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High-Definition Makeup: Get a Flawless Finish

HD Makeup is no longer the secret weapon of TV stars alone.

WebMD Feature

High-definition TV sets can project larger images with 2 to 5 times the resolution of analog sets. So everything from wardrobe malfunctions to a host’s outfit show in much more vivid detail.

That was the inspiration for high-definition makeup. Even if you never get your 15 minutes of fame, high-definition makeup may deserve a supporting, if not starring, role in your makeup routine.

What is HD makeup?

High-def cameras expose any crease, wrinkle, or blemish. But thick, unnatural pancake makeup is also obvious through an HD lens.

To avoid the cakey texture of standard TV makeup, high-definition makeups are sheerer while still hiding uneven skin texture and other un-telegenic flaws, says makeup artist Joanna Schlipp. She has applied HD-friendly makeup for the Oscars, Grammys, and Emmys. “You can see the skin through the makeup, but the makeup creates a softer focus,” she says.

In other words, these cosmetics simultaneously camouflage imperfections, cover blemishes, and still manage to appear invisible. The pigments and formulas are designed to blend seamlessly with the skin.

What’s in HD makeup?

The main difference is light-scattering ingredients, makeup artist Tina Turnbow, says. “The reflective particles are what make the foundation really flattering,” she says.

Diffusing light creates an illusion of an even finish so you can’t detect the flaws underneath -- like airbrushing for your skin. Cosmetics with an HD label will likely contain one of the following: mica, silicone, crystals, or quartz. These particles sit on top of the skin and help to scatter light in subtle ways.

The powders are often milled to a fine consistency to help avoid detection by the cameras. Mineral pigments in a micronized texture are often present as well because they don’t settle into pores.

Some formulas may contain mattifying agents to prevent shine in oilier complexions and avoid glare. So foundations are usually oil-free.

HD makeup is often made to moisturize because makeup can settle into cracks and creases of dry skin. The hydration also plumps up dry skin to make wrinkles and lines less noticeable.

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