By Elizabeth Jensen
Some 25 years ago, Dina Ousley and her partner George Lampman developed an airbrush system for applying makeup. While they believed in their product, the pair didn’t foresee that the technique would turn out to be a solution to the radically different makeup needs brought on by the rise of high-definition video.
Hi-def’s extreme detail turns out to be a little too close-up for traditional makeup. Flaws are readily apparent in high definition, and adding a thicker layer of standard makeup only makes the imperfections more pronounced. Going makeup-free isn’t any better.
The Dinair system, which Ms. Ousley calls “the un-makeup,” takes a middle route: blowing on a fine film that lets the natural skin tones, with all their variation, peek through between little dots of color. Ms. Ousley likens the effect to photo retouching. In between the pixels of makeup, “The skin is breathing,” Ms. Ousley said in an interview from a funeral directors’ convention in Philadelphia, where she was conducting a training session for morticians.
Ms. Ousley trained the makeup artists for “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy!” in her technique in advance of the shows’ switchover to HD. She said she has also trained makeup artists for Dan Rather and Jay Leno, among others.
“We teach everybody to be really light-handed,” she said, adding that the key to the application is not to overspray. Blemishes can be specifically covered up by retouching. The specially formatted makeup is sprayed on at low pressure, doesn’t rub off on clothes, is nonallergenic and doesn’t allow shine to come through, as traditional wipe-on makeup does, Ms. Ousley said, adding that her company is now developing a similar system to be sold directly to consumers.