Have you ever looked at Daenerys Targaryen season one, dirt all over her cheeks during the chaos, and wondered how she could still look like an ethereal goddess. If we were in the same predicament, the Khalasar, our eyebrows would not be as impressive. The same is true for all television shows. Despite hours of work, many plot twists, and an almost-too-real-ever-increasing TV definition, actors and actresses still manage to come out looking flawless, with not a single pore visible.
Rebecca Perkins is a former TV show makeup artist who worked on hit shows such as Law & Order SVU, 30Rock, and was also the founder of SheSpoke. Because every time the director shouts “CUT!” someone like me rushes in with blotting paper, sponges and brushes to get that hair and makeup back in place.
Television shows are not meant to imitate cinema verite. Perkins shared her top tips behind-the scenes to be your make-up artist and look stunning, regardless of the conditions or how long it needs to stay put.
Perkins tells us that Law & Order SVU executives didn’t want anyone being able to identify the season in which the show was shot. So even if the episode was aired in July, the actors would wear pants and a jacket for the winter release. This was to ensure the viewer wasn’t misled into thinking it was a rerun. Perkins would then step in and provide the blotting sheets.
You can set your makeup with powder in the morning, but you should leave it at home during the summer months. Instead, use blotting paper or a compact. They don’t cause a paste face, but they do remove sweat and shine. Perkins says that the Alcone Blotting Sheets ($9) are her favorite. Perkins claims that these sheets would make Detective Benson “fresh and glowing” even after a 14-hour work day.
Prime Lids with Concealer
Prime your eyes with a good concealer before you start your makeup. You can’t use any concealer. Amazing Cosmetics Amazing Concealer ($28), is the best concealer I’ve found. It evens out the lids and gives shadows something to stick to, so it lasts all day. Mariska [Hargitay] was my test subject. I only primed one eye. After lunch, I had to completely redo the unprimed eye while the rest was still intact. You may prefer to use concealer instead of eyeshadow primer for some people, but you can still use both if you want your makeup to stay put.
Use shaving cream as a make-up remover
Did you ever apply a red lipstick and then notice it was applied outside of your natural lip line Ronald McDonald-style? Perkins offers a surprising answer: shaving cream. “Barbasol ($2), a concentrated formula that can remove fake red lipstick transfers and blood stains, is the answer. To lift most lipsticks we can use a sponge with some creme concealer. It not only corrects red lipstick pigment leftovers, but it also lifts them up.”
Matte Is Kiss-Proof
Matte is the best option to avoid having to reach for the concealer or shaving cream, or any other makeup remover. Perkins said that a matte color would be the best choice for a kissy scene. “Matte reds have the longest lasting lip colors. That red won’t move for some reason. Reds last longer than other colors, so don’t be afraid to touch-up often.
Choose Easy SPF
Perkins says, “Set your makeup using a makeup setting spray that contains SPF. Then get a small spray like Supergoop Defense Refresh ($30), to use throughout the day for SPF reapplication. It won’t damage your makeup.”
Learn about Glycine
However, she warns against waiting until it’s too late to refresh your makeup. Take a spray of glycine-rich mist to your lunch. This will revitalize your makeup and revive any skin that has dried out or become duller over the course of the day. Without adding more makeup, you can smoothen the area under your eyes with a concealer brush. You need to be vigilant. Otherwise, your makeup may not be repairable. Try Make Beauty’s Succulent mist for a refreshing and highly-acclaimed spritz ($25).
Blomishes Can Be Removed
Perkins also offered advice on covering up blemishes. This is something that TV makeup artists can do very well. She advises that you only use concealer that matches your skin. Use a brush to apply the concealer on top of your blemishes and blend it out. Use a shadow brush to apply the well-matched powder on top of the blemish. It will help reduce the texture and discoloration of the pimples by keeping it matte.