCoy looking down with his eyes half-closed as Spock puts a hand on his shoulder, showing a slight bit of eyeshadow on McCoy.]

But other instances that I checked didn’t turn up anything similar. Like City on the Edge of Forever , for example. You’d think tripping on a near-lethal dose of a dangerous drug for several hours straight would entitle you to some dark circles if anything would, but apparently not.


[ID: A shot of McCoy in The City on the Edge of Forever as he recovers in Edith Keeler’s room, with red splotches all over his face and heavily red-rimmed eyes.]

There’s also a fair amount of use of eyeliner in TOS. In particular it tends to show up to indicate that someone is either sinister and evil, or acting demented and erratic.


[ID: Three shots of men from TOS. On the top left, Dark Kirk from The Evil Within , standing on the transporter pad with dramatic lighting and wearing eyeliner. On the top right, Colonel Green from The Savage Curtain , a white man with short dark hair wearing a red military uniform, with eyeliner and dark arched eyebrows. In the bottom center, Van Gelder from Dagger of the Mind , an older white man with wild gray hair, staring fixedly ahead with his eyes wide, showing what looks like a small amount of eyeliner.]

And then…there’s Spock.

Spock’s not only got heavier eyeshadow than anyone else, it doesn’t come and go like everyone else’s; he’s always got it.


[ID: A shot of Spock looking archly at the camera, showing the heavy dark bluish eyeshadow he wears.]

So what category is this? Is it just there to accentuate Nimoy’s eyes? Is it there to make him look more alien and indicate his Vulcan nature? Or does Spock just like wearing eyeshadow?

Clearly we need more data here. Only problem is, there really aren’t that many more Vulcans who actually show up in TOS. We have T’Pring, T’Pau, Stonn and a few extras in Amok Time , Sarek in Journey to Babel , and Surak in The Savage Curtain . Let’s look at them.


[ID: Three headshots of Vulcans from Amok Time . On the left, T’Pring, a white woman with elaborately styled black hair, wearing a silver high-collared dress and heavy silver eyeshadow. In the middle, T’Pau, an older white woman also with her hair done up high, wearing some slight blue eyeshadow just about visible. On the right, Stonn, a white man with short dark Vulcan-style hair, wearing no clearly visible makeup.]

Amok Time is less than helpful. T’Pring is pretty clearly supposed to be wearing actual makeup there, which doesn’t tell us a lot about Vulcans. T’Pau has some eyeshadow, but whether it’s supposed to be digetic or not I have no idea. You’d think that if any woman could get away with not wearing makeup in TOS it’d be T’Pau, but who knows. Stonn doesn’t seem to have anything going on. While it’s difficult to get a clear look at the rest of the Vulcan extras, the whole reason they’re wearing helmets in the first place is to save on time and money for their makeup, so I wouldn’t take them as much of an indicator of anything anyway.

Then there’s this dude.


[ID: The Vulcan executioner from Amok Time , a white man wearing a silver robe open to a bit above the waist and a black head covering with a blade-shaped protrusion that extends from his forehead down to below his jaw.]

I think he’s wearing eyeshadow. But it’s difficult to say for sure since he never gets too close to the camera, and also has that thing shadowing his face.. He might just have really deep-set eyes.


[ID: Two shots of goatee’d Mirror Spock from Mirror, Mirror , wearing some eyeshadow, but less than usual for Spock.]

Mirror Spock definitely still has the eyeshadow, but it looks a little bit lighter than regular Spock’s. Which is a bit surprising to me, since the mirror universe is so incredibly extra. I would have expected more makeup. I mean, their uniforms include sparkly gold pirate sashes, for heaven’s sake.


[ID: Two shots of Sarek from Journey To Babel. In the first he is looking straight at the camera with a neutral expression; in the second he is laying in Sickbay with a medical device covering his chest and his eyes closed, showing a bit of makeup.]

Sarek is wearing a bit—you can see it in the surgery scene, but not much in the rest of the episode. If the eyeshadow is a fashion choice for Vulcans, you’d think Sarek would be going all out, since he’s in spiffy formal ambassador getup for most of the episode. But maybe he was distracted by all the conspiracy and murder.

Finally there’s Surak. Surak’s an odd case because he’s not actually real, just a projection based on Spock’s idea of Surak. But we can assume that he’s at least within some reasonable bounds of what Surak would have looked like. I mean, the projection of Lincoln may not look exactly like the real Lincoln, but he’s close enough to be recognizable.


[ID: A shot of Surak, a white Vulcan with short bowl-cut brown hair and bright blue eyes, from The Savage Curtain. He’s wearing a bit of eyeshadow, possibly a bit of eyeliner, and a colorfully patterned tunic.]

So some Vulcans have eyeshadow, some don’t, some we can’t tell if they do or not. That’s helpful. Luckily we can expand our sample size with the Romulans, who of course are supposed to be pretty much indistinguishable from Vulcans. Their introduction even gives us a nice long closeup to compare Spock and the Romulan commander.


[ID: On the top, a shot of the Romulan Commander from Balance of Terror; on the bottom, the immediately following shot of Spock staring at the screen.]


[ID: On the left, a shot of the Romulan Commander, a white Romulan with neatly cut black hair and dark eyeshadow; on the right, the unnamed soldier, a white Romulan with messy graying hair and pale blue eyes, also wearing a bit of just barely visible eyeshadow.]

It’s difficult to tell much about the Romulans in Balance of Terror because of the lower and red-tinted lighting in the Bird of Prey, plus, again, helmets. But the commander clearly has some eyeshadow, and so does his friend.

