Geoff Stafford meets BBC make-up designer Julie Vincent
If your actors look spotty, shiny and unattractive on screen, then perhaps they need a little make-up. But where do you start? I visited BBC North-West to find out.
The location: the BBC's Liverpool studios; a hangar-like building on the Mersey Docklands, filled with outside broadcast lorries and portacabins, one of which is the make-up room. The programme: On The Waterfront, the Saturday morning children's show. The expert: make-up assistant Julie Vincent, acting as make-up designer on this programme.
In her ten years with the BBC, Julie has worked on a wide variety of programmes: from Hi De Hi to The Sword Divided and Top of the Pops. She chatted with me as she busily made up actor Andrew O'Connor.
"We put make-up on people on programmes like the news, so that their skin has a good finish to it," Julie told me. "It takes away the shine. Lights in the studio do put a lot of glare on the face, so the majority of people do need something."
Julie studied my haggard features for a moment (the result of too many late nights trying to meet magazine deadlines). "If you came to be interviewed on television, I'd probably use a very light base on you, hiding any blemishes or bags under your eyes with a colour corrector, usually slightly paler than your own shade of skin. Then I'd powder lightly with a loose powder on a puff and finally dust off any excess powder. We don't put very heavy make-up on men for normal interviews.
"We have some anti-flare creams which stop the shine on the skin. Sometimes, if a man has a good complexion, with no blemishes, you just need a little of this on the temples, which pick up light. The creams we use can be bought from a shop in London called Cosmetics a la Carte.
"Every person has a different tone to their skin and now there are lots of make-ups for Black or Asian skins. Shades of Black comes to mind, Fashion Flair is another."
Julie's own impressive array of brushes and cosmetics were laid out neatly in front of the mirror. "People think we use very heavy make-up, that's a fallacy," she told me.
"In television, the camera is very critical and goes in close, so make-up must be applied quite lightly and it must be well applied. In fact, we use ordinary make-up of the kind you might buy in any of the department stores. We all have our favourites, make-ups which sit well on various skins, such as Clinique or Elizabeth Arden. We use Max Factor face powder a lot and Clinique."
Does that mean that women can wear their own everyday make-up in a similar interview situation? "If it's well-applied, then certainly," says Julie. "If a lady has a nice skin, then she might not need a foundation on, just a bit of shaping to her face. A little shader or blusher just to highlight the cheekbones."