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Black Swan – The Makeup – Q&A

Q&A with Black Swan Makeup Department Head Margie Durand and Makeup Designer Judy Chin

Q: How does a makeup artist prepare to work on a film? Do you receive guidance from the director or collaborate with the costume designer/art director/key hair stylist on the makeup look?

Margie: When I begin working on a film I speak to the director and all of the creative team if possible. The directors inspiration and vision really drives the process and I try to deliver that vision in makeup.

Judy: As I read the script, I try to envision the characters, taking into account their background (age, personal history, affluence, profession). As I see the plot develop in the story, I make note of how these events might affect their appearance. When I’m designing the looks for a film, it’s very important to consider the director’s visual style and tastes. Occasionally, I get to collaborate with the costume or production designers. I always try to find out how the actors will be dressed, as that can have a significant influence on the makeup look. While our designs are often created independently at first, I find that the hair stylist and I work very closely to be sure that our looks fit together and bring the characters to life.

Q: How long does it typically take for you to prepare to start working on a movie like Black Swan?

Judy: I spend a lot of time drawing and doing practical makeup tests. Depending on actor availability and camera tests, it could take three to four weeks of preparation.

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Black Eyeliner Comparisons

Black Eyeliner Comparison
Black is Black is Black?

Black Eyeliner Comparisons

Are there shades of black? Indeed there are! Not every black eyeliner is the same. There are soft blacks, medium blacks, and deep blacks (and of course, variations within those categories). To try and make some sense of it all, I’m going to assign numerical ratings based on how black each liner is, with 10 being deep, dark black, 1 meaning so light that it’s almost no longer black, and 5 meaning a medium black.

  • Shiseido Black Noir (BK 901) Smoothing Eyeliner Pencil has an amazing creaminess to it, and it is almost a true, deep black. (Review) 9
  • MAC Black Black Chromagraphic Pencil some creaminess but has some hardness (but not in a bad way–it’s not rough on eyes at all), and it is a true dark black — leans on the warm side. (Review) 10
  • MAC Feline Kohl Power is a rich, deep dark black that’s easy to smudge. It is a limited edition product, so it’s not currently available but is often repromoted. (Review) 10
  • Urban Decay Perversion 24/7 Liner is a rich, deep dark black–creamy without being runny. (Review) 10
  • Urban Decay Zero 24/7 Liner is a softened, medium black. It is a slightly warmer black on me. (Review) 4
  • MAC Engraved Powerpoint Eye Pencil is a darkened medium black. 6
  • MAC Smolder Eye Kohl is a dark black with cool leanings. 8
  • MAC Graphblack Technakohl is a medium black. 5
  • Milani Black Liquif’Eye Liner is a dark black with a cool pull. (Review) 8
  • Stila Stingray Smudge Stick is a dark black with neutral to cool undertones. (Review) 8
  • YSL #1 Eye Pencil is a rich black, almost ultra black, with a very matte finish.  (Review) 9
  • Bobbi Brown Black Kohl Eye Liner is a rich, glossy black. The glossiness makes it look less inky, though. (Review) 8
  • Benefit BADgal Liner is a creamy, dark black with warm leanings. (Review) 8

I included review links when I had them to share, but I had some wear issues with YSL’s #1 Eyeliner, Bobbi Brown’s Black Kohl Eyeliner, and Benefit’s BADgal.

The darkest: MAC Black Black Chromagraphic Pencil, MAC Feline Kohl Power, Urban Decay Perversion 24/7 Liner

Dark: Shiseido Black Noir Smoothing Eyeliner Pencil, YSL #1 Eye Pencil

Medium-dark: MAC Smolder Eye Kohl, Milani Black Liquif’Eye Liner, Stila Stingray Smudge Stick, Bobbi Brown Black Kohl Eye Liner, Benefit BADgal Liner

Medium: MAC Engraved Powerpoint Eye Pencil, MAC Graphblack Technakohl

The lightest: Urban Decay Zero 24/7 Liner

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MAC False Lashes Mascara

MAC False Lashes Mascara
MAC False Lashes Mascara

New MAC Mascara:  False Lashes

MAC False Lashes Mascara ($18.00 for 0.28 oz.) is the newest mascara to MAC’s line-up, which will be added to the permanent range in regular black packaging on December 26th. It was, however, released in limited edition Marcel Wanders packaging with the MAC & Marcel Wanders Collection launched on the 24th. The price is the same either way (that was a surprise!), and it is available in just one shade: False Black (black).

From MAC: “False Lashes Mascara adds dramatic volume, the rich, creamy, volumizing formula magnifies and multiplies the look of each lash, creating dramatically thick, long, curled, exaggerated lashes. The lush brush applies a deluxe dose of heavy pigment to the lashes and works in combination with the product to create incredible volume, length and density. The pigments in the formula are treated to allow for maximum colour payoff that remains true, deep, uniform and wears all day long. It’s flake- and smudge-resistant, ophthamologist-tested and safe for contact-wearers.”

Mascara is always an interesting product to review, because every description reads like a miracle product, so it can be difficult to determine what exactly what one should (reasonably) expect it to do. False Lashes is a volumizing mascara first, but it should also boast a dramatic result, from thicker, longer, more curled lashes. “Heavy pigment” leads me to expect a very rich black, dense and heavy in its darkness.

