Thursday, February 12, 2009
Skin Magicians: Skin Tips From the Pros Behind the Beauty Ads
Skin Magicians: Skin Tips From the Pros Behind the Beauty Ads
Three little words in the English language make skin-care advertisers weak in the knees: "natural," "fresh," and "clean." A model who radiates those qualities is worth her weight in soapsuds. That's why a team of experts is hired to moisturize, buff, and highlight her face to perfection before and during the shoot.
Unlike other beauty advertisement photographs, there's nowhere to hide in a skin-care ad—no elongated lashes, richly pigmented lipsticks, or cool, geometric haircuts. "Skin-care ads call for fresh, minimal makeup," says Collier Strong, a makeup artist for L'Oréal Paris who has worked on skin-care shoots for their Advanced Revitalift products featuring Andie MacDowell and Age Perfect Pro-Calcium with Diane Keaton.
Skin-care shoots also present a number of unusual obstacles for makeup artists. Not only are the artists faced with the usual challenge of creating gorgeous makeup that won't melt under hot lights, they also have to ensure their work can withstand a good drenching. "To give the ads a spa-like feeling, these shoots often involve a lot of splashing water and wet hair," says Kristofer Buckle, a makeup artist who has worked on ads for Dior Capture XP, in which Sharon Stone is shot in extreme close-up. "Sometimes they even want dewdrops on the skin."
The makeup artists, dermatologists, and facialists who specialize in these kinds of shoots have particular tricks up their sleeves for presenting the skin at its absolute best. And their biggest secret is that each trick is just as effective (and surprisingly easy) in real life.
Book the right kind of facial. Skin-care models rely on their aestheticians before the camera looms. Sonya Dakar, a Beverly Hills-based aesthetician who tends to the faces of celebrities who have hefty skin-care contracts, says that six weeks before the shoot, she starts performing a series of weekly infrared light treatments. These stimulate collagen production, decreasing the look of fine lines and wrinkles for the next month. Dakar prefers them to lasers and chemical peels because they don't use any heat, so her clients don't have to worry about burning or irritation. "This treatment really plumps up the skin by boosting the collagen," says Dakar.
Control your climate. Patricia Wexler, a New York City dermatologist, suggests that her model clients put a humidifier in their hotel or bedrooms. "It puts moisture back into the atmosphere, preventing the skin from drying out," she says. "When the skin is dehydrated, lines become more visible and the color looks sallow."
Get a rubdown. The morning that Sharon Stone shoots a Dior skin-care ad Buckle massages her face as he moisturizes it. "Massage brings color to the skin, and helps relax the muscles, so ten minutes later, the face looks softer and creases disappear."
Smooth the lips. No matter whether a model is 14 or 40, her lips naturally have fine lines, which are exaggerated if her skin is dehydrated from cold weather or a long flight. In this case, makeup artists have to do what the post-production crew can't. "Lips look fake when they're retouched, and even the lips have to look good in skin-care ads because the entire face needs to be youthful and supple," says Mathew Nigara, who has worked on ads for Nars skin care. His solution is to rub them with Smashbox Emulsion Lip Exfoliant to get rid of any flakes, and gently wipe the granules away with a washcloth soaked with baby oil (which also moisturizes the lips). He then layers on a "generous amount" of Laura Mercier Skincare Lip Silk. "This combination creates a smooth surface, so lip color goes on evenly," says Nigara. This also increases the blood flow to the lips, making them look young and rosy, he says.
Use a primer. Long hours under hot lights can cause makeup to settle into a model's fine lines. To prevent this, the pros at Elizabeth Arden have discovered an alternative use for their Ceramide Gold Ultra Restorative Capsules skin-care treatment: They open two and use them as a primer. The formula fills in any fine lines, creating a silky surface for foundation. With two capsules, makeup artists can cover the neck and chest, which often also need to be primed for makeup.
Hide lines with light. Just as you learned in art class: Shadows recede, light comes forward—which is why makeup artist Susan Giordano, who has worked on skin-care ads for Olay and Avon, pours a drop of liquid luminizer in her foundation. "Anything that reflects light makes the skin look more youthful," she says. "This trick works as well off-camera as it does on." Layer on the liquid. Judicious use of a balmy, thick moisturizer, a brightening serum, or a petroleum-based product creates the look of smooth, line-free skin. "They give skin this amazing, high-gloss shine," says Nigara. He applies the cream on the bridge of the nose, eyelids, and cheekbones.
