Bringing the beauty of Netflix’s Nightbooks to life with Leslie Sebert


Have you watched the new Halloween movie, Nightbooks, on Netflix yet? If you have, then you have seen the work of Leslie Sebert.

Sebert was the Makeup Department Head for the movie and we had the opportunity to chat with her about her work on the project and how we can take inspiration from Nightbooks for our last-minute Halloween looks. And honestly, for many of us, it is as easy as using what we already have on hand.

Considering the beauty of the looks on Nightbooks, it makes sense that we would want to take inspiration from Leslie Sebert and her team’s work. And if we can look as stunning as a witch as Krysten Ritter’s witch character, we would not be upset at all.

Culturess’ interview with Nightbooks’ Leslie Sebert

Culturess: What was it about this project [Nightbooks], that made you want to be a part of it?

Leslie Sebert: “Well of course when you’re reading it, and it’s this fantastical child-like evil witch, just the creative part of that and the endless possibilities that it could be. So that was very enticing.”

C: Until you get to the end of the film, where we have the candy witch, (as I like to call her) a lot of the looks were maybe a little more simplistic. So how do you make those pop so that people really fall into the story?

LS: “So it was a really fun process. We sat down, and, of course, there was a collaboration with the director and the costume designer. And then also just talking about the character and Natacha, and you know, she was captured by this apartment or whatever when she was a young girl so through her costumes and her makeup looks, she was portrayed as fantastical and childlike, but also a woman, evil and dramatic. So there were a lot of different inspirations, we could come to and I like to work with a mood board so I had, in the makeup trailer, all sorts of different photos and even material colors, there was a swatch for blue hair and just all these things. So for each look, that’s kind of what it was started from, this inspiration board.”

Leslie Sebert

C: So, where did you get your inspiration, besides the look in the script? What inspired you to create this particular look [for Natacha]?

LS: “You know what it was, a lot of it was conversation with Krysten, and also the color palette of the wardrobe. I don’t even know how to [explain the] glitter, I think the thing about her character is she’s, evil, but she’s childlike and, you know, glitter and kids are one in the same. So, when I started creating different looks, like different inspirational photos for this board, I looked at even celebrities from the 40s to the 70s and runway looks and contemporary runway and even street looks. You can find everything online now.

And Krysten’s eyes are just so big and beautiful and dramatic already, and so much fun to make up. I knew I wanted a lot of black liner and wings that went out the side and made you know kind of think of the 60s and 70s, and contemporary and then the glitter on top to really pop. I went with lip pencil on her lips most of the time because it’s just more durable and more comfortable. I did a coat of wet on top to give it nice shine and comfort because you want comfortable.”

C: With Halloween coming up, can you tell us how we might be able to recreate that look with ease?

LS: “I think a big thing with that particular look is the lashes, so I did have fake lashes on the top. I use three quarters so I trimmed off just for comfort also but I got really good, good lashes that stood out. So I think that’s important to try to get the focus on those lashes.

And then underneath her eyes, you can actually go with a fake lash, but what I did was I drew them in and for Halloween, totally you can draw them in. Almost like the 60s, you did your black liner and then draw individual lashes underneath.

I had a sort of base for shadows and sculpting her eyes that was Christian Dior, one of their palettes. And it’s a nice base and then on top of that, I got into the glitters, and I loved the Urban Decay glitters, they have such good staying power. Once they’re dry, they don’t migrate down to your cheeks and stuff like that unless you want them to. Also, I would layer the glitter just to really really have it pop, which is fun. I think it was the Urban Decay Heavy Metal, and they’re bigger chunks of glitter in like a gel so that it has great staying power. They have different colors too for layering the glitter on, but not too much, you don’t need your whole lid covered, just different pops. Like, I was underneath her eyes and then I would draw in the lashes, and in between the lashes I would lay in some glitter.”

Related Story. Emmy-nominated Michelle Radow talks makeup and working on Big Little Lies. light

When it comes to creating looks, we love listening to the Makeup Artists and learning more about their process and how they bring characters to life. And thanks to Leslie Sebert, we can also find some last-minute Halloween inspiration, which is a win all on its own.