Viewers of season four of The Voice have seen some major changes in front of the camera: Shakira and Usher have taken over for Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green. But one thing that’s remained the same is behind the camera—Darcy Gilmore is still holding it down in the makeup department. As the head of makeup, Gilmore’s in charge of directing her team of artists and working with each contestant to achieve their star-worthy looks. Here, she lets us in on what it’s like to work on the hit show plus shares insider tips that you can use for yourself (no singing required).
What’s the atmosphere like backstage on The Voice? Do you get a lot of time to sit down with each contestant and figure out his or her look?
“Well, actually, we begin prepping long before they come back once the coaches have selected their teams. So, we already have an idea in advance of what we want to do as far as changing their looks and updating their looks. And we’re coming back now this week and shooting what’s called ‘the battles.’ So at this point, it’s a pretty big push into a new look. At least 50% into a more polished, artist look. So we’ve already done a lot of the footwork before they even walk in the door. And then as far as backstage goes, it’s pretty hectic but scheduled. It’s very calculated. There are no accidents when they actually get on TV completely camera ready. It’s completely organized.”
So does each contestant have a strong opinion of what they want their vibe to be based on their music style or do they kind of give you room for creativity to help them create their look?
“I think it’s 50/50, actually, because a lot of these artists already have been A&R’d [Artist & Repertoire] from other companies and a lot of these artists have had an image created for them. Once you start speaking to someone, it’s very clear how much is their own image and how much has been created for them so we’re very sensitive to that, and to where they want to go. I think people who are the most versatile with their looks benefit from our team, from the makeup, hair and wardrobe.”
Do you have any special insider tricks for making up their faces under such bright lights? Is their any highlighting or contouring?
“We have a laundry list of tricks that we won’t tell. But we will say that every inch of the skin gets covered with makeup including their hands and eyes and ears. They are polished and primed. It’s a very elaborate makeup application and we use several different companies, which we are blessed to be supported by. It’s super interactive. I’m really lucky because my team and I have such a good friendship on top of the work relationship so we’re always sharing secrets. And if somebody really likes a product then they buy seven of them and we pass them out to each one of the girls. It’s like a community. It’s almost like a sisterhood. It’s really great.”
Can you share any tricks for the average person who just wants to look great in pictures?
“Well, all of the products that we use, anybody can buy. We use a combination for body. We use Carlene K Cosmetics. She works for my team and she has her own body bronzer. It’s super simple to use. And if you want to break it down, you can use a moisturizer with it to cut it in half and then apply it. I would also suggest layering. Layering is a big thing we do so use a concealer and then face makeup, and then a matte powder all the way down the neckline. The number one makeup mistake is the face not matching the body. So you really have to marry the two. And I find that makeup transfers onto the wardrobe so I like to set it with powder. Get a big fluffy brush and bring that all the way down the neckline. That way there is no demarcation. That way you also don’t see makeup; you see just a flawless skin.”
What’s your favorite product to use?
“I love powder. I’m just a powder fool even though people are really afraid of it. Nowadays, powders are not the same as they use to be. I don’t think you have to be afraid of it. In fact, you can do an entire makeup of powder on men, which I love. A lot of our guys just get that. And that’s something to talk about there because a lot of men are afraid to wear makeup but if they get the right powder you literally can’t see it. I love Girlactik, too. I’ve been using the Sparkle Sets ($20, girlactik.com) and their Eyeliner ($19, girlactik.com).”
If you only had two minutes to do one thing to a contestant or client, what’s the one thing you would add to their look?
“If they have good skin, I’d probably use Stila Convertible Color ($25, stilacosmetics.com) because you can use that on the lips and cheeks. You have to have multipurpose products.”
I usually opt for shimmery nude shadows for my everyday look—they’re subtle yet they still highlight and define my eyes. Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Color Eye Shadow in Shimmering Taupe ($19, elizabetharden.com) is a perfect go-to shade. The gray-brown color coordinates with nearly every blush and lipcolor combo imaginable and the soft pearlescent finish has just the right amount of sophisticated sparkle. I use it all over my lids, or along my crease to add depth to my look.
