MAC Makeup Tips: MAC Does Makeup for Music, Too

Published in: MAC Makeup, Makeup, News

You probably already knew that MAC provides makeup and makeup artists for fashion shows all over the world, but did you know that MAC does makeup for music tours, too? If you have tickets to rapper Kanye West’s Glow in the Dark North American tour (April-June, 2008), expect to see MAC in action. The MAC team is creating the looks for several of the dancers, backup singers and accompanying musicians on the tour.


And Glow in the Dark isn’t the first MAC/Kanye partnership. They’ve been at it for years, with MAC working on a number of Kanye’s tours, special performances and videos.

To find out more about how MAC works with performers on large concerts and events, I spoke with MAC Senior Makeup Artist Jennifer Karsten. Jennifer worked on Kanye’s Touch the Sky tour, his 2007 MTV Music Video Awards appearance and the Flashing Lights video.

Jennifer did the makeup for the girl in this video. Yo, shuttle the kids into the other room before you watch this because the end is kinda graphic.

Unlike the full-time singers, dancers and musicians who travel with an artist on tour, MAC artists are usually assigned at each stop along the way. How do all these different makeup artists in different cities maintain a consistent makeup look throughout a lengthy tour? “We all communicate through the senior artists and global communications,” Jennifer says, “so everyone knows what the look is and to keep the continuity going.”

MAC artists working on high-profile music events face challenges that makeup artists working fashion shows don’t often face. Large concerts are complex productions. “When you’re dealing with someone more high profile,” says Jennifer, “you have a lot more channels to go through.” It can be more difficult or challenging to really get the look correct because you’re filtering an idea through someone else.

For one of his performances at the 2007 MTV music video awards, Kanye wanted a futuristic, glamorous, high fashion makeup look. The MAC team envisioned a glossy, futuristic cat eye (ooh, me likey!). MAC artists created a “test look” on one of the orchestra performers. It then took six hours, several calls, and pictures taken with cell phones to get the test look approved. That left the team with only 20 minutes to replicate the look on the rest of the orchestra.

And, ultimately, fashion show makeup isn’t meant to overshadow the clothing. That’s not always the case in a concert, where the makeup often defines the look.


MAC Makeup Tips – Concert Makeup

  1. Use matte eyeshadows to add texture and give depth to the eyes.
    When working with performers on stage, MAC artists need to think about lighting and the audience. The artists often work with matte or non-reflective tones on the eyes to create depth, layering them with reflective eyeshadows (like shimmer or glitter shades). An excess of shimmery shades tend to look flat, says Jennifer. “Make sure you add some mattes in with some of your shine, so you get a good play of the textures on each other.”
  2. Warm colors look great on TV!
    “We have a tendency to use really warm colors because it looks great on television,” says Jennifer. “It looks great on video, so many times there’s always going to be a little something kind of brownish, or orange-ish in the creases of the eyes and on the cheeks because it creates that natural look.”
  3. For a long-wearing foundation that won’t melt under hot stage lights, choose a silicone-based foundation.
    MAC foundations contain silicone. “They’re water resistant,” says Jennifer, and “resist perspiration and moisture.” She recommends MAC Mineralize Satinfinish Liquid and MAC Hyper Real Foundations.
  4. Doing a smokey eye? Try MAC Technakohl on the waterline.
    “Technakohl eyeliner works great on the waterline to do that really smoky eye. They’re also smudge resistant and water resistant, so they stay really well.”
  5. Layer your mascara.
    For lashes able to last through a long, hot performance, add a layer of waterproof mascara. Try MAC Splashproof mascara on top of Pro Lash or Plush Lash.



Hey, ladies! How was your Tuesday? Today I caught up on some reading (dang, those writers from The New Yorker got *game*) and sniffling. Everything’s blooming right now, and I’m sneezing like crazy! *achoo*

Did you catch The Hills last night? What’s your take on the LC-Stephen reunion? Here’s mine: Zzzzzzz…

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


P.S. Since you’re here, it’s probably safe to assume that you like MAC Cosmetics as much as I do. 🙂 Have you seen my MAC Gallery? It’s a visual way to search for MAC reviews and looks on Makeup and Beauty Blog.


