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4 Oct 2013

MAC PRO Masterclass: Makeup for Music & Creative Videos


Now this was a fun one...

This won't be of interest to everyone, but if you'd like to know a little bit about creative makeup (rather than "wearable makeup") looks, and the particular MAC (of course!) products used to create the looks, and some interesting stories from this highly sought-after industry insider, this one might be for you.

This post is about the latest MAC Pro Masterclass in Dublin, which featured an extraordinarily talented MUA and her story about the looks behind a particular Rihanna music video.  It's long, and it's image-heavy.  You have been warned :-)


MAC Pro members are entitled to attend the various masterclasses MAC put on every year, usually (in Ireland) there's just one a season.  They are held with different themes in mind - it might be a bridal masterclass.  Or a "Perfecting Your Base" masterclass.  Or a trends masterclass.  Or one promoting and discussing makeup for the red carpet, or TV, or, in this case, the process and products used to create the images and makeup behind the looks of some of the more famous movie and TV stars.

Karin & Sarah (her first model for Looks 1-3)

Karin Darnell, a lovely, down-to-earth lady, fronted this masterclass.  Karin has worked her way up through the ranks of the MUA "biz" and now does a lot of makeup work with Rihanna, Jessie J., Cheryl Cole and Nicole Scherzinger, to list some of her clients.  She worked with the Spice Girls, back before were famous, and since the too.  This is a lady of some serious pedigree, and serious talent, and it was a pleasure to watch her in action.

Karen discussed a lot of what goes on behind the scenes at video shoots and on TV sets, and the role of an MUA in those milieux.  Interesting stuff.  The thing that she mentioned over and over was the fact that you literally get minutes to do complete looks.  And that it's always always a collaboration between the MUA and the actors/singers/TV stars.  And about the criticality of forcing yourself outside your comfort zone, and the necessity to really really know your products and what you can do with them.

For this masterclass, Karen brought us through some of the different looks for a particular Rihanna music video.

T -> B, L -> R:
Look 1, Look 2
Look 3, Look 4

Apologies - the above image is a little wonky looking - I just took a quick snap of the face charts with my camera before we started in on the session and I started to scribble notes all over them.  The remainder of the photos are not great either, but bear in mind there were quite a few people at this masterclass, so I snapped away quietly from my seat.  Stopping the class to let people take pictures willy nilly wasn't going to be an option :-)

First look on model's left (right as you look at it)

We started straight in!  Sara, the first model, was already setup with one eye done for Look Two (see below) and one for Look One (this was mostly to save some time, as we only had 1.5 hours (it turned into almost 2 hours as it transpired) to get through Karin's showreal, her presentation and four looks).

To create this look, Karin used MAC Chromacake (a Pro product) in Black Black mixed with water, set with MAC eyeshadow in Carbon on top for the eyes, and black eyeliner (MAC Feline) to keep the edges straight and on the upper and lower waterline.  It was whacked on in double-time, and tidied up even quicker.  The edges were tidied-up with white eyeliner (MAC Fascinating) and various MAC concealers.  A waterproof mascara completed the eye look (along with lashes for the music video but, for the sake of expediency, not the demo).

For the face, a darker MAC Mineralize Moisture foundation (reviewed here) was used on the cheeks and temples for shading, then MAC Face & Body (reviewed here) in C1 (for this model) was used on top for the overall base, followed by concealer where needed and powdered with a mix of loose powders (MAC Select Sheer and MAC Prep+Prime Translucent).

As the remainder of the look was so OTT and fierce, brows were kept simple, using just MAC Brow Set to brush into shape and with MAC Fascinating pencil underneath to highlight.

Cheeks were a MAC Creamblend blusher in Tea Petal (one of my absolute favourites) - on top of the powder, with MAC Paintpot in Chilled on Ice - a gorgeous frosted one - to highlight the cheekbones.

The lips were quiet: MAC Mineralize Rich Lipstick in Luxe Naturale and a MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Antique Diamond pushed on top.

Rihanna in music video Hard

Incidentally, these looks were actually created for a the music video to the single "Hard" which was shot in the desert, where it was extremely hot and there was very bright bright light - so a very strong, definite look was needed.  And given the heat, it was important to use water-based and water-resistant products.  Look One was also intended to mirror one of the outfits Rihanna wore in the video, which featured the spiky shoulders of a Bryce d'Anice piece (look here for the video on DailyMotion if you're interested).

And on to Look Two.

Second look: done

The second look was created by actually just removing some of the first look.  Karin used MAC Cleansing Wipes (reviewed here) to remove the majority of the Black Black Chromacake and tidied-up the shape using black pencil as before (Feline or Smoulder will do the trick nicely).  Fascinating pencil was used everywhere - as a brow highlight, around the eyes to further sharpen-up the black shape, on the top of the lips to tive them a pouty shape, and underneath just at the outer edges too (this is an old trick to give the lips a "happy" shape).  The spot directly underneath the centre of the lower lip was also shaded with some darker foundation to accentuate the pout even more.

Blusher this time was MAC Creamblend blusher in Something Special (a bit warmer than Tea Petal) and the highlighter was a bit more pronounced, using a mix of MAC Iridescent Loose Powders in Golden Bronze and Silver Dusk (mentioned here) on the cupids bow, under the brow and on the cheekbones.

