Oldham make-up artist transforms herself into Christmas characters including Aldi's Kevin the Carrot

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A make-up lover spends up to 18 hours creating festive masterpieces on her face - including an ice queen, a gingerbread man and a nutcracker.

Accounts specialist Cole Denby, 32, works an office job by day - but in her spare time she paints stunning designs using her own face as a canvas. Her other festive specials include a reindeer, elf and Aldi's Kevin the Carrot.

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Cole, from Oldham, is self-taught and has to wake at 4am to complete her designs before work - drinking through a straw to avoid spoiling her work.

She said: "Coming up with the designs, I often see them on TV - I think 'I can turn that into makeup'. They take all day - my Edward Scissorhands took 18 hours! My nutcracker took 12 hours and my gingerbread man took 10. If I'm doing a big long design I'll book a day off work for it. The most common question I get is 'how do you get so good?' but it's just about practice practice practice."

Two of Cole Denby's make-up creations, as an ice queen and elf Two of Cole Denby's make-up creations, as an ice queen and elf
Two of Cole Denby's make-up creations, as an ice queen and elf

Cole said she was inspired to give body painting a go after seeing TikTok videos in 2020 during lockdown. The creative skill came naturally to her as she's quite arty and good at drawing - and she was quickly hooked. She had to invest in hundreds of pounds worth of special effects makeup, paints and accessories to bring her visions to life.

Cole reckons she has an advantage because she is ambidextrous - meaning she can use both her left and right hands to paint. She sketches out her looks using an eyebrow pencil before painting them on.

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After snapping hundreds of photos and videos of each creation, she normally wipes them straight off again - after sharing completed looks on TikTok and Instagram. Occasionally though she'll treat members of the public to a glance at her masterpieces in person.

Cole said: "I went to the garden centre in my reindeer look - everyone loved it. There was a Father Christmas there who wanted his picture taken with me! When I wash it off, it's soul-destroying."

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