Hey guys, 

So I have some shit news to explain why I've been quiet on the blog for a while.. I have cancer. I have an invasive breast cancer that's already in my blood stream but hopefully it hasn't spread too far, although I won't know for sure until they remove and test my lymph nodes. I'm having a double mastectomy next week and a Diep Flap reconstruction, which is a terrifying 12 hour surgery that takes about 10-12 weeks to recover from, and then possible chemotherapy after that. 

I won't be blogging for a while, or maybe I will.. who knows I may feel up to it. I'll certainly have the time as I wont be filming for a while. I have been away filming a lot the last few months so I do have quite a few wonderful products to tell you all about, but if you haven't already seen me raving about them on my instagram you'll have to wait a little longer to hear about them.

I do want to say that if you have a family history of any type of cancer go to your GP and get on a genetic screening programme, in the UK it's free on the NHS. Because of a long history of breast cancer in my family I have had yearly MRI screening for many years, and it was my recent MRI that caught my tumour, I did not find a lump. Had I not know until I felt a lump it would most certainly be a much further stage cancer than it is. I probably owe my life to the NHS screening programme.

Hopefully you don't all abandon me in the quiet time and I promise I'll be back as soon as I can. In the meantime I've listed some of my favourite posts you may like to re-visit.

Love, Annie x

1. Makeup Video Tutorial: How To Be A Bronzed Goddess

2. Miracle Hair Growth & Thickness, This Is The Best Hair Tip I Can Ever Give You

3. The One Post You Must Read About Face Sunscreen

4. Pro-Tips: How To Prevent & Stop Shiny or Oily Skin

5. Meet The Artists Interview: American Horror Story & American Crime Story Makeup Designer Eryn Mekash

6. Meet The Artists Interview: Cheri Minns - Robin Williams makeup artist for 20 years

7.10 Things to do for Great Skin

8. How I Prep All Actors/Models/Celebs faces

9. How The Professionals do Tattoos on Set

10. The Best Hydrating & Soothing Mask in the World

11. Possible Cure for Dermatitis and Eczema? 

12. I call this the wonder cream, it is amazing 



Cheri Minns has had the career most makeup artists dream of, as she says he really did have her dreams come true. As department head on the humongous 80s hit show Dallas her hollywood career started off with a bang. After 4 years she left to go back to films and spent the next 30+ years working on some of the biggest films in the world with some of the biggest names in the world. Cheri was Department Head of mine (and every teenager in the late 80s) favourite film 'Say Anything' and worked on so many classics of that time, including Postcards From The Edge, Dick Tracey, Adams Family Values, Bugsy and so many more. She then paired up with the spectacular Robin Williams and formed a special working relationship that span twenty years and numerous films until his untimely death in 2014. I am thrilled Cheri took time to tell me about her wonderful career, the highlights as well as sharing some of her excellent pro-tips. 

A snapshot of a 40 year career

MANW: How did you start your career and what was the progression it took?
CM: I started in New Orleans which is where I am from. I always had a passion for makeup and hair, I went to cosmetology school for hair but once I was in the salon I knew pretty quickly that it wasn't for me. If color was the art form it is today I probably would have stuck with that. My good friend worked on independent films with Producer-Director  Charles B. Pierce and he got me to come up to Montana and help with makeup and wardrobe on a film and that was it, my PASSION was there and I didn’t want anything else! There were no schools for makeup then and they didn’t let women in the union, although it wasn’t said out loud. Mr. Pierce hired me on his films for makeup and hair, one I also did art direction and another he he fired props and then I was makeup, hair and props! 
His films were mostly westerns, one true story of a murderer in a small town during the 50s and all on location. I learned a lot by buying any books I could find (NO INTERNET), it was tough but when you are young you are fearless and I had a natural talent and passion for it. Eventually on one of those films I met an actor, we fell in love and he asked me to move to LA and after a while I did. 

Once in LA I couldn’t get into the union, sometimes I went to work with him and observed, and when he did “King Kong” he asked the makeup man if I could watch and he said yes, but he told me I would never get into the union because they don’t allow women. That’s when I learnt film makeup was a handed down legacy from fathers to sons and so on, and the wives and aunts would be allowed to do hair. After a few years I was still doing independents when the union was forced by law to open their doors to some women and minorities and I got a phone call that I was in as I had all the credentials. I then got a show called Dallas when the current Department Head, Jerry O’Dell, didn’t want to continue after the pilot, they offered it to me way before it became the huge show that it did and I was on it for 4 years. I left to go back to films as I wanted to feel more creative, work with different people and collaborate more, that’s what I needed. It was scary but I was lucky, I met some wonderful people and great directors; Barry Levinson, Cameron Crowe, Mike Nichols, Warren Beatty, Barry Sonnenfeld, they all would ask me to work with them again. And then I hooked up with the fabulous Robin Williams and we were together twenty years until 2014. 

MANW: You mainly work as hair & makeup artist and department head in film, did you ever want to work in fashion or beauty?
CM: Oh yes, I love it! All makeup is my passion but you play the hand you’re dealt. When I started you had to be well rounded and do everything… beauty, facial hair, prosthetics, tattoos, scars and wounds etc. Makeup artists today call in a person that specializes in appliances, tattoos, facial hair, etc. and producers don’t care. It’s a new world in this department, you could never do that 10 years ago. But it employs more people so it's great.

MANW: Do you have a preference for the type of jobs and makeups you like to do? Do you prefer hair or makeup, and do you prefer straight or effects makeup? Do you prefer being a department head or being personal to one person?
CM: This is a big question…I’ll address the makeup AND hair issue first. I have not always done both, I did it in the start of my career on indie films but when you join the IATSE (American union) you must choose your category; either makeup or hair and I chose makeup. You are allowed to do hair as an extension of a character creation and when I started working with Robin Williams it was something that happened organically after a few shows, and it worked for him to just have one person in his space. I found it difficult at times but his trust in me had grown about his characters and his look so we collaborated. It worked for us but it’s not the norm.