The Romulans in The Enterprise Incident are more noticeable, though.


[ID: Top left, a white Romulan soldier with slightly curly graying hair on the bridge screen of the Enterprise; top right, the Romulan Commander from The Enterprise Incident , a white woman with longer brown hair; bottom left, the previous Romulan soldier speaking to another one with a similar haircut; bottom right, a soldier wearing a gold helmet that covers his ears. All of them have eyeshadow visible.]

Note that when Kirk is made up as a Romulan in The Enterprise Incident , he also acquires eyeshadow. Clearly it’s an important part of the look.


[ID: On the top, Kirk pre-makeover, putting his hand on McCoy’s shoulder with a wry look. On the bottom, Kirk after the makeover, with pointed ears, angled eyebrows and dark eyelids.]

So we can make a reasonable conclusion that the eyeshadow is part of how Vulcans and Romulans naturally look. However, Spock seems to have more than most, so he might well be wearing actual eyeshadow on top of that.

Clearly he comes by it from his mom.


[ID: A shot of Amanda, an older white woman with bright gray hair worn piled up, taking a drink from a glass with her eyes mostly closed, showing heavily shadowed eyelids.]

Part Two: Where It Came From

The history of screen makeup leading up to 1966 is more or less a continuous mad scramble to adapt to a constantly changing technology. Film, and, later, television, both advanced very quickly, and every new advancement to capturing people on screen meant having to also advance the art of making those people actually look good on that screen. Is it strictly necessary to cover film makeup from the very beginning just to talk about the makeup on Star Trek? Probably not, but I did all this research so now you’re gonna hear about it.

It all starts with stage makeup. Everyone in theatre wears makeup. There’s the big, dramatic (pardon the pun) stuff, of course: fake blood, fake hair, changing the shape of someone’s face, making them older, making them look like ghosts or monsters or animals or aliens or so on. But even if you don’t need any of that, you need at least a basic level of makeup. For one thing, it helps make features and expressions more visible, important when your audience is some distance away. But it’s also necessary because stage lights tend to make people look washed-out, flat, and just overall kind of weird. You have to over-emphasize features and add extra color just to bring people back up to looking normal.

This goes back to some degree for a long, long time, but theatrical makeup really started getting sophisticated and complex when artificial lighting entered the scene (ahem), since y’know, now the audience could actually see your makeup. So by the time film came around, theatrical makeup had been experimented with and improved on over the years quite a bit, and being able to apply your own makeup would be part of any actor’s skillset. But attempting to transfer these techniques directly to film didn’t work real well. Partly this was because theatrical makeup is meant for an audience that’s at least several feet away, not for a camera that’s getting a closeup of your face. Small imperfections and blemishes that would never be visible to a theatrical audience were suddenly very obvious on film.

Worse than that, though, was the color problem. Early film was orthochromatic, also called blue-sensitive, meaning it picked up the blue-purple end of the spectrum but not so much the red-yellow end. Greens, blues and purples would register as shades of gray and white, while reds, oranges and yellows looked black, with little to no differentiation between shades.


[ID: Two circles divided into sections labeled black, deep red, red, orange, yellow, yellow green, green, blue green, blue, and violet. The top wheel is in color while the bottom wheel shows everything from deep red to yellow green as very dark gray, green as dark gray, blue green as light gray, blue as very light gray and violet as light gray.]
A color wheel demonstrating how different hues appeared on orthochromatic film.

Among other things, this meant that pink-tinted skin, without makeup, would show up dark, making people with it look dirty and blotchy. Red rouge was right out, unless you wanted to look like you’d rubbed coffee grounds all over your cheeks, and red lipstick? Only if you wanted a goth look. Those small blemishes were not only more obvious close-up, they now looked black, drawing the eye even more to them. On the other end, blue had a tendency to look white, so if your eyes were too blue, you suddenly had no irises, not a look most people were keen on.

Further complicating things was the problem of lighting. Incandescent lights of the sort used in theatres didn’t show up well on blue-sensitive film. You could try using natural light, as the earliest films almost exclusively did, but of course that stops working if you want to film, say, inside. So filmmakers turned to mercury vapor lights, which had a blue-green glow that looked weird on set but showed up well on film, at the cost of not being very bright. When brighter light was needed, they used carbon arc lamps, which became generically known as ‘Klieg lights’ after Kliegl Brothers, the company that invented and produced them. These had the minor little side-effect of fucking up all the actors’ eyes, since the intense UV light the lamps emitted caused actinic conjunctivitis, a common enough complaint from working with these lights that it became known as ‘Klieg eye.’ It’s a dangerous business, acting.

The result of all this is is some wildly varied makeup techniques showing up for the first couple of decades or so of film, even among different actors in the same film, since actors were mostly still applying their own makeup and everyone had different ideas about what looked best. In the earliest days, the commonest technique was to basically paint your whole face white and then draw your features again on top. It was such a striking look that it didn’t take long for comedians to adopt it as a way of instantly signifying that they were caricaturing film actors. Charlie Chaplin’s iconic look comes from that particular comedic tradition, although he kept using it well after it had pretty much stopped being a common trope.


[ID: A monochrome photo of Charlie Chaplin in makeup, wearing a bowler hat, tie and jacket, with his face made-up in white, eyes lined in black, and mustache and eyebrows painted on in black.]

