It’s so hot. It’s too hot. It’s time to become a mermaid.

If you have long glorious green hair that trails behind you like seaweed underwater, do something to tie it back out of your face. Otherwise, put on a wig cap.

Use your finger to tap silver eyeshadow all around your hairline, under your cheekbones and jaw, along the contours of your neck and in the hollow of your throat. Fingertip application: more pigmented than brush application, less so than the damp Q-­tip trick. Saves time when you’re smearing shadow over large areas, and it’s more fun than other methods, maybe? Use whatever finger you want.

Okay, this part is going to kind of suck. But as the aged mother of the Sea King told the littlest mermaid on her fifteenth birthday, pride must suffer pain and sometimes you have to do undignified things in the name of looking awesome.

Take a pair of fishnets you have lying around (you were too lazy to go out and buy some netting or lace for this purpose) and do whatever you’ve gotta do to stretch them out over the parts of your skin you want to adorn with scales. Wet an eyeshadow brush with water and use it to press cerulean shadow over the fishnet and onto your face.


You cannot allow the fishnet to move while you’re putting the shadow on. You cannot dust the brush from side to side (thus moving the fishnet and depositing shadow underneath it). Pat it straight onto your skin, onto and over the netting. You’ve got to make sure the shadow you’re applying stays pretty wet. Dry shadow ain’t gonna cut it.Be patient and go in small sections, securing the fishnet with your fingers wherever you’re applying the shadow. You’ve got this!

Use a dry brush and the same blue-­green shadow to contour the shit out of your jaw and neck. Just put it all over every slightly concave surface at and above shoulder level to get that sickly chic undersea pallor goin’ on.

Put silver shadow on your eyelids; brush some green up to your browbone. Use some teal­y blue in the crease of your lid and blend it out with a fluffy brush. Add more blue around the edges of your lids to add depth. Use your fingertip to load silver shadow underneath your eyes so anybody who goes looking for bags or dark circles will be BLINDED. Put more silver shadow on your forehead too, while you’re at it.

Liner! Remember to breathe, paint carefully, use a Q-­tip to fix screw-­ups so you can try again.

Put fake lashes on top and bottom. To stick ‘em underneath your eyes, remember to wait a sec for the glue to get tacky (as usual), flip ‘em upside down, slip them up underneath your natural lashes and glue them down just under your own lashline. It’s actually even easier than applying them to your top lids - doesn’t interfere with your line of sight as much! Take a moment to admire yourself and think about Arctic seas and ice floes. It is SO freakin’ hot, uggghhhh.

Now’s a good time to remember the Paperself lashes shaped like fish and seahorses that your sister-­in-­law gifted you last year! These lashes are always humongous, so cut them up to isolate the seahorse-­shaped chunks you really want and apply in the same fashion as regular fake lashes.

Put on yo’ wig! Make sure you’ve got a brush on hand to straighten the mess out afterwards; it’s gotta have metal bristles with small or no tips so it won’t snag up your plastic hair.

Lipstick AFTER wig, always. Otherwise: thin stringy lines of lipstick across your face, no matter how careful you are.

Use some shadow around the edges of your lips to add depth, much like you did with your eyelids earlier. Power through, even though you’re about to die of heatstroke. You’re almost there! Transformation always comes at a price!

YOU’VE DONE IT! You’re a mermaid! Having a tail instead of legs is weird, but cool!


Unfortunately, it is only at this point that you will remember the sea witch’s warning about mermaid­ to human transmutations: “It is very stupid of you, but you shall have your way, and it will bring you to sorrow.” (WHY didn’t you listen to the sea witch?? Sea witches always know what they’re talking about!)

You will not feel as if you are constantly treading upon the points of sharp knives, as you would if you had started out as a mermaid and sought to gain legs. Instead you will take a hundred selfies, each surpassing the next in beauty!—but you will be satisfied with none of them. You will remember that you had intended to glue some rhinestones to your face and spiral into a full-on emotional meltdown because you failed to do so. You will continue to take selfies as your mental state deteriorates, capturing the completely unhinged expression in your eyes for posterity.

Mermaids have no tears, and therefore they suffer more.

Finally, ready to escape into the oblivion that is death and your final transformation into foam upon the surface of the sea, you tear your mermaid wig off and–


...suddenly feel much, much better! Becoming a daughter of the air, that’s where it’s at, you’ll think, lying half­-clothed on the floor under a high-­powered fan. It’s just too hot for too much, girl.

Jennifer Culp is an artist, writer, and accomplished procrastinator. Her work has been published on The Hairpin, The Toast, and The Mary Sue, and she is the founder and co-editor of Gamervescent.