MANW: What is your process of creating character looks and how much say do you have in the designs?
CM: As a department head you usually have a lot of say, and you work with the costume designer and director to see what their vision is. After you research and develop some looks you bring your ideas to the director and continue until a strong 1 or 2 looks are ready to test. One of my favourite examples was Robin Williams in “One Hour Photo”. His character worked in a Target type store at the one hour photo department and he was withdrawn, socially challenged and lived his life through the photos of others lives, and I immediately decided I wanted him pale, balding and blonde. I could never just do that unless there was a computer generated photo to present to the director first so Michael Key helped me out there and I brought it to Mark Romanack, the director, and then it went down the line to everyone else. They loved it and OMG now I had to pull it off! Robin has a lot of red in his skin and when he starts acting he perspires a lot, blonde hair is not easy to maintain and balding was a challenge but I knew all this going in and I loved the challenge! 

I cut Robin's hair short, thinned the front and top very thin, then with a small shaver I hand shaved the paths I could follow for the duration so it looked natural. I took him to Beverly Hills and had his hair bleached and toned to the perfect shade, I got the formula from them and off we went. I used an anti-sweat product, then 
I mixed a light custom colour to block the redness, I followed with stippling a two toned pale sheer foundation and it worked, he looked great. He also wore a pair of glasses and when we walked to the set to film the test he couldn’t stand it that no-one recognised him. He started stopping them and shaking hands saying “Hi, I’m Robin Williams” it was too funny. He loved that look and that really pleased me.

MANW: You have had an amazing career, from working on the insanely poular Dallas for such a long time, on so many classic films throughout the 80s and 90s (Postcards from the Edge!) and the many films as personal artist to the incredible Robin Williams for over two decades. Can you tell us about some of the stand out moments of your career, of which there must be so many?
CM: These moments for certain: Being invited to be a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science in 1996, being nominated for an Emmy, winning The Saturn Award and receiving the Designing Women Award from NY Women In Film. Working on “Say Anything” with Cameron Crowe 
as Anthony Kiedis would stop by to see girlfriend Ione Skye. Another time I few to London with Robin Williams and I met Paul McCartney and slept next to him in first class. I saw the Beatles live when I was very young and I worshipped them! Paul gave me his guitar pick! I acted like a giddy girl.

Other stand out moments are the hundreds of times I felt like a fly on the wall watching an incredible Meryl Streep perform “Postcards From The Edge”, watching the charismatic Warren Beatty flirt with everyone, even me! Staying on a yacht with Robin Williams and his assistant while filming “Insomnia”. It was very well kept all wooden style, Al Pacino had one that was huge and like old-money dining deck with a bar and bedrooms below and Hilary Swank had one like a Miami drug dealer all chrome and glass. All 3 had their own chef and one night there was a dinner party we had drinks on Robin's yacht, then to Al’s for dinner, then Hilary’s for dessert!! So much fun! Who does this?? ME!!  Working with Mike Nichols, Barry Levinson, Nora Ephron, I worked with so many fun and talented directors and actors, the stories are endless!

MANW: You’ve been in the industry a long time, how do you think it has differed and what advice would you give to new artists starting out? 

CM: I think they will be fine. They are a social media breed now, and a self promoting group, that’s what it takes these days. It will change again. My advice would be to share knowledge, don’t take where you are for granted and respect those that came before you.. we forged some roads for you, as the ones did before us, it will always be this way. I see some disrespect now towards our department, you can set the tone, learn from seasoned artists and keep it fun but keep it professional. 

MANW: All artists have ‘the wish list’; a face they would love to work on or a show or film they would have loved to have worked on. Mine have always been Bugsy Malone (I was obsessed with Tallulah) and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. But my current one is Nashville, I'm obsessed with the country glamour and Connie Britton's hair. Who or what are yours? 
CM: Cate Blanchette I have always wanted to work with (I adore her), but truly I have worked with some wonderful, beautiful people and I’m happy with my career. Sarah Jessica Parker, Madonna, Goldie Hawn, Joan Cusack, Jessica Lange, Demi Moore, Kristin Chenowith, Robin Williams, Dennis Quaid, Robert Downey Jr., Michael Caine,Warren Beatty, Nathan Lane, James Caan, Liam Neeson...yea, I’m good. I've done some films I love, and I watched a lot more that I loved. Ve Neil has some fantastic films; Lost Boys, Batman series, The Hunger Games. I got to work on some of her shows and it was always such a great time. I wish everyone could have the successful and fun career that I have experienced, I had my dreams come true.

MANW: On to the good stuff, what are your tricks for flawless looking skin?
CM: For men and women COLD eyepads while having hair done, or in my chair if there is time. Also for men and women I like the beauty blender, and to mist Evian after makeup in the morning and after touchups so skin looks fresh.

MANW: What are your top 5 holy grail kit products? 
CM: Anthelios SX Daily Moisturiser Creme w/ Sunblock (they make other types, but very good), I get mine at CVS pharmacy here. I also like Murad products they have a non-greasy sunblock and moisturisers for a variety of skin types, I’ve used it on myself for years. Eyelash curler, Derma Colour palettes.. they have a thicker pigment than regular makeup you can mix and blend for all skin types to cover things from shaving rash, zits and scars. Which leads me to Skin Illustrator pallets which are good for many things; Tattoo cover, Grunge Palette for dirt and many other things, FX pallette for bruising, some burns and cuts, Complexion and Dark Flesh are great not just to match skin tones but to mottle skin tones and create washes over some other FX you have done. And liquids to custom create my own colors and palettes, and airbrush. 

MANW: What's your best makeup artist tip to give women?
CM: Good light when you do your makeup! You should do your best to have good light wherever you do your makeup, otherwise you may miss some unblended bits and harsh eyeshadow and just wrong colors. Younger ladies please watch those hard thick drawn in eyebrows, I see so many beautiful young ladies with these very heavy drawn on brows and it is not attractive!! 

MANW: Finally, false eyelashes - the longer the better or enough already they look ridiculous?
CM: This is a matter of what look you want.. fantasy, glamour beauty, innocence, youth, mature, characters. But for a natural or beauty look use them only if the client can carry it off. I like to stay closer to a more natural look usually.

You can find out more about Cheri's work on her IMDB page or follow her on Twitter.

If you liked this interview and would like to read other leading industry makeup artists stories have a look at the rest of the series here.



