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The make-up went through many changes before it became what we know (and love) today:

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Picture 1 shows Ace just after he joined the band in January 1973. It is easy to see, that KISS were very inspired by The New York Dolls at the time... Ace is a dead-ringer for Dolls' Johnny Thunders.  
Picture 2 and 3 were taken in June or July 1973, and also shows that Ace had his make-up design perfected already at that point. Well, almost... he hadn't got as far as to apply the whiteface make-up yet, but would just paint his silver design around the eyes. On picture 2 Ace didn't wear any lipstick, while on picture 3 he had painted his lips black. It is rumored that Ace is allergic to the silver make-up, and as it can be seen in picture 3, he had already started to use eyeliner at this point, to avoid the silver paint getting in touch with his eyes.
Picture 4 was taken in January 1974, and shows the make-up, as it had been for the previous four or five months. The silver design (without eyeliner) and whiteface, with black lipstick.
But Ace still had trouble with the silver, and started to use other colors around the eyes. Picture 5 is from early 1975, and at this point he painted his eyebrows black, with a brown shadow over the eyes. 

make-upAce2.jpg (25636 Byte)Ace then tried to paint a black border around the eyes, like he had done in the early days in 1973 (picture 3). As you can see in picture 6, he first followed the eyelid, and made a rounded border. But then he perfected it a bit, and gave it more style (picture 7). Also note that Ace had a new look for the mouth... instead of the basic black lipstick, applied to the lips (like Paul would), the design had a more futuristic design.
This design got perfected over the next couple of years, to what is seen on picture 8. Note that the black now has a brown patch again, but this time strongly separated, and not blended together like on picture 5. 
With the release of the solo albums in September 1978, it was decided that every member of the band should have their own signature color: red for Gene, purple for Paul, green for Peter, and blue for Ace. It was then suggested that Ace, like Peter, incorporated his signature color into his make-up. So by the release of Dynasty in 1979, Ace was wearing blue eye shadow, instead of the brown (as seen in picture 9). There were however, still a small patch of brown on the eyelids.

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Picture 10 shows Ace in 1980. Here the brown part above the eyes are more evident, and you can also see that the eyebrows were painted with more care, than in picture 9.
Ace made another change when the band entered the "The Elder" era in 1981. In picture 11 you can clearly see, that the eyelids, were now painted black instead of brown!
But Ace changed it again for the European promotional tour in November 1982... the eyelids were now painted both brown and black (as seen in picture 12)!! Why Ace bothered to change his make-up one more time, when he technically had already left the band, is quite a mystery to me!!
Ace did make a few minor changes to his make-up for the Reunion tour in 1996. Picture 13 is from a photo session in early 1996 (i.e. before the tour!), and here you can see that Ace now used a black eyeliner around the eyes. The eyebrows were also lesser in size, but now ended with a point, pointing downwards at the corner of each eye!
Picture 14 is from the summer of 1998, when the band was gearing up for the release of Psycho Circus. Here the black eyeliner had become more evident, and the tip at the corner of the eye, now extended all the way down toward the eye.
During the Farewell tour in 2000, another change was added, as seen in picture 15. The black eyeliner around the eyes now extended to the edge of the silver part of the mask, with the blue in between also stretched out.

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return to KISS make-up main page
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Many thanks to Jan Laursen for letting us use these pages.
Here is the link to his website:

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