Oscar makeup head Bruce Grayson: It’s all about the skin

Bruce Grayson relaying some of his best makeup tips

It’s Oscars night! How many of you will be tuning in? I had the pleasure of talking with Bruce Grayson, the Oscar’s Makeup Head, in NYC before he jetted off to LA for the makeup trials. Grayson has worked with some of the top celebs (Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Brooke Shields, Kate Walsh, Denzel Washington, the Clintons…to name a few), and he imparted some of his red carpet predictions and invaluable tips that I swear work (I know, because I’ve tried some of them I can’t go back now).

Grayson's Oscar'd out Olay suite!

When I met Grayson at a suite in the Thompson hotel, he was re-creating one of his favorite looks from the Globes.

Angelina Jolie at the Golden Globes

“I was enamored by Angelina Jolie’s look at the Globes,” he said. “To get this look, a lot of time is spent prepping the skin.”

Grayson's makeup wonderland kit

Grayson, an Olay spokesperson, showed me the tools in his kit to prep the skin, and his favorite go-to’s are Olay Regenerist Micro Sculpting Cream and the Regenerist Wrinkle Revolution Complex.

I watched Grayson as he massaged the Micro Sculpting Cream in first and THEN the Wrinkle Revolution Complex. And when I say massage, I don’t mean that he just patted it on the skin and went on. He stood there and really worked it in the model’s skin, and I could actually her skin firm up right in front of me (she had beautiful skin to begin with, I’m not going to lie, but it was glowing after he massaged the creams in).

“I practically lather this in because the skin drinks it up,” he explained. “It’s like a mini-facial for my clients. These creams are heavy duty and absorbs quickly. It has a high content of amino acids that smooths the surface of the skin.”

Olay Regenerist Micro Sculpting Cream and Wrinkle Revolution Complex

The Regenerist Wrinkle Revolution works to relax and diffuse the lines, Grayson said. “Its optic-technology uses micro-fillers to fill in wrinkles for instant gratification.” Since watching Grayson do this, I’ve been using the two Olay products to massage into my skin before makeup and wow…it has seriously made all the difference. My skin not only feels softer but I’ve been going out more often makeup-less or using very little foundation (which is pretty much the point!).

After moisturizer and before applying foundation, Grayson spritz a little Evian Water spray to add even more moisture to her face. He said the more hydrated the face is, the less makeup you will need to use.

Adding even more moisture by spritzing water before foundation

Grayson emphasized not to forget, that “texture is a game-changer.” For makeup to go on smoothly the skin’s texture needs to be extra-smooth (read: that it also doesn’t have any hair…try Olay’s Smooth Finish Hair Removal Duo which is gentle enough for the face…ask me, I know ;)).

Grayson literally used only two drops of Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, and used a brush to start in the center of the model’s face and buffed it out towards the cheeks and outer areas of the face. He then used a little of Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer on her cheeks to just perfect the color.

I was shocked at how little foundation he was actually using. I asked about the red carpet and if he’ll uses more than that for the big day. The only thing he said he would add is a little more concealer if needed. To apply, he wets his favorite makeup applicator, the BeautyBlender, with a little Bobbi Brown concealer (using this handy palette). “I’m against using concealer unless you absolutely need to. And I definitely won’t use primer if it’s going to be a long day,” since he said the makeup will slide off too soon (it’s best for shorter days, or quick photo shoots!).

Finally Grayson used Olay’s Regenerist Anti-Aging Eye Roller around the eyes before adding a little concealer to perfect the eye area (he recommends just one shade lighter to brighten up this area — don’t go too light!).

I asked him about how Angelina Jolie always has that perfect smoked out liner, and he pulled out a liner brush to show it right one me: First, use a flat brush and a gel liner to just touch the the liner against the lashes. The, use a gray shadow to go over the black for a subtle smoked out effect.

Gray shadow to go over the liner

Showing how to top the black liner for the perfect Angeline-esque eyes

So what are his big predictions for tonight? “We’re definitely going to see a minimalist, made-down approach on the red carpet for the Oscars,” Grayson added. “It’s going to be about translucency, see-through smokey shadows, sheer lips, and bare cheeks. And of course, great skin. We’ll be celebrating femininity and elegance.”

I guess we’ll have to see tonight! The Oscars are scheduled to air tonight on ABC 7e/4p.


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  1. priya wrote:

    wow. i loved this post! i’m so going out and getting those olay products. i wish you’d gotten a video of the eye makeup application. that would’ve been doubly awesome. it’s ok. i don’t mind a live demo either 🙂

    Posted 2.26.12