As a makeup artist working on people who stand in front of a camera all day my biggest issue is shine. Sometimes I like shine and I want it (Tracey Anderson does the best shine on Sons of Anarchy and Fear The Walking Dead) and there are times when I really don't. I'm not talking about the natural-healthy-glow-shine that I love, I'm talking about the shine when I'm watching TV and I have no idea what the presenter is saying as I'm completely mesmerised but the forehead or nose shining like a beacon and that is all I can see on the screen in front of me, it's so off-putting. Stopping and fixing shine may not seem important but it's probably one of the most basic and underrated skills a makeup artist can have. It's such a simple thing but if you can't do it what ever lovely makeup you've done will be ruined. On men it's an equally important skill, as a makeup artist the last thing you want to do is run in every few minutes to powder or blot, distracting the talent and annoying a crew by holding up the shoot.

After perfecting my skills on TV shows for over a decade I'm pretty confident I'm a shine expert and I've got my system down perfect. There are some great products and tools to stop shine which I'm going to share with you and these work for makeup artists and regular-life people, cos no-one wants a shiny face. And none of them involve blotting papers which personally I find quite gross.

Truthfully my secret is not to stop shine but to prevent it and there is only one product for that, and it's this Murad moisturiser.* This moisturiser is straight up phenomenal for people who sweat or get shiny, or if you have someone going under hot lights who are likely to sweat and get shiny and you don't want them to this is your lifesaver product. If you only get shiny on your nose just apply it only on the nose (or forehead), that's what I do on most people. This product is a godsend for makeup artists and regular-life people, men and women alike. I can't stress how much you need this in your kit, it's changed my life.

Another pro-tip is to apply Milk of Magnesia on very oily skin (note, it does not prevent sweating or shine due to sweat, it just stops skin getting oily). The brilliant Kelley Mitchell (Makeup Department Head on Glee and Scream Queens) shared this tip with me in her 'Meet The Artists interview'* and she swears by it. I've since done it, it works great. Kelley's advice is to brush on a light layer of Milk of Magnesia before foundation, let it dry for a few minutes & don't worry if it turns white, whatever your skin colour once you put your foundation on it will go away. Makeup will last all day and it really controls the oil.

Kryolan 'Perfect Matt'* is another solid kit staple for applying under makeup. I swore by this product for years until I tried the Murad moisturiser, which kind of made this defunct for me. However I would never not have this my kit as under very hot lights or on very hot days or on people who I know are real sweaters I have doubled up this over the Murad moisturiser and like magic no touch ups are needed for hours. This combo works so hard sometimes I go in to powder/touch up just so it looks like I'm working not because I actually need to.

Sisley 'Instant Perfect'* works the same as Kryolan 'Perfect Matt', you can also add it on over makeup which is great, making it a good staple to keep in a handbag or set bag. I personally find this to be a phenomenal product, and where it works best, when you want to stop shine and you don't have any foundation on. You can apply with a finger and it means you don't have to carry a powder compact, mirror and brush around. It's better than powder as it leaves your skin looking natural and not like you've matted with powder. This is an excellent buy if you often don't wear a base. You only need a little and it lasts ages.

A final thought I'd like to leave you with; matting shine and sweat with powder is a terrible idea. It does little to prevent further shine and sweat, which then congeals with the powder leaving a blotchy residue. Plus layers of powder never look natural, especially noticeable on men. If you do want to powder use MAC Blot Powder as it deposits no colour and works great, like a non-gross blotting powder if you will. But if you start off using the right products to prevent it happening you're half way to winning the race.

Read my "Meet The Artists' interview series for loads of great tips like these from the best Makeup Artists in the world. Great reading for anyone but especially makeup artists.

* To find Murad Oil Control Mattifier in the US & Canada go here.
* To find Sisley Instant Perfect in US & Canada go here.

You can follow me on Twitter here and Instagram here (@anniemakeup).



*I try very hard for this blog to be about education for everyone, as well as makeup artists, so apologies this post is only relevant to makeup artists.*

Some of the incredible demos done at UMAE

UMAE Expo had it's 4th annual show last week in London and again proved to be the best professional trade show for UK makeup artists, it's the grown-up responsible show that is a pleasure to attend. If you've been to IMATS this is a completely different experience; there are no huge crowds, the education is second to none and the best part is the show is still small enough that you can see all the demos clearly and are close enough to ask questions to some of the worlds best makeup artists. The brands on sale are only brands that professionals use and cover everything you might want or need, it's a fantastic opportunity to buy kit supplies at very good discounts*. The show really is frequented only by professional makeup artists who are working in the industry, you are very likely to be standing next to Catherine Scoble the BAFTA winning makeup designer of This Is England or Love Larson, Oscar nominated makeup co-designer for The 100 Year Old Man, also shopping and chatting with friends and colleagues.

The education over the weekend was another level. There were continued classes and talks all through the weekend by the main pro brands; Kryolan had various talks and demos, as did Screenface, Mehron, PAM and Stuart Bray. There were some great educational talks including ones from Titanic makeup designer Tina Earnshow, Oscar nominated makeup artist Eva Von Bahr, Head of makeup and wigs at the National Theatre Giuseppe Cannas and Mandi Milton from The Milton Agency. As usual the PPI stand (where I like to hang out) led the charge with incredible demos by Dan Gilbert, Stephen Murphy, Adrian Rigby, Richard Redlefsen and the oscar nominated makeup designers Eva Von Bahr and Love Larson. Kristyan Mallet also did a wonderful demo on the PS Composites stand. 

What UMAE offers over it's two day weekend is incredible and I can't really stress how much I enjoy it each year, the professional and very chilled out crowd factor plays a major part. There are brilliant demos happening at nearly all the stands and it's so great that you can actually stand right up close and watch them happening and ask the artist questions. There are a lot of makeup 'masters' at the show, especially at the PPI stand, who are genuinely lovely people and happy to talk to you and answer questions. And there is literally no other place or time in the world you can talk to legendary Stephanie Kaye and ask her about wigs (google her). 

My advice to all professional UK hair & makeup artists; if you are interested in education, learning and getting great discounts from brands you can only get from the professional stores such as PAM, Screenface, Charles Fox, Love Makeup, MaqPro and Guru then it's worth the trip to London to do your shopping at the show and soak up the ridiculous amount of knowledge that is in that room. I've never been anywhere that is so completely dedicated solely to professionals and it's utterly at your fingertips to take as much from it as you want to.

