Hair and makeup artist Ivana Primorac had no idea what to expect when she accepted a job on the hotly anticipated Barbie movie. "I didn't know what it was," she told R29, "nor could I draw on any previous experience in my career." Ivana designed the makeup for Netflix series The Crown, not to mention films such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street but Barbie, it seems, is in a league entirely of its own. Little did Ivana know then just how big a beauty spectacle it would be.
Forty-eight shades of lipstick, hundreds of hair extensions and a fake tan so bright you could probably see it from space (hi, Ken!) is merely the tip of the iceberg. Barbie was a massive production and ensuring everyone looked perfect was no mean feat, said Ivana. "On the main team, there were 22 hair and makeup artists but there was a total of 75 background artists, too." Considering the sheer manpower that went into creating every smoky eye, mascara'd lash and lacquered lip, it's no wonder that internet searches for 'Barbie makeup look' and 'Barbie makeup ideas' have been on the rise ahead of the film's debut in cinemas today.
To save you wondering how each character achieved such seamless makeup, voluminous hair and Oscar-worthy feet, we asked Ivana to divulge her set secrets.
The highlighter trick that transformed Margot into Barbie
Forget contouring. Ivana used strategic highlighting to sculpt Margot Robbie's face as Barbie. "We used lots of Chanel highlighter in the corner of her eye, which makes Barbie's eyes sparkle the most, and in all of the areas which bring the features out, for example, on top of the cheeks, around the mouth and even on the smile lines," said Ivana. Every Barbie doll's lips are in a slight smile, added Ivana, which is what drew her to the doll initially, so applying highlighter on the smile lines — and on the lips — was a trick she employed on each day of filming.
Tens of lipsticks were used on set — including these brands
"There were 48 different lipsticks we used in the end," said Ivana, 40 of them in various shades of pink, from Nicola Coughlan's bold neon lips to Ritu Arya's shell-pink gloss. Two brands that stand out in Ivana's mind are Chanel and Lisa Eldridge. R29 loves Chanel Rouge Luminous Matte Lip Colour in Abstrait, £37, and Lisa Eldridge True Velvet Lip Colour in Velvet Petal, £27.
The brush — and oil — that saved everyone's hair
"It was so difficult to get a brush through Margot's hair [which consisted of various hair pieces] and that's when I discovered the WetBrush," said Ivana. "It completely changed my life and really helped smooth the hair." Everyone's hair routine involved a glossing shampoo, conditioner and a leave-in conditioner but Virtue Healing Oil, £25, came in clutch after hours under hot lights thanks to ingredients like keratin and coconut oil. "Suddenly the hair would go dry so we used a lot of this hair oil," said Ivana.
This is Barbie's exact pedicure colour
A defining moment for Margot Robbie’s Barbie is when her heels finally touch the ground. She may have flat feet but at least they look good. "When we went to do that scene, we always thought we'd deal with whatever was wrong with it in post [production]," said Ivana. "But we didn’t have to do anything. It was a beautifully framed shot and Margot has beautiful feet. She had a nice pedicure and we evened out her heels and toes with a body cream — that was it." Ivana revealed Barbie’s exact pedicure colour: Glossify Naked, £12.99, a semi-sheer nude pink. It has since sold out but OPI Nail Lacquer in Bubble Bath, £14.90, and Peaćci Nail Colour in Sakura, £10, are very similar. If you’re after a heel-quenching moisturiser, try CCS Professional Foot Care Cream for Cracked Heels and Dry Skin, £5.92, or Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula with Vitamin E Foot Magic, £4.99.
Everyone's body routine involved makeup
Each Barbie had to have a completely different body routine. "Ryan [Gosling's] Ken was tanned," said Ivana (the product used is rumoured to be Isle of Paradise self-tan), "but we realised very quickly that a tan is not necessarily 'Barbie'. Every doll needed to be an individual and that's the success of Barbie — she presented as so many different people and had many different careers. We actually used a specially tailored, custom-made body makeup."
Not your average body makeup, which can easily transfer, this was mixed by an expert chemist. "We couldn't risk it coming off on all of the pink and white clothing," said Ivana. "That was the most laborious part, keeping everything intact." Ivana said the crew went through litres of the stuff, including highlighter and moisturising balm for the heels of the feet. "Everyone was completely finished, even behind the ears, knees and elbows." Aside from custom makeup, Alleven Colour Shield, £38, came up trumps for smoothing the skin.
How to achieve Barbie's believable freckles
"Freckles were something we used in this film more than any other," said Ivana. "They're super cute, even if they look slightly like they're not your own." Ivana likes to use eyeliner and an eyeliner brush. "Dot [the freckles] individually and go over them a second time to make some stronger. Then make others weaker with a Q-tip. This makes them 3D and dimensional, rather than all the same strength in colour." Freckles should go on first so any product you use shouldn't smudge when you put the rest of your makeup on, said Ivana. Try Rimmel Scandaleyes Exaggerate Eye Definer in Chocolate Brown, £3.99, or Charlotte Tilbury The Feline Flick in Super Brown, £24, both of which have great staying power.
Barbie's skin wasn't meant to look plastic — it had to look real
Ivana's makeup brief was 'fresh and attractive' rather than doll-like or plastic. Kate McKinnon's Weird Barbie was one of the only makeup looks that involved lots of colour, in the form of a Korean eyeliner that Ivana ordered years ago. "[The eyeliner] had to look like Sharpie so we used green, pink, black and blue liner."
So as not to mask the skin entirely, Ivana and team adopted a sort of patchwork makeup technique for the rest of the cast. The aim? To avoid too much creasing. "The makeup was actually quite simple. Dot the makeup in areas you need it, rather than covering the whole face," said Ivana. She recommends a very thin veil of foundation or tinted moisturiser, as you can always go back in and 'correct' certain areas where you'd like more coverage. R29 rates Fenty Beauty Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Foundation, £29, Rare Beauty Positive Light Tinted Moisturizer Foundation, £29, and Huda Beauty GloWish Multidew Skintint, £34.
Barbie's eyebrows were custom-made
Believe it or not, Margot Robbie's brows weren't all her own. "We had custom-made eyebrows for Margot so that they were longer to give a slight 1940s movie star look," said Ivana. "This was important for the proportion of the face because the hair was wider than the shoulders, so the eyebrows being longer made [Margot's] eyes look bigger." Opting for a brow pen like Revolution Hair Stroke Brow Pen, £6, or Glossier Brow Flick, £18, will help create realistic brow hairs.
Ivana thinks that Margot was most likely sick and tired of all the makeup by the time the film wrapped. "She's a very practical actor," said Ivana. "It's a lot for an actor to have to be preened and pasted full of makeup and creams. Everyone was delighted to look great but by the end of the filming, I think everyone was probably hoping to go and do a movie in the trenches, somewhere in mud!"
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