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make-up for shiny faces

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Bob Cole
make-up for shiny faces
on Jul 16, 2007 at 12:14:46 am

No budget for a make-up artist, so I need to find a way to take the shine off my interviewees' faces. I now use hypo-allergenic powder, but there must be something specifically for this purpose. One issue I have is that it feels unsanitary to use the same pad on person after person.

I'm using a KinoFlo Diva, which is at least cooler for them, but for the oily-faced, the broad soft key tends to generate an even larger plane of highlights. So I need something that is subtle, but can handle most of a forehead as well as the tip of the nose.

I'd appreciate any tips from those of you who have to do without a make-up artist. Thanks!

-- Bob C

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Todd at Fantastic Plastic
Re: make-up for shiny faces
on Jul 16, 2007 at 1:17:54 pm

Well, yup, powder is gonna be the "industry standard"... that's what it is made for.

If you don't want to use the same pad over and over again, you can go to a beauty supply store and buy a big bag of them.

If you need more than powder on some folks, the sort of easy traditional way to go is Max Factor pancake makeup. You'll find tons of that in most makeup guy/gals cases in lots of different shades, but the one that is most often immediately grabbed (especially for men) is Max Factor Tan 2. Again, buy a bag of sponges to apply it.

If you have a particularly sweaty subject, and they are willing, you can use hairspray while they are still cool (before the sweating starts). Just have them close their eyes and hit them in the face with a bit of laquer-based hairspray (like AquaNet, or White Rain, the old-fashioned beauty parlor stuff). This is an old theatrical trick that really works... BUT keep in mind it is terrible for the skin so it needs to be washed off as soon as possible, and make sure the actor knows what you are about to do (and agrees) and is not allergic to it.


Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

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Tim Kolb
Re: make-up for shiny faces
on Jul 17, 2007 at 2:44:44 am

The best results I've been able to get in those situations when the make artist arrives in a bag instead of a car is to grab a bunch of the straight applicator pads (just toss them after each shoot) and corn starch powder. FAR more absorbent than talcum and doesn't seem to bunch up when the subject starts to perspire like talcum.

It's not a real make up artist, but if shiny highlight suppression is all you works...and remember to blend...


Kolb Productions,

Creative Cow Host,

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P. J. in Hollywood
Re: make-up for shiny faces
on Aug 21, 2007 at 4:43:34 am

Hi Bob,

You've hit on a subject all videographers experience but few do their homework and deal with; make-up.

Shine comes from mainly extra oily skin or perspiration. The trick is to identify which it is.

One of the first lessons a beginning make up artist learns is to identify which type of skin the subject has; normal, dry or oily. Normal is ideal. Dry requires moisturizers to correct so that the skin doesn't absorb too much make-up. Oily skin requires astringents, such as Witch Hazel, to remove excess oil. Fail to remove excess oil, and you'll be fighting shine.

This of course is done prior to putting any make-up on at all, and is probably beyond your activities. You probably deal with female talent that comes with make-up already applied (or) male talent with none at all.

Here are some tips you may find of use:

Make-up already applied: If the tallant has very oily skin, short of starting over, there are "mattifiers" made by many make-up companies to take the sine off. This is the easiest and quickest by far. They usually don't effect the make-up she already has on.

If there is too much oil on the skin for mattifiers, powder also works, but can be messy. Carry several shades of powder beginning with translucent powder and a bit darker. You'll need a bag of puffs so you never have to use the same puff for two people. You're right about being inunsanitary(and)unprofessional.

Practice shaking nearly all of the powder off before gently rolling the powder onto the talent's face with the puff as in a blotting motion. Don't rub it on or you may smear other make-up. You'll also need a powder brush to brush off any extra powder. Don't skimp on quality. Buy a really good professional one and your talent will notice the difference. My wife loves hers that I paid $40 for, 12 years ago.

Protect the talent's cloths: I carry a barber's cover-up to cover the interviewee's cloths before applying powder. Other types may due, but they need to fit around the neck.

If your subject is male, he will usually not show up with make-up. For this, I have found the easiest is to use good old fashioned Pan Cake make-up, which is water based applies with a damp sea sponge, purchased from a make-up supply house.

I have used it for television shows when I had 40 choir members to make-up in just a short time. It drys with a mat finish and evens out the skin color a bit. It is also water based and doesn't require cold cream to remove.

Carry several shades for different skin colors and test it on the person's arm to see if the color works. Perhaps it's not fashionable, but I've used it successfully for years. I always carry some in my "shine kit" that I take on all video shoots.

PERSPIRATION: This is another problem. Try to keep your talent cool and you'll deal with much of it. If the problem persists, try tissues to blot and power to absorb excess moisture. A simple fan aimed at your talent can work wonders, but you'll need to make sure he is correctly mic'd so that the fan noise doesn't interfere with the audio.

Hope this is of at least some assistance. You'll find what works for you and evermore carry your "shine kit" to handle the problem.

Best of luck and good shooting.

P. J. in Hollywood

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Bob Cole
Thanks and a new question
on Aug 21, 2007 at 9:21:50 am

Thanks for the very helpful replies.

PJ, your post was great, and I'd like to follow up. Are "mattifiers" the powders simply listed as "matte?" I will look again, but I don't recall finding anything labeled "Pancake." Is that the same as the slightly wet, semi-solid stuff? And, our local "beauty" shops have very skimpy supplies, so the high-quality brush, & the damp sea sponge... I haven't seen. Do you know of a good online source that understands the video business?

Finally -- how do you deal with the man with the five o'clock shadow -- at 9 am? Is that where the pancake makeup comes in again?

Thanks again for the great reply. With all the attention we spend lighting people to look their best, and buying high definition cameras, improving the looks at the source makes a lot of sense, eh?

Bob C

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P. J. in Hollywood
Re: Thanks and a new question
on Aug 21, 2007 at 5:49:35 pm

Hi Bob,

Here are some answers to your questions on sources for make up and mattifiers:

The mattifier I'm referring to is by Neutrogena. It's "Pore Refining Matttifier" Shine control Gel. It's available from many suppliers. Read various reviews posted on the Web for the pros and cons, then test it for your self. carries it:

Pancake is the traditional name for a water based foundation made by several manufacturers, and invented by Max Factor. Ben Nye Makeup carries a nice line called Color Cake Foundation. Check out catalog:
Take some time and study the catalog. You might find it fun.

Here's a link to the BebNye home page:

Ben Nye Color Cake Foundations are recommended for performers with oily or sensitive skin. There are also Matte Foundations.
Check out the neutralizers and concealers at BenNye for five o'clock shadow. Mellow Yellow has been a standard for years.

Your corner drug store will probably not have professional make-up, unless you live in a city with an active film industry.

BenNye also has an excellent line of professional brushes. Their Powder Brush (PA-1)works well.

By the way. I don't work for Ben Nye. Another source is Max Factor. Max Factor invented "Pan-Cake Water-Activated Foundation". Here's a link to Pan Cake:
Here's Max Factor's home page for more information.

Have fun researching. Shortly you'll be saying: "Shine? No problem!" There are also books and on-line make up courses you can study at your own pace. I hope this gives you some resources.

Best of luck,

P. J. in Hollywood

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