Also, while I have your attention, UK hair & makeup artists who work on screen, please, please visit and join NASMAH, AND check out my 'Meet The Artist' interviews, a great learning resource and really interesting reading with brilliant artists whose careers go back decades.

*Tina Earnshaw brushes are still on sale with 30% discount with the code 8VWG2N2 on her website here.

You can follow me on Twitter here and Instagram here (@anniemakeup).



With almost 20 years in the special makeup effects industry Justin has been a part of, designed and made effects for some of the most ground breaking films and TV shows in recent years including True Blood, American Horror Story, The Knick, Vinyl, Supergirl and Rosewood. Justin, and his company Fractured FX, is dedicated to developing cutting edge special makeup effects and it really shows in the work we see from him and his studio on screen, his work is amazing. He is also the designer and Department Head of my favourite show, The Knick, which if you know me you will have have heard me rave about non-stop for the past year.. it truly has the best casualty and surgery effects I've ever seen, and to be so blown away by new and impressive casualty effects is not easy at this stage in TV and film. I'm thrilled Justin took some time to tell me about his career, his work and share some of his best tips. 

Snapshot of Justin's career

MANW: How did you start your career and what was the progression it took?
JR: I’ve always had a love for movies, sculpture and design. I was fascinated by the idea of creating a living breathing character so I think it was a natural path for me to move into some type of artistic field. I started as a beauty make-up artist for print just so I had a place to start learning and I was lucky enough to take an internship at a small effects studio in the mid 90’s and then from there I was introduced to some artists who worked at several other large make-up effects houses. From that point forward I continued to work with some of the top names in the business at that time such as ADI, Stan Winston, Steve Johnson and many other effects artists. In 2005 I formed my first effects studio called Quantum Creation FX and was the lead artistic and technical director there until 2010 when I sold my shares to my then partner so I could create my current company Fractured FX. I needed a place where I could focus on what I believe this industry is moving towards and being the sole owner of Fractured FX I can really focus on new approaches and ideas with my incredible team of artists who call Fractured FX their home.

MANW: You work as a special effects makeup artist and designer for film or huge TV dramas, did you ever want to do straight makeup for TV or film?
JR: My background is in print and fashion before I ever picked up a prosthetic and I still work as a department head on film and TV where I handle both the regular make-up and the special effects design. Recently I did this on The Last Witch Hunter, and 300: Rise Of An Empire where I started as the Effects designer and ended up taking on the full department for the month of reshoots we did.

MANW: Do you have a preference for the type of jobs and makeups you like to do? Do you prefer to be designing in the workshop or on set applying?
JR: I love to be in the workshop designing and focusing on the process of the creation from the technical aspects, but most of my time in the studio is making sure we have the jobs coming in and all the other business aspects in running a corporation with many employees. So it’s hard to find the time to do a make-up or character from start to finish like I used to, but I’m very lucky to have an amazing team that I trust here at Fractured FX. One of my favorite aspects is being on set and finishing the look of the design, and I couldn’t do it and be away from the studio if I didn’t have the team I have in place who support me.

MANW: What is your process of creating character looks and how much say do you have in the designs?
JR: I think the initial impression when I read a script and my mind starts to flush out what this character is all about is my favorite aspect. From there working with the director to finalize the look on paper and 3D maquette is where all of the creatively starts to open up. Then it's the technical process of making that design become real. And finally the make-up test and knowing that you actually pulled off the design in front of camera.

I love each aspect and each for a deferent reason. The first, the initial impression, its all about what you envision and it’s like seeing something unfold and reveal itself in your mind. The second, the collaboration, this is where you have to compare your vision with others and allow it to evolve by outside influences. It’s challenging but also exciting. The third, the technical aspect, is the part where you now need to figure how to actual make this work in reality, I’m always driven to make new techniques and try something new to better the craft. The forth, the test, is the make or break you. It’s a lot of stress to get to this point and if successful t's the biggest relief that the idea is sound and you’ve made everyone happy.

MANW: How much do logisitcal issues come into play with designs and how do you keep continuity on characters with heavy/intricate effects?
JR: That’s always a concern in the design making sure we can match and how well it will function. Do we use VFX to augment and help some of those area etc. These are always early design elements that have to be addressed before you ever show up on set.

MANW: You worked on some incredible TV shows, including three of my favourites; American Horror Story, True Blood and The Knick which has the best casualty and surgery effects makeup I've ever seen in any film or TV show. Can you tell us about some of the stand out moments of your career?
JR: The Knick has been one of the best and most challenging experiences of my career. It’s like block shooting a 10 hour movie. Steven Soderbergh is so fast paced to work with, I have never seen anything like it before, so everything has to work, be ready and look perfect because you never know how much he might want to see on the day and you want to make sure he has all options available to him. The nice thing with that show is we usually have a lot of prep and time to do all the reasearch and deveoplment required to recreate all of these turn of the century surgeies. Most the time on TV you’ll never get that luxury. Creating some of the effects for American Horror Story: Freak Show was also a lot of fun and challenging because of the needs and timeline, but cool characters.

MANW: You've been in the industry a long time, how do you think it has differed and what advice would you give to new artists starting out?
JR: Ok now I feel old, haha. Yes, this industry is very different from 20 years ago when I first started. I think now it’s more important to be focused on realism, 3D design, and advanced materials and less on creatures and animatronic effect. Years ago we were still making full scale dinosaurs and Queen Aliens as mechanical physical effects, now 90% of those effects would be VFX because of time, cost and limitations of those effects. I have a firm belief that more and more we will return to more physical make-up effects with augmentation by VFX and less full CG characters because there is such an amazing migration of the two together that compliments both and creates a beautifully realistic character without limitation, or greatly reduced limitations. On the tech side more and more of our focus at Fractured FX, and over the last 10 years of my career, has been in 3D design and 3D printing, it's now a staple at my studio that we can’t live without. Nearly all of our effects have something 3D printed that has been used on them, for the most part, because of speed and accuracy. 

MANW: All artists have the "wish list'; a face they would love to work on or a show or film they would have loved to have worked on. One of mine is The Rocky Horror Picture Show, while everyone was into Tim Curry, as a kid I was obsessed with Little Nell and Riff Raff's weird makeup. But more recent has been The Knick, the hair and all the makeup are incredible, and I'm also really enjoying Mercy street, I do love sweat and blood. Who or what are yours?
JR: I would love to work with Gary Oldman or another actor that has a love for the transformative process of makeup and see what it adds to their character. Gary has been the master of disguise, like Jonny Depp, I need to have one of those actors in my career.