Max Factor got his start in the midst of all this by introducing a brand of flexible greasepaint, a massive improvement over the greasepaints that were commonly used before then, which would crack as soon as you made a single expression (not to mention it would destroy your skin like nobody’s business). With advances in makeup like that, and growing industry experience in general, film makeup began to get less extreme and more natural-looking over time.

In the late 1920s, just as everyone was figuring out how to work with blue-sensitive film, panchromatic film came along and replaced it. Panchromatic film was more sensitive to the whole spectrum, so while everything still showed up as shades of gray, they at least showed up.


[ID: A second set of color wheels. The top is the same as the top one in the previous image. The bottom one now shows much more gradation in hues, with deep red and violet being in dark gray, red, orange, blue and blue green being in medium gray, and green, yellow green and yellow being in lighter gray.]
This wheel demonstrates hues on panchromatic film; compare to the one above.


[ID: Three versions of the same photograph of some railroad tracks with power lines in the distance. In the leftmost picture, the photograph is monochromatic and the sky is a blank white. In the middle picture, the image is still monochromatic but now white clouds are visible against a dark gray sky. The third picture is in color, showing white clouds against a bright blue sky.]
From left to right, orthochromatic film, panchromatic film, color film.

This was a huge step forward for films, of course, but it meant having to work out new makeup techniques all over again. Panchromatic film was still somewhat more sensitive to blue than red, so makeup had to take that into account, but much more natural looking shades could now be used. Since incandescent lights also showed up much better on panchromatic film, they began replacing the carbon-arc lamps, which in addition to destroying everyone’s eyes were noisy enough to pose some serious problems with the introduction of talkies. In the meantime, the film industry had become more homogenized and standardized as groups like the American Society of Cinematographers and the Motion Picture Makeup Artists Association formed. This meant information was more quickly shared, and new advancements more quickly and uniformly adopted. Instead of individual actors making themselves up however they thought was best, more and more studios were hiring dedicated makeup artists to at least advise the actors, if not do their makeup entirely.

The shift to full color in films was not a straightforward process. People had been trying to make films in color for about as long as anyone had been making films at all, with techniques like tinting the film with dye (which works okay if you only want one color) or hand-coloring individual frames (which took about as excruciatingly long as you would think). By the late 1910s, the Technicolor company was experimenting with a two-color system known as Process 1, which they used to shoot a film called The Gulf Between in 1917. It looked like this:


[ID: A very hazy still of a woman in a dress and a man in a suit and tie sitting by a tree. Colors are visible, but washed out and bleeding heavily.]

This process was not only difficult to film, it was difficult to even show the results, as the projector had to be constantly adjusted to keep the red and green images aligned. Hollywood didn’t exactly jump for it, unsurprisingly, but Technicolor kept trying. They moved on to Process 2, and then, by the late 20s, Process 3, which was successful enough that a number of fully colored films were produced with it. By the early 30s they were on to Process 4, which they convinced Walt Disney to try out on one of the Silly Symphonies animated shorts; he was so impressed with the results that he negotiated an exclusive contract with them and had the rest of the Silly Symphonies produced in color until they ended in 1939.

But while Technicolor may have been doing great things for animation, shooting feature-length films with live actors in it was a whole other story. It was still a difficult and expensive process, requiring cameras that were huge and cumbersome and required very bright lighting to work properly. This in turn created a lot of other problems; temperatures under the intense lights could exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit, causing heat exhaustion and reports of eye damage all over again. By this point actors no longer had to cake greasepaint on like sheet frosting, but it was still serving as the main basis of screen makeup, and it didn’t do well under such bright lights. As you can expect from the term grease paint, it was a pretty oily substance, and it would pick up a sheen from the lights and start reflecting nearby colors, making people look unnaturally shiny, sallow and ill, or just damp—which they probably were , under 100+ degree lights, but the audience wasn’t supposed to know that. Max Factor, by now a thriving cosmetics company and standby of the film industry, responded to this new need by inventing cake makeup, which was powder-based and did not shine or reflect onscreen. Plus, it was much more water-resistant, a dire necessity when the studios were so hot that everyone was sweating their greasepaint right off.

All these technical difficulties made the transition to color slow. In the midst of the Great Depression, filmmakers didn’t exactly feel inclined to spare the considerable extra expense of shooting in Technicolor unless they were sure it would pay off big. Which it didn’t, really. Audiences didn’t seem to turn out in significantly greater numbers for color pictures over black and white, so most of the time it didn’t seem worth the bother. Movies were still being produced with Technicolor throughout the 30s and 40s ( The Wizard of Oz came out in 1939), but black and white movies weren’t exactly in any danger.

Meanwhile, television was starting to happen. Like in the early days of film, the early days of television presented lots of new and interesting problems when it came to making people look visible, and, hopefully, even look good. Aside from low resolution and tiny screens, early TV camera tubes weren’t equally sensitive to all colors, which resulted in similar problems as orthochromatic film had posed. Makeup was necessary both to emphasize features on the tiny, blurry screens, and to fix the tendency for people to look flat and dead because the red tones in their skin weren’t being picked up. To counter this, makeup that emphasized features had to be in colors that were complementary to whatever the camera was most sensitive to, while the opposite color would be used for anything you wanted to cover up. For a red-sensitive camera, for example, you’d use green to highlight and red to conceal. This, as you can imagine, led to some interesting looks.

By the time television was becoming more widespread in the 40s, the cameras had improved and now captured hues much more like panchromatic film did. The resolution still wasn’t exactly great, but no one had to be bright green anymore. Television makeup now started resembling film makeup a lot more, but it still had some of its own problems. Shadows showed up more heavily for one thing, making everyone look a bit hollow-eyed, and men would always look like they needed a shave even if they’d just had one five minutes ago.

