There are good reasons why Mary Greenwell has become a make-up legend. First there’s her work with the supermodels in the 80s and 90s. (Linda Evangelista and Cindy Crawford not only didn’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day, they were even less inclined to do so if Mary – and her hairdresser ‘double act’ Sam McKnight – weren’t working on the shoot.)
Then there’s her working friendship with the late Diana, Princess of Wales, about which Mary has always (as a pal should) maintained zip-lipped discretion. Plus her face-making for virtually all the world’s Vogues, as well as Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Elle (and too many ad campaigns to list).
After 25 years at the top of her game, she is more in demand than ever: 50-something Mary has more recently whisked her brushes over the faces of Uma Thurman, Cate Blanchett, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Winslet.
Somehow, she’s also had time to create her own signature fragrance line, which has had the beauty press raving. (Why perfume, rather than make-up? Mary has always spritzed scent on to models as the last get-them-in-the-mood gesture before they step in front of the camera – in the same way that we mere mortals reach for a favourite perfume while getting ready to leave the house.)
But one of Mary’s greatest talents is being able to pull off the equivalent of walking and texting at the same time: in other words, talking while making up a face. Not just talking, but explaining in a so-simple, easy-to-understand style the tricks of her trade. (Many make-up pros, by contrast, are as mute as Marcel Marceau while working on a face.)
Exclusively for high50, I got together with Mary to create a series of how-to make-up videos, which (IMHO) are the best, most instructive and inspiring out there. (That’s thanks to Mary: as a collaborator, all you have to do is virtually push a button and the wisdom comes pouring out.)
At ‘a certain age’, Mary believes, make-up becomes more important than ever but, at just the same moment, becomes more challenging. Because there are new rules.
“Make-up stops you ‘fading away’,” she says. “It makes you appear groomed, and glamorous. But you can’t wear so much, and you’re probably looking at using different shades.”
One of Mary’s key tips is that women should get department store makeovers several times a year. “You learn new skills and discover new products. Worst-case scenario: you hate it, go home and wash it off.” The challenge of a department store makeover is remembering what the make-up artist did. But with these videos, you can just rewind until you’re stroke-perfect.
We will be adding a new video a week, until all five in the series are uploaded. It is the ultimate make-up masterclass, from one of the make-up world’s greatest experts.
Masterclass 1: foundation and concealer
No time to view right now? Try this Mary Greenwell tip: “To take ten years off your face, use light-reflective concealer on the blue shadow at the inner corner of the eyes, on the nose-bone.”
Press ‘Play’ to find out:
• The importance of super-moisturising before you start.
• Choosing the perfect shade: the best place on the face to try foundation.
• Mary’s favourite foundations (she’s a pro who isn’t scared to name names).
• Sponge, brush, fingers…?
• Why you need a ‘wardrobe’ of light-reflecting and creamy concealers.