I stumbled across this eye makeup gem while perusing how-to makeup YouTube videos. No matter who I was watching, from young girls to seasoned pros, nearly everyone seemed to be using this shadow primer, so I had to try it. I did, and I haven’t stopped using it since. It sounds dramatic to say that the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Eden ($20, urbandecay.com) can change your life but it comes pretty darn close! It transforms any shadow into a super long-wear, totally crease-free color. I put it on in the morning—yes, it’s an extra, but worth it, step—and my makeup doesn’t budge all day. I tap it on my lids and up to the brow bone until I feel it dry down to a matte finish then I layer over my regular eye shadow. I’ve even started using it under my eyes as well to help hold my concealer in place.
Neutrogena celebrity makeup artist Amy Oresman helps stars like Molly Sims, Zoe Saldana and Bridget Moynihan stun on the red carpet. We asked her to share insider secrets so you’ll be party-ready for any occasion this holiday season.
Go Back to Basics
“Create an everyday look that works for you. You need foundation, blush or bronzer, eyeliner, mascara and a lip color. These are what you put on everyday and just go. For a nighttime look, you just add more of your daytime basics. Many women mistakenly believe they need two sets of makeup and two different looks for day and night. You don’t; you just need to take your signature look and boost it a bit. One of my favorite products to add to my basics is the Neutrogena Healthy Skin Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 15 ($13, neutrogena.com). It’s one of the best primers I’ve used. It goes under your foundation but it also works as a highlighter. I use on top of makeup all the time. It has optical diffusers, so I love it as a highlight under the brow. I’ll even dab it right over shadow on the lid. It gives that beautiful glow without any shine.”
Think Subtle Sparkle
“Women are especially drawn to glitter during the holidays, but you only want to use it as a liner, not as eye shadow. It should never be on your lid. Just use it over your black liner for that accent of glitter. You could pick a gold, you could pick a green, but it should always be a whisper. If it’s anything more than a whisper it looks costume-y. It should never be your focal point. Obviously, if you look like your Christmas tree, you’ve gone wrong!”
Pump Up One Feature
“Do all your beauty basics, then add your accessory piece. That could be a winged liner that could be glitter or that could be a red lip. There are a lot of fun elements to try. I think women always want to feel classy and elegant but they want to have that moment of trend, but yet they don’t want to be trendy. So for me, if you stick to the beauty basics and add an accent like a bright lip, you always look put together. It lets you save a lot of money, too because you just add that one extra piece that you like.”
“One of the best things you can pack in a clutch is the Neutrogena Revitalizing Lip Balm ($9, neutrogena.com) because you can use it as your blush and your lipstick and it’s tiny! I’m really about double duty beauty. Swipe it on the apples of your cheeks and blend in with your fingers and then use it on your lips. And, of course, pack mascara. I don’t pack powder; there’s a bathroom everywhere you go, so you can blot yourself in the bathroom. Tissue is a great blotter. Plus, if you’re wearing a primer, you don’t’ need to continually put powder on your face. That’s another one of the biggest mistakes women make. Powder is not really your best friend.”
In the October issue of FITNESS (on sale tomorrow!), we have a must-read feature all about sensitive skin, which is perfect for the 60 percent of American women who say they have complexion irritation. We feature a couple of fantastic makeup products that will help you fake flawless skin, but you should also try these incredible makeup tricks from Emily Kate Warren, a makeup artist in San Francisco and New York City.
Time to prime. If you have red patches, instead of trying to cover up all of the ruddiness with a concealer, simply pick a primer in a yellow or green tint. The tint will help tone down these areas so they’re not so obvious. Next, use tinted moisturizer all over, then spot cover with a yellow-toned concealer to camouflage as needed.
Don’t fight it. Leave the natural redness in your cheeks and simply sweep a matte, pale pink blush on the tops of your apples. Similar to embracing your hair’s natural texture, it’s more flattering to play up your natural rosiness on your cheeks. Just apply it lightly–the more you swipe, the more you’re going to make your cheeks look red.
Tell us: What are your makeup tricks for sensitive skin?