Mad Men Makeup: BBJ Interviews Lana Horochowski, Head Makeup Artist for Mad Men


This is a treat beyond the beyond, dolls. Head makeup artist for the critically acclaimed Mad Men (one of my top 3 fave shows) Lana Horochowski granted yours truly an interview about how she creates the devastatingly gorgeous looks in the show’s glamorous 1960s universe. Lana spent 45 minutes with me on the phone discussing all things Mad Men so I could deliver the deets to you.

Even better? She’s agreed to answer some of YOUR questions! Send me your questions to beautybloggingjunkie [at]gmail[dot]com with subject line “Mad Men Makeup Question” and I’ll feature her answers to four of them. I’ll post them between mid-July and the week of the August 16th Season 3 premiere. I’ll feature a different question that she’ll answer each week. Sound fun? I think so! Prepare your burning questions for Lana while you read Lana’s answers to my own, below. Pour yourself a stiff drink (make sure the ice cubes clink around in the glass, a la Betty Draper), relax, and learn how to achieve a Joan Holloway-worthy red lip.

Beauty Blogging Junkie: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
Lana Horochowski: I’m from Texas, and growing up, my mom was a very Texas mom. She’d be like, “Are you gonna put lipstick on?” even when I was little. But I secretly loved it. I also was an ice skater and used to do the makeup for my fellow skaters before we’d perform. After college, I moved to Los Angeles to work in production. Because I spent so much time matching makeup to clothes, I learned a lot about the process. I eventually started doing work for free as a makeup artist. Then, I got my first big break: a Hallmark Movie of the Week. That led to my joining the union and networking.

BBJ: What is most exciting about working on Mad Men?
LH: In that time period, it was all about glamour, style and fashion for women. It’s so different from our modern day aesthetic which skews more natural. Back then, it was all about major lashes, and dramatic red lips. We do tons of research on the the makeup for that era. We comb old VOGUEs, other vintage magazines and 1960s advertisements to find looks that are authentic.

BBJ: What is most challenging about working on Mad Men?
LH: Most challenging is the process of finding modern day cosmetics in vintage colors, and, just as importantly, textures that will be believable for our Mad Men world. There are so many colors used then that are so rarely used now [Ed. note: I know JUST what she means! Check this post in which I discuss out-of-circulation colors]. And, even if we find something in the perfect shade, it may be the wrong texture. So often, great colors wind up being too shimmery. Shimmer didn’t even exist in ’60s makeup. But that’s what makes it fun. We work very hard to ensure that the makeup is true to the period.

BBJ: What do you like most about creating a look from such an elegant time period?
LH: I love that the look was always so above and beyond for these women. These aren’t looks you can achieve by yourself. They were getting their hair done. They applied glamorous makeup for a dinner with their husbands. It was very non-DIY, and in that respect, it was so unapologetically out of the realm of the mundane/everyday. That’s what I like most about it.

BBJ: To what extent do you work with the head of costume design?
LH: Absolutely hand-in-hand. I’m in awe of the head of costume design’s talent. There’s tons of communication between our department and hers. We’re in each others’ trailers every day.

BBJ: What movies/television shows either from that era or about that era inspire you?
LH: During the time period specifically for Season 3, there was a change in the look. I was inspired mostly be movies and television from that period. Specifically Cleopatra, with its heavy eye makeup in the form of an Egyptian eye and red lip. I also drew inspiration from Bye Bye Birdie, Funny Girl and Bewitched.

BBJ: What are your methods for achieving both a perfect red lip and the perfect ’60s cat eye?
LH: I love Revlon Matte Lipstick in Really Red , it’s one of my favorites. It’s so pigmented and boasts the perfect, authentically-’60s dry formula. I also love NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencils. Typically, I go for an orangey-red, as the lights used for shooting the show can steal blue from the color’s registration on camera. NARS’ formula also lasts a long time, which I like. MAC Lip Pencil in Cherry is another favorite of mine.

Sheer is the trend now, but unfortunately, that translates into a formula that doesn’t last as long. I’m always on the lookout for matte, dry lip products for that reason. I always prep the actresses with La Mer The Lip Balm while they’re having their hair done, so it has time to set and absorb. Then, I line their lips heavily, apply lipstick, blot with a touch of powder, then follow with another application of lipstick.

The cat eye is achieved with MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack, or Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner. I also love Smashbox JET SET Waterproof Eye Liner. Dior’s Liquid Eyeliner pen is excellent because it’s flexible, like a Sharpie. I always have the actresses look down (but not close their eyes) and cast their glance in the opposite direction of me. Then, I lift up the brow and apply a light line, then retrace it.