MANW: On to the good stuff, what are your tricks for flawless looking skin?
JR: For me it starts with the proper prep and skincare. From there I like to use a combination of base tones by hand or brush on a beauty make-up then refine with some airbrushing on top. Everything very light and smooth contours.

MANW: What are your top 5 holy grail kit products?
JR: My airbush, good well made brushes for beauty (I use Hakuhodo exclusively), hand sanitizer, a label maker for all of my palettes and goodies, and some type of well thought out organizer for kit and set bag. I’m a bit OCD in my organization and sanitation. 

MANW: What's your best make-up artist tip to give women?
JR: Choose good skincare products and know exactly how to use them, more times than not a breakout is caused by over usage of a product especially those with retinol and alpha hydroxy acids. Also, clean your brushes regularly and use new make-up sponges daily.

MANW: Finally, false eyelashes - the longer the better or enough already they look ridiculous?
JR: I prefer demi lashes that I trim to fit and then add some clusters if needed. I also prefer clear duo and when I put on the lash I let it slide a bit on the lid above the lash anchor point, then when dry you can fold the skin down that tiny bit hiding the lash band and making them look like they are growing from the lid. The duo bond to itself and actually anchors it in place better.

For more info on Justin you can see his IMDB page here, his studio Fractured FX here and their Facebook page here.

If you liked this interview and would like to read other leading industry makeup artists stories have a look at the rest of the series here.

You can follow me on Twitter here and Instagram here (@anniemakeup).



Various film & TV show tattoos by Christien Tinsley using his custom-made transfers

This post is mostly aimed at UK (and non US-based) makeup artists who aren't familiar with Tinsley Studios and it's owner Christien Tinsley. Christien has been a makeup artist for a long time, he's a multi-Emmy nominee and in 2005 was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Makeup for his work on Passion of the Christ. He later developed a new technique, the Prosthetic Transfer, that earned him an Academy Award for Technical Achievement in 2007. He's pretty amazing.

Christien and Tinsley Studios create realistic looking tattoo transfers that are waterproof, easy to apply and potentially last for 4-7 days without the need for re-application, and are used in nearly every US film and TV show where there are fake tattoos (see his website for examples). His tattoo transfers are excellent and the studio is now available to supply UK makeup artists. I have used them and they are brilliant, so easy to use and boy do they last. They have tons of designs for you to choose from or they can use your own artwork, or they can design any look you want. (They also offer custom tattoo suits that provide an easy way to 'tattoo' background without the time and expense of transfers). 

I put this transfer on me so I could show the quality and length of time it lasted and specifically chose a large piece that covered the majority of my upper arm. I placed it on the inner side where it would rub the most and it was perfect for 4 days. In that time had 5 showers (with soap) and I went to a Bikram class twice, the really hot yoga where you sweat like a maniac for 90 mins. It only became less than perfect after 4 days.  

My transfer example on the 1st (left) and 4th (right) day

Check out the custom tattoos gallery on the Tinsley Studio website to see some examples and how great they look, all those tattoos were done by Christien using his tattoo transfers. Some of the large pieces, like the back, can be done all in one go, arms can be done in one but are sometimes broken up into forearm and upper arm pieces, it all depends on the look and the coverage areas. For a tricky curved area, such as arm sleeves, 
it's a good idea to get a pattern cast of the actor with proper measurements and contours of the body so they can create the tattoo so the images wrap according to the actor’s specific build, essentially like taking scalp measurements to build a perfectly fitting wig, or a life cast for personally fitted prosthetics. They liken this process to wrapping a piece of paper around a basketball: How do you make a basketball flat? How do you assemble the images so that they will piece together on a round surface? Where do you cut in so that the flat paper can bend around a curve but still be flush with the skin? It’s a bit more tricky but works beautifully when accurately done.

Christien strongly advices the following for all transfers; prepare the surface of the skin properly before applying, position the tattoo properly and take your time. If applied correctly you don't have to think about bad applications or edges. He also really recommends for custom orders to plan ahead.. the more time you have to order, test and make changes, the better.

Sons of Anarchy "Jax" back tattoo by Tracey Anderson done with Tinsley Transfers

Tracey Anderson is an emmy-nominated makeup artist, very well know and respected for her tattoo work. As Sons of Anarchy Makeup Department Head for seven seasons there is nothing she can't tell you about tattoos. All the tattoos on SOA were done with Tinsley Transfers so I got Tracey to tell us how she uses tattoo transfers and she kindly shared her vast experience and tips. (You can also read her great "Meet The Artists" interview with me here).

MANW: What is your preferred way to do tattoos?  
TA: I have seen many different methods of applying and removal and I guess there are 200 ways to do the dishes and in the end it doesn't matter as long as they get clean but I always use Tinsley Transfers, and when time allows I will have them customise the tones and size. I figure get the best tattoo transfers on the market but there are some great ones from other vendors. I do sometimes freehand smaller tattoos; I draw them and set with prosaide, and if I wanted to age it I would use a little Ben Nye Final Seal on a sponge..the alcohol in it bleeds the tattoo into the skin like a real aged tattoo.

MANW: Can you describe the process how you apply tattoo transfers? 
TA: Shave the area before starting the whole tattoo process and wipe with 99% alcohol. Lightly prosaide the back of the tattoo with a sponge, so thin you barely see residue, but I only do this on poreless skin, heavy drinkers or stunts actors to make sure they stay. I never prosaide the skin, that just creates a large area to catch dirt and fuzz from wardrobe. I use a makeup puff and Evian water to apply over the tattoo, I haven't researched it but I decided that kitchen sponges may have a chemical that interferes with the tattoo and tap water has chlorine which could break it down faster. I then blow dry it on cold, although I know some like to use warm water and a warm dryer and I get that activating the glue with heat may give a better adherence. I always take away tackiness with a light coating of RCMA powder and then I lightly wipe over with Ben Nye Final Seal sprayed on a wedge sponge to melt the powder. I don't spray the hell out of it because Final Seal creates a plastic coating which suffocates your actors skin which maybe breaks the tattoo down a bit, but mostly it can cause a heat rash because the skin can't breathe. 

