The out-of-control design duo Steven Raj Bhaskaran and Hannah Rose Dalton are better known as Fecal Matter, or Matières Fécales (en fran?ais). The two are famous for their transhuman looks, binding themselves in asphyxiating neck gear or waist-constricting corsets, and wearing $10,000 skin heels. Their beauty looks are just as transfixing. Some images in their Instagram feed show Dalton with a postmortem alien glaze complete with lavender pallor and fully green eyes, and with butterflies applied to her face. In some instances, her body is photoshopped to resemble an emaciated cat or an “alien sex doll.” Often, Bhaskaran will embody a demon-type character with swathes of neon red creeping across his face.
They have never shown themselves bare-faced, until now. Without makeup, hair, or eyebrows, the two present blank-slate, babyish complexions. There are several steps involved in creating their look, and it is certainly a team effort: Both Dalton and Bhaskaran paint each other and apply prosthetics to transform themselves into walking works of art. On a normal day, it takes them one and a half to two hours, while for an event or show (they DJ, too), it can take around three hours. Makeup is a bonding experience for the two. “We never did makeup, but we learned together,” says Dalton. “We were buying makeup from the dollar store in the beginning because we couldn’t afford anything else.”
Much of their beauty regimen falls into the “don’t try at home” category, like putting in their signature contact lenses. Both Bhaskaran and Dalton wear colored contacts by Sclera, which make their eyes appear ink-filled, covering both the cornea and the whites. “In some countries they are banned!” says Bhaskaran. Another risky addition in their getting-ready process? Super Glue. The duo uses it to apply dollar-store flowers to their heads, making it seem like their skulls have sprouted tentacles.
Like many people, the two consider foundation necessary, but they use it to cover their whole heads. Bhaskaran then applies pink blush on Dalton to create a “fairy eye,” a fantastical blend of fuchsia that clouds across the eyes, brows, and cheeks. A final macabre step for Dalton: the red spider veins, a Fecal Matter “signature,” according to Bhaskaran. Here, MAC lipstick comes into play, and Bhaskaran draws lines with a tiny brush, smudges them out, and then reapplies a thicker line with other color tones. The final result is a set of veins that creeps up from the tops of Dalton’s eyes into her skull, like spreading roots. And what’s a good lip without lip gloss? MAC LipGlass is their swear-by.
Bhaskaran’s beauty look is just as complicated. Bhaskaran sketches out the eyeliner design on paper, then replicates the graphic look with black lipstick. And for the crowning accessory? Dalton wears a metal mouthpiece—branded the “Facetox Harness” on Fecal Matter’s Depop page—which they designed themselves. It's a contraption that tightens around the face and keeps the mouth slightly open—the final jaw-dropping touch, if you will.
After a three-hour process, the duo considers what makes it all worth it. “It would be easier not to look like this,” Bhaskaran admits. “So why do we still look like this when there are so many obstacles? It's because this is what makes us happy...there is a little bit of like, a very satisfying feeling knowing that you aren’t ashamed of who you are in real life, and not just [showing it] on social media.”
Filmed at Sixty LES Hotel