I’d like to take you behind the scenes of a Harper’s Bazaar India shoot for which I used an entirely “green” makeup kit to prepare the models in an opulent and fantastical location set in in Italy’s breathtaking Lake Como.
Our team of amazing and creative professionals woke up earlier than the sun did to meet up at the Four Seasons hotel lobby in Milan. We then drove for 2 hours in a caravan of black Mercedes to Villa Erbe.
Suitcases of clothes, makeup and supplies poured out of our caravan of cars and we worked quickly to unload and prep for the first shot of a 16 page spread, that had to be completed before sunset.
In addition to myself (the makeup artist), photographer, the hair stylist, the producer, the fashion director, and various assistants, we also had 5 models, a cat, 2 dogs, all their trainers and handlers (for the animals, not the models), an antique car (with driver)!
Suffice it to say that it was an incredibly busy day with a fair amount of time pressure. My particular challenge was not only in preparing all these models fast, but also dealing with sky-high August heat, without the relief of air conditioning in the villa.
How far can a green kit go?
I get questioned about the durability, wearability and functionality of natural makeup all the time. It definitely continues to be an exploratory path which takes quite a bit of effort seeking out and trying out safe makeup that works as well as I need it to. I’m not going to lie, it would be MUCH easier for me to whip out the industry standards, slap it on and go, but then I wouldn’t be practicing what I preach. Moreover without this continued effort, I couldn’t offer my green beauty fans truthful information about what really works in the realm of natural.
Since most people are curious to know what’s in my kit, I remembered to take a snapshot of the creative chaos that was my makeup table during our day of shooting. Below you can see what my main go-to items were on that day. Since I mix and dabble between everything, it’s kind of impossible for me to tell you which colors I used. The brands pictured here Alima Pure, Couleur Caramel, Dr. Hauschka, Jane Iredale, Primitive, RMS Beauty, Shobha and Youngblood each have some stellar products I love using.
Some disclaimers: If you are a hard-core naturalist, you may balk at the Youngblood brand because they use quite a few synthetics in their products. Being totally honest, it’s one of the few brands I use that isn’t entirely natural but I do consider it to be green enough. Youngblood still has a much cleaner line than other major players on the market and I feel great about using them for certain items which require some synthetic magic, rather than reverting to the totally unclean lines.
The only other thing you’ll notice on the table that’s definitely not green is a tube of Duo eyelash glue; a necessary item for every makeup artist that has no natural alternative at this point.
Even under the conditions of sticky, humid, August heat and a rapidly ticking clock- the natural, non-toxic makeup I used stood up astonishingly well throughout a whole day of shooting and looked as glamorous as the story called for.
My heart-felt gratitude goes out to everyone who brought their creativity and expertise to set. Though we were exhausted and over-heated after a full day of shooting, we still had it in us to be goofballs for a final group shot!