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Mad Men Makeup

Behind-the-Scenes Beauty Secrets of Mad Men

Love Mad Men? You're not the only one — practically everyone at Sugar HQ is obsessed with this brilliant show due to its tight writing, great acting, and amazing style. Seriously, who wouldn't love to look like Joan Holloway? As the makeup department head of the show, Debbie Zoller is responsible for creating these sexy '60s looks, and she's been kind enough to share a few secrets from the set. Soon, I'll share her tips for recreating Joan's sex-kitten look, but to read about the world of Mad Men now,

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The '60s look is 100 percent authentic.
"I did a tremendous amount of research for both the first and second season of Mad Men. I used eBay a lot to order books and vintage magazines like Look, Life, and Ladies Home Journal. I designed the looks for the secretaries of Sterling Cooper from Sears catalogs and New York newspaper clippings from 1959 to 1962. I also asked members of my own family to send me photos from that period. Those were priceless!"

You won’t see any blue-ish lipsticks on the show.
"Because of the fluorescent lights in Sterling Cooper, I didn’t use any lipsticks or nail polish colors that had blue undertones. They popped out too much on film. I wanted everyone to look natural. I stuck to true reds, true pinks, and true corals."

For inspiration, Zoller looked at a famous Mouseketeer.
"Betty’s look is inspired from a book on Grace Kelly, classic perfection. For Joan’s character, I used a very famous red-headed model from that era by the name of Suzy Parker as inspiration. And for Peggy, I looked to famous young actresses like Annette Funicello to capture her naiveté."

Betty's lipstick speaks volumes.
"I pay special attention to Betty’s lips so when she speaks she feels like she’s being heard."

Everyone — everyone — on screen gets a specific look.
"The first thing that happens when I get a new script is a concept meeting with all of the department heads and Matt Weiner, the executive producer. He explains to us his vision and then we break off to do our homework and prepare. The costume designer and I will discuss color palettes for each character. Every actor, day-player, and background artist receives the same attention to detail. I then design their look from brows to lips to nails. Every actor, after they have been cast, comes in for a consultation with each department and then we do a test look. We take pictures and send them up to Matt for approval. The actors love it because they see the transition from current day to 1962. They are amazed at how they have been transformed in just a few hours."

Photos courtesy of AMC

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melhelsch melhelsch 7 years
I really want to get her different hair styles but am having a hard time finding pictures and how to's. can you help.
Glittersniffer Glittersniffer 7 years
Hooray for a period show that does its research!!!I wish I could pull off these looks, but things like red lipstick and liquid liner just don't suit me. Damn!
Glittersniffer Glittersniffer 7 years
Hooray for a period show that does its research!!! I wish I could pull off these looks, but things like red lipstick and liquid liner just don't suit me. Damn!
moisville moisville 7 years
Watching this show is like being in a candy store - so much to see! Joan's makeup IS stunning - so crisp-yet-sultry. And Betty is an impressive nod to the great Grace Kelly, no easy feat. Her hair is perfect, makeup (even her nails!) is stunning, and the tailoring of her clothes is impeccable. What a beauty.
hooligan hooligan 7 years
I love Joan's look! She looks gorgeous in reds, purples and pinks! The pen-like pendant she always wears seems to be a shout out to the head-secretary-in-love-with-the-boss character Nina Foch played in "Executive Suite."
k-squared k-squared 7 years
I always love the wonderful job they do on makeup and clothes on that show, especially since I know that is authentically based on that time period. The looks are classic :)
miss_gorightry miss_gorightry 7 years
This is awesome! I, too, love Betty's hair and look. All these women have such gorgeously styled hair and great lipstick.And yeah, I predict that Peggy is going to be a little more classy/glam from now on, because she kind of girlified her look after that sex kitten fling of Don's told her she couldn't be a man. Lol :)
miss_gorightry miss_gorightry 7 years
This is awesome! I, too, love Betty's hair and look. All these women have such gorgeously styled hair and great lipstick. And yeah, I predict that Peggy is going to be a little more classy/glam from now on, because she kind of girlified her look after that sex kitten fling of Don's told her she couldn't be a man. Lol :)
Tech Tech 7 years
I love the makeup on this show and it totally inspired to buy lipstick the other day. I would love to know what brands of makeup she uses on the actresses!
Angelica Angelica 7 years
This is a fabulous interview! I have been obsessed with the makeup on this show from the get go. It's flawless. Everyone's hair, makeup and color coordination puts our generation (and other tv shows) to shame!
CocoChic CocoChic 7 years
I'm always in awe of Joan's look. She looks fantastic!
hanako66 hanako66 7 years
she does wonderful work...I love the looks of this show!
jasmint jasmint 7 years
what a dream job!
jasmint jasmint 7 years
what a dream job!
Francoisehardly Francoisehardly 7 years
I actually liked Peggy's look when she was bailing out Don and that lady I do not like. I don't know what it was though that made me like her look more then. And I've been loving Betty's lipstick.
Brendelwoman Brendelwoman 7 years
I love, love, love Betty's hair and wish I could recreate the same looks. I tend to love Joan's make-up with the dramatic eyeliner. The woman is gorgeous. Last night I watched and it really was the first time I found Peggy to be pretty. Her make-up was very subtle; I could see a hint of liner. I do hope she'll ditch the ponytail soon! Maybe now that she is going to be an equal with Don we'll see the hair come down. Thanks for this post.
Brendelwoman Brendelwoman 7 years
I love, love, love Betty's hair and wish I could recreate the same looks. I tend to love Joan's make-up with the dramatic eyeliner. The woman is gorgeous. Last night I watched and it really was the first time I found Peggy to be pretty. Her make-up was very subtle; I could see a hint of liner. I do hope she'll ditch the ponytail soon! Maybe now that she is going to be an equal with Don we'll see the hair come down. Thanks for this post.
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