Glow Is A Love Letter To Feminism — & Leg Makeup

Photo: Courtesy of Erica Parise/Netflix.
Listen, I know that Francis and Claire Underwood are back and winter is finally here, but there's another can't-miss show on TV — and anyone watching already knows it so damn good: Netflix's Glow. It's the first scripted, female wrestling show on television, but before you ask, "Why would we need a female wrestling show in 2017?" let me tell you.
Glow was created, produced, and largely directed by women, and is ultimately a story about female strength and friendship — all wrapped up in a high-cut leotard. It's an origin story for the real life '80s wrestling show of the same name, but it's also a love letter to modern feminism.
Of course, it's also a visual feast of glittery makeup, throwback hairstyles, and physical comedy. The mostly-female cast didn't just get sprained and bruised while preparing for day one, they also got perms, shag haircuts, spray tans, and countless waxes to get into character. You guessed it: It was two women who designed the killer hair and makeup looks, too, which required a dedication to the products actually available in the '80s, quite a few bottles of $12 leg makeup, and razored haircuts that prove dedication comes in all forms.
We exclusively talked with Glow's glam squad to get all the their secrets, ahead. Let's get ready to... well, you know.
1 of 12
On The Importance Of Body Makeup...

"The actresses were in training for a month before we started shooting so they already had bruises on their legs," lead makeup artist Lana Grossman tells Refinery29. "So at the beginning, we started covering them, because they weren't wrestling on the show yet. We had to keep really good notes of who had bruises so that we could copy them if we need to come back to it."

What's the secret? "Covering a bruise is hard — it's like covering a tattoo, so the color comes from underneath the skin," Grossman says. "Normal makeup is not going to cover it, so you have to take out the blue using an orange color, then you have to go back in and put the skin color back in. In a pinch, we used the Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs, it's so thick and waterproof — and it stays on for like a week. If we saw something, we would just spray them down really quick."

The only problem? It has a bit of shimmer, so it's great in the ring, but not for everyday scenes. In that case, Grossman opted for a weekly spray tan to even the skin and Era Face's Spray On Foundation to perfect it the day of filming.
2 of 12
On Alison Brie's Hair Transformation...

"The perm was done a few days before the cut because you want to let the curls neutralize and set in place," lead hairstylist Theraesa Rivers says. "Her hair was halfway down her back, so four days later I got a pair of scissors and a razor and cut her hair off. She was not hesitant at all; it had already been discussed that she would have a cut similar to Sigourney Weaver’s [in the '80s]."

The glam squad also kept Brie's look true to what her down-on-her-luck character would have been wearing — which meant she only spent a few minutes in hair and makeup. "She would put a little mousse in it at home so when she would come in it was very minimal," Rivers says. Her makeup was the same: "She would sit in my chair for five minutes," Grossman says. "Her eyebrows are pretty shaped, so I just drew them in bigger to make them look unkempt. Then just any bruises we had to cover or add."
3 of 12
On The Colorful Makeup...

"A lot of bright, neon colors out now are very diluted, so you have to wet them down to get them to be pigmented enough," Grossman says. "I used a lot of Nars, MAC, and Make Up For Ever, because they have really bright colors. It was a lot of layering, and often I was adding straight-up pigment."
4 of 12
On Finding Inspiration...

Each character got its own reference. Betty Gilpin's is a former soap star, so Grossman dug deep. "We pulled a bunch from old Soap Opera Digests and looked at those cover shoots," she says. "We also found what they looked like in their own lives. That's why she's kind of always a little done up, because we felt like she was still living out that life."
5 of 12
On Channeling Kelly Bundy...

To create Kate Nash's character's look (right), the team channeled an unexpected star: "For Rhonda, we looked at a lot of Christina Applegate from Married With Children," Grossman explains. Meanwhile, it was Madonna's '80s looks that provided the backbone for the show's resident party girl, Jackie Tohn as Melanie (left).
6 of 12
On Keeping The Products Honest...

The secret to the bigger-than-big hair? Mousse, gel, feathered cuts, and “lots of teasing!" Rivers says. "We used firm hold hairspray, but besides that we didn’t use modern products — no serums or pastes or anything — I tried to stay true to the type of products they had."
7 of 12
On Embracing The Most Opulent Era...

"The '80s wasn't necessarily the most beautiful time," Grossman says. "The shapes and contouring [were] super weird and the colors aren't great or flattering. It's like we had to put it on them, make it look bad and like they did it [themselves] — and try not to cry. Also we have to realize that this is what we all looked like 30 years ago, sadly."
8 of 12
On Sheila the She-Wolf...

Actress Gayle Rankin's transformation is, by far, the most extreme, as her character has species dysphoria. "Shelia was one that we stressed out about before we shot, because we wanted it to look like she did it, but didn't want it to look too costume-y because we wanted people to take it seriously," Grossman says. "Until you see the episode where she revealed everything, you're kind of like: Does the audience understand, or does it just look like we suck at our job?"
9 of 12
On Keeping It Real...

"We decided the beauty looks for the finale a few weeks in advance," Grossman says. "It was trial and error: Sometimes we all thought it looked too good. All the notes [from production] were 'more homemade,' while we were like, 'more glitter!' We just broke them down one by one and tested them over and over until we got it right. It was super fun."
10 of 12
On What's Next..

A second season has yet to be announced — but it seems pretty imminent from where we're sitting. What can we expect if and when it happens? There will be more teasing, more color, more curls, more perms," Rivers says. "Bigger, higher, curlier!" We dig it.
11 of 12
Related Video
12 of 12

More from Beauty


R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Five love stories behind diverse, multicultural marriages.
Watch Now
Life experiments, 5 days at a time.
Watch Now
The style of subculture.
Watch Now
Viral trends, tried and tested.
Watch Now
From vibrators to lipstick, learn how your favorite products are made.
Watch Now
Extraordinary, one-of-a-kind individuals
Watch Now
The latest stories to watch.
Watch Now
Inside the homes of millennial women — & what they paid for them
Watch Now
Let's talk about sex, baby.
Watch Now
Female artisans around the world
Watch Now
Made by and for smart, opinionated women.
Watch Now
We helped 12 female directors claim their power.