August 28 2014

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Beauty And The Beat: Talking Concealer Tips And The Hunt For The Perfect Black Eyeliner With Dum Dum Girls’ Dee Dee


Dum Dum Girls look like the coolest girl gang around when they take the stage; with their emotional imagery, soaring guitars, and gorgeous vocals, it’s hard not to become an insta-fan—if not for their sound then for their exceptional on-stage style. The bicoastal four-piece pair lace dresses, printed tights, and impeccably drawn-on cat-eyes with their sixties-meets-eighties pop, an intentional move that’s meant to strengthen the ties among fashion, makeup, and music. “It’s just a personal preference on my part,” explains the group’s founder and front woman Dee Dee (no last name necessary). “I’ve always worshiped bands and artists who covered both bases, be it the Ramones with their jeans and jackets or Roy Orbison with his sunglasses. To me, it adds something that takes it from just music to art.” She’ll be taking that philosophy (as well as a suitcase full of vintage boots and leather jackets) on the road starting tomorrow, when Dum Dum Girls kick off a month-long U.S. tour. Here, Dee Dee tells why she’s considered getting permanent eye makeup, how Spanish Sephoras are the best in the world, and what life-changing advice she got from Karen O.

The band has a really uniform look—even when you break the mold and wear, say, white instead of black, you’re all wearing white. Did you ever sit down and say, “We’re all going to wear black eyeliner and patterned tights?”when the band started, or did it just happen organically?

I definitely wanted the band to have an established aesthetic, essentially a melodramatic extension of my general style. I explained this simply to the girls, “black vintage,” and the look just evolved naturally from that.

How much clothes sharing goes on when you’re on tour?

Not too much, though Jules [guitar, vocals] tends to save me with dress loans every now and again. At this point we mainly just share and swap around all our Zana Bayne leather belts and harnesses. She’s a vital accessory!

What’s your preferred liner when it comes to drawing on a cat-eye?

The sad truth is I have yet to find the perfect eyeliner. I use cheap L’Oréal [Lineur Intense] felt tips because it is so easy to apply quickly, and everything I’ve tried, from drugstore to YSL, ends up running by the end of a set. Even the waterproof versions! I am intrigued by the reusable velvet strips Dior came out with recently, but I am going to give gel liner a try, as all the research I’ve done—relying mainly on professional dancers’ experiences—points to that as the solution. I may look like Kiss for a bit, though, as I hone my brush skills. Then again, maybe I should just get permanent cat-eye makeup…

Has it been the same struggle to find a good shade of red lipstick, which is another of your beauty trademarks?

My ideal was a tube I suppose I inherited from my grandmother—some vintage off-brand that sadly ran out a few years back. It was that classic matte red-via-orange look, and I’ve found MAC’s Lady Danger to be the closest match. I probably bought 20 or so different brands in the hunt.

Years ago you mentioned in an interview that you cover up blemishes by drawing on a beauty mark. That’s kind of genius.

Ha, yes, that is one of my tried-and-true tricks. Just need to patent it with some tea tree oil additive or something.

What are a few of your other beauty tricks for when you’re on tour?

Wheatgrass and sleep, but in lieu of those, my lifesaver is a €5 “Fatigue Eraser” I can only find at Spanish Sephoras. It is a good substitute for being well rested. It’s meant for only the eye area, but I abuse it and do my whole face if it’s a rough morning. Travel is so stressful on skin. I try not to wear makeup during the day before shows, so I limit it to Perfekt’s miracle all-in-one [Skin Perfection Gel] primer. I use Youngblood mineral makeup otherwise. And of course, I would be nothing with my sunglasses.

A useful piece of advice for anyone that’s new to the game. Have you been on the receiving end of any particularly good advice from fellow musicians?

Karen O essentially told me to quit the band I was unhappy in and start my own project…this one. She said, “Little risk, little reward.” I never looked back. Sometimes clichés are the best truths.

Photo: Shawn Brackbill

Beauty And The Beat