Introduction: Get Your Face HD-Ready!

About: Professional MUA, educator, and Benefit Beauty Artist working in Sacramento & the Bay Area. I specialize in film, print, editorial, glamour, & special FX. FB: In…
Technology is advancing at a faster rate than ever before. When it comes to television and movies, high definition is the standard, with HD cameras available even on cellphones. To consumers, this means a higher quality picture and sound, giving you a much-enhanced viewing experience. To those working in production (including makeup artists), this means that viewers can see even tiny flaws hardly noticeable to the naked eye, and every pore on every actor’s face!

Perhaps you are appearing on television for an interview, or want to know how to look your best in your awesome vlogs. Today I’ll teach you how to adjust your makeup for shooting in HD. As a general rule, everything should be very matte, as reflective particles will create a glare on-camera that is not visible to the naked eye.

Essentials for your HD makeup kit include:
  • Moisturizer
  • Mattifying primer
  • Oil blotting papers
  • Matte or demi-matte finish foundation
  • Translucent HD powder

Step 1: Prep & Prime

Start your prep with your skincare. In general, you should exfoliate 2-3 times per week, by using face washes containing alpha hydroxy acids (AHA’s) or beta hydroxy acids (BHA’s) or manual methods such as a nubbly washcloth or a Clairsonic brush. Stay away from facial scrubs with gritty particles—these will only irritate your skin and cause tiny abrasions. Moisturize daily. ALWAYS remove your makeup and wash your face at night!!! Drink plenty of water and you should have hydrated and healthy skin.

Just before your makeup application, use a swipe of gentle toner on a cotton ball to cleanse the face of any dirt and oils. Apply moisturizer and let it soak into the skin for a few minutes, then apply a mattifying primer all over the face. This will keep foundation from settling into pores and fine lines. I’m currently obsessed with Boots No. 7’s Beautifully Matte, which is around $10 and can be found in drugstores. Other great primers I’ve tried are Benefit’s The Porefessional, Too Faced’s Primed and Poreless, and Palladio’s Herbal Foundation Primer (in gel form, so it is best for dry or mature skin). Use an eyeshadow primer from lash to brow. I like to apply my eyeshadow prior to my foundation and concealer, so if there’s any fallout I can remove it with a Q-tip soaked in moisturizer without ruining my makeup application. Matte neutrals are best for eyeshadow colors, though satin-finish eyeshadows are OK in moderation as long as they don’t contain any glitter or reflective particles.

Step 2: Apply Foundation

Liquid foundation is best for HD, as it can be applied in thin layers to adjust coverage. Cream is also good for this purpose. Powder foundations appear chalky or powdery on-camera and don’t give enough coverage. I like to dip a fluffy face brush (such as the Real Techniques Expert Face brush or Buffing brush) into my liquid foundation and buff it onto my face with small circular motions. You can also use a flat foundation brush to pat it into your skin and then use a cosmetic sponge or Beauty Blender to smooth out any visible brushstrokes.

Step 3: Highlight & Contour

If you’re going to highlight and contour for film or television, it must be subtle and non-reflective. I use a concealer that’s ever-so-slightly lighter than my skin tone mixed with a lemon-yellow concealer to highlight. You can apply with a sponge, a large fluffy concealer brush buffed into the skin, or a flat concealer brush patted into the skin. I highlight my T-zone, my undereyes, the upper apples of my cheeks, and a dot on my chin.

I contour using a warm brown concealer and a medium-sized fluffy powder brush. The areas I contour are the hollows of my cheeks, my temples, the sides of my nose, and the sides of my jaw. Blend into the skin with a light touch, building the color as you go so you don’t end up with too dark a contour.

If you prefer to use powders to highlight and contour, you run the risk of appearing too powdery and cakey, but if applied with the right technique can work just as well as cream or liquid highlighters.

Apply matte bronzer to contouring areas by stippling into the skin, again in thin layers. To highlight, apply banana powder (my personal favorite, gives a beautiful matte highlight and works on essentially every skintone) or a matte highlighting powder, either on a sponge or brush, in a patting motion. Wait a few minutes for the powder to set and dust off the excess with a clean powder brush.

Step 4: Powder

Always finish an HD makeup application with HD powder. This is different than run-of-the-mill
translucent powder because it is more finely milled and gives a more refined, soft-focus finish. HD powders come in loose and pressed, and can be applied with a sponge, powder puff, or powder brush. If you use a powder brush, use the “rolling” technique to apply: work the product into the brush, then tap to remove the excess. Press the brush flat against your skin on its side, then roll it across your face, depositing the powder. Be sure to powder the entire face, paying special attention to the undereye area. Some HD powders that I like: E.L.F., Make Up For Ever, NARS, and Fergie by Wet ‘N Wild.

Step 5: The Rest of the Makeup...

Brows should be shaped and filled in using powder or gel. Pencils can look too harsh and fake on-camera.

If you're going to apply false lashes, use individual lashes instead of strip lashes. Individuals can be glued directly into the lashline and have a much more natural appearance. Use black eyelash glue, as clear or white glue can appear shiny. After the glue has thoroughly set, apply a coat of mascara through both your natural lashes and the false lashes to blend them together.

Lipsticks should be matte and a lipliner should be used for a clean, sharp outline. Blushes should also be matte. Cream blushes are yet another product that can look matte to the naked eye but appear reflective on-camera, so it's best to stick with powder.

Voila! You’re ready for your close-up… Keep oil-blotting papers and your HD powder close by for touchups!

Step 6: