11 posts tagged "Gina Brooke"
We never pass up an opportunity to have lunch with makeup artist Gina Brooke. Madonna’s go-to face painter is not only a great dining companion but she also happens to be full of beauty wisdom, which she readily distributes; Brooke’s excellent advice has given us the perfect shade of red lipstick (Hourglass Femme Rouge Velvet Crème Lipstick in Raven); an eyelash-extension guru in L.A.; and enough MDNA tour anecdotes to fill a book—which, incidentally, Brooke is also working on. Today’s lesson: skin hydration. “It’s all about hyaluronic layering,” she said over appetizers and salads, reciting the Intraceuticals gospel from which she so often preaches. A longtime fan of the brand’s oxygen facials, which she frequently performs on the set of music-video shoots and editorials, not to mention backstage on world tours, Brooke has turned a good many celebrity onto the noninvasive spa treatment. But when used correctly, its topical line can be just as transformative, she insists. Comparing the skin to a sponge, which absorbs moisture better when it is already semi-saturated, Brooke preps every canvas she works on with Intraceuticals Daily Serum, which boasts an incredibly low molecular hyaluronic-acid weight to allow for easier absorption. Next comes one of its brand-new Boosters—a vitamin-A formula to clarify and brighten while reducing fine lines and wrinkles, a vitamin-C formula that fights free-radical damage, a collagen booster to create a plumping effect, and an antioxidant booster to eradicate toxins for a more even tone—which is followed by its Hydration Gel that has a medium molecular hyaluronic weight, and finally the Moisture Binding Cream, the heaviest lotion, which acts to lock everything in. “You can mix an SPF product with the Binding Cream if it’s too many things,” Brooke explained, noting that while four skincare steps might seem crazy to even the biggest beauty buff, the process is entirely worth it. “I have clients with skincare contracts who only use [Intraceuticals],” she revealed. (In case there was any doubt, we’ll be first in line to buy that book.)
All right, America. After a whirlwind global tour that has taken her from Israel to Istanbul with stops in Rome, Barcelona, Berlin, and Paris shorty thereafter, Madonna is wrapping up the far-reaching, European leg of her MDNA tour and is looking to make landfall in the U.S. of A at the end of the month (there will be a few stops in Philadelphia and Canada before the Material Girl finally touches down in New York on September 6). And while there are some reliable constants seasoned Madonna showgoers can expect from the superstar’s latest heart-pumping performance piece—expert choreography and mind-boggling costumes, to start—there is one brand-new feature ticket-holders have to look forward to: a red lip. “I tried doing a red lip once,” Madge’s trusted makeup artist Gina Brooke admits. “But in the middle of a quick change, they ripped off her boot at the same time as I was doing her lip and it went like this,” Brooke recalls, motioning across her cheek. “It was a nightmare”—and it has kept Madonna’s onstage makeup an eyeliner-only affair ever since.
Until, that is, Brooke caught wind of a new lipstick innovation from Make Up For Ever. Debuting at Sephora this September, its new Aqua Rouge is a lip-saver modeled after the brand’s successful Aqua Cream franchise. A double-sided wand, the pout perfector offers a supersaturated pigment that applies like a stain on one end and a glistening gloss on the other for a lacquered effect that is waterproof, smudge-proof—and even boot-to-the-face proof. There are 12 shades in all, including one that Brooke custom-created for the MDNA tour. Here, after a month of grueling rehearsals followed by two months on the road, Brooke talks to Style.com about pre-show prep, why creams always trump powders, and what it’s like working for “the most detail-oriented person you’ll ever meet in your life.”
So take me back a few months. How does the creative process for one of these mega global tours usually start?
I start about four weeks before the tour. [Madonna] is in rehearsal for months before that, but I work with [stylist] Arianne Phillips, who will send me the sketches and the concepts of the show, and then from there I’ll start thinking about what we’re going to do with the makeup. Then I’ll create storyboards, show [Madonna], and then she ultimately knows what she wants. I’ll bring some ideas to her and then she puts her own twist on it.
Where do you typically take inspiration from for your storyboards?
I have a huge collection of art books. I have files. When I’m not working, my assistant and I make copies of everything in the art books, and we put them in binders, so when it’s time to do an editorial spread or something like that I pull it out. It’s easier to make storyboards that way. A friend of mine got me this Melvin Sokolsky [photography] book—it’s amazing. You have to wear white gloves to open it! It’s just beautiful and it’s all his work from the fifties and sixties. You know, Madonna loves her eyes. She likes that fifties, sixties look and I love the sixties, so combining the two seems to work. I always focus on her eyes, but for this particular tour we’re really focusing on the lips.
