Makeup for HDTV: Looking Your Best on TV

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The purpose for all makeup is to enhance your best features and minimize your flaws. Unlike television of old, high definition television does not require the thick pancake makeup, dark contouring or dramatic applications. Nor will everyday street makeup create flawless looking skin.

A professional makeup artist, studied in HDTV, can tailor your approach guided by your coloring and bone structure. For personal application, the following is a guideline to the products and application techniques you will need before you appear on HDTV.

Men and women alike require a foundation, concealer and blush/bronzer for any HDTV appearance. Women (and some men) will also need eye makeup and lip color.

Aptly named, the foundation selected for on air appearance is the single most important element in creating a pleasing look.

The allover face makeup used in HDTV differs from daywear. Even the most flawless complexions should not attempt to go barefaced. Makeup for HDTV should cover the entire face, neck, hands and any other exposed skin. Attempting spot application will appear just as that…spots!

The two formulations of makeup to date which best serve HDTV are airbrush and mineral powders.

Airbrush makeup is the choice of most professional television makeup artists. The coverage is complete and flawless. Applying airbrush makeup requires a compressor-like machine. Makeup is applied in seconds, evenly and completely. Tiny molecules of either water based, alcohol, polymer, or silicone based foundation is sprayed through a medium to fine airbrush nozzle onto the skin.

Complete airbrush systems with a low pressure compressor (about 10 psi) range in price from $120US to $1,000US or more.

Television anchors, hosts or frequent TV guests would benefit from this investment. Use takes a little practice, but it is easy to master. The flawless appearance pays for itself.

“Airbrush” makeup in an aerosol can is available at many price ranges. This make-up works quite well for occasional application. However, following manufacturer’s instructions to apply to the hand and then to the face can lead to streaking. Direct spraying on to the face is not recommended by most manufacturers, or by this author. This product is inexpensive, and can produce acceptable results.

Airbrush makeup can correct flaws, hide tattoos and cover rosacea, port wine and similar skin blemishes.

The other option for HDTV quality foundation is mineral powders. This is the easiest makeup to master for amateur application. Skin tone shades are applied via a kabuki brush, a stub handled thickly bristled brush.

Application involves buffing the powder into the skin, which creates a soft matte appearance. Shine on HDTV is glaring, distracting, and reminiscent of the flop sweats on Broadcast News.

The actual application uses a surprisingly small amount of powder to achieve coverage. Minor to moderate skin imperfections can be hidden without creating a chalky appearance.

The only caution in selecting a mineral powder makeup is the mica content. Mica is a light reflector, and can create unflattering reflections on the skin. Test any mineral powder under a strong light or in bright sunlight. If the powder appears to “sparkle”, choose another brand with less reflectivity.

Poorly applied makeup is a distraction (remember Al Gore’s imitation Reagan makeup during the first George W. Bush presidential debate?)

Adjusting the makeup formulation and application before standing in from of a high definition camera can create the appearance you need to allow your message to be heard.

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