Madonna's Makeup Artist Spills Her Beauty Secrets

Shannon Ray, Allure magazine

Make Up For Ever has just launched a new shade of their Aqua Rouge lip color-a vivid red, the color (#8) was created by Madonna's makeup artist Gina Brooke specifically for the singer's MDNA tour, which hits stateside on August 28.

Madge has come a long way from her humble roots, and her very first makeup artist, Debi Mazar can confirm it. These days, Mazar is famous in her own right as a successful actress (Goodfellas, Batman Forever, Entourage, Ugly Betty) and cooking show host (Extra Virgin), but her early work including backup dancing for Madonna, a close childhood friend-she also did Madge's hair and makeup.

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I had a chance to chat with her recently-Mazar admitted, "I couldn't afford to buy department store brands, and even though Madonna could, she liked what I did. I was using Maybelline pencils and liquid liner-things that cost two bucks but performed great." Madonna wore Maybelline? And now she has her own lipstick created for her! Here are a few more highlights:

What was Madonna's hair and makeup like for The Virgin Tour back in 1985?

Her hair was long and wild, and she has just had her bangs cut. She has this thick, curly, gorgeous hair-thicker than anyone else I knew-and it didn't really need much. I just tried to make sure her bangs nicely framed her face and make sure it moved well, rather than creating a polished look. Really, it was more about the music and the show. We just wanted her to look good, get on stage, and do the damn tour. Plus, she was in her twenties: Her skin was good, and as long as you had bright lipstick and good hair the crowd didn't care-they just wanted to dance.

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You also did her hair and makeup for the Who's That Girl Tour two years later. How did you guys come up with that look?
She already had a short blonde haircut and my challenge was to figure out how to style it. I spent an hour curling it and it all melted in a matter of five minutes on stage after she started dancing. I used this little electric wand, nothing fancy-it was a retractable black plastic electric curling iron with teeth. I would curl her hair in every direction, and sprayed it with Aqua Net. I was playing around with a lot of waxes and pomades because she had so much hair, and then I would add an oil for luminosity-which was bad news because the minute the grease would warm up, her hair would fall flat. We didn't really think about that. So it went from this Kim Novak-like style into a completely Helmut Newton look that was a bit androgynous, sleek and powerful. It was completely unintentional though-it just evolved that way because we couldn't keep it curled under the stage lights.

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The makeup was theatrical, too. My only issue was trying to keep the makeup on her so I tended to use a lot of creams because of the sweat factor. All those new ingredients like luminizers and silicones slip off-they look great when you're just sitting around, but on stage the makeup actually needs to hold on. So I used products that wouldn't fall off the face. I used pan stick on her skin, liquid liner to define her eyes, and I would rub lipstick on her cheeks to give them color. And back then they hadn't taken out the ingredients that really makes the color stick to your lips!

What about Madonna's infamous brows?

I was forever trying to get her to pluck those eyebrows. She would never go for it-it was her Latin heritage and she wanted to keep them. It wasn't until François Nars came in and convinced her to pluck them at a Stephen Meisel shoot that she was agreed to do it.

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