Behind every great make-up there is a mindfully prepped skin
Intro. How I prep skin on set.
The skin is our largest organ, a barrier but also a bridge to the outside world, often a mirror of what’s going on inside our body. It’s fascinating how resilient it is in the face of adversity and it has an amazing capacity to regenerate, but most of all, it will thrive when we start to pay attention to its language and act in consequence.
You will often find me preaching about skin care in more than one context. As a make-up artist I strive to never compromise on creating a clean, smooth, luminous canvas, whether I’m on set, with a private client, or teaching my private lessons. It might take some extra time, which I know we are sometimes deprived of, but think of it like this: a well prepped base will do half of your job, as everything else will sit nicely and you can focus on the creative side. Whenever I feel time is against me, or if I have a client who insists on keeping their own base, I just spray some nourishing face mist on a clean sponge and press it gently on the skin to give it a quick reboot.
After checking with the person in front of me if they have any allergies, I give them a pampering cleanse. It will make such a difference, for both their skin and their mood. I like to use a plant based oil, but check what kind of skin you are dealing with! I use a toner where necessary, or a hydrating face mist, I let it sink in for a few seconds and then I apply a moisturiser suitable for their skin type. I follow with a massage to stimulate circulation and help products melt into the skin. You can use a massaging tool, or your hands, but make sure they’re clean!
This will be your primer, and in most cases you need no extra product. If the shoot happens outdoors, ask your model if they want to wear SPF as well.
I like to keep a note stating all ingredients in at least the skincare products I am using, and this will come in handy if someone fears an allergic reaction to a specific ingredient.
These are some of my favourite products for prepping the skin on set:
Mad Hippie Cleansing Oil is great for any skin type including oily and acne prone, due to its high concentration of linoleic acid oils like safflower, pumpkin seed and rosehip. Ginger and white tea are amazing antioxidants, while squalane naturally hydrates and smoothes the skin. Massage it into the skin and remove it with a damp hot cloth. Be gentle with it and insist only where the skin needs an extra exfoliation. You can also use the oil for removing the make-up at the end.
Typology Regenerating Face Scrub contains emollient plant-based squalane and apricot kernel powder which gently exfoliates, so it’s highly effective at removing dead skin cells, unclogging pores and bringing some sunshine to the skin.
Antipodes Gentle Cream Cleanser & Make-up Remover is a treat for sensitive skin, formulated with soothing and regenerating Vitamin E and calendula, avocado oil and marigold bloom that gently exfoliate, soften and bring back vitality to the skin, and pinot noir grape extract, a powerful antioxidant.
Ere Perez Morninga All-Beauty Cream is one of my ever favourite moisturisers (a constant in my personal and professional kit) especially for combination skin, although, as the name suggests, it’s an amazing all-round base for any skin type. With an array of wonderful ingredients, it plumps, smoothes and hydrates, yet feels so light on the skin. It’s one of the very few creams that keeps my oily forehead at bay throughout the day. It works perfectly under make-up.
Twelve Beauty Essential Bio-Technological Moisturiser is another great base under make-up, packed with high quality skin-identical ingredients and powerful antioxidants. It works best for oily and combination skin.
Dr. Hauschka Rose Day Cream Light is an oldie but goldie in my kit. It works beautifully on dry skin but also on a sensitive one. It balances the complexion, absorbs quickly and is light to wear, while it gives a natural glow to the skin.
Therapi Honey Skincare Propolis + Ultra Radiance Cream. Honey and propolis, one of the most amazing foods on the Planet, so imagine their benefits on the skin! Dry skin rejoice! And no need for an extra highlighter, skin will glow from every angle!
Feel the skin you are going to use as your canvas and pay extra care to a stressed out, sensitive skin. Sometimes we won’t be able to do much, as the issue goes way deeper than the surface (pun intended) but be gentle with it, and remember that less is more for this type of skin. A hydrogel mask or an aloe vera spray/gel may soothe eczema and itchy patches. You can also dip some flannels into cold water and press them into the skin to tame an allergic reaction. Anti-inflammatory ingredients like vitamin E, probiotics, calendula, chamomile, oats extracts and echinacea can also do wonders for sensitive skin. Handle with care and clean hands!
Balmology Calendula & Chamomile Comfort Balm I have recently fallen in love with this one - a band aid for sensitive skin with its healing and calming chamomile and calendula, anti-inflammatory immortelle and balancing jojoba oil. Use sparingly on the problem areas.
Amala Purifying Blemish Treatment is highly efficient in accelerating the healing process and calming irritation without drying the skin. Manuka honey (Who else uses this miracle food alone on acne or chapped lips? One of my favourite tricks!) is antiseptic and antimicrobial, willow bark is a great plant-based alternative to salicylic acid and will help clear out the pores, and vitamin C has powerful antioxidant properties that will reduce the appearance of post-acne discoloration. Dab a small amount on the acne spots and let it sink in a little bit before applying anything else.
Whamisa Organic Fruits Hydrogel Mask infused with soothing aloe vera, licorice root and purifying fermented fruit extracts is proper SPA on the go.
Whenever possible and encouraged, give little suggestions to your model on how to take care of their skin at home. You will not only make some light (think natural glow here) into one’s personal quest to a healthy skin, but you might also be easing another makeup artist’s job. And you know, what goes around comes around.
As make-up artists we are in this very intimate, close contact with our models and clients while on a job, so the extra care we are offering, before they plunge into playing their part, can have a ripple effect throughout the whole shoot. Be mindful of not only their skin but also their energy, without compromising yours of course, and you will build the trust that they are in good hands and it’s likely that this start will ease out their stress and boost their confidence in front of the camera.