Do Vulcans wear lots of eye shadow, or is it just the color of their skin?


Is it only the males? I could be wrong, but it didn't seem like T'pol had as much makeup?

  • 2
    I always wondered about that. Out of universe, I wonder why Nimoy was made to wear it. In universe, it's clearly there, so it can either be explained as a skin feature in certain Vulcans (or maybe just Spock for whatever reason), or perhaps Spock wore make-up (again, for some unknown reason). Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 1:48
  • 7
    Out of universe, I think you can chalk it up to the still-slightly-theatrical makeup they used at the time, perhaps less noticeable on TV at the time than on DVD/blu ray--this page has a bunch of examples of eye makeup on different characters, you can see that Sulu had some pretty heavy eye shadow in the shot they show, and McCoy seems to have some eyeliner and perhaps some light eye shadow, Checkov has clear eyeliner, and Kirk is shown with some brown eye shadow in a shot with caption "Note to the ReBoot"
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 1:48
  • 3
    McCoy also seems to have some eye makeup in this shot (click "full resolution" to see at larger size)
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 1:52
  • Out of universe, Vulcans do indeed wear eye-shadow; youtube.com/watch?v=YfupxVzbGMI
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 16:19

1 Answer 1


No canon discussion, but possible biological explanation

I can find no official references to Vulcan males wearing eye shadow in-universe — nothing in the episodes and films, nothing in interviews, and nothing in canon texts like The Star Trek Encyclopedia.

However, note that it is established as early as the TOS episode "Operation: Annihilate!" that Vulcans possess two eyelids on each eye. They evolved an inner eyelid in order to protect their eyes against the harsh Vulcan sun.

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This is speculation, but the darker hue on a Vulcan's outer eyelid could be natural, due to the second eyelid beneath it. (This does not explain why T'Pol's are lighter, but this could simply be an anatomical variation.)

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