September 6, 2013 7:21 pm

Beauty in high definition

Advances in technology are putting onscreen make-up to the test
Two bottles of foundation from Shiseido and Smashbox

Shiseido Sheer and Perfect Foundation and Smashbox Cosmetics’ Halo Effect HD Foundation

Five years ago the first high-definition cameras sent celebrities running for (pore) cover. Now the camera of choice is Red, which shoots film at even higher definition: to be specific, at 4,000-line resolution as opposed to the 2,000 currently used by the film industry.

“It gives four times the sharpness of an HD camera,” says Alan Piper, operations director for Red Europe. So far, Red has been used for feature films including The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, as well as by online fashion magazines such as Japan’s The Reality Show and the UK’s Never Underdressed. Its high-resolution images allow high-quality prints to be pulled from a split second of film. The implications for make-up seem enormous.

Yet, according to Joanna McGarry, beauty director at Never Underdressed, Red’s impact will be more evolutionary than the wholesale change that came with HD, which spawned an entirely new type of cosmetics. “I think brands will pick up on this as a trend, but Red Cam hasn’t crossed over into the consumer market like HD did,” she says.

Make-up artist Dick Page, who worked with a Red camera on a recent shoot for The Reality Show, says; “[Red] didn’t really affect the way I do make-up, because for the most part I am fanatical about doing make-up in natural light, not studio lights – everything has to look as good as possible to the naked eye.” Page uses Graftobian, a theatrical make-up designed for HD, which “allows for the fact that skin is not one uniform colour. I’ll blend different shades together, or allow that tone is different when closer to the hairline.” His tools of choice are small eyeshadow brushes, and he talks in painterly terms about “stippling just areas, not the whole face”.

Still, McGarry says, there has been a trickle-down effect and cosmetic companies have trialled products under Red conditions to make sure they can withstand their close-up. Smashbox Cosmetics’ Halo Effect HD Foundation (£27.50), for example, was tested with Red in the company’s LA studios. Pigments are suspended in a gel, “so the pigment doesn’t cake together and natural skin comes through,” says Smashbox make-up artist Lori Taylor. Shiseido Sheer and Perfect Foundation (£29) contains fine pearl particles that correct inconsistencies in skin tone. Then there’s a new powder version of Chanel Vitalumière (£31), one of the first optical effect foundations, as well as Asta lift Light Analyzing Foundation, developed by Fujifilm with ingredients that adapt to changes in light.

When it comes to lipstick, Red picks up dryness (an issue with matte finish lipsticks) and bleeding (often a hazard with bright lipstick), so make-up artist Jo Frost is a fan of YSL’s new lip glosses, Rouge Pure Couture Vernis à Lèvres (£23.50). In the spirit of optical effect foundations, pearl pigments reflect light like a prism. They are blended with a polymer, oils and a lower level of pigment for a more transparent, radiant colour effect. “They are moisturising and they hold a lot longer,” says Frost.

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www.ft.com/stylestockists

www.smashbox.com

www.shiseido.com

www.chanel.com

www.astalift.co.uk

www.ysl.com

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