Movie Cosmetics: Twilight Makeup

Tuesday, March 01, 2011 | Around Town, film

Shutterstock_1336387 The Oscars may be behind us, but Hollywood isn’t taking a break anytime soon. With summer a mere four months away, movie studios are gearing up for their busiest time of year. As one of film’s biggest franchises puts the final touches on its latest installment, we look back at how it wowed us with its ethereal beauty and haunting enchantment.

Movie magic is about more than just explosions and high-end special effects. It’s also about turning everyday actors into creatures of beauty, legend and lore. This fact was particularly prevalent in the onscreen adaptation of the popular Twilight novels, where makeup artists took on the challenge of creating vampire characters of impossible, otherworldly beauty, using all of the tricks of their trade.

One of the biggest challenges that makeup artists faced in creating the Twilight vampires was in finding the right balance between the pale, undead skin described in the books, and the incredibly perfect beauty of the characters. This was a constant struggle as they walked the delicate line between porcelain perfection and ghastly ghoulishness.

Two weeks were spent experimenting with different cosmetic treatments, in order to see how they looked on the various actors. During this time, a variety of shades, treatments, makeup artists tried several different makeup combinations on each of the characters, then evaluated for accuracy and onscreen attractiveness.

Another major challenge was the location of the movie. Portland, Oregon gets a lot of rain, and with many scenes shot outdoors, makeup artists had to scramble in order to patch up dripping streaks of color with brushes that were often rain-soaked as well.

While blush, powder and eyeliner were important in creating the gothic vampire look, the makeup artists worked with contact lenses that made the creatures seem otherworldly. The character of Edward Cullen was described as having eyes that shifted from topaz to onyx black depending on the ferocity of his hunger, making the creation of impressive eyes one of the most important cosmetic tasks on the set.