By Kelly Hushin


If you thought your super light-up, 20x magnifying mirror was harsh on your pores, your not-so-perfect eyeliner, your wrinkles or your slightly-shiny forehead, you haven’t stepped in front of a high definition camera. While we may be thankful for our DVRs, our DVDs, our MP3s and our LCDs, makeup artists and aficionados weren’t necessarily so pleased when every tiny imperfection was suddenly impossible to hide. In response, makeup brands have begun to come up with products and methods that accommodate a technological age that’s moving faster forward than a 4 train heading downtown.

“High def makeup for us is makeup that’s actually produced in front of a high def camera,” said Sheila McKenna, founder and creator of Kett Cosmetics. Created in 2000 but officially launched in 2003, Kett has gained momentum in recent years as its products have become more in demand by artists, filmmakers, celebrities and TV producers. This year, McKenna led a team of eight artists as they designed and applied the makeup for the Miss USA pageant, held at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas on Friday, April 11, and judged by such up-and-coming celebs like Christian Siriano from Project Runway. McKenna’s company is being commissioned more and more for such jobs as companies begin to realize the demands of technology.

With many years of experience as a makeup artist behind her, McKenna wanted to create makeup products that were as technologically advanced as the equipment filming them. At the Kett studio, artists work on models in front of such equipment, formulating and testing mixtures to see just how they will react under the camera’s powerful lens. “Our makeup looks like skin and not like makeup,” McKenna continued. She added that high def makeup is about using products with certain, specific ingredients, but also about knowing how to apply makeup in just the right way. “It’s a re-education of makeup application and makeup’s ingredients,” she said. Kett uses airbrushes to apply the makeup, but they also offer products that can be applied with foundation brushes and fingertips.


Kett’s airbrush set is available for $359.00

“We base all our products on color theory and that’s the only way to be an effective makeup artist,” McKenna said. “If you have something you need to cover like redness on the face, you have to do it with very little product, and that’s where the airbrush tool comes in. Whether you choose to airbrush for high def or not, you have to learn how to physically apply it better than you did in the past. You have to educate yourself on what ingredients are in the products. Certain ingredients alter the appearance of your skin. What we did with our formulas was eliminate any ingredients that interfere with the skin’s natural appearance. Cameras pick up on those ingredients.”

Makeup artist and founder of The Powder Group, Michael DeVellis, agreed that learning high-def is more than just learning about new product, it involves the understanding of a new application technique. “High def is not necessarily about product,” he said. “It’s about learning how to apply makeup differently, and developing and eye for how your work will look in high def. Most products can be used for high def if applied right.”

But you don’t have to be a professional artist to reap the benefits of high def products and application. A brand perhaps better known to consumers, Make Up For Ever has designed a powder to finish off makeup looks that demand new digital imagery and high definition techniques. Their HD Powder, launching this month, provides a soft and satiny smooth finish that masks lines and imperfections while setting foundation and mattifying skin. The 100 percent mineral silica powder is translucent – though it appears white in the jar. The HD Powder is available at Sephora and a Kabuki Brush with Pouch will accompany the powder with an August release.

Also at Sephora is a new high-def line from CARGO called blu_ray™. The line utilizes photochromatic pigments that color correct makeup so that color is consistent in all types of lighting environments. The blu_ray collection includes a mascara, pressed powder, blush/highlighter, mattifier and lip gloss palette.

Originally published May 2008



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