MAC In High Def Collection: Q&A with Marie Delprete Emmy-Award Winning Makeup Artist


Q: You’re an Emmy Award-winning professional makeup artist and long-time supporter of M·A·C. Now you’re partnering with the brand to “Demystify HDTV” through a series of master classes in Spring 2009. What are the top three lessons you’ll be sharing with the attendees of these classes?

I titled these M·A·C master classes “Demystifying HD” because I wanted to take some of the mystery out of high-definition makeup; so the first thing we’ll do is debunk some of the prevailing myths surrounding this new medium. Second, through lecture and demonstration, we’ll explore the many challenges of HD and propose solutions for each problem. Third, we’ll identify the proper products with the necessary texture, finish and luminescent properties for the demands of high-def. We’ll top it all off by deconstructing a basic, HD-ready beauty makeup on a live model.

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Q: As one of Hollywood’s top makeup artists, you’ve worked with countless celebrities on every medium – from print to TV and movies. What is it about the new digital revolution of HDTV that keeps you evolving as an artist?

There’s a new energy in makeup artistry today–an urgency. The HD revolution is comparable to the advent of color film in the 1930s; it’s that big. The industry is mobilizing to meet a completely new set of demands. Artists are experimenting, debating, discarding old techniques and discovering new ones. It’s a great time to be a makeup artist, and it’s exciting to hope I may have something to add to the conversation.

Q: Does your technique vary for each medium? What carries over regardless of print or broadcast work?

The only variable might be a higher level of stylization for a photo shoot, but the principles remain the same. The litmus test for a successful HD makeup is simple: if it looks good when you’re standing right in front of it – if it’s well blended, diffused and translucent–it should look good on camera, no matter what the medium–provided, of course, it’s well lit. (But for HDTV always, always check your monitor!)

Q: What new challenges arise for a makeup artist on an HDTV set and how do you suggest they prepare for them?

HD shows all the imperfections on a face – every wrinkle, asymmetry, blemish or scar – because it intensifies surface textures. In standard definition, these imperfections were less evident and the measures we took to correct them were less apparent. The biggest problem makeup artists face today is being able to correct the imperfections while hiding all the steps it took to do it. We need to find ways to confuse the all-seeing eye of the HD lens. A good Director of Photography (DP) can help with lighting, camera filters and settings, but today’s makeup artist must be able to assess every variable affecting the makeup. In this time of transition, camera tests are an essential tool. Insist upon them.

Q: You’ve perfected the art of makeup – for HDTV and otherwise – with your envy-worthy application of makeup. Can you share your top five tips for HDTV makeup application (eyes, face, cheeks, and lips)?

Brighten, don’t lighten. Use illuminating products to help bring brightness to recessed areas of the face. I love using M.A.C. Strobe Cream. Think satin. Powder the face to a satin finish. A matte finish is too flat and heavy-looking for HD, while a dewy finish reads as too shiny. Satin comes across as a healthy glow. Blotting Paper. It’s great for touch-ups, removing surface oils and helping to limit powder buildup. M.A.C. Blot Film is the perfect product. Good grooming. The high def camera will find all of those unsightly facial hairs, nose hairs, unruly eyebrows, unibrows, ear hairs and peach fuzz. Beards and mustaches should be well-groomed. Finish with a bronzer. Use a bronzer at the very end to put life back into the skin.

Q: You have a wealth of experience with celebrities of all ages and races…what’s a universal tip that applies to every client, no matter what age or race?

Take care of your skin! The best way to look good is to look great with no makeup. Skin should have a regimen of cleansing, toning and moisturizing daily. Prep the skin! Preparing skin is very important for success in HD. Makeup will sit on top of built-up dead skin and will not absorb into the pores, making it read heavier. I like to keep a scrub in my kit, such as M·A·C Microfine Refinisher. Blend, blend, blend! HD is incredibly sharp; hard lines jump right off the screen. Diffuse any hard lines with diligent blending. After completing a makeup, go over the entire face with a wet sponge, blending the foundation on the face and into the hairline.

Q: Obviously, in order to practice great technique, you need the tools to back it up. What specific brushes and / or other tools (i.e.: eye drops, tweezers, Scotch tape, drinking straws) should every makeup artist on an HDTV set have in their kit?

Primers. I always have a good primer on hand. Primers are great for filling in pores and wrinkles. They also can control surface oils – very important in high def. Grooming Kit. There’s nothing more distracting than an unruly eyebrow hair, and a big HDTV screen will amplify it, so you have to keep a well-stocked grooming kit: Tweezers, Scissors (for trimming), Round-tipped Scissors (for nose hairs, etc.), Electric Razor, Electric Trimmer (with attachments), Electric nose/ear hair Trimmer, Nail Clippers/ Files, Disposable Razors & Shaving Cream, Eyelash Comb. Black stipple sponges are great for filling in missing facial hair in beards, mustaches/ sideburns.

Q: Not only do you teach other professional artists about makeup, but you share your know-how with larger audiences via TV appearances. What makeup lessons and tips relate to the pros AND the people?

With the advent of high definition, never before has the work of the professional makeup artist been more relevant to the everyday person. A good Hi-Def makeup needs to be subtle, fresh and youthful. It needs to correct imperfections without looking overly “made up.” It has to look good close-up. It’s exactly what we’re all looking for in our own day-to-day makeup. With a grasp of the basic concepts and bit of practice, good HD technique is possible for anyone to master.

Q: If I were to open your makeup kit right now, what items would be down to the last drop (name specific M·A·C items)?

  • Skin Care – Strobe Cream, Prep + Prime Skin, Blot Film
  • Foundations – Face and Body Foundation
  • Concealers – Select Cover Moisture
  • Powders – Invisible Set Powder, Blot Pressed Powder in Medium
  • Bronzing Powders – Matte Bronze
  • Blush – Blush Créme
  • Eyeliners – Penultimate In Rapid Black
  • Eyebrows – Eyebrows In Lingering and Fling
  • Mascaras – Pro Lash In Charcoal Black and Coal Black
  • Lips – Viva Glam V & VI
  • Tools – 190 Foundation Brush