Ideal Foundation Application

 The kind of foundation you use can make all the difference to your overall look. Whether you choose a liquid, mousse, cream, powder or even aerosol! I carry many cream palettes, because they are so convenient, but I love the texture and blending quality of liquid foundations. For everyday wear nothing beats massaging a light liquid foundation gently into the skin. The application itself can be a therapeutic massage that awakens your skin. Some foundations are skincare in themselves, but it never hurts to apply a light moisturising emulsion before you continue with your makeup.The more hydrated the skin, the better the foundation will blend. Perfect foundation is dependent on blended application and hence not overloading the skin with product.
So go slowly on the concealer as well. Undereye correction and concealing should be done delicately. And always remember that a little goes a long, long, long way.

My favourite technique is a little bit old-school with a nod to the days of old Hollywood, and the beginnings of modern screen makeup. It relies on the ever beautiful and much loved sea sponge, which happens to be rather pricey. A Beauty Blender is a wonderful alternative, and just as expensive. But I still have so much love for the durable and dependable non-latex sponge. Those sturdy wedges that I get from Dischem are just as capable of delivery the perfect blended finish. My technique is simple:

  1. Spread and mix your foundation shade on your steel palette. Whether you are working with liquid, cream, or mousse, this technique assists in creating even and sheer blending that limits the incidence of cakiness.
  2. Once you have the desired shade, begin to distribute the product lightly on the face with a makeup brush of your choosing. There are so many foundation brush designs, and I know I have my favourites. I like to buff in the product as much as possible. But for this technique that's not entirely necessary at this stage. Instead, I place the foundation shades so as to contour the face, and then blend them in and up towards each other. This technique works very well with reverse contouring, which I am a huge fan of. 
    My Shiseido and Japonesque brushes are at the top of my list of best brushes
  3. Once the foundation is placed, I dampen the sponge by lightly spritzing it with my own setting spray formula.
  4. Then I grab a tissue and cover the sponge to gently squeeze out any excess.
  5. The damp sponge is primed and ready to blend the foundation that has already settled into the skin. This is the part where you can decide the desired opacity of your product, depending on how much product you blend away. I find that it helps to take down your initial application, and then buff in a suitable foundation powder. This creates a lasting, layered foundation application that looks and feels natural. 
    The Beauty Blender stands out, don't you think?! Softer than any sponge I have ever used, and certainly an ideal alternative to a natural sea sponge.
The option to powder or not, will depend on what finish you want. But you will have a  fresh and hydrated finish with the technique above, and what you do with it afterwards, is up to you. 
I'd love to hear your special tips and techniques, so please leave notes in the comments section.

Undeniable Makeup Artist Favourites

Just a few of my personal favourites.
The beauty of being a makeup artist is that no two are ever exactly alike! I cherish my uniqueness in my field, because it is just that very authenticity of individual skill that sets me apart from the very many. And yet, so often we all use such similar products, in fact, mostly exactly the same. Or do we.

I researched some other "pro" makeup kits out there. One thing was clear: you either see exactly the same repertoire of luxury retail tricks in their bag, or exactly the same repertoire of "pro" makeup tricks in their bag. What is the difference then, you ask?!? Well, you have probably seen them: the torrent of M.A.C. carrying makeup artists, often the reason for this is more out of happy co-incidence than meticulous choice. By that I mean that so many makeup artists out there are M.A.C. trained, and have worked the counter, and built up a wonderful array of M.A.C. products... with very little consideration for anything else, I'm afraid. And then you have the Kryolan, Ben Nye and Skin Illustrator bearing beauties who raise a brow at the uninitiated. I confess, I come from the Kryolan side. It was, after all, the first palette I had ever purchased as a professional makeup artist.

But some brands are blurring the lines.

As a film industry makeup artist, I suppose, it always felt safer to buy from specialised suppliers of makeup and tools specifically designed for film and television. But over the decades, quite a few consumer makeup brands have caught up, and caught on to the HD trend.

