How To Look Presentable During Marathon Work Days (With Special Guest Alison Freer!)
I have an amazing job, I’m the first to admit it. Doing what I do is definitely dream job stuff and I have to remind myself every day how cool it is that I get to be a part of making these (mostly) awesome stories come to life.
For instance, the show I’m on now takes place in the early 20th century, so this means we’re turning New York City into the 'olden days' and that’s pretty effing cool. It’s also pretty effing hard.
First, we’ve got to find the right location (here, now, in 2013) and THEN we have to convince them to let our extremely talented art department come in and take over to make anything that’s not period appropriate go away or at least look the part while we’re filming. It’s a massive undertaking, but being able to watch the transformation from start to finish is super rewarding.
Naturally, along with all that hard work comes a whoooole lot of hours. Last week I worked 82.5 hours in 6 days. Yep. As one might expect, when I start pulling these kinds of hours, the first thing that goes out the window is any semblance of a “beauty” routine. I wore makeup to work for the first time in about 2 months on Sunday.
Even if I don’t have the two minutes it takes to put on my weekday face, I still have to look presentable and respectable. As a member of the locations department, I’m often the face of the production to the community / city / police & fire department, whatever! And I have to look like somebody who’s got her shit together. Aside from the obvious "drink lots of water" and "always wear sunscreen", here’s how I do it. (Plus, I recruited my west coast production soul sister Alison Freer to share her own tips.)
I rarely wear makeup on set because I don’t have time or pocket space for it. This means I need to keep my skin looking extra boss in its naked form. I use these two things during the day (somewhat compulsively) to keep my face game on point.
Eye Cream Stick
I got this Etude House Vanilla Moist Eye’s Cream stick from my brother’s ex who lives in Korea and it’s pretty dope. Madeline wrote about it once too. It has no smell, isn’t sticky and has a great cooling effect when you put it on. Other than hyaluronic acid, I have no idea what’s in it but it keeps my eyes from being puffy and it fits in my pocket. It’s way easier to put on than a traditional eye cream too. You can get it on Amazon for about $15 and it’s totally worth it.
I know a lot of people think face sprays are BS but I am a total believer. I have pretty dry skin so they’re kinda necessary to keep me hydrated over the course of a 16 hour day. Also, spraying water on your face is usually a good way to wake up so… bonus! My two faves are Mario Basescu Facial Spray which I’m pretty sure everyone at xoVain has written about and Caudalie Beauty Elixer. The Caudalie stuff is kind of stupid expensive but I don’t care because I love it. It has mint and rosemary in it so it’s kinda tingly when you put it on which helps even more with the waking up part.
From Ms. Alison Freer:
“I ONLY wear long-lasting lipstick, and twice a day I lock myself in the bathroom, wipe it off with a baby wipe, apply a bit of lip balm, let it sink in a bit, and then reapply my lipstick. A perfect lip goes a long way toward making the rest of your look work.”
Feeling gross is a guaranteed way to zap you of any remaining energy and make you want to go home. Also, nobody likes a stinky person -- it’s science! Here’s how to keep clean.
I hate hand sanitizer. It smells disgusting and dries out my skin. However, film sets are gross. Particularly if your job often requires transporting large quantities of garbage (I never said it was glamorous.) Also, with that many people around, I guarantee you somebody is sick all the time.
Since I would rather be clean and healthy than filthy and ill, hand sanitizer it is. But only the good stuff! Jao Refresher is what all the makeup artists carry so it’s good enough for me. Joa makes some of my favorite products and the sanitizer smells more herbal than alcoholic, which I like.
With all that hand sanitizing, your hands are bound to get dry. This Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream keeps my hands soft even through a couple rounds of sanitizer. If we’re shooting outside in the winter, I’ll put a tiny bit on my cheeks too to keep them from getting chapped. Also, their lip balm is my go-to pocket product for all time. If I recall correctly, Annie likes their stuff too so it’s officially the best.
“I bring my toothbrush and toothpaste and brush my teeth at least once in the middle of the day. That sharp, fresh feeling somehow resets my brain!”
“I also keep a handi-pack of baby wipes in my set bag (along with a mini-spray deodorant!) so I can wipe my armpits down mid-day and reapply my deo.”**
**I second this tip so hard. Just reapplying your deodorant will not do the trick, you must wipe first! I’m super into this wicked cheap Queen Helene Tea Tree Oil Deodorant that I’ve been using these days. I cannot keep track of all the things tea tree oil allegedly does, but I will say this is the best “natural” deodorant I’ve ever tried.**
If you go to a set in the middle of winter, you would think you’d stumbled upon people on an arctic expedition. I get it, standing outside all day in the cold sucks, but you don’t have to abandon all personal style to stay temperate.
You have to wear a jacket every day. You cannot get around it. If you’re working outside and it’s not summer, you will probably keep that jacket on all day long. Do yourself a favor and get one you like. Even better, get a couple! Getting dressed every day is one solid way to express individuality -- and if it just gets covered up by the same black soft-shell everyday, shit gets depressing.
I have a bright purple jacket from the North Face Outlet that fills me with great joy every time I put it on. I just bought this super dope waxed canvas jacket last night and I can’t WAIT to wear it. Also, you don’t always have to have the exact jacket for the exact temperature that it is which brings me to my next point…
Layers, dear reader, are your friend. I know I just talked about how many jackets I have, but I don’t have one for every occasion. What I do have are vests and sweaters to augment my impressive array of jackets. This lightweight vest from REI that I'm wearing above is probably the best purchase I've ever made. It fits under everything and keeps me toasty.
If that’s too tech-y for you, might I suggest a classic quilted riding vest from LL Bean? It’s just begging for a side braid. I also like a half-zip pullover for layering. The open neck keeps me from feeling claustrophobic and depending on what they’re made out of, they can add a ton of warmth. I love this micro-grid fleece one from LL Bean (what can I say, I’m a Bean Babe) but if performance-wear isn’t your thing, there are a million more sweater-y options out there.
“I invested in a super-thin, packable down jacket (like this one) that I can layer under my 'cute' jackets at work so I can still look fashionable -- even while filming on the beach in the middle of the night in December!”
**See! Layers are king!**
“I also keep a cute blazer on hand so I can toss it on over a scuzzy t-shirt and jeans to look sharp for an impromptu meeting with my big bosses.”
**I do the same thing when I’m scouting, but with a cardigan. I keep it in my car at all times because I never know when I’m gonna have to deal with someone fancy. Even if I’m not actually wearing anything nice, the sweater helps me feel more put together so I behave more confidently.**
“No matter what clothes I'm wearing, I make sure to wear some eye-catching jewelry. It's become my 'signature' at work and makes me look pulled together even when I'm just wearing a dirty t-shirt.”
“I also bring spare socks in the middle of the day and change them at around hour 8, it makes a HUGE mental difference.”
**THIS IS THE GREATEST AND BEST TIP OF THEM ALL. DO IT, IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.**
So there it is, from the trenches of Hollywood (Proper and East), how to stay fly when you spend more time at work than any human being should. Hopefully there are some tips from our crazy world that you can apply to yours! If anybody has any ideas that we didn’t mention we welcome them in the comments. I’m off to buy more vests!