And then, not long after, came another technical advancement and thus, more problems.

Color TVs started being produced in the US in 1954, but this was slow to start off with. The problem was there was something of a Catch-22 at work: consumers naturally wouldn’t want to spend money on a new color TV unless there were actually color TV programs for them to watch on it, but conversely networks wouldn’t want to go to the trouble of filming color programs unless there were enough people with color TVs to watch them on to make it worth their while. Of the three main networks that dominated American television, NBC was for a long time the only one actively trying to pursue broadcasting in color. This changed in 1965, when NBC announced—based on a study paid for by NBC, CBS and ABC—that its color programming was giving it a rise in ratings over the other two networks. CBS and ABC immediately claimed that NBC hadn’t checked the data properly. Whether NBC did or not, I don’t know, but it didn’t matter much because just the possibility of NBC having that advantage in ratings was enough to spur the other two networks to increase their color programming as well. NBC started the 1965-66 season with almost all of its lineup in color, and ABC and CBS scrambled to be able to do the same by the start of the 66-67 season.

The network race for color, when it finally did happen, happened fast. In the space of about a year, prime time became full color. Things happened a lot slower on the consumer end of things. By January 1966, NBC estimated that there were about 5.2 million color TV sets in the US, an 85% increase from the previous year. A year later, it was up again 82%, to about 9.5 million. The only problem was, that 9.5 million was still only about 17% of the total number of TV sets. By the time Star Trek debuted in September 1966, the vast majority of shows were now airing in color…but the vast majority of people were still watching in black and white.

So here’s the scene for Star Trek, fresh off the line in 1966. You have to look good in color, because color’s the hot new thing, and your network is especially keen on it, and if people are going to pay good money for a shiny new color television they’re going to want it to be worth their while.


[ID: A magazine ad for an RCA color TV. At the top it says, “ When you’re first in Color TV, there’s got to be a reason. ” In the middle is a colorful painting of Kirk and Spock on an alien planet with a TV showing a shot of Kirk and Spock from TOS in the foreground. Below that it reads, “Like Automatic Fine Tuning that gives you a perfectly fine-tuned picture every time. A new RCA tube with 38% brighter highlights. Advanced circuitry that won’t go haywire. And over 25 years of color experience. You get all this and more from RCA VICTOR. ”]
If you don’t buy a color TV, how will you see all this glorious eyeshadow??

But you also have to look good in black and white, because that’s how over 80% of your audience is going to be watching, so if they don’t like looking at you you’re going to tank. Cinematic makeup has been a work in progress for the past sixty-some years, but black and white television makeup in its current form has only been around for about twenty, and color makeup for about ten—and it’s only been within the last year or so that that started getting heavy use. No one’s really had the need to design a makeup that looks good for both until very recently. Your audience is looking at about a 21-inch screen, maybe 25 inches if they really shelled out and got the big one. Choose wisely, because whatever you do, people will still be watching it fifty-two years later.

Good luck with that!

Part Three: What It Looks Like

So now we have the question—how do you make something look good in both color and black and white? I really wanted to find some shots of how TOS looked in the original black and white for direct comparison, but I haven’t been able to yet (turns out googling ‘star trek TOS black and white’ mostly turns up results for Let That Be Your Last Battlefield ). So instead I turned to some other sources.

Here’s a picture you may have seen of how the set of The Addams Family (which began in 1964) looked in real life:


[ID: Side by side comparisons of a photo of the set of The Addams Family , showing a large room with a staircase leading into it, heavily decorated with props like a stuffed bear, chemistry set, and a noose hanging from the ceiling. The photo on the right is in black and white; the photo on the left is in somewhat washed-out color, showing that the set is mostly decorated in pink, red and yellow.]

That’s quite a contrast. While it was thankfully no longer necessary to paint everyone in green and purple, getting colors across the way you wanted in black and white was still going to pose some problems. Of course, since The Addams Family only ever aired in black and white, the set designers didn’t have to worry about also making it look good in color, so this is something of an extreme example. But it shows pretty well how a design that comes across with a certain ambiance in black and white is far from guaranteed to have the same effect in color.

And vice versa. While as I said I haven’t had much luck finding concrete information about how TOS designers dealt with all this, I did find one case of how it affected the program: when they were still figuring out Spock’s makeup, the original plan was for him to have dark red or red-tinted skin. This was abandoned partially because it would have meant even more time in the makeup chair for Nimoy, but also largely because of how it would have looked in black-and-white. Even without the old insensitivity-to-red problem, red still showed up dark, going on black, in black-and-white. Spock would have looked…very unfortunate. Mercifully, they ditched that idea, and instead went with a light yellowish tinge. Supposedly, anyway. Honestly, I can’t see it myself, but maybe it was more obvious back then.

While I was unable to find any comparison shots from Star Trek itself, there was another sci-fi show that aired in both color and black and white I was able to turn to.


[ID: Side by side comparisons of a screenshot in which the Third Doctor, a white man with curly light gray hair, is standing in front of his car and showing an ID card to a man in uniform. The picture on the left is in monochrome; the picture on the right is in color, showing the Doctor’s dark red jacket, purple cape, and bright yellow car.]

