Well well well, let me begin by begging you to pardon my absence last week guys. I always aim to post here twice weekly but it’s still just little old me at the Mascara Wars helm, and last week was a crazy week of work with no time to get content out to you! Simple as. Life of a freelancer etc. While it was the first time it probably won’t be the last, so thanks for your patience! Anyway, never mind me, I’m here today to share a favourite little gem with you.
Hidden deep in the magical depths of the Kingdom of Shepherd’s Bush, West London, is an idyllic candyfloss-pink mews cottage on a cobbled street. And if you venture inside you might expect to find some sort of fairy godmother baking sugar cookies but no, even better, you’ll find makeup. Lots and lots of makeup. This is P.A.M. – aka Precious About Makeup, a makeup store for pro artists, founded in the mid 90s by two film and TV makeup artists at the top of their game; Kate Benton (Peep Show, Love Actually, Ab Fab) and Jan Sewell (The Theory of Everything, X-Men, Les Miserables). And before you start cursing me for banging on about London stores hold your horses, Kate and Jan know exactly how it is to be stuck out on location in the middle of nowhere in desperate need of product, so P.A.M. ship internationally from their lovely website, don’t you worry!
P.A.M. is a real treasure trove for a makeup artist, full of the sort of pro only products that you’d never find in a beauty hall or being raved about in magazine beauty pages. The unusual bits, bobs, cult favourites and absolute God-sends that make the job of a makeup artist that little bit easier, and more fun!
I’ve had a good rummage through for you to present you with my absolute favourite P.A.M. goodies and may I say, this list was SO LONG. There were about fifty products I wanted to harp on about. So for the purposes of editing I’ve tried to not include the classics that we all know and love, but let it be known that P.A.M. stock a full range of Embryolisse, classics like Paw Paw Ointment and Duo lash adhesive, and a great selection of Kryolan, Makeup Forever and a whole host of other kit essentials. The chosen few below are the more unusual and lust-worthy items you may not yet know about… things that make you go ooh, basically. So without further ado;
Beloved of drag queens and of Lady Gaga (no shade, it’s the truth!), I first spotted these strange things in Lucia Pieroni‘s kit, and after discovering what they actually were (tapes with attached elastic that tightens around the back of the head – applied to the temples and sometimes the jaw, then hidden by the hair, they give the face a taught and visibly lifted appearance!), I realised just how often they’d been used in some of my favourite looks over the years.
Pat McGrath employed them at Dior’s iconic SS11 couture show to give the high arched brow look inspired by the fashion illustrations of René Gruau. As you can see in the gallery below the technique has been used in many an editorial, and a scarlet version even featured on the catwalks of Givenchy. Marlene Dietrich was a long time fan of the tape face lift, as is Her Royal Highness, Cher. Cher approved for God’s sake! Therefore, amazing.
PAM stock an amazing selection of bucket bags, pouches, clear bags of all shapes and sizes from the likes of Zuca and Makeup Forever and are sure to have the exact set-bag for your needs, but my absolute favourite has to be the great quality range of Pro Set Bags from Stilazzi.
One of the best-selling set-bags going, which size you go for will depend entirely on how you work and what you like to carry. I see a lot of hair stylists with the large version for those big cans of hair product, and if you’re covering both hair and makeup then it’s range of large main compartment and smaller pockets is ideal.
The amount of snug interior and exterior pockets is perhaps my favourite feature of these bags full stop. So many set bags just leave you with tiny makeup products rattling around in a big pile inside which allows for zero organization, but these have at least five exterior pockets, interior zip pockets and the larger also has a handy tissue dispenser. Plus they come in a range of adorable colours, because I know not everyone wants all black everything like I do. You can have a Barbie Pink one if you’re into that kind of thing (she says, with a girly pink website).
The way you choose to carry your tools and products on set is as personal as your kit itself, and the LSB belt is a fantastic alternative to the over shoulder/arm set bag.
Developed in 2012 by a pair of TV and film makeup artists Cath and George, who had grown tired of constant shoulder pain from lugging heavy setbags, and setbags that swung around or slid off shoulders leaving them with only one hand free – not to mention that old chestnut of putting the damn thing down and forgetting where it was – and so resorted to using tool belts from a local hardware store to carry their supplies. Finding it an improvement but not ideal for the smaller brushes and tools of a makeup artist, they had their own version custom-made, tested it for 18 months on the set of The Hobbit, and the rest is history.
You simply buy the belt in your size and choose the pouches and attachments that will work best for you, slide them on to customise your set up and off you go. P.A.M. are the only UK stockist of these ergonomically designed bad boys and I hear they sell like hot cakes!
I first saw one of these when a beloved hairstylist friend who’d spent the last two years flying around the world with a certain pop star pulled it out of his bag when we were shooting in a poorly lit location. It had been a lifesaver when getting said pop star ready in dimly lit hotel rooms he said, and when he turned it on it was so awesome I nearly bent to the ground and kissed his feet.
