The 23-year-old Amarillo, Texas native recreated all 12 looks from the NARS Makeup Your Mind challenge and shared his masterpieces on the brand's new community website.
"I started playing around with makeup about five years ago when I moved to Portland and met a bunch of drag queens," Teter tells StyleList. "The first one I ever saw in real life, Sabel Cities, made me think of some kind of Amazonian warrior, and I became obsessed with the idea of being able to completely change the way someone looks with makeup -- not that that's always my goal anymore. Then at some point, I realized 'Hey, some people do makeup for a living, and that seems like something I'd like a lot more than punching a clock.'"
Teter, a visual merchandiser at Forever 21, isn't officially trained in makeup but grew up painting and drawing before studying art two years after high school.
"If you already know about texture, value and blending, it's that much easier to teach yourself how to do makeup," he says.
Read on as the makeup fanatic dishes on everything from his first eyeliner ever to the craft of concealing eyebrows to the musician that sparks his creativity.
StyleList: Tell us about the first makeup look you created? What was it and which products did you use?
Kale Teter: Oh gosh. I bought this teal Wet n Wild eyeliner at some point in high school and would wear it sometimes when I drove into town. My parents live in the country. And then I'd always wash it off before I went home. I really doubt it looked as cool as I thought it did back then.
SL: What was the hardest makeup trick you had to learn?
KT: Learning how to cover eyebrows (to draw them on higher or in a different shape) was a whole ordeal by itself. I've learned how to do it about four different ways since I started doing makeup. I use a purple glue stick, which even I thought was weird the first time someone ever suggested it, but it works really well, and it washes off surprisingly easy. I also have a bit of a hard time getting winged liner the way I like it. I hate when it's not perfect.
SL: What does your family and friends think about your love for makeup? Have you ever made up any of their faces?
KT: My family's been pretty supportive, though I'm not sure if they quite get it yet. And I'm lucky to have a close circle of really good friends. I'm sure I've done makeup on all of them at some point or another. Putting my last roommate -- and still good friend -- in drag is a pretty frequent event.
SL: Tell us about the 12 NARS inspired makeup looks you created? Which was your favorite? Least favorite? How long did it take you to create all 12 looks? What did you use to wipe it all off?
KT: I keep changing my mind, but my favorite might be Look 2 because it's kind of a '20s vamp look. My least favorite: Look 12. It was the very last one I did because it didn't interest me all that much, and I was so tired of putting makeup on -- and my face hurt -- that I didn't do as well as I think I could have. I spent three days doing all of the looks because my eyes kept getting raw and irritated after all the washing and reapplying of products. Look 7 may have taken the longest because I had this crazy idea that I'd completely hide my eyebrows and do it a little different than the original look. I looked like some crazed alien, so I had to go back and put on some brows. To take it all off -- not that I could manage to get it entirely off by the end of four looks in a row each day -- I used a cleansing oil. It cuts through everything so it comes off easier. Then I used a gentle face cleanser and some eye makeup remover if needed.
SL: What are some of your best makeup secrets?
KT: I don't know if I'd really consider anything I know a secret. Though I do love adding a little heavier-than-usual highlight to the peak of the cheekbone and brow bone when I know the destination is going to be dark. Any lights flashing on a dance floor will make it look like you have incredible bone structure. I put a bit of a pearl-finish shadow that's close to my skin tone on a blush brush, and just let it fall lightly down onto the cheek, dusting the brow on the way.
SL: Who are your beauty icons and why?
KT: RuPaul because he's a pioneer of sorts in challenging traditional ideals of who and what is perceived as beautiful, and he always looks so polished these days. I also love Dita Von Teese's classic pin-up look.
SL: If you could do the makeup for any celebrity (dead or alive), who would it be and why?
KT: It'd be really cool to do makeup for Imogen Heap. She's insanely talented, and I'd love to meet her. Her music always triggers my creativity, and it'd be fun to do something unusual with her makeup to go with all the crazy stuff she puts in her hair.
SL: What is your daily beauty routine comprised of?
KT: As far as daily makeup goes: I mix my tinted moisturizer with a regular moisturizer because I'm so pale that more than just a tiny bit of coverage makes me look like I have no blood or something. Then I lightly conceal where I need to -- I have one color for my face, and a different, slightly yellow color for under my eyes to correct the purple tones. I follow that with a bit of pressed powder, and subtle contours or highlights. I then put some tinted brow gel through my brows and eyelashes. Last, I spritz myself with Fix+, which gets rid of that powdery look and makes the makeup last longer.
SL: What are your favorite summer beauty trends?
KT: I like a soft, sun-kissed look to the skin. Adding a little -- seriously, don't go overboard -- bronzer to any spot the sun hits makes it look like you've just gotten back from somewhere fun... park, beach, whatever. I'm also a fan of glossy eyelids, which is a pretty summery look.
SL: What is the best beauty advice you've ever received?
KT: "Don't be afraid to try anything. It washes off."
SL: What advice would you give to aspiring male makeup artists?
KT: Don't be afraid to be yourself. If you want to do and wear crazy makeup, do it. If you get some weird looks, all the better! It's time for everyone to know being beautiful is not about rules. And practice.
Click here to learn how to express yourself with makeup like Teter!