This is from the Doctor Who serial The Mind of Evil , which originally ran in 1971. The show had been filming and broadcasting in color for about a year by then, after running in black and white only for its first seven years, but would still have been seen in black and white by a fair amount of people (the last local broadcaster to switch to color in Britain was in 1976). The original color recording of The Mind of Evil was lost, though (a victim of BBC archive purges), and the serial only survived as a kinescope recording made from a black and white TV. Because the recording still retained color information from the original broadcast, it was finally able to be restored in 2016, giving us the chance to directly compare how it looks in color and in black and white.

You can see here how that red jacket turns black, and the purple cape goes from standing out sharply against the jacket to almost blending into it. Here’s another shot:


[ID: Side by side comparisons of a screenshot of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, a white man with short brown hair and a mustache wearing a military uniform. The right image is in black and white; the left image is in color, showing the Brigadier’s green uniform and gold buttons.]

The red and the green parts of his jacket are almost the exact same color in black and white, and so are his skin tone and the light green collar of his shirt. You can still see the shadows and highlights on his face in the monochrome, but they’re softer, with a bit less contrast. Sadly he’s not wearing eyeshadow, so we don’t know how that would have looked.

Since I wasn’t able to find anything as good as this for Star Trek, I looked for set and publicity  photos, a good number of which were in black and white. Of course, a 1966 camera is not going capture the exact same levels of light and color as a 1966 TV screen, so I don’t know quite how accurate these are to what the show would have looked like—but it’s the best thing I have.


[ID: On the left, a black and white publicity photo of Leonard Nimoy holding up a giant stone axe; on the right, a color screenshot of Spock looking at the camera in The Galileo Seven .]

Here’s a pic of Nimoy evidently filming The Galileo Seven, versus a screenshot of the episode in color. One would presume he didn’t just put the ears on and leave all the rest of his makeup off in the first picture, but you can barely see it.

Here’s him and T’Pring in a publicity picture for Amok Time . His makeup is all but gone and hers is only just barely visible.


[ID: A black and white publicity photo of Leonard Nimoy and Arlene Martel in costume on the set of Amok Time, pressing their hands together.]

Here’s McCoy in black and white, and in full color.


[ID: On the left, a black and white photograph of DeForest Kelley as McCoy, wearing just barely visible screen makeup; on the right, a color shot of McCoy wearing blue eyeshadow.]

Here’s a photo of Ted Cassidy in makeup as Ruk. In black and white (and lower definition) his makeup looks a lot more like actual contours instead of just…purple.


[ID: A black and white photo of Ted Cassidy and Sherry Jackson in costume and makeup as Ruk and Andrea.]

Finally, here’s some old set photos in color, some of which we’ve seen in the queue before. Again, they’re not shot-for-shot matches, but you can see that it doesn’t take much washing out of the color before it becomes a lot harder to make out the makeup, pun fully intended.


[ID: Six behind-the-scenes color photos from TOS. On the top: Leonard Nimoy smiling as he reads from a script; Nimoy sitting on the bridge and smiling as Kelley gestures at the camera; Nimoy and Shatner laughing on the set of The Empath; Kelley putting his hand on Shatner’s arm as both of them laugh; Kelley looking at the camera on the set of Cestus 3 from Arena ; Nimoy looking at the camera with a lollipop in his mouth.]

So all in all, the makeup on Star Trek may well have overdone it a bit from time to time out of habits born from an industry that had seen a lot of flux in—as far as the lifespans of technological advancements go—a comparatively short time. I’m not gonna say they didn’t know what they were doing. Fred Phillips, the lead makeup artist for TOS, had been doing film makeup since 1935 and TV makeup since 1961, having just finished being the makeup supervisor for the entire original run of The Outer Limits a year before TOS started. So if anyone at the time knew how to do TV makeup, he probably did. But color TV was still very new, and as that whole history of makeup up there shows, it always takes a little while to figure these things out.

But also, fundamentally, the makeup on Star Trek was never meant to be seen the way we can see it today. It was meant to work for black and white TVs, and early color TVs, not remastered on large bright screens. Now, did that makeup work well on those original screens? That’s a whole other question, one I’m not equipped to answer. Maybe it didn’t! It might always have looked over the top. But trying to make a judgment on that is a bit like trying to make a judgment on a dark ride based on a flash photograph. Interesting? Sure. But it’s not how you were really ever supposed to be seeing it.

Part Four: But Is It Fabulous?

Did the original creators of Star Trek intend for their male characters to be seen as actually wearing makeup?

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say, uh, no. No, they did not. I mean, look, I don’t know the mind of everybody who worked on TOS. Maybe there was a makeup technician putting on Leonard Nimoy’s eyeshadow who totally intended it to be taken as a Vulcan fashion statement. It’s possible! Unlikely. But possible.

But so what? The intent of the creators is an interesting thought exercise and in investigating it I’ve learned some interesting things, and also way more about Technicolor than I really wanted to, but beyond that, how much does it actually matter?

Look, I’m not just talking about Death of the Author as a general principle here. I mean Star Trek TOS, specifically, is full of things that were never intended, or were thought up at the last minute, or happened because of sheer random accident, and nevertheless became significant parts of the show. When they started this show, they hadn’t even decided if Spock was Vulcan or Vulcanian, or if the characters worked for Starfleet or Space Central or the United Space Earth Probe Agency or who knows what. The Vulcan nerve pinch was invented on the spot because Leonard Nimoy didn’t think Spock should just punch someone. And so on.

