Sep 19

5 Minutes With Makeup Artist Mary Greenwell: On The Silhouette Icon Campaign & Cate Blanchett

Spread the love


Interview with makeup artist Mary Greenwell as she works on the

Silhouette Icon for an Icon campaign with Cate Blanchett


Q. Is there a difference between working with people who are wearing glasses, and those that aren’t? Are there any techniques you use to enhance the eyes behind glasses?

A. No. There aren’t at all! I always say that the glasses come after the makeup. The glasses, if chosen properly, are the perfect addition to your makeup look. So I don’t manipulate the makeup for glasses at all:

do your makeup up how you want it to look and then put your glasses on. They should just be an extension of your personality! That’s the benefit of the Silhouette Icon specs; they’re frameless so people can look into you, and see your face, so you should wear whatever makeup and clothing you want to wear.


Q. Do you think this is different from people who wear heavy frames?

No not at all, it’s exactly the same.


Q. And from a makeup artist’s perspective, do you manipulate makeup application to accommodate glasses?

A. Well, the model tends to be chosen as they represent the look or theme the styling team want to achieve, so you work to enhance the face, with either a smokey eye, or a bold lip, or a natural finish, whatever is required and then just add glasses.


Q. Do you prefer any of the different makeup looks paired with glasses.

A. Not really, it’s whatever you want to wear! If you want a flicky eye: great. Smokey eye: go for it! The question is ‘does your makeup look good without glasses’?


Q. So then your general stance is that the glasses don’t affect your makeup application or use at all?

A. Absolutely! Just don’t worry about it. Focus on finding a pair of frames that suit your face. It’s quite a thing to go out and suddenly start wearing glasses, so the frameless Silhouette glasses are ideal to still show off your face and allow the light to access it, so stick to the makeup that you know.


Q. Do you think that glasses draw attention to the eyes, as an ‘accessory’?

A. I guess they can portray your personality if you go for a Barbara Cartland sort of look, but ideally, they just showcase your face and work to enhance your natural personality, especially if you go for a Silhouette frameless pair which allows the light to get to your face.


Q. What do you think glasses say about a person?

A. I don’t think they represent a personality trait at all. I wouldn’t like to think that way either. It seems a rather stereotyped process to assume someone is more intelligent because they wear glasses. That’s ridiculous!


Q. So do you think there is a general idea that people appear more intelligent wearing glasses?

A. No. Personally, I don’t think so. People wear them that way in down-time i’m sure. I’m sure there are people out there, who put on spectacles and head out to dinner in an attempt to appear more intelligent, but that isn’t the way that I see glasses at all. What shows intelligence is the look in someone’s eyes and mirroring what they’re saying, which is why I love the Silhouette Icon glasses, they allow you to see more of the face and the eyes. I mean, I would love for my glasses to make me look more intelligent, but that just isn’t the case!


Q.  Working with Cate, are there any makeup styles that she likes/prefers, or you think suit her best?

A. I work with Cate all the time, and she’s a very beautiful person. She doesn’t need any makeup at all really. But obviously, with photography, you apply makeup to even out the skintone, and make the eyes pop a bit more, and that’s all we did really with this Silhouette Icon campaign. There’s not very much makeup used at all.


Q. So were you briefed to use minimal/barely there makeup?

A. Well, Cate just looks great in natural makeup, and this wasn’t about a smokey eye or fuller coverage. That wouldn’t work. It’s not how we work, and it’s not how Peter Lindbergh works. He works in a minimalist fashion, and although this wasn’t minimalist makeup, it was natural makeup. That’s what works in the bright sunshine of LA with the light shining through, and you wouldn’t dream of doing anything else. It’s just about making someone look really good. A small amount of makeup will always enhance the face, and too much just doesn’t work.


Q.  Are there any key products that you can’t do without?

A. Oh definitely. I can achieve any makeup look using these products:

YSL BB Cream

Chanel No. 5 beige bronzer for bronzing and contouring

Chanel cream eyeshadow in Eblouis

Illusion D’ombre eyeshadow

Sensai volumising mascara

Suku eyebrow pencil

MAC lipstick in ‘cream in your coffee’


With those 6 products, you can make your look either really heavy or really light. You can change the look by applying shadow up to the brow bone, or applying just up to the socket for example. Whether you apply less product for a more natural look, or build it up for more emphasis, these products are definitely my go-to!


Q. And is there one key product in your professional kit that you would choose?

A. I couldn’t! Everybody is different, and they need different products because of that.


Q. When your clients are wearing glasses is there a particular method used to give the eyes stand-out?

A. Wearing glasses actually focuses attention on the eyes, so you can use this to your advantage and wear a bold lipstick to balance out the features. If you are keen to frame the eyes under thicker lenses, then use a liquid eyeliner along the upper lash line, and create a feline flick at the outer corner for added definition. Finishing the look with volumising mascaras will enhance the eye further.


Q. Would you use different focuses or emphasis on makeup with different types of glasses?

To complement a thick-rimmed pair of glasses, I would use minimalistic makeup on the eyes and cheeks, but focus on the lips. The classic pillar box red lends to the seductive secretary look, and immediately frames the face. If you have a full lip, wear a darker shade of red to avoid a clustered feel. Those with thinner lips can wear a bright shade. Line the lips first to give extra shape to the mouth.


Rimless glasses allow for more versatile makeup looks. Whether you want to enhance the eyes with a smokey eye, focus on the lips, or colour block the cheeks, the more subtle-glasses wear means that any of this is possible.


Q. Do you have any top tips on applying liquid liner and creating the different types of flicks?

A. If you aren’t blessed with a steady hand, then there are definitely tricks to help you on your way. Resting your elbow on a firm surface will support the hand and allow you to trace the lash line smoothly and close to the edge. When creating your preferred flick, place a dot where you want the flick to end, and then join the dot to the liner at the corner of the eye.


Q. How would you conceal tired and dark circles under the eyes?

A. An illuminator is the perfect tool! Choose a shade that is slightly lighter than your natural skin tone and apply under the eyes. When blending, smooth the illuminator in clear strokes to ensure an even finish. The illuminator will then reflect light particles off the skin and limit the appearance of bags/dark circles.

Thank you Mary.