But what of the products that straddle the divide? These products can be found in the kits of makeup artists on both sides of the fence. And here they are:


  • Bioderma : Available in South Africa, and so loved by so many. I do think it is a bit pricey for a product I used so often, but it is reliable.
  • Lucas's Paw Paw Ointment : I depend on family in Australia for my stash of this miracle ointment. It helps with controlling excema, curbing cold sores, and general healing of scratches and bites, and chapped skin.
    Although I love my Lucas's Paw Paw ointment, I simply go through lip balm at such a rapid rate that I have turned to another MUA favourite, Blistex DCT.
  • Elizabeth Arden's Eight hour cream : an age old must-have for many a makeup artist. I carry Lucas's Paw Paw ointment, but when that runs out, I'll be heading over here.
  • Embryolisse: very pricey to order from overseas, plus shipping and you may not see too much of it in SA, but it's not completely out of reach if you'd like to push the budget. I have read so many reviews of how miraculous this product is, and would love to try it...but it's not absolutely necessary in my book. And if I'm going to fork out the cash for that, then why not just buy a cream by La Prairie, Sensai or Dr Hauschka, which are all available here. 
    Dr Hauschka is goodness in a bottle, or a tube...or a pot. Their Rose Day Cream is a good option for a gentle yet effective and nurturing cream.
  • Eau Thermale : Vichy, Evian and Uriage are the most common ones you'll see, but that is only because of assimilation. One makeup artist sees it in another makeup artist's kit, and away we go... a cult product is born. But there are others, and in my opinion far superior water sprays and mists. 
    Hydrating mists are always in my kit. My favourite from Sensai, is not featured deserves its own post!


  • BB Creams: have given us a very fresh take on foundation as we know it. We used to have tinted moisturisers, remember?! But BB Creams have taken this skincare-makeup movement to a whole new level. It has become common practice to apply a BB Cream for a more natural look, well-suited to HD formats. My favourite is undoubtedly Shiseido. There are cheaper options on the market, but I will always opt for Shiseido, if my budget allows. Garnier is my other (cheaper) favourite, and I particularly like the dark and medium shades. 
    Garnier BB creams are great for men's grooming. It feels more like a moisturiser with superpowers.
  • Primers: They certainly have redefined the way we approach makeup application. From silicon to water-based primers, there is so much to choose, and I can't really say that I have honestly found the perfect one. In fact I use primers mostly to create a hydrated base for the foundation application, and feel that this step is sometimes unnecessary, especially if your foundation is already hydrating. I can't afford to waste time on a shoot, and extra products mean extra I use only what is essential.
  • Setting Sprays: Oh there are many! From Ben Nye, Kryolan, Temptu and others that you'll only find at special pro outlets, to the very basic from Woolies, and the upmarket department store brands including M.A.C. and very soon also Bobbi Brown. Take your pick. I think a lot of them are much of a muchness, but some have a longstanding reputation. Kryolan's setting spray is an industry staple. Most film makeup artist will have this one. But it is always a luxury to have a selection...which, again, most film makeup artists do. 
  • Touche Eclat: it is a quintessential cult classic. Every makeup artist has this, of this I am certain. But it's not just YSL that would impress, although the original pen illuminator is a favourite of mine. I also adore La Prairie and Sensai. But yes, YSL's Touche Eclat has been in the kit of many a makeup artist for decades! An industry standard.


  • Rice Powder: Palladio Rice Powder has become one of those cult products that you will most likely see in a makeup artist's kit. It's affordable, and effective. It is certainly a favourite of mine. 
    Palladio Rice Powder , ladies and gentlemen. not my favourite container, but I can change that; and besides it really only what's inside that matters! true for most things in life.
  • HD Powder: Is it really that different? It is more finely milled than most powders, which in theory makes it ideal for HD resolution. You will undoubtedly find some that specifically are called HD powders, but Sensai have a loose powder that is so finely milled that I cannot stop drooling over it, and it has superior anti-shine abilities. Another is from Kryolan. The one from MUFE has become an internet classic, and a well-publicised dupe for it is L.A. Girl's HD Pro powder. 
  • Mineral Powder: You'd have to order your Bare Minerals online, and wait the long wait for international orders...and then there's SA customs  :(  . But there are a few options available locally. M.A.C. does win the competition this side of the Equator for mineralised powders. Yes, they're gorgeous. But no good for HD motion. This is best kept in your stills kit, and most likely only for fashion and editorials. If you did make the mistake of using it on an HD motion shoot, you may notice an abundance of 'hotspots' on your talent's skin....aaaaannnnd you'll have to anti-shine every five minutes!?! But it does have its place in every makeup kit.
Most times, most makeup artists find that the contents of their kits are dictated by some kind of industry trend and popularity, but tried and trusted rarely fail. And another factor to consider is that a celebrity on a show or feature may influence the makeup and skincare kit that the key makeup artist will put together. This is more common than not. I have seen much Nars, Laura Mercier and Dior on sets, and for a wee while Chanel was ultra popular. With so many new brands, and with superior development of luxury brands, the line between pro and retail has blurred considerably.