You want a perfect example of intent versus results–consider the uniforms. I mentioned earlier in one of the Gold Key discussions that the Command uniforms were supposed to be green. And they were green. The actors were wearing green shirts. They looked green on set. But by some weird combination of the lighting and the camera and the material of the fabric, onscreen, the shirts look gold. And so in every subsequent Star Trek series, the third color of uniform is gold, not green. It wasn’t what was intended, but it was what was seen, and at some point someone had to shrug and make it canon that the Command uniforms are and always were gold.

Granted, I wouldn’t place any bets on “the characters were wearing eyeshadow all along” becoming canon anytime soon (though it’s probably in the EU somewhere ). But the thing about TOS is that it’s so vague about so many things that it’s possible to consider just about anything canon if you want to. We almost never learn anything about the characters until it’s immediately relevant. We don’t learn that Kirk had a traumatic formative experience of watching the systematic execution of half a colony until the dude responsible happens to show up. We don’t learn that Spock has a fiancee he was promised to as a child until she shows up. We don’t learn Sulu and Uhura’s first names at all until the EU comes along. What’s a bit of eyeshadow compared to that? McCoy is wearing a pinky ring in every episode and no one once, in three seasons, ever acknowledges or asks about that. When it comes to matters of personal appearance for the TOS cast, clearly they either only talk about it offscreen or never at all. Either way, the end result is that there’s no hard proof everyone wasn’t putting on makeup in the morning and just never bothered to bring it up. It’s like Russell’s Teapot. Call it Russell’s Eyeshadow if you like.

Plus, y’know, Kirk has that thing of foundation in his room in The Enemy Within.


[ID: Two shots from The Enemy Within showing Dark Kirk looking at a tin containing a beige cream substance, and then rubbing it on his face as he looks in a mirror.]

I don’t care what James Blish says, that is not ‘medicated cream.’ Nobody makes medicated cream in beige .

To get a bit real for a minute here, as progressive and subversive as TOS was in many ways, it was very limited by its time in a lot of ways. I would love to think that there was real intent to show characters who were free and confident about their personal expression in ways that weren’t the norm for the 1960s, and maybe to some extent that was there, but certainly not to the extent of men openly wearing makeup just because they wanted to—or, conversely, for women to not be wearing makeup. Remember back in Mudd’s Women when the SHOCKING and HORRIBLE results of the Venus drug wearing off were pretty much represented by the women having no makeup on and their hair ruffled up a little.

There’s a piece of trivia I’ve seen about The Squire of Gothos , and I can’t provide a hard source for it so it may be apocryphal, but it certainly seems plausible given the time period: that the original choice for playing Trelane was Roddy McDowall, but they were worried about Trelane’s mannerisms combined with McDowall’s appearance would make the character seem gay. Who was worried? I don’t know. Someone was, and that was enough. So instead they cast William Campbell, because he had a more, uh– ‘huskier’ is the word I’ve seen used—build, and it was thought that would help offset Trelane’s whole deal. I’m at a loss as to what was so damning about McDowall’s appearance. He was…a bit skinnier, I guess?


[ID: On the left, a photograph of Roddy McDowall, a white man with short brown hair wearing a checkered suit and blue tie. On the right, a shot of William Campbell as Trelane in The Squire of Gothos .]
Oh, what a difference.

If they were concerned about an alien energy being with powers beyond human comprehension whose age for his species is equivalent to like, eight , coming off as gay if he didn’t have a strong enough jaw, they were not about to have their male main characters canonically rocking eyeshadow for the Look.

And that’s just bullshit. The future should be fabulous. The future should goddamn well be a place where you can wear eyeshadow if you want to. Are we going to stand around letting William Ware Thiess dress people in feather boas and tinfoil and pirate sashes just to draw the line at a bit of makeup? I don’t think so. If you decide that the crew of the Enterprise look fabulous because they are fabulous, ain’t nobody can stop you. NBC executives can’t hold us back anymore. Live your best life.


TrekCore: Source for most of the screenshots as well as all of the publicity/behind the scenes photos.

Cosmetics and Skin: Early Movie Makeup , Panchromatic Makeup , Pan-Cake Makeup and Max Factor and Television : Source for most of my information about makeup in film and early TV, and a great read if you’re interested in the subject.

Home Cinema Choice: Doctoring the Doctor: Source for the information about the restoration of The Mind of Evil and the images of it.

Science and Media Museum: Color Television In Britain: Source for some data about the adoption of color TV in Britain.

Wikipedia: Articles on Color Motion Picture Film ; Color Television ; Technicolor ; Color Recovery ; Fred Phillips ; History of Film ; History of Television ; Timeline of the Introduction of Color Television In Countries ; 1930s In Film ; Klieg Lights ; Actinic Conjunctivitis .

io9: Ten Things You Probably Didn’t Know About The Original Star Trek: Source for the info about Spock’s skin originally being red.

Star Trek Fact Check: Star Trek and Color Television Households: Source for information about NBC and the network color rush, as well as the image of the Star Trek color TV ad.

TV Obscurities: The Color Revolution: Television In The Sixties: Source for more information and statistics about the adoption of color programming.

Silent-ology: Silent Film Makeup: What Was It Really Like?: Source for more information about early film makeup and the use of the stark white look as used by comedians and Charlie Chaplin.

IMDb: Roddy McDowall: Source for the bit about him being passed over for the part of Trelane.

HuffPost: ‘The Addams Family’ Set As You’ve Never Seen It Before: Source for the comparison shots of the Addams Family set in color and black and white, although those pictures are floating around the internet all over the place.

