Wednesday, June 6, 2012

BBC Sherlock's The Woman/Irene Adler FOTD

"Brainy is the new sexy." - Irene Adler A.K.A. "The Woman" on BBC's Sherlock

In the first episode of BBC's Sherlock's second season, audiences were introduced to this contemporary version of the legendary detective's female foil, Irene Adler. In the modern day retelling, this Irene Adler is self-employed as a dominatrix who goes by the name "The Woman" and she meets Sherlock Holmes when he is sent to get back some incriminating photos she has taken of a royal family member in flagrante. 

With this enigmatic, seductive, clever woman, Sherlock has met his match. I'm a huge fan of this series, and I was intrigued by Irene Adler (played by Lara Pulver) and her appearance. What would the woman who could seduce Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock Holmes look like?

For starters, she's a high-class dominatrix who services wealthy and powerful clients such as members of the royal family. Her appearance is very sophisticated, chic, expensive and polished. The outfit we first see her in is a gorgeous white Alexander McQueen sheath. Her hair is pinned up in a voluptuously sleek swirled updo. Her make-up look is natural skin, sculpted brows, simple eyes and blood red lips and fingernails. 

I was intrigued by this makeup look as it was simple and retro but with something a little unexpected too. She's got a thin line of light blue-green liner on her top lids which make her eyes pop and add an edge of playfulness to her look.

Imagine how easy it would've been to just make her look out and out sexy with a smoky eye and glossy lips?

Here's a close-up of one of her eyes. There's a think line of black liner, topped with a thin line of that teal colour and a soft grey smoked on the outer corner and in her crease.

I wanted to see what this might look like on me. 

I had trouble tracking down the correct teal colour but think I got as close as possible.  Here's my interpretation of the look:

I tried to channel Lara Pulver in these photos but I'm no actress. When Irene and Sherlock first meet she's got a look that's equal parts seductive, amused, and intrigued. I just couldn't get it. I got just seductive, if anything. Ah well, it's better than "Derp!"

On my face I first applied the hard workers: Urban Decay's Primer Potion on my eyelids and Benefit's Pore Professional on my t-zone to minimize the shine.

Benefit Pore Professional Primer and Urban Decay Primer Potion

My foundation is Benefit's Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow foundation. It gives me a smooth, even, natural, glowing complexion. I liked that Lara Pulver's skin looked so natural on the show. In the photo at the top of this post you can see the fine lines in her forehead and her light freckles.

Benefit Cosmetic's Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow Foundation

Under my eyes, a used a little bit of MAC Studio Finish concealer.

MAC Studio Finish concealer
A little bit of Make Up For Ever High Definition Loose Powder to help set everything. 

MUFE High Definition Loose Powder
These are the brushes I used on my face. 

L-R: Concealer, Concealer,  Foundation,  Powder
My blush is MAC's Stunner, brushed high on my cheekbones. Lara Pulver has high cheekbones with a bit more flesh to the apples than I have. I wanted to subtly enhance my cheeks and Stunner is my go-to blush for that.
MAC Blush in Stunner

On my eyes, I applied a thin line of MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack with a thin eyeliner brush. I kept the liner short, not extending it much past the corner of my lashline. 

MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack

On top of the Blacktrack I layered Tarina Tarantino eyeliner in Kanzashi. It took a long time to find the perfect shade of blue for this look, but I think I got as close as possible. I also suspect that the makeup artists on Sherlock used a colour that was close to Lara Pulver's eye colour. She's got pale blue eyes, while mine are a darker blue-grey. I wonder what this might look like on me with a blue that matched my eye colour.

Tarina Tarantino Eye Dream Hyperliner in Kanzashi

You need a sharpened eyeliner pencil or you could use a liquid liner in the same shade for this. The line needs to be deliberate and smooth, not soft or smudged. Repeat if you need to strengthen the effect. 

I basically drew the blue line the same way I'd drawn the black liner, ending it right at the outer corner of my eye. 

I applied MAC Greystone eyeshadow on the outer corner of my eye, softly and blended it up into the crease. I layered more until I got the effect I wanted. 

I neglected to notice that Lara Pulver has the grey smoked slightly under her eyes as well. It gives the look a bit more sultriness.

Oh, and this eyeshadow is old and MAC doesn't make it anymore. It's getting quite dry but I love the shade so I can't get rid of it!

MAC Eyeshadow in Greystone

I used MAC Shroom on my browbone and on the inner corner of my eyes for some sparkle. I used an angle brush and a bit of MAC Nehru eyeshadow to deepen the black liner effect. I find that sometimes with a liquid liner, I often need to use a powder shadow to get right into my lash line.

MAC Eyeshadows in Nehru and Shroom
I used the Shu Uemura eyelash curler and some L'Oreal Voluminous mascara to finish the look. 

Shu Uemera Eyelash Curler
L'Oreal Voluminous Mascara
The brushes I used:
L-R: Eyeliner Brush, Angle Brush, Eyeshadow Brushes x2, Brow and Lash Brush
And finally, the lips. Red, red, red. 

The lip colour is obviously red. RED, RED, RED. Classically sexy. When Irene Adler is preparing to meet Sherlock for the first time she choses a lipstick colour called "Blood" (it's actually Illamasqua's Classic Brick). Irene's red isn't matte, it's got a bit of sheen to it. My go-to red lip colour is MAC Cockney (fitting, no? which is one of MAC's lustre lipsticks. Since this is a bit too sheer and shiny, I first lined my lips with a red lipliner (Annabelle's Cherry Red). It gave me a more intense, opaque effect. I also blotted it down with a tissue and reapplied both again and then blotted it again. 

I really liked this look. I felt sexy and sophisticated and powerful, not unlike Irene Adler. And red lips always make me feel very sexy.

I'll definitely wear this out somewhere when I need to channel Irene Adler. I think it suits me.

Let me know if you try this look and post a comment below!

"You know the problem with a disguise? No matter how hard you try, it's always a self-portrait." - Irene Adler, BBC Sherlock.


  1. Very pretty! That red lip colour looks stunning on you!

  2. BBC Sherlock is a classic. Nice post about Irene Adler.

    Check out my review of the series.


  3. The lipstick is from Illamasqua. I <3 that show.

  4. I wore this look today and I love it! Instead of a turquoise liner, I used an Inglot eyeshadow in 413, which is a light blue-green duochrome. They also make an eyeliner pencil in a similar colour to the one you used.