Like this post? Tell your friends!

So far, 41 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Glosslizard says:

    Cool! I’m gonna grab some technakohl! I might have to check out the splashproof mascara tip too, because I love the effect of plushlash, but hate how it smudges on me!

  2. Pia says:

    Great article, Karen! As usual. Rainy season is coming to an end when I suddenly get tick bites on my legs; they’re darn itchy!! *cries* the marks take years to totally disappear.

    Pias last blog post..OPI India Collection

  3. Susanne says:

    Thanks for this article! 🙂

  4. Eru says:

    Hey Karen! (^-^)
    I’m shocked by the video (O.O’)
    Poor guy (U.U)
    Hugs! (^-‘)

    Erus last blog post..Limited editions?~~

  5. Karen says:

    Hi Glosslizard,

    Technakohl is the shizz! I can’t live without it. It goes on so easy and it never budges. So far I only have Graphblack and Brownborder but I want more colors.

    That’s too bad plushlash smudges on you. Quick question – do you swipe the brush head on some tissue to remove the excess before you apply? That helps me a ton with most smudgy mascaras (except for Maybelline Great Lash, which smudges like crazy and can’t be helped, *ptooey*).

  6. Karen says:

    Hi Pia,

    I used to have those on my legs when I was a kid; I remember them taking years to go away too. Try not to scratch! 🙁 I know it’s hard though…when I go to Hawaii or Asia I get attacked by mosquitos and the welts are huge and very itchy.

  7. Megan says:

    Hey K… I’m struggling this morning. I was up extra late last night for no reason at all (don’t you hate that?)…and I’m tired…I look pretty fab though. LOL 🙂 So yesterday I was e-visiting with the Estee Lauder private collection tuberose gardenia…and I realized that Nordies was having a GWP (As if I need another GWP)…but I didn’t need anything more to convince me. I popped out last night and I picked up the small one ounce bottle for $65 and scored the cool GWP…I love the little 9 shade eyeshadow palette most (I got the pinks and purples). Anyway I think the eyeshadows are why I’m looking fab 🙂 plus I smell divine so that can’t hurt. The only bad thing is that I realized on my drive in that I think there is likely a large bottle of this stuff in my future. 🙁 I can already tell. I’m in love.
    I went out kinda late so I didn’t have too much time in Nordies, but I walked around and visited. I saw the big lancome angel compact in person…I also visited the Clinique counter and tested a couple of the summer products on my hand. 🙂 That’s going to be my next purchase…but I’m holding out for the weekend 🙂
    So btw I picked up the shiseido sunblock for face a while back but didn’t really try it out until recently – it’s great, just as you said it would be. Last night I put a little of the Kiehls subnblock on my hand and thought it might be a good one to try. Have you ever tried theirs?

  8. Dao says:

    MAC has a long relationship with singers. Madonna, Christina Aguilera and Ashanti are some of the few who have MAC makeup for their concerts. I remember back in the day when Christina was dirrty, she had MAC do her makeup for the Stripped tour. She looked fierce! That was when I started to notice MAC.

  9. carla says:

    Hey Karen,
    My choice would be always chanel double perfection for the studio look. CHANEL Rocks YAY

  10. LaurenIvy says:

    In my the back of my little heart, I want LC/Stephen to fall in love so badly! She always looks cute as a GF, so maybe that’s it..Is it me, or did Spencer prove once and for all that he is a complete and utter a-hole?!


    LaurenIvys last blog post..I Almost Forgot, yet again

  11. Meaghan says:

    So Karen will be seeing the MAC Naughty Nauticals review from you tomorrow?

  12. Glosslizard says:

    I usually only dab off the blob on the end of the wand, but I always use an eyelash comb after mascara, so I don’t think I have *that* much extra on my lashes! I think the culprit is my dry skin… I moisturize around my eyes and have to have a little “dewiness” or I look like a mummy by 5 pm (wrinkly, but well-preserved 😉 )! I find that a lot of mascaras smudge on me, even some waterproof ones! That’s why I want to try the layering trick, it could open up a whole new mascara world, oooooh!