MANW: What's the best way to age a tattoo? 
TA: The best way is to airbrush a water based foundation makeup over in their skin colour and tap it out with MAC blot powder or Colorescience sunscreen powder dusted over. 

MANW: Was Jax's big back piece just one piece, and do you have any tricks to getting such huge pieces on evenly other than just go slow and carefully? 
TA: Yes. I wet it down the middle first then fold my spraying out from there. The answer really is just take your time and never rush. 

MANW: Was it the same application to apply Juice's scalp tattoo as the body?
TA: It's always more challenging when you apply to a face, elbow or head. Just shave as close as possible and take your time. 

MANW: Can you apply tattoo transfers on a prosthetic?
TA: Yes, you can apply them on most prosthetic materials. However you can't apply on on dummies/ fake bodies. If you need to have one tattooed they must do it when they build the body. 

MANW: How do you keep continuity with tattoos and get it in the exact spot every day? 
TA: For continuity I line up the tattoo to freckles, wrinkles or scars when possible. I take lots of notes and photos.

Any other tricks you can share?
TA: When you cut the tattoo leave about 3 mm of flashing and if you need to reattach an edge tap it down with some prosaide. Touch up during the day can be done with alcohol activated pallets, tattoo pens are quick but not really your best bet for staying power. If I need to clean a tattoo during the day I wipe with a baby wipe and I always use Colorescience sunscreen powder if an actor will be in the sun, never spray sunscreen as it has alcohol which will break down the tattoo. You sunburn one swastika outline on a man and you never forget to sunscreen!

MANW: Tattoo transfers last for days, even with washing. Would you remove them at the end of every filming day and redo fresh the following day or leave on for a couple days if they still looked good? 
TA: I usually can get away with leaving a tattoo for up to 3 days and just touch up with alcohol pallet and clean with a baby wipe. Even main actors, including Jax, unless they had a scene where the tattoo was featured.

MANW: Talk us through removing tattoo transfers
TA: I only use Beta Solve from PPI to remove. You marinade the tattoo for a minute or so and it comes right off without irritating the skin from incessant rubbing. If I need to change a tattoo during the day I use alcohol and a scrub glove, you can't use any oils if you need to reapply.

Here is a playlist (27 videos) on SOA tattoos, seven of the short videos are Tracey talking about the tattoos (all Tinsley transfers) and show her applying them. One in particular where she overcomes the problem of applying Juice's scalp tattoo over his hair growth in Season 5 is pretty incredible. You should definitely watch these.

Tinsley Studio can be reached at customfx@tinsleystudio.com, www.TinsleyStudio.com.

You can follow me on Twitter here and Instagram here (@anniemakeup)



Here I go again recommending another natural balm. Chickweed has been used for centuries as a remedy for cuts and wounds and for softening and soothing skin. It's known for its moisturising properties and easing itching and irritation from eczema and psoriasis. Viridian Chickweed Organic Balm contains other skin soothing ingredients and is great to help soothe, calm & moisturise irritated and sore eczema & psoriasis skin problems, or itchy and irritated skin from any cause. I used it recently on holiday for bites and sunburns with great success. It's non-greasy and quickly absorbed which is a massive bonus for me. It does have a weird smell that I have genuinely come to love.

Like all Viridian products this one is also 100% organic and natural, no synthetics whatsoever, they're created in the United Kingdom using traditional plant knowledge. I have so much love for Viridian products, please do read my reviews on some of their other fantastic all-natural skincare products; Ultimate Beauty Calming Moisture Balm, Skin Repair Oil, and their Organic Rose Oil - the best thing for your skin.

Another wonderful 100% natural product for treating psoriasis and eczema is Lyons Leaf Calendula Cream. And other NON-natural creams I successfully treated dermatisis with are Balnuem, miracle cure for dry, cracked skin and La Roche Posay B5 Soothing Repair Cream. Click the above links for full details and my reviews.

Eczema and Dermatitis are such personal issues, what works for one person may easily not work for another, keep trying different creams until you find the one that works for you, and if one doesn't work immediately move on to the next, you will find one! 

As a side note these natural balms are great for makeup artists to have in their kits, people turn up on set with all sorts of weird rashes or irritated skin all the time, it's comforting to know that giving them something to put on won't irritate them or make them worse and can make your job a lot easier.

Follow me on Twitter here and Instagram here (@anniemakeup).



British hair & makeup artist and designer Sian Miller has been a staple among British TV drama for over 20 years. Sian has worked on so many of Britain's most popular and long running shows; The Bill, Peak Practice, Holby City, Ashes to Ashes, Agatha Christie's Poirot and Miranda. She was also Makeup Designer for two of my favourite shows; the excellent Merlin and one of Britain's greatest shows, the ridiculously popular and at the time everyone's favourite show 'This Life'. Having recently finished working with Francis Hannon on three huge hollywood blockbuster films, the new Jason Bourne, Inferno and Now You See Me 2, Sian kindly took some time to tell me about her career and share some of her pro tips.

Snapshot of Sian's career

MANW: How did you start your career and what was the progression it took?
SM: I think I was always destined to do something artistic and after my A-Levels I completed a Foundation Course in Art and Design at Kingston Polytechnic, it was there that I developed my interest in sculpture and 3D design. I had a great tutor, a sculptor named Jim Dunkley, and he said to me "you draw like a sculptor and think like a sculptor" and I guess in a round about way that was the start of me becoming a make-up artist and hairdresser. I went on to take a BA Hons in Interior Architecture and Design at Trent Polytechnic but I found building regulation and construction lectures stifling and it was then that I had my Eureka moment! I thought about all that interested me: 3D Design, Film, TV, Fashion, Art and Photography and my mother suggested "what about being one of those make-up ladies at the BBC?" I contacted the BBC who said forget it unless you've been to the London College of Fashion, who in turn said forget it unless you've got hairdressing skills. I took their words literally and despite being told at every turn that it was a very competitive industry to break into I was firmly decided and forged my path ahead. I'd always imagined I could cut and dress hair as a form of sculpture and discovered that the Vidal Sassoon Academy offered a 9 month long intensive hairdressing course for beginners which took you to full qualification. I enrolled there and whilst training I applied to the London College of Fashion to take their BTEC HND in Specialist Make-up. I was so determined to get a place I took a GCSE in Human Biology at evening classes to satisfy all the suggested entrance criteria. My art and hair background paid off and I was offered a place.

