I love the brutal truth of HDTV. On old broadcast TV, everyone looked perfect thanks to thick layers of pancake, powder, and contour for definition. The muted gauze on the lens visibility meant you never saw the vast amount of makeup anyone wore.
As a frequent contributor during beauty and fashion segments for "The Today Show" and "The Early Show", the intensity of makeup that translated as normal onscreen always amazed me. It was easy to blank out all flaws from undereye circles to brow stubble (like hiding a lover’s glasses during sex since!).
Now, under the wicked eye of extreme clarity and magnified details of HDTV, you know who needs a brow or moustache wax, if they’re wearing gloss and lip pencil or just lipstick, and when they’ve traded their blush for bronzing powder.
I’m just fascinated with the new beauty strategy of TV journalists and I’m not alone. My friends think Katie Couric has the best eye makeup these days and I especially love Rachel Maddows’s makeup on MSNBC. I have been accused on many occasions (and especially during the recent presidential campaign) of paying more attention to correspondents’ hair and blush selection than to what they are actually saying.
My chum superstar makeup artist Sandy Linter tells me all the anchors including Diane Sawyer still wear strip fake lashes all the time. “It’s how they get through long days in the public eye without looking beat or tired.”
Now in February we switch from analog to digital; while not all digital transmissions are HD, even standard definition programs will look sharper when sent digitally. If you’re going on TV in the near future ("Deal or No Deal"? "Oprah"?), doing a Webcast, a YouTube video, or just taking holiday photos, here’s how to look as good as the pros:
• Get as much light as possible on your face. Shoot near a window if you’re indoors. If you’re photographed against a reflective surface like snow or a sandy beach, or use a flash, light will bounce off the skin and you’ll glow.
• Matte makeup is better than shiny, which plays up wrinkles and shadows. Wear primer under any foundation to fill in lines and make it last. Reapply it later over your makeup as a touchup instead of powder. I like Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer To Go ($ 36) or Revlon Beyond Natural Smoothing Primer ($13). New velvety matte foundation formulas like Giorgio Armani Face Fabric ($45), L’Oreal Cashmere Perfect Soft Powdercreme Makeup ($12.70) and Yves Saint Laurent Matt Touch Foundation SPF 10 ($48) are terrific too at keeping shine muted and grownup skin hydrated without the cakey look of 80s mattes. I like their longevity and light natural feel for everyday wear too when I want coverage that looks realistic.
• Keep makeup natural but enhanced so you don’t wash out. Wear brown or black eyeliner and black mascara to add depth and shape to the eyes, some pinky/peachy/apricot/coral blush (depending on your skintone) high on the cheeks for warmth, and fresh color on the lips like tawny pinks, roses, or peachy nudes. Skip metallic shadows, glitter glosses, and dark lipstick.
• If your eyes look tired, teary, or bloodshot, line your inner lower rims with a white pencil like Shu Uemura Eye Light Pencil White ($18) or e.l.f.Professional Eye Widener ($1.50) Keep your hair casual, down and around your face.
• Make sure the camera is at eye level and look just above it. If it’s lower, you’ll have a double chin; higher, a long nose. Project your chin out to elongate your neck. Close your eyes between shots and blow through your lips to relax your face. Think of puppies, not your credit card statement or ex, and smile like you’re the next cover shot for People.