What caused the shift in focus?
Just to change it up. Because, you know, she’s always been very much about her eyeliner. She’ll never go on stage without a really strong line to her eye. But I just wanted to create something that’s more shocking. Her skin is really creamy and beautiful, so we wanted to make something like a strong red and I was searching, and searching, and searching for a color, but I couldn’t find a color that was bright enough to really stand out on stage, and I heard that Make Up For Ever was doing this Aqua line. I wanted a really, really blue red that’s shocking, and I wanted it to be waterproof and not move. Because I would say out of all the tours this is the most strenuous tour.
For the oily-skinned masses, finding skincare products that won’t exacerbate greasy tendencies is often a lifelong struggle. Harder still is finding makeup that stays in place, blends to a seamless finish, and won’t intensify shine. But Hourglass is promising all this and more with its new Immaculate Foundation. Billed as a “liquid powder,” the California-based brand has issued a “no shine, no blotting” guarantee with every bottle of the featherweight formula that glides on with a creamy feel and instantly dries down to a velvety matte finish. The oil-free base is also packed with active skincare ingredients so it helps improve the texture of your complexion with every use. Phytostem edelweiss slows collagen degradation to reduce wrinkles, while lavandox, an ingredient extracted from Spanish lavender, is a known muscle contraction inhibitor that helps to diminish the appearance of fine lines. Available in eight shades, it’s good for blemish-prone skin and really anyone who is looking for a soft-focus effect. We usually veer toward dewy-finish makeup, but to be perfectly honest, this one is winning us over: It’s one of those rare products that you slather onto one hand, compare to the other, and then totally marvel at the difference. Hourglass artistic director Gina Brooke recommends applying it with the brand’s No. 2 foundation brush, but using your fingers to pat it on in a downward motion—”towards the growth of your hair,” says Brooke—is almost a better bet. The natural warmth from your fingertips will help blend the product that much better.
The lash category has seen a tremendous amount of innovation over the past few years, with growth serums and all manner of tricked-out mascaras hitting the market. And the new developments just keep coming. The latest way to get long, thick, fluttery lashes comes from Hourglass Cosmetics and involves painting, rather than brushing on, pigment. Described as a “final stroke” for lashes, its Film Noir Lash Lacquer is designed to be a topcoat. “Lash Lacquer works best when the lashes are already coated with mascara,” according to the brand’s artistic director, Gina Brooke, who recommends holding the wand at a horizontal angle and literally painting from the base of the lashes up to the tips for “lots of drama.” (For a more natural look, Brooke suggests focusing on the tips of the outer corners.) Lash Lacquer’s major selling point, though, is its latexlike formula. “It doesn’t make your lashes stiff, the way that several coats of mascara would,” Brooke says. Instead, you’re left with a rich, glossy finish—something even the most high-tech, vibrating, light-up mascaras can’t always deliver.
Being Madonna’s makeup artist sounds both amazing and totally daunting—after all, Madge is arguably one of the world’s most recognizable faces, and someone who is known to have pretty exacting standards. But for Gina Brooke, it’s a task that she has embraced for close to a decade. Besides readying “her muse” for all manner of events and performances, Brooke has also managed to build an impressive editorial portfolio (W, Glamour, Paris Vogue, Elle, GQ); serve for five years as Shu Uemura’s artistic director, where she had a hand in exploding their lash business; and is currently both the artistic director of Hourglass Cosmetics and a brand ambassador for Intraceuticals. Anyone who has ever met Brooke knows that she has a seriously amazing complexion (and demeanor), so taking a peek inside her bicoastal beauty black book is as a real treat—and a good lesson that at least half of looking good is feeling good.
The Acupuncturist: Lida Ahmady
“Lida has been my acupuncturist for a very long time, and I can’t live without her. She specializes in women’s health and is responsible for keeping my energy in balance.”
Lida Ahmady, 594 Broadway, suite 905, NYC, (212) 219-9536, www.deqi-health.com.
The Trainer and Lifestyle Coach: Rick Dinihanian
“A totally unpretentious commitment to creating physical health and wellness through mind and body.”
Rick Dinihanian at Longevity + Health, 12 W. 27th St., 9th floor, NYC, (212) 675-9355, www.longevityhealthnyc.com.
The Aesthetician: Lena Makushina at Maksim Spa
“Lena totally restores my skin and makes me look beautiful and fresh, like I’ve been resting for days. I really trust and rely on her expertise.”
Lena Makushina at Maksim Spa, 80 Fifth Ave., suite 1208, NYC, (212) 414-9434, www.maksimspa.com.