CAMEO: THE FIFTY SHADES OF GREY MAKEUP ARTIST SPILLS HER SECRETS
Victoria Down on how she brought Ana’s character to life—and how you can create her looks with MAKE UP FOR EVER.
Victoria Down is a renowned movie makeup artist who has been working in the biz for nearly 30 years. Recently, she offered her talents to one of the most hotly anticipated films of the year, Fifty Shades of Grey. Now you can channel Anastasia Steele yourself with a Tease Me Lip Set, Desire Me Cheek Set, and Give In To Me Makeup Kit from a new MAKE UP FOR EVER and Fifty Shades of Grey collaboration. Here, Down gives us the inside scoop on her makeup movie magic. KELLEY HOFFMAN
How did you use makeup to help tell Ana’s story?
Ana transforms as a character and so the makeup had to go with it. She starts as an innocent girl, not interested in makeup or clothes, and later becomes a manicured, sophisticated beauty. So the makeup transformed with her.
How did you create Ana’s more natural looks?
We wanted her to look fairly makeup free and that, of course, is something that is rather tricky. So I started with a very light foundation, which I mixed with a moisturizer, because it gives it more of a glow on camera and it thins it out so it doesn’t look like she’s wearing a lot of makeup. From there, I left her eyebrows alone in the first part of the sequence when she was most innocent, so that they weren’t incredibly tweezed. In fact I drew in tiny, tiny little hairs just to make them a little fuller, a little less groomed—and it gave her a bit more of a youthful, innocent look. She did get a little mascara initially. We also curled her lashes and used a little smoky and taupe-y eyeshadow colors around her eyes, smudged in around the lash line.
The most important part was both the cheeks and the lips. For the cheeks, I used the cream pinky, rosy colors because I feel they can be blended throughout the cheek and even the forehead, chin, and jawline so that it looks like blood coming from under the skin. It looks like some light blush and not paint—because we didn’t want her painted. And she had only a touch of berry lip color with just a small amount of lip balm to give it shine, because the entire focus of Christian Grey was her bottom lip. So we had to have that lip be not so noticeable in the beginning and then become richer and more colored as the movie went on.
Can you describe how the makeup evolved when creating Ana’s more sultry looks?
We wanted to stay true to the script, to the book, and to what people expected as well as the actors’ and directors’ opinions of how that transformation happens. For those of us who have read the book, there’s a point where the character of Christian starts to dress her. She’s no longer in her jeans and her flip-flops and all those ‘girly’ things. Suddenly he has a manicured, put-together woman. So there was a large transformation in Ana’s makeup look in the film. She had to be a woman suddenly. She became more manicured; her eyebrows were shaped differently; her eyes became a much heavier, smoky kind of look; and the lips, which again are the focus of half of the script, were really pumped up—way deeper in the berry tones with a lot of sheen just in the center so when the light hit it you’d get a little glint in the bottom center of her lips.
I contoured her face slightly differently too, made her cheeks stronger, and her jaw stronger. I gave her a sudden bout of maturity that made it very different from the beginning of the film. She was softer, rounder in the beginning with the taupe colors and the light berry lips and bit of mascara. And then, all of a sudden, she had eyebrows, she had strong eyes, which really worked with her eye tone, more sculpted cheeks, and a rich, deep berry lip. It really threw Ana into a whole different sphere.
What’s the easiest way to add passion to an everyday girl’s look?
Get out of the norm. Don’t use your usual. Look at the magazines. Look at what’s current and go with the fashion of the day.
In my mind, smoky eyes are everything. If you want to look a little more sultry, you get that color on your eyes, you smoke them out, you stick some liner, you add some more mascara, and you brighten up your lip color. Just sex it up a bit.
Tarte - Kiss Bliss Tarteist™ Creamy Matte Lip Paint & Crayon Set (cost: $46; value: $70)
Most of these are lipstick sets. I think that any makeup lover will be over-joyed with new lipsticks. Some of these sets include full sized lipsticks too! And these deals are incredible based on the actual value. I am most excited for the Tarte blush palette. I absolutely love the blush formula, and this palette has such a great variety of colors. Lorac and Tarte are killing it this year with the holiday sets.
I did not include any Too Faced eyeshadow sets. From experience, these shadows do not have the same formulation as their other shadows (ones not included in holiday sets). I spent lots of money last year on their eyeshadow set, and instantly regretted it. The eyeshadows were chalky, difficult to blend, and over half of them were not pigmented enough.
I have more favorites, so like this post if you’d like to see a Part 2!
Is there any makeup that you’d like to see under the tree this year? Are you thinking about a gift for a friend or family member? I can make more recommendations in my messages. Feel free to invade my ask box ❤
Benefit has this awesome gift set with 6 almost full size blushes and lil watts up illumator for only $36!!! I’ve been wanting to try the rest of their blushes so this is perfect for that, packaging is kinda bulky and annoying so I think ill depot these.
Loracs royal collection lip glosses, I usually hate lipgloss sets because I typically only use one color and the rest are either thrown away eventually or given away but alllll these colors are soooo perfect. There’s a perfect nude, a pinky nude, dusty rose, peach-coral nude, hot pink, and a nice crisp ruby red. This set was $26! All full size glosses too!
Lorac alter ego lipstick in socialite, perfect matte nude color sooo excited about it.
Lorac tantalizer, I used to have mini one and it’s just such a beautiful luminizer/bronzer, it looks gorg on tanner skin.
UD naked illuminated, I have the aura and got this one because idk it’s really pretty and it was an impulse buy.
NYX matte bronzer, been wanting to try it out for awhile and always forget to pick it up.
NYX wicked lashes, they were on display and idk wanted to try.
NYX blush in rose garden, just a pretty rose pink with slight shimmer
NYX lip liners in ever and natural, both nude liners
And got a mini japonasque lipstick yay!
Just realized how many face products I got haha! I’ll post some close ups of certain products:)