The lips were again kept simple with one of the most perfect shades of warm-neutral for richer skintones; MAC Kinda Sexy.

Look Two down, we moved straight into the Third Face.

Cleaning up Second look in order to create Third

And again, this involved more use of MAC Cleansing wipes to get rid of a lot of the black products from around the eyes from Look Two.  It was just done roughly, again, timing was important, and the plan was to push a bunch of other products on top anyhow - so the black was left around and on the lash line (above and below).  Concealer was used again to tidy up as required.

Look Three: applying eyeliner

Karin next attacked Sara's eyes with a brown pencil in Chestnut (actually, this is a lip liner as it happens, but it's a gorgeous shade and pretty much everyone at the demo marched straight upstairs to purchase afterwards!) to break down the black around the eyes (the black gives the intensity required around the lash line, but it wasn't wanted to be another black look).

This was scribbled on around the eyes pretty quickly, then blended-out.  Interestingly, Karin favours the MAC 195 - a synthetic concealer brush - for a lot of her eye work in or around the lash line.  I am going to dig this brush out and give it one a go for sure.  I don't really use mine all that much, and I love discovering new uses for brushes...

Look Three: blending eyeliner!

Chestnut blended out around the eyes, Karin started to smoke it outwards slightly.

Look Three: adding some colour

MAC Corduroy, one of my favourite medium-dark warm browns, was pushed on top of this to fix it and to act as a base for the following colours, which were then layered on one at a time.  The most divine MAC pigment in Blue-Brown (a kind of petroly-brown) was pushed all over the lid, and then a purple (MAC Pro Longwear in Plush) eyeshadow patted on to the outer edges.

At this point, Karin made an observation on purple shades, that a lot of people have probably figured out for themselves, but no harm in mentioning just in case - if you're using purple eyeshadows, don't try to blend it in, it kind of just disappears, so just pat it on where you want it and, barely barely, blend the edges.

A bunch of other eyeshadow shades were used, including MAC Cranberry.  I can't even remember all of them at this point, and it's kind of irrelevant anyhow - the point of a look like this is to have fun and use what you have...

Barely noticeable in the picture on the right was the final touch on the eyes:  for a final hint of sparkle, MAC Fuchsia glitter was mixed with MAC Mixing Medium Eyeliner (both Pro products) to draw a hint of a line on the inner corners as far as the middle of the eyes, along the lashline.

The cheeks and lips were bolder for this look - MAC lipstick in New York Apple was used as a cream blusher, and MAC lipstick in Cyber was used on the lips (with one of the MAC Plushglass shades on top - can't read my own chicken-scrawl handwriting, sorry!)

And that was it - very colourful, very strong, very over the top, a lot of fun to do!

Look Three done: A "symphony of colours" on the eyes and a darker lip

Just quickly before moving on to the second model, Karin showed how this could be turned into another look.  Using MAC Paint Stick in Black Black scribbed really quickly on top of the lid, then MAC Gloss Lipmix painted just as quickly on top to make everything move, Karin simply used her finger to smush it out to the side to messy it up!

Look Three: Let's messy it up...
Look Three: Gettin' messy w' it

Et voilà - the final, final, very messy and wet, Look Three :-)

Look three - messy: done

At this point, sadly, we had run out of time, and the second model barely got a look in.  For all that, Karin gave her a full face, including the creative thing, in ten minutes.  This woman was amazing - as a side note, she mentioned that she'd "got quick" as a matter of necessity.  Once upon a time, she was asked to do the makeup on a brand-new girl-band with three singers.  The band hadn't even released their first single yet, but they were starting to do the PR rounds, and I think this was for their first TV appearance.  The band was called "Spice, or something".  Turned out it was five girls, and we all know who they are!  Apparently Karin made up Geri first, and when she'd given her a solid thumbs-up, the others swarmed her to do their faces too.  A great story!

Anyhow, typically I can't find my notes for this look - but it did feature a bunch of golden pigments (like Melon, Pink Bronze, Tan) for a more natural look, and featuring a lot of highlighting and contouring.  One of the eyes were played around with at the end, using Black Black Chromacake and this time using the MAC 205 brush (reviewed here) to create the strokes (which were inspired by tree branches, apparently) in literally seconds.  According to Karin, on the set, this brush hadn't existed at the time of this video, and she created it using feathers!

Look Four: done

Look Four, aside from the twig-inspired eye-work, is very pretty and wearable, and the kind of look that you see a lot on the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian & a bunch of other celebrities with more rich toned complexions.

And that was it.  A bunch of (free, nice!) glasses of prosecco-and-strawberry later, and some purchasing upstairs afterwards, before we were all escorted out of the department store where it was being hosted (it had closed at that point - we were running quite late!) to head out into the pouring rain; full of the joys of having experienced a true artist at work for a few hours.  It was a genuine privilege to watch Karin at work up close and personal, and to listen to her stories and her very humble and generous tips.  I hope I get the opportunity to watch her work again!

Karin's website is here if you would like to have a look at some more of her work.  And on a vaguely related note, the Rihanna collection from MAC launched yesterday in Brown Thomas Dublin, so it's on-counter now if anyone's interested.

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