The Secrets Behind Keke Palmer’s No Makeup Makeup in ‘Nope’

photo credit: Everett

photo credit: Everett

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Typically, sci-fi movies featuring aliens and UFOs conjure up images of green face makeup and dark special effects. But Jordan Peele’s new release, No, a continuation of his award-winning films Go out and We, it’s anything but an ordinary alien movie.

Starring Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer, the film follows Otis and Emerald, brothers who see a mysterious UFO in the sky. (The rest is, well, hard to put into words.) The film received praise for Peele’s singularly complex sci-fi thriller tone, and the makeup looks so fresh — especially for Palmer’s character.

“We wanted to take the Keke that everyone knows and make it Esmeralda,” says Tym Buacharern, the film’s makeup artist. “We still contoured a little here and there, because it’s beautiful. But we needed her to look as natural as possible for this character. She is a good departure from what people see of her. Keke loved it so much that he continued with the natural makeup even after we shot the movie.”

Further down the road, learn more about how makeup helped develop the characters in one of the biggest movies of the year.

Skin preparation was key

Ironically, achieving the makeup-free look requires a lot of preparation and products, and took about 45 minutes a day. Making sure the skin has a hydrated and smooth canvas is a critical first step. Palmer has been talking about her struggles with acne, so Buachern used the CurrentBody LED light mask, which kills bacteria and has anti-inflammatory healing properties, to help the actress keep her breakouts under control.

“Our filming location was in California, so we were in the middle of dust, rain, humidity and we had to work hard to keep our skin clean and fresh,” says Buachern. Not only was the film shot in a hot climate (it takes place in the desert town of Agua Dulce), but filming began around four in the morning. Buacharern relied on good under-eye care, from smudges under Talika’s eyes to Bellefontaine eye cream, which was also loved by Kaluuya, to hide dark circles. “It also looks great under makeup,” adds Buacharern of the cream.

kill him out

While the film takes place at night (when UFOs tend to be visible, of course), it was also filmed during the day in the heat with high levels of humidity. With that in mind, the makeup was matte, but not too matte.

“I kept the T-zone mattified and the rest of the face glassy, ​​because we shot with an IMAX camera, which shows every little detail,” he says. NARS Sheer Glow Foundation was a must-have on the set to get rid of excess shine while still letting the shine through. Next, Buacharern used the Estée Lauder Double Wear Concealer to “ensure dark spots are completely covered.” To avoid going too matte, he balanced his face with creamy blush. “I love Besame Crimson Cream Rouge to death,” he adds. He finished off the look with Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Red Dahlia on Palmer’s lips.

Keeping calm

“It was a fun job, but with the weather conditions, it was a challenge to keep the actors from sweating,” says Buacharern, adding that Palmer was the exception and rarely sweated on his face. (Editor’s Note: Keke, tell us your secret!) But Buacharern says a key product on set helped keep the cast calm, and that resulted from a happy accident. “I had the Pause Well-Aging Cooling Mist in my kit and I sprayed it on Keke’s wrist and the back of my neck and she was in heaven. After that, the rest of the cast came up to me and said, ‘I heard you have something that can make people calm down,’” he says.

a natural eye

The key to Palmer’s no-makeup makeup was in her eyes. The actress wore short eyelash extensions for a natural look, which Buachern says fits her character’s aspiring influencer personality. But when she started running during filming, her eyelashes started falling out – which Buachern left for an authentic moment. He then used MAC Skin Mineralizing Powder in a deeper shade to contour the eyes and cheekbones. To make the lashes fuller, the Hourglass Retracted Gel Eyeliner was applied to the upper waterline.

Anti-Euphoria Looks

Barbie Ferreira, who appears as Nessie in the movie and Kat in the hit HBO series Euphoria, showed Buachern pictures of her Euphoria character makeup, and he knew then that she No appearance would be just the opposite. “I kept her makeup very 90s – brown lips, heavy lip liner, slightly smoky brown eyes.” For her skin, he opted for Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Foundation and NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer.

“When you work in film or television, it’s about realism, and people forget about that,” says Buacharern. “That’s what makes this movie so interesting to watch. There are many twists and turns.”

It’s not in theaters right now.

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