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Your Best Social Media Beauty

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

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.

mac waterweight foundation

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.

beauty model backstage

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.)


mac retro liquid lipsticksD: 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.


mac prep and primeD: 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….

model backstage

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.)

model with iPhone

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.

mac prep and prime fix+ spray

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).

models and iphone

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


  • Reply
    Megan Kelly Botha
    May 2, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    Such a cool article. I always exaggerate my makeup to show up on camera.

  • Reply
    April 15, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    i love your job,too Dave!!!thank you for the tips! @kerel2

  • Reply
    April 14, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    that’s so interesting to use a picture to spot any flaws


  • Reply
    Despoina Iordanoglou
    April 14, 2016 at 2:43 am

    Great tips thank you @ despoinaiordano

  • Reply
    Melissa de la Croix
    April 14, 2016 at 1:27 am

    So interesting! I also find that when doing blog photos I have to work my makeup differently to get the look to show up on camers.

  • Reply
    April 13, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    Love these tips. Great article.

  • Reply
    Mary Kehoe
    April 13, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    I will start now, I never thought of doing a selfie first. I’m hating the pictures of recent holiday, not enough makeup and I look so pale and washed out

  • Reply
    April 13, 2016 at 9:53 am

    GREAT stories!

  • Reply
    Rozeena Karim
    April 13, 2016 at 8:57 am

    Thanks for sharing Dave. Live to hear and read about behind the scenes. Love Mac.. I bought 4 of those lipsticks.. Hehe..

  • Reply
    April 13, 2016 at 8:03 am

    What a great article! I love hearing about the behind the scenes excitement!

  • Reply
    April 13, 2016 at 7:50 am

    WISH I HAVE THE $$$ ? YOU ??? ☁️☁️☁️ ✨✨✨ ALL ROUND YOU

  • Reply
    Louisa Santoro
    April 13, 2016 at 7:09 am

    I love these makeup tips for selfies and Instagram photos. Going to have to try them out. Thanks Dave????

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