Thursday, May 24, 2018

Gina Brooke, Hollywood makeup artist, shares A-listers' style secrets

Gina Brooke looks like a woman who takes her own advice. That's what struck me when I met up with her this week for the second time in as many years.

Brooke, a sought-after makeup artist who has painted the faces of Anne Hathaway, Naomi Campbell, Gisele Bundchen, Cindy Crawford, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Gwen Stefani and Madonna, sported deep red lips, long lashes and pin-up-worthy waves while she dished about her celebrity clients, their skin-care secret and the most common makeup mistakes.

Brooke is known for having particular skill in eye-lash adornment, so much so that some credit her with reviving faux lashes. In 2006, before the current faux-lash mania, Brooke hand-crafted a pair of bejeweled mink lashes for Madonna's Confessions Tour. Then Oprah's makeup artist ordered several hundred pairs, at a reported $1,000 per set. Soon after, a long and lush lash trend was in full force, and Brooke's custom-made lash creations were regularly fluttering about the faces of Madonna, Sade, Lady Gaga and many more.

At our meeting, however, Brooke was laser-targeted on flawless skin in her role as brand ambassador for ­Intraceuticals, a skin care line based in Melbourne, Australia. Brooke hosted the launch of Intraceutical's new skin care "Boosters" along with the company's director, Deirdre Burke.

"It comes down to the skin," Brooke said. "As a makeup artist, you can see the problem with some women's makeup is their skin." That's why she insisted on working with ­Intraceuticals after discovering the collection nearly a decade ago. "I basically stalked them to work with this brand."

Brooke shared amusing anecdotes and asides about the A-listers she has worked with, most of which illustrate that celebrities are as grateful for good skin, and as troubled by complexion imperfections, as are the rest of us.

Brooke treated Katy Perry's once-troubled complexion with Intraceuticals after Perry asked to know what Brooke was using on Madonna's skin, "I used the clarity treatment on Katy Perry. Afterward she sent me flowers and a thank-you note."

Brooke also introduced Jessica Biel to Intraceuticals, perhaps explaining why there is a testimonial from her husband, Justin Timberlake, on which reads, "It makes my skin look dope."

From "dope" to "don'ts," Brooke shared some of the biggest mistakes when it comes to makeup. "Most women apply their makeup in a bathroom rather than by a well-lit window," she said. "They end up wearing heavier makeup due to incorrect lighting."

Brooke said many women don't appreciate their own best features. "Often women choose pictures of models with completely different skin tones and bone structures, and when they can't replicate the same look, they are disappointed."

This perhaps explains why some of Hollywood's most identifiable celebrities trust Brooke's unique take on beauty.

— Carolyn Brundage is the founder of, a guide to the best in local beauty. Need beauty advice? Tweet up with Carolyn on Twitter @tampabaypretty.