Creating the Makeup Effect for a Greaser Inspired Shoot

By Natalia Zurawska, professional makeup/hair/spfx artist

Although I have been involved in a number of great projects over the years, one of my recent favorites was a greaser-style shoot with the rock band, Hedley. Besides working with Hedley, one of the things that made this shoot so special was a top notch team including Matt Barnes (photographer), Courtney Boyd (producer), and Dwayne Kennedy (wardrobe stylist).

There is a lot that goes into the production of a large-scale photo shoot. Time is money and the shoot must run smoothly. Communication is very important, so budgets, looks, location and scheduling were all discussed at a pre-production meeting for this shoot took place. At the end of the day, we needed to put together a well-executed shoot and produce something awesome.

At the pre-production meeting, Matt Barnes explained the lighting, how the shots were going to be organized as well as what looks he liked for us to go with. From my end, I relayed to the producer my requirements that all of the models come with clean, dry hair, no makeup and no nail polish.

Image Courtesy of www.mamamia.com.au

The theme for this photo shoot was very “Greasers” inspired. Once learning about this, I researched a lot of 50’s looks that would compliment the concept. I also needed to go with great looks that could be done in the shortest amount of time with lasting power as there were 3 locations and some of the shots were outdoors. I watched the movie “Grease” for reference.

On the shoot day, Dwayne, the models, Hedley, and Courtney all got organized. Since all the shots were group shots and everyone was a “hero” (no background talent), it meant we all had to work well and quickly as a team. Dwayne would take certain models and dress them while I started on hair.

Hot roller sets for this shoot were essential. They heat up quickly and are very easy to put into the hair. Also, while the hair sets, I am able to start on makeup. Adding mousse and hairspray before setting the hair not only protects hair from heat, it makes curls last and gets rid of frizz. Using different sizes of rollers creates different textures, all while fitting into the “Greasers” theme perfectly. Smaller sized hot rollers are perfect for short hair while larger sized rollers are perfect for longer hair. I use Conair© (www.conair.com) hot rollers and TRESemmé (www.tresemme.ca) mousse and hair spray.

I also like to make sure the hands, skin, and feet (if showing) are perfect. I quickly painted the nails red to complete the look while the hair was setting before starting on makeup application. “I’m a Waitress” by O.P.I (www.opi.com) was the perfect shade for the nails.

For a 50’s inspired look, a paler complexion looks great. Since some of the shots were outdoors on a summer day, I made sure to apply sunblock as sunburns can develop quickly. Applying sunblock first allows time for it to get absorbed into the skin. I prefer sunblock from Dermalogica® (www.dermalogica.ca). If the model has great, pale skin, I tend to add as little makeup as possible as I really believe in “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” A little bit of concealer under the eyes goes a very long way. If extra coverage is needed, Face Atelier Ultra Foundation Pro (www.faceatelier.com) is my go to for flawless results. I dot on a little concealer after foundation and blend, in order not to wipe it away. Powder is always a necessity to reduce shine. It is also important for setting the foundation and concealer. I typically go with Cover FX (www.coverfx.com) for powder.

Brows are groomed, shaped and stray hairs are tweezed if needed. I then fill them in if necessary and make them look as symmetrical as possible. I love Gimme Brow by Benefit (www.benefitcosmetics.com).

Image Courtesy of The Huffington Post

Dita Von Teese was a great example of the makeup and hair we wanted to fit the theme of the shoot. I always apply a primer or concealer on the eyelid. It helps makeup stay put for hours. I then begin to apply a neutral eye shadow to the lid. The lightest shade of eye shadow will go in the inner part of the eyes as it really makes eyes pop. The darkest colour of eye shadow is applied to the outer edges of the eyes. False lashes are a necessity for this look. I apply them as close to the eye line as possible and finish with eyeliner. I used eye shadow (Vanilla, Semoa Silk, and Brun) and Eyelashes (#20) by MAC (www.maccosmetics.com). For eye liner, I used the “Noir” color from Crème Eye Liner by Laura Mercier (www.lauramercier.com).

A little blush on the apples of the cheeks balances out the whole look. I used the radiance blush in Romantic Rose from Elizabeth Arden (www.elizabetharden.com).

Red lips are a must for this look. To make sure the lipstick stays pristine, I apply a red lip liner all over the lips, followed by lipstick in the same shade. I make sure the lips are symmetrical and filled in using a lip brush as it provides a lot more control and keeps everything hygienic. Using a little bit of powder around the mouth sets the makeup and prevents lipstick from bleeding. I used MAC’s Russian Red (www.maccosmetics.com).

The rollers are taken out last and hair is brushed and sprayed. I use bobby pins and a few accessories to perfect the style.

In the diner shot, a litte bit of “theatrical dirt” adds to the look. Grease and glycerin and water are used to create the look of sweat on the cook.

Hedley was groomed with a little sunblock, concealer and powder. Hair was styled to perfection. Tattoos are emphasized by using a little bit of baby oil gel. John Travolta in “Grease” was a perfect reference for the look they wanted.

Once makeup, hair, nails and the body are all completed, I create a touch up kit to bring with me on location. I like to keep brushes and makeup in different Ziploc bags to keep everything hygienic. I also include hairspray, bobby pins, brushes, sunblock as well as covered straws (prevents lipstick from smearing when drinking). Bringing little fans when it is hot does wonders to keep everyone happy.

While Matt worked his magic behind the camera, I did touch ups as needed . Once the shoot was wrapped, I made sure everyone got a wipe or some face wash.

All and all, the shoot went really well and the final images turned out great.

Happy Shooting!

Natalia Zurawska (Makeup Artist) – www.colourchameleon.com
Matt Barnes (Photographer) – www.thatsthespot.com
Courtney Boyd (Producer) – www.kithandkin.ca
Dwayne Kennedy (Wardrobe Stylist) – www.thecollections.ca/dwaynekennedy
Hedley – www.hedleyonline.com

Greaser Style Shot with Hedley in front of Orange Building

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