This Is How The No-Makeup Makeup On Game Of Thrones Is Actually Done

Photo: Macall B. Polay/Courtesy of HBO.
In the spellbinding world of Game of Thrones, everyone is good-looking. The cast of a TV show hasn’t been so uniformly attractive since Gossip Girl, a series about beautiful, rich adolescents who know that they're beautiful. The men have chiselled jawlines and dark, brooding eyes; the women have lush, shiny hair (often woven into complicated braids) and cheekbones that could cut glass.
But there’s a caveat for GoT characters that doesn’t apply to many other shows, which is that each actor must look completely makeup-free — even in the most unforgiving of HD settings. The plot of the series loosely parallels the real-life War of the Roses, a series of wars that went down between two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet as they fought for control of the throne of England. Based on that estimate, Game of Thrones would have taken place in the mid- to late 1400s, had there been dragons and White Walkers at that time. The first recorded skin-care brand, Yardley London, was not founded for another 300 years, in 1770.
Photo: Helen Sloan/Courtesy of HBO.
One must ask: How, then, did the Starks and Lannisters maintain their flawless complexions? Was it a lack of environmental pollutants and antibiotic-laced chicken? Did all the hot air rising off Daenerys Targaryen’s fire-breathing dragons act like a pore-purging steam treatment? Did they drink more than the recommended daily amount of water? Was it just good genes?
When I asked Sophie Turner, who plays the newly-tenacious Sansa Stark on the HBO show, how the Game of Thrones characters are given their 15th-century glow during an interview about something else entirely, she told me that there’s no revelatory on-set beauty secret — it’s just proper skin care with plenty of moisturiser, and maybe a bit of concealer here and there where needed. In a 2015 interview with Yahoo Beauty, lead makeup artist Jane Walker echoed this statement. “Good skin is the best base for the ‘no makeup’ look,” she said.
Photo: Macall B. Polay/Courtesy of HBO.
And there you have it. The number-one best way to get skin that looks perfectly clear and poreless on hi-def television is to start with skin that’s clear and poreless in the first place. Add Kryolan Dermacolor where needed, and go take back that goddamn throne.
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