  13. My takes on LC and Stephen yawn yawn as well. I was hoping for SO much more!!! And it’s annoying that MTV hypes us all up…and then it’s such a letdown…Next week looks a tad but better. LOL Spencer coming back to the apartment and Heidi on her way to Vegas…Haha CLASSIC

    I love those tips girly…I’m saving this post fo’ sho! How r u doing? School, finals, papers, and WORK are kicking my butt!

  14. Amanda says:

    Hey Karen! I feel like I haven’t left you a comment in ages. :-/ Cool post-I’ll add to the list of music artists/MAC-I believe the Dixie Chicks too. I’ve always thought that is would be really fun to be the main makeup artist and travel on a tour, doing up the star! And one of my favorite magazine features was always InStyle’s “get the look”-so I love learning what items the pros REALLY use. 🙂

    So I wanted to let you know I got LM secret brigtening powder last week (finally!) and i love it! it’s so fab. And I think I’m going to try the too faced shadow insurance-I had blending issues today with my primer potion (boooooo). I was using 2 shu shadows so I know that wasn’t the problem.

  15. Karen says:

    Hi Megan,

    Yes, I hate it when I’m up super late for no reason at all! I didn’t get lots of sleep either… I probably got in total about three hours which means some not-sexy dark circles. I am so glad you are lookin’ fab though! Gotta love feeling/looking cute when you are tired.

    So I am very excited about the new perfume and eyeshadow palette in your life. I sorta knew you were gonna end up with the Tuberose Gardenia! I just went online to look at the GWP and now may need an excuse to snag it too. The palette is VERY PRETTY! WOW! Regarding the perfume, I think it’s rare to find scents that are so overwhelmingly wonderful. If you really love it, and you don’t have to use much of it and it lasts a long time, then it’s worth it, right? And it’s better to get one thing that you really love instead of several things you only feel so-so about.

    YAY! I am so glad you love the Shiseido 55+. I am wearing it today, as a matter o’ fact. It’s so great because it’s non-drying, and it doesn’t leave a white cast! I’ve ran outside with it several times and when the sweat starts pouring down my face Shiseido never, ever huts my eyes. I am very stuck on it! I tried the Kiehl’s one on the back of my hand a while back. I liked the consistency but didn’t like that it left a white cast on me. Oh! One that my friend tells me is very good is Clarins. I haven’t tried it yet but have it on my list. I dunno when I’ll get to it though, as I am very devoted to my lil’ blue bottle of Shiseido.

    Hope that your feeling a lil’ better this afternoon! 🙂

  16. Karen says:

    Hi Dao,

    I remember Christina lookin’ pretty fierce during that era too! That CD is probably my fave X-tina CD from the bunch, I gotta say.

  17. Karen says:

    Hi Carla,

    I haven’t tried that yet. I’ve been too into my Teint Innocense compact foundation! Loves it!

  18. Karen says:

    Hi LaurenIvy,

    AWWW! You know, me too… but only if LC and Stephen fall in love back in the Laguna Beach season 1 days. I don’t think too highly of Stephen now, or of most of the boys on that show. Do any of them actually have jobs?

    Grr, Spencer is so very lame. I keep seeing pics of him and Heidi all about town these days… I don’t see how she can date him! I mean, I’m sure she’s watched past eps of the show. Can’t she see that he’s a total jerk?

    Yeah, I dunno why I keep watching!

    You know who I really like? Lo. I am glad she’s back on!

  19. Karen says:

    Hi Meaghan,

    When I get my hands on some stuff I will! Dunno if it will happen tomorrow, cause I’ve been running around for work as of late. 🙂 I’ll try to soon though.

  20. Karen says:

    Hi Glosslizard,

    LOL, “wrinkly but well preserved.” You know how I feel about mummies… they are RAD in my book! I know I sound like a broken record, but Shu’s waterproof is pretty great!

    I am going to try the layering trick tonight before I go to the gym! Hopefully it will actually work once I get my sweat on, as having black streaks running down one’s cheeks isn’t cute!

  21. Karen says:

    You’re welcome, Susanne! I hoped the Mac fans would enjoy it! 🙂

  22. Karen says:

    Hi Eru,

    I know, I totally was too! I was actually a little traumatised by it. I have the CD and listened to this song a billion times and did NOT expect that ending. YOW!


