Your best social media beauty! MAC Senior Artist Caitlin Callahan may spend several weeks each year working backstage during Fashion Week in New York, Paris, Milan and London, but it is in front of the camera that is changing how she applies makeup. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Periscope are all forcing pro makeup artists to rethink how they select and apply makeup. What worked in traditional photography no longer apply thanks to HD smart phone cameras with built in filters and editing software. I recently sat down with Caitlin to hear her thoughts on beauty for social media.
MAC Senior Artist Caitlin Callahan
Dave: To start, how has social media changed the way you do makeup?
Caitlin Callahan: It’s all about the photo now so I pay much more attention to detail. I also make sure I tell a “texture story” on the face – a little matte, a little gloss and a little shine. This makes a photo on social media look more life-like and interesting.
D: Is it true that after completing makeup for the red carpet, you often take a photo on your iPhone to spot any small mistakes?
C.C.: Yes, it’s a must! Especially since too much powder or too light of a concealer may not be obvious to the naked eye. A photo on a smart phone reveals these mistakes.
D: What tips can you give us for doing great makeup for selfies and Instagram?
C.C.: I still prefer a feature-focus makeup – choosing one feature as a star and the rest as backup. Keep your skin bouncy (moisturized and glowing) in places so the camera captures light reflecting off the skin and it looks natural. (I usually go back with a little Natural Radiance Primer and touch it on the cheekbones after a makeup is done. This is one of my pro tricks.)
D: What five MAC products look fantastic on social media pics? Are there any colours that really flatter and pop on a screen?
C.C.: Yes, here are my favourites: M·A·C Studio Waterweight foundation, M·A·C Strobe Cream, M·A·C Prep+Prime Highlighters, M·A·C Cream Colour Bases (Pearl, Shell, Bronze), ALL of the M·A·C Cosmetics Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolours. When it comes to selecting colour for different skin tones, I have some guidelines. For those with fairer skin tones, I love colors that imitate filters such as lavenders, pinks, & transparent soft pastels. On deeper skin tones, I love oranges, peaches, yellows and golds.
D: What common beauty mistakes do you see most often on Instagram?
C.C.: Too much makeup…tone it down people. That being said, I do love a fantastic over-done face, it brings out the 90’s in me….
D: How do you solve the problem of excessive sweating? I’m thinking Red Carpet appearances in hot temperatures in Los Angeles can be a problem.
C.C.: Absolutely! Start with a matte primer. That can help handle the sweat. Bring a tissue and blot it off before re-powdering. (I worked with an actor who used deodorant all over his face before premieres! He shall remain nameless.)
D: What are some of the tricks and tips you use for Red Carpet makeup?
C.C.: Keep it soft and light. Use colors that are found in the skin: peach, pink, yellow, brown, ivory. They photograph beautifully for a Hollywood glam look. If you have an edgier client, go for something bold. But it has to suit their personality.
D: What do you love most about beauty on Instagram?
C.C.: I love how much fun everyone is having with makeup. There are some incredible artists out there who would never have achieved the kind of attention they are getting. Never before have so many people wanted to be makeup artists – it’s like when we all bought Kevyn Aucoin’s books back in the day (x 1000).
D: Do all the Senior Artists backstage Instagram and photograph their work now? I bet this is a change even from just a few years before.
C.C.: We are all on instagram, I have to admit I’m one of the worst! I’m always forgetting to capture things and then my model runs away. I’m trying though! And I’m getting better! (@caitlincallahanmakeup).
D: What is your favourite backstage moment in your career so far.
C.C: There are so many! What fellow artists and I have witnessed would make quite a book! There was the time I dumped white powder on Rick Owens’ head by accident? (I didn’t know he was lacing shoes in the line up, and he was ever so sweet about it.) Or the hug from Val Garland last week in London. Or the champagne I shared with Inge Grognard in Paris. Watching a model beat up a photographer? (That wasn’t HIS favorite moment.) Vivienne Westwood coming to my makeup station, grabbing a black pencil and giving herself a black eye? That was amazing. I love my job.
Follow Caitlin on Instagram at @caitlincallahanmakeup and on Twitter at @MAC_Caitlin_C