1966 TV Guide TV Set Buyer’s Guide: Source for the average size of TV screens in 1966.

Thanks very much to @trek-tracks for pointing me towards shots of McCoy wearing eyeshadow and to @fordtato for all the advice, beta-reading, and general encouragement!

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star trek spock eyeshadow


star trek spock eyeshadow

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star trek spock eyeshadow

Sarah Magic Makeup

– You Can Be Anything –

star trek spock eyeshadow

Spock Makeup

“Live Long And Prosper” – Spock

In loving memory of Leonard Nimoy , the legendary actor and mythical Spock . (Hi, it’s me Sarah by the way, waving at you from under a few layers of makeup 😉 )

star trek spock eyeshadow

Behind the Scene

This makeup transformation was inspired by the movie Star Trek Into Darkness and took me 3 and a half hours (+ about 45 min to make the fake ears??) .

Speaking of which, I molded them on my own ears using worbla (a material cosplayers will be familiar with) and then painted them so they’d look more realistic.

star trek spock eyeshadow

Leonard Nimoy’s emblematic eyes were a bit more tricky to achieve because I really wanted my eyes to look like his (and I’m saying this with the utmost respect but by that I mean wrinkled and a bit droopy) . At first I thought about simply painting them and using latex to make fake wrinkles but I quickly realised it would never achieve the result I had in mind. At least not with my poor skills with latex lol…

star trek spock eyeshadow

So instead I used tape. I cut a rectangular piece for each eye and glued them about halfway through the lid. Then I pulled the tape slightly downwards so my eyes would become a bit droopy!

It’s not the work of a Hollywood SFX artist BUT it’s the best I could do back then and it worked perfectly for the final shot and for my little youtube video =D

The hair and clothes are painted but I’m also wearing an actual red pull-over over my wrist ?. Just for the final picture to look better I guess ^^

Anyhow, I was very moved when I finished this makeup. Being unable to recognise yourself in the mirror is always such a strange feeling but this transformation, more than any other I’ve done, literally gave me chills !

I loved Leonard Nimoy…?? such a unique voice and charismatic presence. If you’ve never heard him speak you need to RIGHT NOW !

This humble tribute makes me really proud and I hope you will like it too ! ??

Step By Step

I thought you’d like to see the transformation process, just in case you don’t believe I’m actually under there !!! =D

star trek spock eyeshadow

And here’s the tutorial, where you can witness my own bewilderment and watch me giggle as the transformation operates =)

Products used

star trek spock eyeshadow

SKIN PREP – Patika Paris , Hydra

PRIMER & FOUNDATION – NYX Professional Makeup , Studio Photogenic Primer ; Born To Glow Foundation, Medium Olive

star trek spock eyeshadow

CONTOURING – NYX Professional Makeup , Highlight & Contour Pro Palette – Mehron Makeup , Mask Cover Makeup Palette

EYEBROWS – NARS , Light 5 All Day Luminous Compact Powder

star trek spock eyeshadow

EYESHADOWS – Makeup Revolution , ‘Fierce’ Wild Animal ; Flawless Matte ; Be Crazy About ; Be Obsessed With – NYX Professional Makeup , Cosmic Metals – Yves Rocher , Botanical Color Brun Café

star trek spock eyeshadow

LIPS – NYX Professional Makeup , Liquid Suede ‘Soft Spoken’ – Makeup Revolutio n, Sugar And Spice Blush Palette

CRAYONS AND LINERS – NYX Professional Makeup , White Liquid Liner ; Vinyl Liquid – Maybelline New York , Hyperprecise All Day Matte Liquid Liner, black

star trek spock eyeshadow

PAINTS – Kraze FX , Fundamentals 12 Color Palette – Mehron Makeup , white clown, AQ Paradise Palette (silver) – Snazaroo , Classic Face Paint, gold

star trek spock eyeshadow

FINISH – Maybelline New York , Face Studio Setting Powder – Makeup Revolution , Mattifying Spray

SFX – Mehron Makeup , Spirit Gum Liquid Adhesive – Worbla and heating gun

star trek spock eyeshadow

So what do you think, guys? =D

I’m leaving for now but I will be back with more transformations! Let me know in the comments if there’s a person / character you’d like to see me try and turn into !

“Live long and prosper”

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Star Trek headcanon!

We all know Spock's famous eyeshadow from TOS. But why does Spock wear eyeshadow? (let's ignore the fact that everyone was wearing some because of the camera quality)

Sarek doesn't wear purple or blue eyeshadow.

But Amanda does! And she wears it the same way Spock does! So yes, this is now my headcanon: Spock learned how to use makeup from his mother. Oh, and those red lips? Also learned from her how to make those.

star trek spock eyeshadow

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Spock with red makeup

Discussion in ' Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series ' started by cmdr_forst , Dec 30, 2010 .


Crewman47 Commodore Newbie

Sisko_is_my_captain said: ↑ Tosk said: ↑ Red Spock would have been weird, no question. But then, if he'd always been red, we wouldn't even question it. Click to expand...


GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer In Memoriam

No North Pole Penquins said: ↑ I thought it was special blend made just for Spock. Click to expand...


starfox Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

It always bugged me that Spock sometimes had rosy cheeks, yet was supposed to have green blood.  


Christopher Writer Admiral

^Not to mention having red lips and tongue. It always bugged me that Spock wore eye shadow. What was up with that? I suppose the idea was to make his eyes look more hooded, but to me it just looks like makeup.  

