As head of the makeup department for the Primetime Emmy Awards and Academy Awards telecasts, Bruce Grayson knows a thing or two about covering breakouts, adhering eyelashes, and keeping lipstick off teeth. "TV makeup is different because they are getting you from all angles and you are at the mercy of the lighting, as opposed to a still photo shoot where you control all that," he says. "[For television] they aren't lighting for you, they're lighting for the show."
Not only will he be working his magic on some of his celeb clients, who include Katie Holmes and Hayden Panettiere, Grayson oversees the team that takes care of the casts of the production numbers, the trophy girls, and some presenters. I got the chance to talk to him in the midst of his preparation for Sunday's show.
What do you think we'll see at this year's Emmys?
I think you’re going to see a lot of skin showing because it's September. I think sheerer lipsticks are taking the lead ahead of glosses; on HD, glosses can look too glossy. I think you’re going to see a lot of bronzers, a lot of false eyelashes, and really defined brows.
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What is the key to good television makeup?
Less is more. I use a lot of tinted moisturizer, like Olay Definity Color Recapture, which blends into the skin really well and has a glow to it. Glow is like the third dimension for TV. You can create that with highlights and shadow, but a little glow works best with HDTV.
Shimmer can be tricky though, right?
Shimmer in the wrong place can bring out wrinkles. You have to be careful placing a shimmer shadow. If you want to do a really good shimmer eye with real accuracy and you're worried about wrinkles, it's best to use a bone shimmer eye shadow on the lid. Don’t carry it too far on the browbone, where it can get caught in the smile creases around the eye. Stick with a powder — those shimmer sticks are almost like cream sticks. They are going to grab skin, grab lines, and be a little more textured than the powder ones. If you use them, use a brush to apply.
What are the other secrets to red carpet makeup?
Primer underneath makeup. You know how you have that one area of your face where makeup doesn’t want to adhere? Use it there, on the problematic areas. It will adhere to the makeup and give it more lasting power. You can’t control light on the red carpet, you are stuck with whatever and however you’re going to pose and how they got the shot. You want to be simple with eyeshadow, no complicated smoky eyes, simplistic things.
What do you do to touch someone up on the fly?
You have to be good at makeup, it’s all in being pro. You get one chance, and live TV can be the most terrifying of all media! Brow gel, lips — you want to do that checklist. If I travel with a celebrity, I take a look at them and say, "Smile at me, left, right, OK, stop. That’s where you need to powder, that’s where you need to touch up." I like Clean & Clear blotting papers and the ones made by MAC. I usually wrap them around a powder puff or a sponge. That will blot excess shine but leave a glow.
Do celebrities carry their own makeup in their purses on the red carpet?
Blotting papers, translucent powder, lip gloss, and lip liner. My team is on hand and watching for touch-ups. You can’t carry much in a cocktail bag!