BBJ: Are the men of Mad Men rocking makeup as well?
LH: Men get a basic spot check. They don’t need much makeup, they’re good looking gentlemen. [Lana, are you ever right about that.] On the Mad Men, I use Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, which leaves their skin looking a bit natural and ruddy. I like to see freckles and flaws; it looks like real skin. When we’re shooting outside, I always make sure to have MAC Blot Film on hand.

BBJ: What are your favorite products?
LH: There are so many! Here’s a quick list of some of my favorites:
La Mer Skin Care
Epicuren Skin Care
Dermalogica Skin Care

La Mer Foundation
Giorgio Armani Foundation
Julie Hewett Cheekies (To achieve the authentic cream blushes of the ’60s. Powder blush wasn’t used until years afterward!)
Laura Mercier Creme Color Pot in Soft Apricot (I blend it all over for a peaches-and-cream complexion)
Andrea and Ardell False Lashes (I use a whole strip for most of the actresses, but sometimes just apply sections of lashes)
Lancome Definicils Mascara
Maybelline Great Lash (for volume, and because it’s really inexpensive. We go through a lot of mascara, as you can imagine!)
Laura Mercier’s red lipsticks
NARS Semi-Matte Lipstick in Shanghai Express
3 Lab Perfect Mask (our actors are very into skin care)
Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic

BBJ: What is your style/techinique?
LH: Because we have to maintain the integrity of the time period, there isn’t tons of leeway. But I love to use a lot of liner, lots of lashes, mascara, red lips (I even love a red lip on myself–I do it all the time!), pink blushed cheeks.

BBJ: What’s next for you?
LH: Only the universe knows! I’m very happy where I am right now and plan to ride it out. This is truly a dream job. I work on a show that’s all about the hair and makeup. The cast is fanastic and I have a fantastic team. I couldn’t ask for more.

BBJ: What do you like to do when you’re not doing makeup?
LH: I usually sleep! I work 75-hour weeks, so I make sure to drag myself out so that I can socialize. I hang out with my husband. I try to maintain balance and give myself space from work on the weekends.

Thank you to Lana for taking the time to provide me with such thorough, thoughtful responses. AND she did it all whilst working on-set AT the show. She had to whisper “hello” when she answered the phone because they were actually shooting AT THAT MOMENT. Jon Hamm could have potentially been within my (telephonic) EARSHOT. Can you even? Anyway. I look forward to seeing Lana’s work on the Season 3 premiere on Sunday, August 16th.

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5 Comments Mad Men Makeup: BBJ Interviews Lana Horochowski, Head Makeup Artist for Mad Men

  1. Anonymous

    The extended liner thing was around in 1963, but 1964 marked the entry of Twiggy, Jean Shrimpton and the Beatles and the makeup aesthetic changed radically. Cake liner replaced pencil and liquid; powdered shadow replaced creme sticks; powdered blush, which was in wide use and available at many price points, replaced cream rouge. Liner was not supposed to be extended and was supposed to be applied more thickly in the middle to make the eyes look rounder. It seems comical to say that people saw mid-60s makeup as a natural look but we did.
    Makeup brushes and lip gloss were first introduced on a wide scale.

    If you want a good reference on makeup of the period, go back and read the Glamour and Mademoiselle magazines of the period.

  2. Rebecca

    Aha, I had no idea she used Revlon’s matte “Really Red”. I love that shade, and use it all the time. It’s so perfect and soft looking. I tell everyone to get it.

  3. Amber

    Hi Anon, thanks for your comment. I think there is a difference (albeit subtle) between frosted and shimmer makeup. I believe Season 3 takes place IN 1963, which would make sense that most people were still wearing creme blush then. My own mother graduated high school in 1962. I just called her and she confirmed that EVERYONE was into the Cleopatra look. Heavy black eyeliner was applied and EVERYBODY was wearing extended eyeliner. It was certainly more exaggerated with Elizabeth Taylor, but that look was huge. Anything she did, including dying her hair pitch black became huge. Maybe it was a regional thing that was more prevalent in the northeast. Where are you from? Perhaps in other areas of the country, it wasn’t as popular. Perhaps I wasn’t specific enough re: powder blush, but the impression I got was that it wasn’t WIDELY used until years later.

  4. Anonymous

    I was around in the 60’s and started wearing makeup as a high school freshman in 1964. There may not have been shimmer but frosted products were a very big deal. Almost everything was frosted. Also, powder blush was the big innovation of the 60’s. Powder blush, powder shadow and contouring were introduced in 1963 or so and introduced a revolution in makeup and what was then considered the natural look. The Cleopatra makeup was freakish–no one wore it in real life. It was a Halloween thing. Barbra Streisand’s Funny Girl makeup had her trademark extended liner, but she was the only one who wore it. Women’s magazines drilled it into our heads not to extend liner past the eye. That was so passe. I’m just amazed that people don’t have accurate information about the period. It’s not that hard to find people who were around back then.


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