Beauty. Peek Inside the Mind of a Makeup Master: Brett Freedman

Brett B&W
Brett Freedman

How would you like to have your face held in the hands of the man who touches-up the pouty lips of Vanessa Hudgens and grooms the sultry eyebrows of Sophia Bush? We can't exactly give you face-in-hand with this Makeup Man Wonder, but we can give you a glimpse into his mind.

Celebrity makeup artist, Brett Freedman, regularly touches on the faces of Hollywood, working with stars such as Reba McEntire, Leighton Meester, Jenna Fisher, Kelly Clarkson and more. While he is known as a brow expert (relied on by his clients to create their optimal arches), his cosmetics line, Vanitymark, features an array of brow tools, powders, pencils and glazes, as well as lip balm. So find out which celebrity look drives him crazy, and how he is making the "less is more" concept workable for all women.

Vanessa hudgens (1)
Brett making-up Vanessa Hudgens

SCS: How long have you been working in the beauty industry?


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BF: If you count giving my sister's Barbie dolls makeovers, all my life. I actually started working at the makeup counters in Horne's department store in my hometown, Pittsburgh PA. That was in 1987. I would have been an Avon lady at age 6 if I was allowed.

SCS: Where were you trained?

BF: I never had any formal training. I'm neither proud nor ashamed of that. During my department store days I got a real education in products and formulations. In the late 80's I worked at Glamour Shots, which was an amazing time to be working there (with all that rug burn blush and frosted eye shadow). I learned a lot aboutJamie lynn sigler the transformation potential of make-up. I moved to Miami in the early 90's and started doing photo shoots. Working with models gave me a flawless canvas to explore shape and depth in creating the made up face. In L.A. in the late 90's I began working with actresses, and for the first time accommodating women who actually had an opinion in the final outcome.

SCS: You like to encourage "less is more" make-up tips, but how do you explain that concept to older women who may be accustomed to wearing more coverage, or women with blemish-prone skin?

BF: I use the mantra of 'start with sheer, minimal textures and build where needed.’ A great example is foundation. I recommend using a very light texture and apply all over face (including around eyes). This 'veil of coverage' will, surprising, dodge a lot more than you'd expect. Any redness or dark areas that show through can be addressed with a fuller formula concealer in just those specific spots. With color, use healthy shades for lips and cheeks such as melon and berry (over mauve-y or too brown shades). If you're using lipstick, switch to a lip glaze or gloss; it's a younger and fresher look. You want to go for a watercolor over oil-paint feel.

Jenna fischer (1) SCS: What is the most coveted cosmetic product a woman needs to go from day to night?

BF: I love MAC's Teddy eyeliner- it’s brown with a touch of shimmer. If I want to bump a gal up for evening I dot and sweep this great shade around the entire eye, very close to the lash line. This is a great, pared down way to add drama, depth, and impact to the eye without the overly done feel of a black line for a sheerer, cleaner looking glamour.

SCS: I love a bright, fresh face, but hate to look washed out. Could you explain your approach to achieving a warm glow with some color, while still looking natural and feeling like myself?

BF: Nothing is worse than feeling your make up is making you look muddy, instead of clean and clear. Here are a few solutions to add crispness to the face without looking too fair or unreal.
1.) Use an apricot powder (like Benefit's Georgia powder) to give skin lift and glow without feeling 'fake baked' by traditional bronzers.
2.) Try a sheer, juicy looking blush tone. We blush in pinks and reds…so try to mimic that, sheerly. How flattering can a Terracotta on your cheeks really be? Try Stila's Color Convertible in Petunia or Almay's Smart Shade blush in Berry. These blend seamlessly into skin and have great staying power.
3.) To complete your 'lit from within' look, dab a touch on lips and go over with a sheer healthy hued gloss like Sonia Kashuk's in Precious.

SCS: What is your favorite iconic Celebrity beauty "look" (ex: undone like KatieKelly clarkson Moss, glamour girl like Scarlett Johansson, retro Katie Perry)?

BF: My fave look changes according to what's going on. Maybe during the day women want to have the 'fingers through hair' casualness of Jennifer Aniston. Lunch with the gals may call for a casually polished 'vivid lashes, flushed cheeks, jeans 'n pearls' look like Camilla Bell. I love what Megan Fox is doing with the whole ‘sex vixen vibe’ with arched brows and deep toned lips. I would have to say, for me, every time I see Rachel McAdams I think she does a great job of touching on all the gals inside her.

SCS: What/who inspires you to create a beautiful face?

BF: I get inspired by everything I see- magazines, movies, old Hollywood and the like. I've been inspired by the boldness of Gwen Stefani's make up and the softness of Kate Beckinsale's red carpet looks. When I sit down with a woman I assess her look and decide which feature we should enhance. I suggest to about 90% of women to play up their eyes. It adds mystery and glamour to any gal’s look. Brows are most important to keep tidy and shaped. A gal can be in sweats but if her arches are well kept and polished she'll always look pulled together!

SCS: Any additional information that you think would be beneficial for our readers?

BF: Don't get caught in a rut. Never think 'I use pale pink gloss and that's my look, that's how I look best.’ That's deadly and I see it all the time. Look around and see what other women are doing. Be open in inspiration and have fun. Makeup is the most accessible, transformation-friendly and least expensive beauty tool at your disposal. Follow some basic rules, but look at them as parameters in a playground. Do what works for you, but play within that range. Makeup is supposed to be a fun, beautiful friend. Treat it as such!

– Deenie Hartzog

Black & white photos: Jamie Lynn Sigler, Jenna Fisher, Kelly Clarkson

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