  23. Karen says:

    Hi Iheartmakeup!

    RIGHT?!!? There was no chemistry when they had dinner and I kept thinking, “um, so that was it?”

    I’ve been seeing pics of Heidi and Spencer all over the place smooching and acting all lovey-dovey, so I think all the breakup hype they put on the show is kind of a sham! I really don’t see why she can stay with him, though. I just want to sit her and shake her and be like, girrrrrrrl! That boy needs to GO!

    Things on this end have been great but BUSY! I have killer dark circles right now cause I didn’t sleep enough last night. Just a ton of work stuff (as usual), but it’s all good. I’d rather be busy than bored, that’s for sure. So, after writing the tips to this post I took out a couple of my orangy-brown matte shadows, along with some other mattes! I’ve been neglecting them for a while now and have decided that I’m going to try doing my playing w/textures like Jennifer suggested. 🙂

    It sounds like you are super busy too! Are you almost done with your finals? I hope so!

  24. Karen says:

    Hi Amanda,

    Thanks girl! I actually really heart the Dixie Chicks! I haven’t heard their entire body of music, but I really do love their remake of “Landslide,” which is one of my favorite songs of all time.

    YAY for the LM Secret Brightening Powder! Did you get #1 or #2? I am always pleased to hear when people pick this up because it was really one of those life changing products. What brush have you been using with it?

    Hmm, I wonder what gives with your UDPP? Is it an old tube? And regarding the Shu shadows, ain’t that the truth. Those blend so crazy good!

  25. Meaghan says:

    I have the LM Secret Brightening Powder along with their other under eye products but was kinda underwhelmed when I got home with them and have put them in the back of my drawer. Maybe I need to break them out again? How do you use the powder that you find works so well?

  26. Hey Karen,
    Yup almost done with my finals, last one’s on the 8th. Did I tell u? I got a job at cK Calvin Klein Beauty as a make-up artist. But, I;m having my doubts, NARS from across me looks much more appealing, but lol the other day I went to M.A.C wearing my cK shirt and haha, the girls were like you’re cheating and why ARENT U WORKING FOR US? It sounds appealing, but M.A.C at my local mall sucks. The girls r b*tches, but the girls at the Galleria are sweethearts!!!♥♥♥

    i♥makeups last blog post..Make-up Trend: Violet Eyes

  27. Megan says:

    Yeah I definitely know what you mean…and I agree…but I am definitely in love with the new scent. The funniest thing is that the boyf is used to my makeup and scent fixations and rarely comments, but he even commented on how good I smelled (without even knowing that I bought a new perfume).

    Yeah I did some tests with the shiseido too…not really even when i was going to be out in the sun a lot, but more to see how my face responded to wearing it for a few days etc., and it was great. The only thing is that I am pale… and in the near future I will need to be slathering up regularly on the weekends etc. I bought the tube for face…because honestly that’s where i have my most problems with sunblock, but I will need something for body too. I was thinking I should go buy the for face/body, but I’m not sure how long it will last, so I wanted to check out some others too.

  28. Amanda says:

    oh, how i love the Dixie Chicks! I grew up in TX and was in college when they first came out. I have all their CD’s, and I’ve seen them in concert 3 times alreay. 🙂 I feel like they’ve changed and grown up in the same time period as me….but I still love their “old” country stuff too.

    I got LM #1-I’m a pale girl! I’m using a cute mini bobbi brown brush I found at the outlet mall store-it’s dual ended with concealor burhs on one end and blender on the other-perfect. As for UD PP, yeah, it’s an old tube-I’m on the bottom dregs and need a new one soon anyway so this might be a good time to try the too faced.

  29. Karen says:

    Hi Meaghan,

    I don’t use the LM concealer in the pan with the Secret Brightening Powder… together the two don’t cover enough for me. When I combo it with other concealers that cover up more like Dior and MAC Selectmoisture and it works magic for me.

    After applying concealer I just use an eye brush (what ever is close and clean) to apply. I like the MAC 217 or the 252 if the circles are extra bad and I need a bit more powder up in the mix.

  30. msnotty says:

    Oh wow. Didn’t know how hard that was. O_o

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