Red Ranger

Red Ranger Admiral In Memoriam

Interesting. As I recall, they initially used more of a golden tint for Spock's makeup in the second pilot, Where No Man Has Gone Before , before switching to the more greenish tint in the rest of the series. I also recall Rodenberry in his initial notes on Spock referring to him as half-Martian. Maybe that's where the original conception of his skin as red-tinted came from, a hint that he was from the Red Planet. So glad that changed, too! They did succeed with red makeup in The Apple , of course. Wonder what the children of Vaal would have looked like on a B&W TV?  

Admiral Buzzkill

Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

cmdr_forst said: ↑ Star Trek 365 does indeed say "jet black." Click to expand...


Tosk Admiral Admiral

Christopher said: ↑ ^Not to mention having red lips and tongue. It always bugged me that Spock wore eye shadow. What was up with that? I suppose the idea was to make his eyes look more hooded, but to me it just looks like makeup. Click to expand...
Dennis said: ↑ cmdr_forst said: ↑ Star Trek 365 does indeed say "jet black." Click to expand...


Itisnotlogical Commodore Commodore

If I didn't know that Spock was supposed to be an alien character, I would never have guessed that his skin tone was makeup. It looks very natural.  

Therin of Andor

Therin of Andor Admiral Moderator

JRoss said: ↑ Actually, the color of the makeup used on Nimoy during the actual show was called, somewhat offensively, "Chinese Yellow." Click to expand...

Neutral Zone

Neutral Zone Captain Captain

Glad we didn't have a red looking Spock as that would've really weird. Another reason going for the green tint other than it being better for the TV, could be that in those days people read comics, books and stories about little green men mars etc. So, it could've been the alien colour of the time.  
Neutral Zone said: ↑ Another reason going for the green tint other than it being better for the TV, could be that in those days people read comics, books and stories about little green men mars etc. So, it could've been the alien colour of the time. Click to expand...


Sisko_is_my_captain Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

Imagine how different the mythos of Star Trek would have been if Vulcans had been from Mars instead of Vulcan. There would likely have been major differences in our stories of first contact, the initial human-Vulcan alliance, all sorts of stuff.  
Sisko_is_my_captain said: ↑ Imagine how different the mythos of Star Trek would have been if Vulcans had been from Mars instead of Vulcan. There would likely have been major differences in our stories of first contact, the initial human-Vulcan alliance, all sorts of stuff. Click to expand...
^Well, not a companion to Earth, but a planet within Mercury's orbit, even closer to the Sun (hence being named after the god of the forge). And yes, a number of planets in science fiction were named in reference to it -- much the same way that the various fictional uses of "Planet X" in the mid-20th century were in reference to a hypothetical tenth planet beyond Pluto (X meaning both "10" and "unknown").  


Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

Captain Robert April said: ↑ I think we're starting to mix stories. The bit with the color mixers "fixing" things was the green makeup tests, with Majel standing in for Susan Oliver. Click to expand...


Maurice Snagglepussed Admiral

ssosmcin said: ↑ Captain Robert April said: ↑ I think we're starting to mix stories. The bit with the color mixers "fixing" things was the green makeup tests, with Majel standing in for Susan Oliver. Click to expand...
ssosmcin said: ↑ I don't have the book in front of me, but I think the Solow/Justman book mentions an incident of color correction regarding Spock which mirrored the green makeup issue. Click to expand...


captain_fluffy Ensign Newbie

a red tinted spock would have looked a little silly imo.. im glad they went with a normal looking look.  


alchemist Captain Captain

DS9Sega said: ↑ ssosmcin said: ↑ Captain Robert April said: ↑ I think we're starting to mix stories. The bit with the color mixers "fixing" things was the green makeup tests, with Majel standing in for Susan Oliver. Click to expand...
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Star Trek: The Strange Truth Behind Spock's Skin That Only True Fans Know

Spock performing the Vulcan salute

If there's one franchise that has the most fully stocked archive of deep, esoteric lore, it's probably "Star Trek." No minutiae is too small or insignificant to not be common currency among the hardest-core "Trek" fans out there, but among the more general public many casual fans might not be aware that as originally conceived, the character of Spock (Leonard Nimoy) was going to have red skin before a technical problem made the Vulcan complexion closer to that of Nimoy's in real life.

A 2011  Trek.fm feature on the most famous Vulcan of all time revealed that "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry  initially intended Spock to be much more "devilish" in appearance: "his ears tapered, his eyebrows raised high and severe. Even his skin was to simmer red. All he was missing was the forked tail," the article claimed.

Spock's hair, eyebrows, and his most famous physical trait, his pointed ears, can all be seen as vestiges of this character conception. But back in the days when "Star Trek" was first airing, Spock's red makeup had to look right on both color and black-and-white television sets, a technical challenge that the show's makers were simply unable to master.

Leonard Nimoy himself confirmed the story

Leonard Nimoy himself confirmed this unusual piece of Spock's backstory in a 2015 interview with The Los Angeles Times . "I was going to be black on a black-and-white set," Nimoy said, explaining that on black-and-white television sets the red makeup appeared jet-black.

It's not known whether the makers of "Star Trek" were thinking about any real-world racial implications in their choices behind Spock. According to makeup artist Fred Phillips, the character ended up getting a coat of what was actually called "Chinese Yellow" by Max Factor, suggesting that it probably wasn't the biggest concern (per Trek.fm ).

And so Spock pretty much appears in the form he would become an icon in from the very beginning of "Star Trek," in visual terms at least. Viewers of the unaired pilot episode "The Cage" are often shocked by the uncharacteristic emotion displayed by the famously stoic Vulcan before his character was fully developed.


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