Avoid last-minute facials. While it may be tempting to have an aesthetician purge every last pore the day before a shoot, a smart model knows that's a silly idea. Elettra Rossellini Wiedemann, who stars in Lancome UV Expert ads, books her microdermabrasion treatments with Christine Chin in New York City weeks in advance to avoid any redness. "All of the travel and makeup really takes a toll on my skin," says the model. "The deep cleansing and exfoliation helps me start from zero again."
Give it time. Although she eventually appeared in an infomercial for Proactiv Solution, Alicia Keys used the anti-acne system for over a month and saw minimal results. "She was calling us because her skin still had problems," says Kathy Fields, Proactiv Solution cofounder and assistant clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco. The doctor encouraged Keys to "stick with it," and within two months, "her blemishes diminished." (Proactiv urges users to see a dermatologist if the program doesn't work for them after 60 days.)
Try a budge-proof concealer. The less time a makeup artist has to spend touching up a honking zit, the happier everyone is. On the face, Nigara prefers Laura Mercier Secret Concealer, and on the body, he likes using Dermablend, because it doesn't melt under hot lights. Also, its long-lasting formula won't slip around as easily as creamier versions, allowing it to withstand the abuse of constant touching and the (often) obligatory splash scene. His application technique is odd, but it works. He first taps the tiniest bit of Decleor Aromessence Baume Essentiel on the pimple and then sponges skin-matching concealer on top of the balm. "It keeps the concealer from looking heavy and works as a water-resistant glue," he says. "This combination of products is hard-core, but it achieves a perfect look."
Defuse a breakout. Even if a huge zit rears its head 24 hours before a shoot, a model doesn't have to panic. "A mild cortisone injection can bring down a blemish," says Fields. If you can't get to a dermatologist, Heidi A. Waldorf, director of laser and cosmetic dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center, suggests applying a topical cream with 2 percent benzoyl peroxide.
ENHANCING THE SKIN
Wake up fast. Beauty shoots typically begin at the crack of dawn, when no woman is ready for her close-up. "Puffy, tired skin is the bane of my existence," says Strong. To combat that sleepy look, Strong soaks a washcloth in ice water, wrings it out, lays it on the model's skin for a few minutes, and repeats this process several times. "It instantly reduces puffiness," he says. Tammy Fender, an aesthetician in West Palm Beach, suggests her model clients soak cold compresses in her Roman Chamomile Tonic and leave them on the skin for 15 minutes. Not only does this take down puffiness, it also gets rid of redness, she says.
Use eye drops. Since models often get red-eyed from squinting in the studios' bright lights, Buckle uses Naphcon-A Allergy Relief Eye Drops antihistamine eye drops to make their eyes look fresh. Wendy W. Lee, assistant professor of ophthalmic plastic, orbital surgery and oncology at the Bascomb Palmer Eye Institute at University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, says that doing this is safe for occasional use for red or itchy eyes, although everyone should read the package insert because there are some conditions, such as glaucoma, associated with a warning.
Don't spackle. "The model in the skin-care ad should look naturally luminous—not made up," says makeup artist Tyrone Traylor, who has worked on ads for Garnier skin care. He creates a sheer base by dotting the center of the model's forehead with a single dab of foundation, then blends outward using a foundation brush. "The model gets more coverage where she needs it—in the T-zone and cheeks—and less where she doesn't," he says.
Go easy on the powder. "Young-looking skin has a nice sheen," says Buckle. To ensure Stone's skin looks dewy, Buckle refuses to pile on the face powder. "I use blotting papers or translucent powder to take down shine wherever there's too much reflection," he says.
PERFECTING THE BODY
Shed dry skin. Before a shoot, Miriam Azoulay, the makeup artist on Jergens Natural Glow ads, will ask the model to give herself a good scrubbing from the shoulders down. "Getting rid of dead skin with a fresh loofah—especially on the knees and elbows—helps even out the skin tone," she says. To "provide double the exfoliation," Azoulay squirts St. Ives Apricot Scrub on the loofah.
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. To make sure the model looks like a glowing vision of health from head to toe, makeup artist Polly Osmond, whose work has appeared in Olay ads, massages drugstore baby oil into the model's body. Since traditional baby oil can be too greasy in real life, Osmond suggests a less slippery alternative, such as baby-oil gel or Palmer's Cocoa Butter.
Cover up. "Any part of the model's body that's exposed in the ad has to look perfect," says Strong, who uses foundation to camouflage spots and even out discoloration. "But putting products on the model's body becomes a nightmare for the art department, because it usually stains the white couch and the model's white clothes," says Strong. (Those stains are typically retouched.) For that reason alone, Giordano loves M.A.C. Face and Body Foundation. "It doesn't rub off onto fabric," she says—convenient for those who aren't on photo shoots as well.
Labels: Beauty Tips