Monday, November 19, 2018

Inspiration: I Heart Dana Scully

Image from

Like many feminists who consumed media in the 90s and went to college after Y2K, I've come to realize that the feminist icons tween-me adored can be somewhat problematic in the year 2018. This includes Dana Scully in The X-Files. Rewatching the series has made me horrifically aware of how often she got her ass in a sling compared to Mulder and how lazy the writers could be about developing her personality. Discovering there was a pay discrepancy between Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny made it all the more real.

That said, I still think it's important to look at these things in context: we no longer live in the world of "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus." Some networks have learned from the mistakes they made in past decades, starting with "gee a team of all white guys doing the writing is fine." And while we can certainly critique shows like the X-Files on where they fell short, we can still enjoy them and be proud of the things they did well. The Scully Effect is real, and as someone who has taught many young women who strive to become scientists or doctors thanks to characters like Scully, I'm beyond grateful for it.

And of course, Scully's power suits and great lipstick made her a fashion icon for me.

Googling "Dana Scully" makeup is a bit of a drag, because most of the products the makeup artist used on her have been long-discontinued. These include MAC Shhh lipstick and Shu Uemura Cake Foundation. That said, there's a general trend to her makeup that's easily replicated with the slew of products on the market today: pink, mauve, or rose-toned lipsticks, tawny blush, a bit of smoky liner around the eyes (sometimes it looks dark brown and other times it looks burgundy), and a sheer, matte foundation that lets your freckles shine through. Scully sometimes had a shinier or more bold-colored lipstick, namely when she was gussied up--see the bottom left picture for an example.

Scully suit appreciation post! I wish I was this good at matching patterned shirts with solid-colored staples. I especially love that star shirt she's wearing at the bottom.

A vain but noteworthy impact Scully had on me: I stopped trying to cake concealer on my undereyes to blank out my dark circles. Granted, I've always tried to lighten that area up, but now I think a bit of undereye circle makes your makeup more natural and kind of sexy. I thank Gillian Anderson for that. Also, I'm so glad that those 90s-style round glasses are back in style, because I've always wanted a pair. They would definitely look stupid on my face shape, but OH WELL.

Because I'm blatantly obsessed with vintage hairdos and red lipstick, I had to take an entire set of screenshots from this season 6 time warp episode. Her hair here is Also, in the interest of full disclosure, I spent a solid 10 minutes looking at my Besame lipsticks and figuring out which shade would be the best match for her lipstick here. (Since this part of the episode is set in 1939 and it's a more vibrant, not-very-warm red, I'm guessing 1920 Besame Red or 1946 Red Velvet.)

As a final note, Scully's makeup did change a bit toward the end of the series. They make her brows more sculpted, lightened up her eye makeup, and often went for lighter lipsticks. You can see just how pink and shiny the lipstick in the top two pictures is. I wonder why this was--a shift toward trends from the new millennium, perhaps?


  1. When I watched all 202 episodes in a month a few years back I started doing my makeup like hers every day. Her eye makeup was always perfect!

    I firmly maintain that The X-Files was good despite and not because of Chris Carter. He doesn't seem to understand what made it so good - the idea that he thought the show could continue with Doggett and Reyes as the leads is just so off-base it makes me laugh. He's lucky he had Darin Morgan, Vince Gilligan, and other writers/producers who actually understood the appeal of the show... I still can't bring myself to watch season 11 because he tanked season 10 so hard. But the original show has so. many. good. episodes. (The season 6 episode in your post is one of my favourites just because of the banter at the end when Mulder finally tells Scully he loves her and she says "Oh, brother.")

    1. I legitimately pretend the new seasons don't exist. :D And Darin Morgan's episodes are some of my favorites! "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" is the best X-Files episode of all time, IMO.