Here in this post I hold the secret to getting everything you’ve ever dreamed of, and the secret to Madonna’s fountain of youth face. First of all, to gain great riches while working at your dream job, complete with prestige and stardom, apparently all you have to do is ask for it. At least, that’s how it happened for Gina Brooke, Madonna’s personal makeup artist and Shu Uemura’s eyelash-obsessed artistic director. On the morning of her big move to Los Angeles, determined to make the big time in Hollywood, Brooke laid out her makeup portfolios on her bed, and in her authoritative, native New Yorker tone, made it explicitly clear they were not to be touched. This was a New York moving company, so naturally the collection of all of her life’s work disappeared. She began desperately reaching out to LA acquaintances for test work, immediately connecting with Caroline Murphy and landing and an agent who helped grant her two initial wishes: to work at the top at Shu Uemura, and to be Madonna’s personal makeup maven.
It may simply be that Brooke has a touch of magic in her fingertips, and if that’s the case, then you’re going to want to book an appointment with her at Bloomingdale’s tomorrow between 11am-7pm for her personalized (magic) makeup tutorial. Until then, learn how she keeps Madonna forever young.
Now mink eyelashes are the big beauty splurge, but Madonna started it all, correct? Yes, I wanted to present Madonna with a gift initially, so I met with Shu Uemura and we created a special set of mink eyelashes for her. I wanted them to be singularly special, not mass produced, so it could still be animal safe. Next thing you know Oprah’s people are calling up begging for a pair. They ordered around 200 of them at $1,000 each.
What is Madonna’s best skin fix — the one thing that keeps her looking so youthful? Madonna is a big fan of masks. We do a lot of the Phyto-Black Lift Lifting Mask, which is a gel-like mask that contains tightening polymers and soybean extract for tightening and smoothing the skin while improving elasticity and fighting against wrinkles. Here’s the trick; she comes straight from the shower so her pores are wide open, then we apply the mask, very detailed. The face contours are instantly and visibly re-defined as if the skin is lifted.
What sets you and what you do for Madonna apart from every other artist? I’d like to think there are no rules to makeup, there’s no formula, and there’s no one or right way to do anything. With Madonna, she and I are very much alike — we are both detailed perfectionists. When I work with her, I use magnifying glasses and a head light. Madonna has an eye — she likes balance and straight lines and perfect proportions. I do as well, and I think we both see the same things.
What are your biggest magic tricks? I’m always improving. I love using calendula oil … I use a lot of Japanese products you can’t get in the states, like Sante FX Neo eye drops. I think one of the most important things to do, that most women don’t get right, is mixing foundation. Nobody’s face is one color, and mixing foundation colors can really add so much, and it looks natural. I mix my foundation with the cleansing oils, which gives them a nice texture, and it goes on smoothly with a foundation brush.
Madonna’s Makeup Bag Cleansing Oils ($35-$72) – They’re so versatile, there really is one for every skin type. Farfallina False Eyelashes ($29) – Eyelashes are so important. You can have a totally bare face, put on some lashes, with a red lip and that can be a totally finished look. Nobara Cream Cover Stick Foundation ($42) – Nobara is perfect; it can be sheer, mixable, or it can be used to cover imperfections. Mascara ($22-$28) – I am an advocate of mascara, there’s a kind of mascara for everyone. Red Lipstick ($23-$45) – I think it’s important for every woman to have a red lipstick that’s their color in their bag. It really pulls a look together quickly. Phyto-Black Lift Lifting Mask ($65) – This mask tones instantly.
To reserve your space for Gina Brooke’s exclusive appearance at Bloomingdale’s, call 212-705-2000.