The two year LCF course was amazing and from day one I applied myself with total dedication. Having been at Sassoon's gave me the opportunity to hone these skills and marry them up with all I was to learn about make-up, wigs and character. During my studies I had a job at the English National Opera in the evenings and a Saturday job at Toni & Guy. I was selected in the penultimate term of my last year, by the head of my course Marcia Patterson (formerly of the BBC and one time head of their training school) who had been approached about providing a graduate to become the first trainee on Thames Television's The Bill. I was absolutely thrilled to know that I had a full time job to go to the day after I graduated! 
That was 1992 and since then I worked primarily in Television Drama for most of the next fifteen years, gathering contacts along the way from job to job. I had a brief foray into Feature Films doing crowd work in the early days when the disciplines were still fairly split and I got hired as a Makeup Artist on some films and a Hairdresser on others. But I knew I wanted to work with actors and Television Drama offered me the opportunity to work with all my skills from the outset and to follow the story arc of the characters I was helping to create. In the early days I helped directors I'd met along the way on their short films and on one of these, Sam Miller (who'd been an actor on The Bill) found great success. He requested me as Hair and Make-up Designer on a series he was setting up called This Life and that turned out to be a pivotal point for me in my career. Over the years I have enjoyed going to and from assisting and designing without a preference, for me it's about the project and who I'm working with and chiefly who I can learn from along the way.

Since having my children I ventured back into dailies on feature films and for the last few years I have taken on main team opportunities in film, still occasionally working in television, although the money has stood still in TV for 15 years and that has to change. I still can't quite believe that it's been 24 years since leaving LCF and I've been very fortunate to have worked almost without interruption on some fantastic projects and with some brilliant hair and makeup artists and actors. Although the business has changed dramatically with budget constraints it's still a job I love and a business I love being part of.

MANW: You mainly work in TV and movies, including some special effects makeup. Did you ever want to work in fashion or beauty?
SM: No, I always wanted to work in TV and Film and that hasn't changed. Having said that, I was trained to be an all rounder and over the years I've created many beauty and fashion looks as demanded by the particular brief. But being part of the creative process that turns a story into a film is where I want to be.

MANW: Do you have a preference for the type of jobs and makeups you like to do, and do you prefer straight or effects makeup?
SM: No I don't really have a preference. Creating the look of a character and working with the actor is for me what it's all about and ideally with a really good script! Each new job presents a new challenge and that's what's so great about my business - the constant change. SFX is fun but likewise and I teach my students this at the Delamar Academy: contriving the simply uncontrived using makeup and hair is a great challenge but it often goes unnoticed, therefore without praise but we as make-up artists shouldn't dismiss its importance. SFX always results in a bit of the WOW factor with people but the less obvious makeup and hair required to create any character in any genre can offer just as much of a challenge in terms of design and makeup application. Just because the look isn't as noticeable doesn't mean it's not there! I do get a great sense of satisfaction creating any transformation whatever the brief.

MANW: You have worked on many huge movies as a daily, how do dailies differ and do you enjoy them?
SM: Dailies for me offer a hugely different experience. With crowd it's often more about the outlines than the details, with "bums on seats" becoming more of a priority and getting the crowd through the system, but it can offer a great opportunity to try things out with make-up and hair. As a daily I still want to achieve as much as is possible using the limited time and materials often available. You have to be quick thinking and resourceful and turn quality work out in a fraction of the time you may have in main team. Having said that it can be disappointing to find all the hard work of the crowd room often remains unseen in the final cut. As much as crowd work can be a lot of fun and without so much of the responsibility as experienced in main team, I ultimately prefer working with actors. But crowd offers flexibility in our working week that you can't get on main team. It's horses for courses at the end of the day.

MANW: What is the process of creating character looks and how much say do you have in the process?
SM: When I get a script I give it a thorough read at least twice before attending meetings with directors. According to the story and brief given by the director, and more and more these days by the producers (often lots of them!), I set to work on researching the looks for my characters. Prior to the internet I sourced information in various libraries and art galleries from the V&A, Wallace Collection, National Portrait Gallery, LCF to the British Museum and so on. I've collected a lot of valuable source material over the years including fine art portraiture books, photographic source books, cultural source books, magazines and so on. I will take visual ideas, including my own drawings, to meetings and once casting of the actors is in place the process enters a new phase. I firmly believe that it is very important to work with an actor when creating their character and as appropriate I incorporate their ideas into the mix. These days creating characters can become a kind of makeup design by committee, on some projects one will experience a fear of facial hair and wigs and even ban them! It is frustrating trying to counter these ideas and patience is key. Ultimately we are hired to provide a service to the client and we have to respect that process without getting upset about what things 'should' look like ideally. Having said that I've had plenty of opportunity to bring my ideas to the table over the years and properly collaborate with the director and that's so rewarding. As an assistant I've been fortunate to work with some great makeup and hair designers who like to work in collaborative ways where I've contributed to the creative process.

MANW: You have worked on and designed some legendary shows like Agatha Christie: Poirot, Ashes to Ashes, Holby City, This Life, The Bill.. can you tell us about some of the stand out moments of your career?
SM: Designing This Life for me was a wholly co-operative affair with the crew working together in harmony and one I'll never forget. From creating all the haircuts and makeup on the cast to appearing in the closing party scene of the last episode of series one it was a career high! When we filmed the first series we knew it was special but only when we started filming series two did it really take off as they repeated series one. It was the talk of the town and named by The Observer as the stand out TV series of the 90s. The number of careers both behind and in front of the camera that it launched are incredible. The Tony Garnett and World Productions school of film and television making is the one for me and I've been lucky to design two of his productions over the years, the other being No Angels. They mounted a retrospective of Tony Garnett's work at the BFI in 2013 and I went on the night they showed the first episode of This Life- the sense of nostalgia and pride 18 years after we'd made it was incredible. Tony was there and it was lovely to talk to him after all these years, a thoroughly inspiring man.

