Don't panic over Christmas presents..here are my pick of the best holiday gift sets for all ages and budgets. Whatever your price range there is definitely something excellent here for all.

Happy shopping!


Urban Decay Heavy Metals Palette £43
My Kit Co Electro Brushes Set £25 
Victoria Beckham Eye Palette Blanc Noir Gris Bordeaux £60 
StylPro Brush Cleaner £39.99 
Laura Geller All Over Glow Gift Set £35 
Amazing Cosmetics Photo Finish Gift Set 
Pro Fusion Pro Face Tin £8 


Evolve Organic Beauty Hydrate & Glow Christmas Gift Bag £30 
Sukin 3 Step Facial £15.99 
ELEMIS Mindful Collection Gift Set £38.50 
Lyonsleaf Face Saviour Gift Set £14.99 
Anne Semonin Red Carpet Ritual Gift Set £99
Morrocanoil Astonish Gift Set £34.70 
Neal & Wolfe Volume Collection £29.90 
Burts Bees Bag Of Treats £16.99 
Swiss Clinic Teeth Whitening £49 


Monsoon Rose Gold Perfume £24
Moroccanoil Treatment Ornament £13.45 
Tribe Skincare 100% Raw Organic Baobab Powder £12 
Tribe Skincare Organic Kalahari Melon Facial Oil £19 
Shiro Flaxseed Nail Polish £22 
Konjac Rudolph’s Nose Pore Refiner Sponge £6.99 
Rochelle Humes Hi Glow High Intensity Shimmer Oil £8.99 
Ainsel Lipstick £21 
Sisley Phyto Blush Twist £43 
Bilou Fizzy Berry Creme Foam £3.99 
Aquis Hair Luxe Hair Towel £30 

Show me what you get! You can follow me on Twitter here and Instagram here.



Trilogy Rosehip Oil £31.50/$34.13

Most blog followers know my love for natural products, I have a whole section on this blog for excellent all natural products, and my clients know my love of oils. This one really is one of the best you can get, genuinely this will be the best money you have ever spent. I have converted nearly all of my actors and celeb talent on to this Trilogy Rosehip Oil and everyone who has tells me how wonderful it has changed their skin. It is the real deal. Whatever the condition of your skin this oil will make it better, I promise you, and I don't make those promises lightly.

For dry skin this is exactly what you need (and drink water), sensitive skin, oily skin, any skin issues this will make it so much better. It will smooth skin, dramatically improve moisture levels, regulate sebum for oily skin, and minimise appearance of fine lines.. especially if they are dehydration lines (if you don't drink a lot of water they are always dehydration lines). The Omega oils and antioxidants in this oil are truly wonderful workers, your skin will look so much better, smoother, glowing and more radiant.

Use this under or instead of your usual moisturiser. It's very lightweight you can apply makeup on top and it wont slip. I use this on every single talent that sits in my chair, every. single. one. It also lasts a long time, you don't need much as it goes a long way and it's very good value for money. To the many of you who have written to tell me you bought something I recommended and it was a fantastic purchase, this is the next one to trust me and try. Enjoy the fruits of my experience!

In the US? You can buy Trilogy Rosehip Oil in US here.

You can follow me on Twitter here and Instagram here (@anniemakeup), I always like to hear if you've tried and loved any products.



Murad is one of my favourite brands, their products truly work, they'e functional, they do what they say and they feel luxurious, it is a really wonderful brand. All Murad products contain antioxidants, anti inflammatories and hydrators to prevent irritation, they never react on anyone and I trust them implicitly with every type of skin I have sat in my chair. Murad has a plethora of problem-solving products, they are a great brand to treat any particular skin concerns from acne through to hyper-pigmentation. The Invisible Perfecting Shield is just one of many excellent products from Murad that I love and rely on, and I will certainly blog about others at a later date.

But this product is one of my most used items in my kit, I use it on everyone for every makeup I do. The Invisiblur is an innovative anti-ageing treatment, primer, and invisible SPF 30 that immediately blurs and protects while combating the signs of ageing. It blurs fine lines and wrinkles and improves dullness and and uneven texture so i
t treats, blurs and protects all in one step, it's pretty incredible. It's lightweight with a matte-finish and a velvety texture that creates a lovely smoothness and texture on the skin that works on its own but works particularly best under makeup. The skin smoothing part works so well I'm always staring at my ladies on set thinking how young they look and it's down to this! This is an incredibly popular product among makeups artist for this exact reason, it's a wonderful product.

In the US? you can get Murad Invisible Perfecting Shield in the US here.

You can follow me on Twitter here and Instagram here (@anniemakeup), I always like to hear if you've tried and loved any products.



DHC Renewal AHA Cream  £38.50/ $42.50

Hi everyone, it's been a while since I blogged. as most of you know I had breast cancer last year and then another re-occurance a few months ago so I haven't had much head space for blogging, but I'm back with a long list of really wonderful products that I've been wanting to share for a while.

The first and most wonderful is this DHC Renewal AHA Cream. This is low level lactic acid exfoliator cream that you use at night as a night cream that does it magic as you sleep. It really works so well, you will wake up with much softer, smoother and brighter skin in the morning. They advise to use it once or twice a week, I say it depends on what your skin is like and when you feel you need it. I have been using this ad hoc whenever I feel like my skin needs a boost, or more truthfully when I feel trapped hairs around my chin (lovely) and it makes such a difference. It has a slight odd tingling feeling when you first apply it but that goes within a few seconds, and you don't need very much so it lasts a while which is my pet hate buying products that only last a few weeks. If you don't know about them DHC are a wonderful Japanese brand and one of my favourites. I love so many of their products, most notably the greatest mascara of all time (and I don't say that lightly!)

This renewal cream is a very low level AHA (Alpha hydroxy acid, the ingredient used in peels) so it wont cause any reaction or sensitivities like it would if you went for a peel, but it's certainly enough to make a lovely difference just from using something at home. They do advise wearing sunscreen for a few days afterwards but that's always good advice. (Here is a previous post from 2014 of my favourite sunscreen that I recommend, and my recommendations haven't changed since then). My one tip is don't use this around your eyes, the skin is too thin for any level AHA there and can make bags and wrinkles look bigger. I have been using this for a few months and I truly have raved about it to everyone, huge fan here! 

In the US? you can get DHC Renewal AHA Cream in the US here.

You can follow me on Twitter here and Instagram here (@anniemakeup), I always like to hear if you've tried and loved any products. 



It's that time again! Don't panic over Christmas presents..here are my pick of the best holiday gift sets for men and women of all ages and budgets. Whatever your price range, age or gender there is definitely something lovely here for all.
Happy shopping!


Show me what you get! You can follow me on Twitter here and Instagram here.



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

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

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.

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

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).
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