False Lashes excels in delivering longer lashes that are sky-high with a natural lift (all images are without aid of an eyelash curler). It’s a solid black mascara, though I didn’t think it was the deepest, darkest black I’ve experienced (Plushlash and Zoomlash seem darker to me). I did not notice a significant increase in volume; the results I achieved were really dominated by the length and curling power of the formula. There is certainly a volume increase from the standpoint of just thicker, longer, generally improved lashes overall, but my lashes do not appear much fuller.

The formula did not clump easily; you really had to wait for it to dry (20-30 seconds drying time) and be on the third or fourth full coat to find yourself is spidery territory. I was easily able to apply two full coats back-to-back without clumping issues. It dries pretty quickly but not too fast–you do have time to work it from base to tip and go back for more if necessary. When it dried, my lashes didn’t feel dried out or crunchy–they were still pretty soft and felt lightweight. After wearing this mascara for a few days in twelve-hour bursts, I did not have any fall out, smudging, or budging. It came off easily with makeup remover, but it lasted all day and never gave me raccoon eyes.

The brush was fairly large, so if you have smaller eyes, it may be a concern, and it may be unwieldy to use on lower lashes in particular.  It looks much like a normal mascara wand, and it has a slightly more tapered tip.

Overall, it’s a nice mascara, but I’m not sure it’ll make it into my regular rotation of mascaras. It does length amazingly, so it may work wonders on those with shorter lashes, and it does give nice lift on its own (and it holds up well throughout the day), too. If you have naturally long lashes, though, I think this may be too much lengthening power to work well for you.  It is a bit pricey for a MAC mascara, though–unlike Haute & Naughty (which was also $18), which had the crazy packaging, I’m not sure why this merits the $18 price tag.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! 🙂

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: It lengthens lashes quite dramatically with some lift, so for shorter, straighter lashes, it might be a worthwhile mascara.

AVAILABILITY: MAC Cosmetics

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MAC & Nicki Minaj Pink Friday Lipstick

MAC Nicki Minaj Pink Friday Lipstick
MAC Pink Friday Lipstick

MAC & Nicki Minaj Pink Friday Lipstick

Oooh, you are SO lucky! FedEx JUST dropped of a little black box that could only mean MAC… and inside was MAC & Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday lipstick. I say you’re lucky because I have to head to class in about fifteen minutes–I had just enough time to snap photos, swatch, crop, and upload.

Pink Friday is described as a “bright creamy pink lipstick,” and it has a satin finish (which means it has a creamy, semi-matte finish–no shimmer). It is a a creamy, medium pink with a noticeable blue undertone. It is pretty opaque on lips, and it almost has a chalky look, because it’s paler than it looks. I thought it was going to be a deeper pink, even based on seeing in the tube (in person), but it goes on paler.  I also recommend prepping lips as satin lipsticks can often emphasize dryness or any flakiness on lips!

It is bluer-based (veers on purple) in comparison to All Styled Up. It is totally different from Chatterbox and Sweetie. Fun Fun looks washed out and muddy when swatched next to it. Lavender Whip is significantly glossier and purpler. Saint Germain and Snob are actually the closest to Pink Friday; both are just a hue lighter, but the colors are very, very similar. Funny enough, Viva Glam Gaga looks less blue-based against all of these stronger, bluer-based pinks (see swatch).

DUPES:  Saint Germain, Snob

I apologize in advance — I do not have Pink Nouveau to compare this to. I was actually planning to purchase it along with Pink Friday on Friday but this press sample arrived this afternoon. I have a skin swatch of Pink Nouveau here, and you can tell it is similar–not quite as bright, probably not quite as blue-based.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! 🙂

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: The texture is a little off — it doesn’t apply as smoothly or as cleanly as other satin finish lipsticks. If you have either Snob or Saint Germain, this is close enough that you could skip.  This is a shade that looks best on cooler skin tones because of the strong blue base.

AVAILABILITY: MAC Cosmetics

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MAC & Nicki Minaj Pink 4 Friday Lipstick & Photos

MAC Nicki Minaj Pink 4 Friday Lipstick

MAC & Nicki Minaj Pink Friday 4 Lipstick

It’s a monster collaboration:  Pink 4 Friday by MAC Cosmetics and Nicki Minaj.  The Trinidadian hip-hop diva has personally designed a limited edition MAC Lipstick, Pink Friday, to celebrate the release of her highly anticipated debut album of the same name.  Putting her trademark Barbz glamour twist on a bright, creamy pink satin formula, Nicki Says, “MAC’s Pink Nouveau was my favorite lipstick for years, but now it’s all about Pink Friday!”  Check it out:  Nicki’s exclusive shade will only be available for purchase for four Fridays beginning Friday, November 26th, 2010, while supplies last, on maccosmetics.com.

Lipstick ($14.50 U.S. / $17.50 CDN)

  • Pink Friday Bright creamy pink lipstick (Satin) (Limited Edition)

Availability: November 26, December 3, December 10, and December 17, 2010 at www.maccosmetics.com only.

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MAC Marcel Wanders: Gesina Lipstick + Mary Lip Gloss

MAC Marcel Wanders Lip Gloss
Marcel Wanders Combo: Gesina Lipstick + Mary Lip Gloss

MAC Marcel Wanders: Gesina Lipstick + Mary Lip Gloss

I applied Gesina Lipstick straight from the tube and then patted Mary Lip Gloss on top with a separate lip brush.   I didn’t use any lip liner, but if you find red lipstick is prone to bleeding, you may want to use clear lip liner to prep!

Would you rock this combo?

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