Ashes to Ashes was great fun. Creating the look for Alex, Keeley Hawes' character, was great fun. Two sets of small bendies every morning and full 80's glam makeup in 45 minutes! Working with David Suchet as Poirot has also offered me immense satisfaction. It's a great example of a makeup that doesn't look like there's much to it but believe me it's under the microscope. David won't mind me saying that he has eyes like a hawk and everything around him on set is under such scrutinisation in order to reflect Poirot's sense of perfection! Being Personal Hair and MUA to him offered me the opportunity to make his look as Poirot everything it could possibly be. Filming the last Poirot "Curtain" afforded me the opportunity to age him and create arthritic hands using Prosthetics. Ageing him with a different haircut and hair colour was integral to this look and a thoroughly satisfying process. He is the consummate professional and so respectful of our craft that it was a pleasure to be part of his team.

Recently working with Frances Hannon has been a highlight for me and I've just finished a run of three feature films back to back with her. She is thoroughly inspiring and really gets you to pull out your very best for whatever the brief is, I've been very fortunate to have played a part in her team. I've also had the opportunity to shoot in some amazing locations and see some wonderful sights through the course of filming, from category A prisons to flying over Victoria Falls in a helicopter to Las Vegas. The variety is incredible!

MANW: You've been in the industry a long time, how do you think it has differed and what advice would you give to new artists starting out?
SM: When I started 24 years ago, in television it was generally all about whether the newbies were "TV" trained. The BBC took entry into their last school in 1990, after that TV franchises were dismantled and staff jobs had disappeared by the mid 90s. Makeup Designers soon realised that they were going to have to recruit trainees from elsewhere and accountants realised that where once before a team may have consisted of three fully fledged MUA's now they would only offer a budget for two fully fledged and a trainee. At the same time the split discipline experienced in film between makeup and hair also started to disappear on UK based projects as accountants realised they could hire one person with both skills to take on both roles. Avenues of training to get into the industry blurred and altered and I'm not sure if it's harder now or different in terms of getting started. Granted there are too many course graduates for the number of jobs now but that's the same in any profession. 

My advice to anyone who wants to get started in the Film and Television industry is to get some hairdressing skills. One question that is constantly raised is " can you cut hair?" and by that we generally mean barbering. In a crowd room, on a period film with combined disciplines, a big part of what we do is period hair and wigs and the man's period haircut. Likewise to get into a team in TV as a trainee this will put you head and shoulders above your competition. Hairdressing skills and wig dressing are an invaluable string to your bow. I have run my own barbering course for beginners and refreshers and it's not surprising how much demand there is for these skills. 

Being slightly biased, because it's the route I took, I think honing your craft in TV drama is a great avenue in to the business. Yes, the allure of features is great but it may take you longer to get to main team, if that's what you want. It's entirely to do with where you see yourself in the business. I advise new MUA's to get noticed, there is undoubtedly an element of right place right time in some cases, but also how important it is to show initiative, common sense, maturity, good manners, discretion and the right level of enthusiasm, of course these things can't really be taught. And to keep in touch with new contacts, there's a difference between being pushy and being fresh in someone's mind, it's gauging it that's hard!

MANW: All artists have 'the wish list'; a face they would love to work on or a show or film they would have loved to have worked on. Mine would be Mighty Boosh and The Kenny Everett Show, I loved all the mad characters, but one of my current ones is Vinyl; the 70s glam hair and makeup and all that facial hair are fantastic. Who or what are yours?
SM: For me it's not so much a case of a face I'd like to work on, although I'm always seeing people both on and off camera that I think I'd like to make up, but more a case of actors I admire for their craft that I'd like to work with. Over the years I've been really fortunate to have worked with some mighty fine actors and that's a bonus! Films I'd liked to have worked on - WOW! Too many to do them all justice but for starters- any Coen Brother's movie, Peter Greenaway's The Cook The Thief His Wife and Her Lover, Moulin Rouge, Goodfellas, Boogie Nights, Cloud Atlas, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Singing In The Rain, Tootsie, Taxi Driver, A Room With A View.........

MANW: On to the good stuff, what are your tricks for flawless looking skin?
SM: Definitely a good cleansing and exfoliation routine. Hot cloth cleansers are great from Eve Lom through to Boots No. 7 - you can't go wrong with a fine muslin to get the skin well prepped for makeup. And a good Primer and moisturise of course.

MANW: What are your top 5 holy grail kit products? 
I still love and use regularly my Kryolan Derma Camouflage palettes for all sorts of correction and coverage. Make-up Forever HD Powder (one colourless powder that fits all). PPI's Add A Lash eyelash adhesive, it's brilliant. PPI Skin Illustrator Palettes, Light and Dark Fleshtone, SFX, REEL Hair and Brow Fix Palette by Marvin Westmore. Chanel Vitalumiere bases, Armani bases, Dior Skin Flash, Laura Mercier or Nars Primers. I'm also a big fan of the Boots No. 7 range of skin care- for the money it's really good. Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Creme, it sounds like a cliche but it's so versatile, although personally I hate the smell! Bumble and Bumble hair products. Sleek eyebrow
make-up is great value. I'm also loving Charlotte Tilbury's range. I'm also old fashioned and never go on set without my Kryolan Supracolour 12 colour grease palette, it can get you out of many holes at the last minute!

MANW: What's your best make-up artist tip to give women?
SM: Aside from following a good cleansing, exfoliating and moisturising routine, keep your eyebrows well groomed and opt for as sheer a look as possible. The more natural looking the more youthful looking the skin will be. Ultimately wear sunscreen and don't smoke! Preachy but true if women want to stay young looking for as long as possible.

MANW: Finally, false eyelashes - the longer the better or enough already they look ridiculous?
SM: Apart from character dictates that necessitate a full strip, I'm a big fan of individual lashes. You can enhance and build the lash-line in a far more subtle way without creating a 'false' look. I've just been teaching period makeup at Delamar Academy from 18C through to the 1980's and my students were tying out both. I think they soon realised that the more false the lashes you then have no where else to go! And as for the high street - there are some horrors out there, some of which may be improved with a little PPI 'Add A Lash' to at least help these girls stick them on properly! No, I'm not on commission! Like any fashion it's cyclical and I'm sure we will return to a less eyelashy look on our high streets before long!

You can find out more about Sian's work on her IMDB page or follow her on Twitter.

If you liked this interview and would like to read other leading industry makeup artists stories have a look at the rest of the series here.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...