Top 10 Makeup Transformations For The Big Screen

Before CGI became the hottest thing in the block, Hollywood greatly relied on the wonders of makeup transformations and the mastery of the artists wielding the brushes. Their skills went leagues beyond applying foundations and contours, stretching into a territory where they’re able to craft entire costumes. We imagine how surreal it sounds like for some of us who have trouble properly winging eyeliner.

It was because of the incredible makeup transformations managed by stunningly talented artists that some of the most iconic characters today have been brought to life on the big screen. In this article, we are going to visit some of them.

#1 Jim Carey | The Grinch

Makeup Transformations - Jim Carey and the Grinch

Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Although people have split opinions when it comes to the adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ famous story, there is a general consensus on the fact that Jim Carey did a stellar job. After The Mask, he was reluctant to take on another role that required hours on top of hours wasted in makeup chairs, but he admitted that the Grinch was too tempting to not take on.

#2 Rebecca Romjin | X-Men

At the dawn of the X-Men cinematic universe, one of the most challenging looks to reproduce was the one of the infamous mutant Mystique. In order to step into the metaphorical shoes of the blue skinned bombshell, Rebecca Romjin spent an average of 8 hours in front of the mirror for her jaw-dropping makeup transformation.

#3 Heath Ledger | The Dark Knight

Heath Ledger as the Joker

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Even though there were no amazing full-body transformations involved, Heath Ledger’s makeup as the Joker became undeniably iconic. Steering away from the image of the classic cartoons and comics, this take was one step forward. It was extremely calculated in its messiness, terrifying, intimidating, pinched with a dose of childishness, and perfectly in-character.

#4 Jeff Goldbloom | The Fly

The Fly was a movie founded on a grotesque premise, with a character that needed to gradually transition through a series of stages that had him basically go from gross to much grosser. It seemed like a daunting task, but makeup artist Chris Walas managed to perfectly convey these stages.

#5 John Matuszak | The Goonies

Matuszak and the Sloth


The professional football player stepped into the skin of the Sloth, the character that haunted all of our childhoods through the eerie realism of his distorted appearance. Much of this credit goes to the genius of the makeup transformation, innovative and groundbreaking at the time.

#6 Ron Pearlman | Hell Boy

A title like that is almost begging for something to make it flop, but fantastic makeup artists have none of it. In order to transform Ron Pearlman into the hellish character, he had to be wrapped in red latex and patiently wait 4 hours for the costume to be applied.

#7 Eric Stoltz | Mask

Makeup Transformations


In 1985, Eric Stoltz managed to leave a big impact on audiences when he starred in the movie Mask, which told the story of the heavily distorted Roy L. “Rocky” Dennis. For the look to be reproduced, foam was blended through makeup transformations into a mask.

#8 Robin Williams | Mrs. Doubtfire

We’ve seen plenty of “man turned into a nice elderly woman” tropes come to life on the big screen, but it was Robin Williams’ that was the most convincing. And in order for that to happen, Williams had to go through eight stages of makeup transformations.

#9 Gwenyth Paltrow| Shallow Hal

Gwyneth Paltrow in Her Suit

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Paltrow played the part of the girlfriend of a jinxed Jack Black who could see all women as goddess-level beauties. Needless to say, she was one of those who, traditionally, weren’t. The actress made quite the weight leap with her transformation.

#10 Charlize Theron | Monster

Since mastery isn’t only seen in the ability to create green fur suits, we can’t help but acclaim this amazing transformation. Theron ditched her jaw-dropping looks in order to step into the shoes of a rough, raw-looking woman.

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