A matte face is a lasting face:
“In Australia we tend to wear a lot less makeup because of the humidity, like a BB cream with a primer to even out the complexion,” explains Keshan, who has run Opera Australia’s Wigs and Makeup department for almost 25 years.
But for actors who need to look good on camera, it’s all about the cream foundation.
“The brand we use in theatrical circles is Kryolan,” he says, adding the veteran makeup brand is the go-to in theatre circles around the world thanks to its consistency, full coverage and fragrance-free ranges. “It acts as a concealer as well and that’s why we. Use, it because if we use something like a powder or liquid foundation it wouldn’t stand up to the lighting that we use as well.”
“It’s not perfumed and doesn’t cause skin reactions, which is another reason we use it. I’ve used it for concert performances and if I was doing a wedding, I’d use it too.”
Keshan said for those wanting to emulate the immaculate visages of 1950s screen sirens, Max Factor’s Pan Stik was the tool of choice and is still around today.
“When you look at the portraits of Lucille Ball and Elizabeth Taylor, they were all wearing Max Factor’s Pan Stik.”
No time for reflection:
Mattifying also extends to eyeshadows and contouring, with Keshan suggesting shimmer-free products for a long-lasting look that works well on camera.
“They haven’t got that shimmer and sheen in them, but to then bump up the makeup to make it more glamorous we’ll add a little bit of shimmer to highlight specific areas like the cheekbones and under the brow and on the eyelid for an evening look that’s going to catch the light without looking garish.”
More hair product is more:
Having to contend with foul weather and hot stage lighting means a light spritz of hairspray simply won’t cut it, according to Keshan.
For all-day hold, he recommends a firm hairspray or even a lacquer. “For lacquer, we use one that we’ve nicknamed “black death”,” he says with a laugh. “t doesn’t move. You just know that a singer can go out with confidence that no stray hair is going to blow into her mouth as she’s taking a deep breath to get out the next note.”
Fix your face:
He also suggests giving the face a light once-over with a non-irritating hair spray, which will give makeup an extra barrier against the elements.
“It’s a really old technique that’s good; I’ve done it for drag queens actually,” he says. “It just holds everything in place, and it’s even water-resistant. I’ve seen people go to dance concerts and the Mardi Gras and still have their faces intact the next morning at breakfast.”
Lips to last:
Glossy lipsticks have the staying power of a snowflake in an oven, so applying a good quality liner is essential according to Keshan, who has transformed the stars of productions such as Madama Butterfly and Turandot.
“It stops the spread of lipstick, so we line then fill the entire lip with the liner,” he says. “Most of the women on the Oscars red carpet, though will have a lip colour and a mirror on hand.”