Going back to (Old)School

Joe Blasco, Ben Nye, Visiora, Kryolan and Mehron: these are the brands that take me back to the early nineties, when I started out as a film and television makeup artist. Just like me, they're still around. And although most of the makeup artists who are my peers in this millenium, are M.A.C. babies, I still feel that if you don't know those four brands, then you really don't know makeup. Snobbery or it what you will.
Screenface in the UK sells these for GBP29,95. Add on taxes and delivery, it can be costly.  But for years this was the makeup to be found in every makeup trailer... when budget allows, still is.

Don't misunderstand: I adore some of the newer kids on the block, and some of them have been around for quite some time. M.A.C. and Bobbi Brown are perfectly positioned for the HD revolution. But it really didn't start there. Before HD we had Digicam, and Beta, and oh can you remember film???!! I've been through all of it, and as much as the newer HD formats play into my makeup philosophy of less is more, I miss the artisan feel of oldschool make-up application.
Kim Kardashian's dad sent her to a Joe Blasco makeup course when she was 14. Clever dad! 

So I'm on a mission to find some updated versions of oldschool practices. Here are some of my favourites:

Greasepaint: We still use it today, in its much reformed formulations. Sadly, it is known primarily for it's durability in the domain of clowns. Available in a wide variety of colours, greasepaint is a favourite option for body painting. Who am I kidding....I'm not really that in love with this oily foundation, but it is great for those glossy, sweaty, greasy make-up looks that might work in some edgy editorial.

The Pan-cake: Pan-cake makeup is as oldschool as it gets in my world. Developed by Max Factor in the 30s, pan-cake (Panchromatic makeup) became an industry favourite embraced by the stars and studio makeup departments. But things could have looked a lot different had Elizabeth Arden's Nuchromatic make-up won more support. This lack of support led to Ms Arden shutting down her Stage and Screen division. But don't feel too bad for her... she's still a household name! What I loved about the pan-cake makeup that I used, primarily from Kryolan, was the gorgeous sheer quality that it had. And I loved the application with a damp sea sponge. Nowadays we have some phenomenal duo-fibre brushes that blend to perfection; my favourite being the bronzing gel brush from Sensai. But old-school sea sponges will always have a place in my heart.
Here are a few modern day "pan-cakes" I'd like to revisit: Max Factor has one that looks divine, but is it in SA? It would be nice to revisit Kryolan and Mehron to see their latest versions of good old pan-cake. I read some rave reviews for Mehron's Starblend, which I'm certain I could obtain through local distributors. Try Stage Creations and Masque in Cape Town. If they don't have you can ask them to order.

The Block Mascara: Yes, this was how we did it. I still think this was the most hygienic way. I could clean and sterilize both the brush and product, and would not have to contaminate the planet with tons of spoolies! I'd love to go back to this...if only it wore as well and as long, and as waterproof as my Sensai mascaras.
I think out of all this would be the product I long for most. Oh and the lash brush that came with it; yes, that I miss.
Kryolan's block what I yearn for.
This could be a very long post... but let's save some for later, shall we?!?  As much as make-up products are vital to my trade, it is the range of skill that I possess that defines my artistry. So, even though products get better, faster and easier to use, my history of experience puts me in a position to work fearlessly and explore the depth and breadth of my own creativity. And. as with all modern programs, I'm always ready for the next update!

The Balm Bundle on Retailbox

Retailbox has a special on the Balm bundle of Mary-Lou Manizer and Nude Tude for R864. This is a pretty good saving, and if you're a makeup artist, then you'll want both of these babies in your kit. It's on a special, and I'm not sure for how long exactly, but I'd hate to miss out! Be sure to go in and a surgical strike! because there is so much you'll want to, you'll have to have! Be brave, go forth with determination!....then go back again at the end of the month!

Hair Accessories: Adored Adornments

The romance of a beautiful ornament in one's hair can never be underestimated. As much as I would love to use decorative combs like these everyday on set, it isn't always called for, but what bliss to have a few in my kit. These pics are from the original Australian Colette Hayman site.  I have bought some of her gorgeous barettes quite some time ago, but seemed to have misplaced them....or they have wandered off... another reason to avoid exposing them to alien capture.
But such beauty should never be denied to us! So, yes, I'll be investing in a few personal pieces! Best I keep a look out at their store in Canal Walk in the hopes of grabbing them on sale. They are quite pricey, but they could very easily be pieces that you would look after for years to come. And they are by far the most beautiful hair accessories that I have found around town.
Besides, wearing beautiful ornaments in your hair is much akin to wearing silk and lace underwear, n'est ce pas??!?
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