Prisoners gotta get creative to replicate their creature comforts in the clink — but one YouTuber took inmate ingenuity to the next level by MacGyvering makeup out of unlikely items, including Doritos.
Christina Randall quietly posted a video tutorial of her jailhouse makeover months ago — but it’s going viral this week, racking up almost 800,000 views.
The 35-year-old’s life is a bit like Martha Stewart’s in reverse. It was 2008 and she had just been released from prison after doing a three-year stint for battery, robbery and escape, the New York Times reports. Despite only having $30 and a few clothes to her name, the eager ex-con was determined to turn her life around.
After rapidly working her way up from a South Florida women’s shelter to slinging fries at Wendy’s to studying social work, the reformed felon started her own lifestyle channel on YouTube.
“I’ve always wanted to help people,” says Randall, whose channel has amassed more than 400,000 subscribers. She posts everything from recipes to unboxing videos, many of which employ knowledge gleaned from her time inside.
n the popular beauty-how-to clip — entitled “Jailhouse Makeup: How We Did It” — the felon-turned-fashionista demonstrates how to “moonshine” makeup just like she did during her time doing time. It was a risky undertaking, Randall claims, because if county inmates get caught with cosmetic contraband, they could get written up or even thrown in solitary confinement.
The clip shows Randall applying Dorito “lipstick” because she “didn’t have money to buy Kool-Aid at the commissary.” It’s an ingenious — if unorthodox — substitute, because, as the ex-con cosmetologist points out, Dorito dust “will stain your finger, but it will also stain your lips.”
Another hoosegow hack involves using deodorant and a magazine to make eye shadow. You simply scrape your desired color — generally, blue — off your impromptu makeup palate with the antiperspirant stick and then apply it via fingernail. This also works for blush, as Randall explains in the tutorial.
No eyeliner, no problem. Just use a pencil to stir Vaseline into a dark paste, a technique the inmate-turned-influencer cautions “not to try at home.” But if you do, “send me a DM,” Randall quips. Oh, and you can do your lashes using a coffee-and-water solution that’s painted on with a toothbrush.
Alas, it’s unlikely these hacks will turn you into a bombshell overnight. “I’m not telling y’all this is going to look good, [I’m] just telling y’all what we did,” says Randall, who didn’t have access to bona fide beauty products during her six months in county jail. The self-effacing jailbird even admits that she would apply makeup in jail sans mirrors and be horrified when she caught her reflection at court.
Still, her tutorial has elicited a positive response among the YouTube peanut gallery, with posts of “I’m really impressed with the amount of creativity that goes into this,” and “That coffee face powder low-key might be a good exfoliator.”
More impressively, it resonated with female ex-cons, who shared their own beauty tips. “I found a piece of sandpaper when I was in prison and I used to grind the magazine colors into powder which really worked better than deodorant,” one slammer makeup guru commented.
Another added, “I never got into jailhouse makeup. I did however break the teeth from hair combs and use them to keep my piercings open.”
Randall says she currently earns her living from a combination of YouTube ads and her 270 “Patrons,” who can win one-on-one Skype chats with her — if they pay an extra $50 a month. However, she maintains that making money will never compromise the integrity of her videos.
“My channel is raw and real,” says Randall.
And despite her seemingly overnight success, the rising social-media star stresses the importance of putting your nose to the grindstone.
“You know, in this day and age so many people talk about ‘dreaming big’ or ‘you can do anything you put your mind to,’ ” Randall wrote on Instagram. “But I don’t think there is enough emphasis on the importance of working hard!”
“You have the ability to make it happen with hard work, grit, and tenacity. So do it!!!”