Makeup artists all know how much of a nightmare poor lighting is, and if you’re getting folk ready in bedrooms, warehouses, backstage at shows, in the back of cars, in flipping… forests and any number of locations, good light is often notably absent. He got so sick of it that he snapped one of these up and fell in love with it immediately, as did I. Super lightweight and compact to carry, yet folds out and up to provide amazing HD daylight lighting, and there’s also a cool Multimedia Version – £295 with a third arm to which you can attach a mirror for a mobile studio, or even a tablet or camera for filming your beautifully lit creations.
Glamcor do really lovely, modern and top quality products for makeup artists that are becoming a real word-of-mouth runaway success. Plus apparently Kim Kardashian uses a Glamcor set-up to light her bloody selfies. Seriously. Not the cheapest on the list but if bad light is a constant pain in your ass, then this could be a truly worthwhile investment. Here’s your lovely enthusiastic and large-collared man from Glamcor taking you through this gorgeous thing better than I ever could!
These are my go to lash curlers. There’s not a lot you can say about your favourite lash curler is there? Other than that it works. It seems like that would be a given with any lash curler but as we all know, it ain’t. This one gives lovely strong yet natural curl, with no kink to the lashes, and instead of attempting to curl all lashes in one go, it’s smaller than usual meaning it works in sections to get hold of even the tiniest little corner lashes. I have a regular Japonesque curler I use when time is of the essence, and this one for when I have time to “do the job properly” so to speak! Japonesque have a range of beautiful tools for makeup artists and make a tonne of my favourite palettes, brushes, pots, bottles, all sorts.
And then yes, your eyes do not deceive you, that is a bottom lash curler, to be precise it’s the Japonesque Lower Lash Curler – £10.95 . . . Many clients won’t need this, as their lower lashes naturally sit downwards, but for those shorter lashes (like mine) that tend to head straight on forwards, curling the lower lashes can help to open the eye even further. A really lovely finishing touch. I haven’t gone mad, Taylor swift is a fan of the lower lash curl dontcha know.
Many a makeup artist’s favourite brush cleaner, this one gets your brushes utterly spotless, while remaining perfectly gentle on the bristles and not smelling like paint-stripper (it has a lovely citrus scent in fact). Quick drying, non-toxic, it cleans, conditions and disinfects brushes, and was developed by a micro-biologist, thankyouverymuch. It also happens to be the brush cleaner bought in bulk by both Universal and Paramount movie studios. And if it’s good enough for Hollywood movie stars then it’s damn well good enough for me! There’s a handy spray version to be used on-set between makeups, or they also make a great little “canister”, a glass pot for a deeper clean, with a handy grid insert for getting deep down into those bristles and leaving your brushes clean as a whistle.
Just lumping special effects supplies under one heading would be a tad ridiculous in most settings, but I’m no special effects makeup artist, as it seems nor are most of you lovely readers. However that doesn’t mean that in the world of fashion, music videos and the like we don’t have need for awesome SFX goodies once in a while. Dirts, bloods, waxes, fixing sprays, ice FX, bruise FX, tooth paint, face paint, bald caps, tear sticks – PAM has you covered, being the baby of two TV and Film makeup artists means their SFX supplies are second to none!
One special effects product that’s a staple of my kit is spirit gum and remover, for application of gems, glitter or other bits and bobs to the skin, those situations when a little lash glue just won’t cut it! P.A.M. do a great mini Ben Nye Spirit Gum and Remover Pack – £5.50 . . . that’s handy for those of us who only use such products every now and then and is great value! Have a good rummage through their special effects products, you never know what may catch your eye, in fact I’ve just spotted a wet look product called “Extremely Wet” (ooh-er) that I’m fascinated to try out on my next P.A.M. pilgrimage.
Another special effects fave, I was turned onto this stuff by Alex Box‘s assistant, and I thank my lucky stars for that fateful day. Alex and her team used it backstage to protect models’ skin from highly pigmented red facepaint at Gareth Pugh. That stuff STAINS, and the last thing a model needs mid-fashion week is a red cross of St George stained into her face.
Dermashield was originally designed as a barrier cream to protect the skin of folk who work with strong chemicals or suffer skin allergies. It’s a mousse that you work into the skin to form some sort of magical barrier that stops highly pigmented product from staining. I always apply before any kind of water activated face paint for example, I love them to death but without Dermashield that high pigment can leave its mark way after you want it to!
Do you see now why I found it so hard to give you a short list? Such goodies. And I haven’t even mentioned their gorgeous selection of brushes from such faves as Sigma and Makeup Forever… So have you ever headed to P.A.M. guys? Or do you have any kit essentials from their website I may have missed? Apologies in advance for the damage to bank accounts across the land!