It Starts With Achieving Beautiful Skin...


Norn Bryn at workIn my new cosmetic tell-all, "Makeup & Misery: Adventures in the Soap Factory"( I also track the ongoing decline -- and reinvention -- of daytime soaps, change which seems inevitable in this age of new media and huge competition for audience attention. As I predicted, the latest casualty is "As The World Turns," the last of the Procter & Gamble sponsored serials after "Guiding Light" broadcast its final episode in September of this year. Procter & Gamble once had as many as thirteen soaps on the air, but they will bow out of the genre once ATWT ceases production in June, 2010.

At a holiday meeting of the makeup artists union here in New York, crew from "All My Children" announced they were  available for other work since AMC taped its last east coast episode in December before resuming production in Los Angeles in January 2010 -- our makeup and hair people will be replaced by Hollywood-based counterparts. That leaves "One Life to Live" as the sole survivor in New York, and it's anybody's guess how long that will last. In this column, I will follow new developments including the arrival of small internet soap operas which could well prove to be the future of the industry in the absence of excessive network overhead, which has helped drive the nails into the coffins of traditional daytime serials. Death is always sad, but in the entertainment industry it can also be a catalyst for rebirth.

But, on to "looking like a soap star!" Last time, I explained nobody does -- look like a soap star, that is -- without the help of skilled beauticians in the in-house beauty salon of the TV studio. But before the makeup goes on to effect the transformation, an actress must show up with the goods to start with--particularly healthy skin. We in the film and television end of the beauty trade are not Estheticians, strictly speaking, but it behooves us to know a good deal about skin care nonetheless -- including the separation of fact from fiction.

Years ago I saw a detective film called "P.J." starring George Peppard. The villain, played by Raymond Burr, was a Howard Hughs-type recluse whose ex-wife begged for more alimony in one scene. "Why, so you can buy more sweet-smelling mud to smear on your face?" Burr growls. "Believe me my dear, it's a losing investment!" A funny script, but that line of dialogue stuck with me over the years because, in a way, Burr's character summed up the basic sham of the skin-care racket.

Most of that "sweet-smelling (and costly) mud" will never penetrate your layers of skin to the extent necessary to do much good, as any honest dermatologist will tell you. Hydration -- essential to youthful skin -- is achieved from within, by drinking a good deal of water every day. Eight tall glasses is recommended; ask yourself when was the last time you downed eight glasses in a day?

Commercial moisturizers offer some use, but as I relate in "Makeup & Misery," one needn't spend a fortune for these limited advantages. I recommend good old-fashioned cold cream, like your mother used. You needn't spend more for a "name;" the house brand at any pharmacy will do just fine, particularly without fragrance or other unecessary additives. It is an excellent night cream and still, in my opinion, the best makeup remover out there. Many actors are so surprised by the cleanliness of their skin after I remove foundation with cold cream. "Gee, I spent so much on the other stuff!" they exclaim, sucked in by the big-ticket "hope-in-a-jar" mentality fostered by the marketing geniuses. I always carry cold cream in my kit, dabbing on just enough for the skin to absorb prior to the application of foundation makeup since actors often arrive with dry skin first thing in the morning.

I find Cetaphil is also good for this purpose, but you can find its house brand equivalent on the same shelf in any pharmacy also. Read the label on the back, compare the active ingredients, and save a few dollars on every jar. Remember, an educated consumer can look great on a sparse budget!

Besides adequate Hydration, the other major component of skin care is Exfoliation. We renew skin cells constantly, but unless the dead cells are scrubbed away they build up in invisible layers, suffocating the fresh skin underneath. Exfoliation is advisable in the shower three
times weekly using a mild abrasive. There are many good consumer brands available, and they needn't be expensive either. I use St. Ives Apricot Scrub myself--and I'm probably among the very few men who bother to cleanse their skin properly. Women tend to be much more familiar with issues like Hydration and Exfoliation, of course, and a reasonable regimen of skin care keeps many looking years younger--particularly those who avoid cigarette smoke and the damaging rays of the sun.

Tanning became a huge issue every summer during my years at "All My Children," and you'll read in "Makeup & Misery" about the battles between the producers and the cast, with makeup artists like me caught squarely in the middle as we struggled to maintain continuity day to day. It was very easy to fall out of favor with the actors if I took the producer's side of things, but the producers could fire me if I didn't! This made for a lot of conflict and much dish
in the pages of "Makeup & Misery ."

Next time, I will get into the basics of proper makeup application, beginning with the foundation, which is indeed the foundation of a good makeup job...

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 22 December 2009 11:38 )