Nicole Kidman and Uma Thurman both usually look impeccable and take beautiful photographs. Nicole is always perfect, to the point of occasionally looking shellacked. Uma’s beauty style is more grounded and natural. And yet they were both recently snapped at events looking, um, less than perfect.
Both had patchy white powder visible all over their faces, but concentrated around the nose and eyes. Of course the cocaine jokes were thrown carelessly around the internet after these pictures surfaced, but it was obviously a make-up malfunction.
In the interest of preventing such a horrible thing from ever happening again, I contacted a few make-up artists to get their take on the powdery disaster.
Lorin Cole, a celebrity make-up artist and author of The Complete Book of Make-up, and Khush Singh, who has done editorial, print, and Bollywood make-up work, weighed in. Both gave some ideas for why this might have happened and offered tips for how to prevent the “I-just-stuck-my-head-in-a-bowl-of-powdered-doughnuts” look.
Both agreed that whomever did the make-up was in a big hurry and didn’t take the time to check out his/her work under a few different lighting conditions. This seems rather unforgivable for a celebrity make-up artist, no? Their whole reputation hinges on making celebrities look amazing. Lorin thought that perhaps it was a quick touch-up done by the ladies themselves. Which then begs the question: why the hell didn’t anyone tell them they had powder all over their faces?
“I would [suspect] that it is a loose/shine powder mishap. Loose face powder is meant to be used sparingly to minimize shine and meant to be dusted on, not caked on. In some instances make-up may have a hint of shimmer which reflects under bright lights,” Khush said in an email.
It could also have been a mineral powder. “They tend to be loose and thicker and they don’t blend in as well. They’re not very sheer,” Lorin told me.
Lorin also said that if the celeb had just had a peel or very dry skin, the powder could settle into creases if it’s not blended very well. Finally, if there was a lot of concealer on the nose and under the eye, it would make the powder stick and get clumpy.
Lorin recommended that women who are “a bit older” shouldn’t try to go paler, because it makes you look older. Instead, match powder color to your skin. She likes Three Custom Color translucent pressed powder.
The bottom line which both agreed on? A simple swipe of a brush and a quick peek in the mirror could have prevented the powdery humiliation.
And ladies: PLEASE tell your friends if they’re about to walk out in front of a crowd looking ridiculous.
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